M E D I T A T I O N
OBSTACLES IN US
Before us are the days of Holy Week. In the March 25th message Our Lady motivates us to consider what Jesus is saying to us. The message concretely calls us to fasting and renunciation. If these two well known but difficult recommendations do us good, then it would be well to know what purpose they serve before we perhaps write them off. Fasting and renunciation have a well defined goal. They obtain their fulfilment when they lead us to a deeper experience of the nearness of God. Since that does not succeed the way we might wish it to, it shows that there is something hindering us from our goal. Our Lady wants that to be removed and that we come to know the beauty of God's nearness.
I believe that not once have we really longed for God's nearness. Sometimes it happens in moments of pain, sickness, hardship. It has also happened in moments of feeling happiness and satisfaction that was not full. Perhaps a slight nuance was missing. For obtaining a goal two conditions are the most important: knowing and willing.
In the prime of life and even in old age, a person accepts with heavy heart the diagnosis that he has a sickness in his organism, especially a serious sickness. The acceptance of the diagnosis and of particular disciplines of life changes many things, also some habits. We can say the diagnosis is not correct. "I'll wait a little and see, maybe the diagnosis is wrong!" It is known to happen that the opinion of a doctor is wrong. Although it may be serious, we also have to grant the doctor the possibility of a mistake. Well, if all sick people acted as though the diagnosis were incorrect, where would that lead us?
A man gets pensive and concerned when a slight or serious sickness hinders his health. Just a word that he will get better helps a little. There is no doubt that we want mental and spiritual health. The truth is also that we do not even always know exactly the causes of physical, mental and spiritual pain. We don't exactly know how much our behavior, and especially certain ways of behaving, are sure to cause health and to what extent they are conditions for sickness. If we are disposed neither toward fasting nor renunciation, we still have to accept one thing: we do not sufficiently know how our behavior causes sickness in others. As believers we do not sufficiently know what all badly influences our religious growth. That will open our eyes to the fact that there exists also in ourselves hindrances to the experience of God's nearness. This insight is by no means an unimportant thing.
Dear readers and friends of the Queen of Peace, Our Lady's messages have so far opened our eyes to many things of the religious life. Our Lady like our mother continues to speak this way. May she help us to open the eyes of our heart and mind for the Risen Lord and His Message. A Blessed Easter to you and may the great days of Holy Week and Easter make you holy!
Fr. Ivan Landeka
N E W S
NUMBER OF COMMUNIONS AND CONCELEBRANTS
During the month of March in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje 46,000 Holy Communions were distributed and there were 1,224 concelebrations by priests from home and abroad, that is, 40 daily.
We shall enumerate some of the countries from which pilgrims visited Medjugorje during the month of March: Poland, Japan, Mexico, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Brazil, Italy, France, Korea, Australia, Romania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Holland, Sweden, Argentina, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, United States and, of course, Croatia.
'THE WALL OF LOVE'
"The Wall of Love", the movement of mothers for peace, is organizing a novena of prayer for the nine last Saturdays of the month. The second such meeting was held on February 28, 1998 when mothers, husbands, sisters and friends gathered for community prayer in the church of St. James in Medjugorje. There was prayer especially for all those killed and missing in the course of the war as well as for the Croatians accused in the Haag. After confessions the Eucharistic celebration followed.
We take this opportunity to thank the large number of foreign pilgrims who joined the mothers and their husbands in prayer for Croatian defenders. They are not strangers to the foreign pilgrims. On the contrary, Medjugorje pilgrims have become great friends of the Croatian people and their great benefactors in the course of the civil war. They experienced our affliction as their own, our needs as theirs. Many in the world have heard about our little country just because of Medjugorje pilgrims and they made their contribution to the suffering population of our homeland in its most difficult moments. And the parishioners of Medjugorje, the mothers and husbands with whom they prayed in common and all those who have felt their love, care and concern, keep them constantly in their prayers and call God's blessing down upon them.
PRAYER AND FASTING SEMINARS
During Lent five prayer and fasting seminars were held in the "Domus Pacis" house of prayer. About 230 pilgrims of various language groups participated in the seminars. They were conducted by Fr. Slavko Barbaric.
A N N O U N C E M E N T S
We hereby announce to all pilgrims groups and individuals who come on pilgrimage to Medjugorje that the daily evening program in church during summer time is from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (6:00 PM Rosary, 7:00 PM Holy mass, prayers of blessing and the third part of the Rosary).
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is on Wednesday and Saturday from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM, and on Thursday immediately after the evening mass. Every Sunday at 3:00 PM (later on at 4:00 PM) the Rosary is prayed on Apparition Hill and each Friday at 3:00 PM the Way of the Cross is held on Cross Mountain. Opportunity for confession is available each evening at the beginning of the prayer program or at the time of the liturgy in one's national language.
Holy Masses for various language groups are held throughout the morning by previous arrangement.
All announcements regarding the prayer program in the shrine of the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje, as well as other announcements, can be obtained daily in the Information Office of the Shrine at ++387-88-651-988 from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM . We hereby request all organizers of pilgrim groups to inform their pilgrims upon arrival of the possibility of obtaining necessary information from this office. It is located next to the Parish Souvenir Shop and not in the parish office
Published by: INFORMATIVNI CENTAR MIR - Svetiste Kraljice mira ( Information Center MIR - Shrine of the Queen of Peace), 88266 Medjugorje, BiH, fax number: +387-88-651-444.
Last Modified 04/08/98