Reflection on the Message of February 25, 2000
"Dear Children! Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you. Use this time and seek the grace of healing of your heart from God, so that you may see God and man with the heart. Pray in a special way for those who have not come to know God's love, and witness with your life so that they also can come to know God and His immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."
I greet all of you who are waiting for the message of Mary and who are trying to understand and live them. Before we reflect on this latest message, I would like us to recall the message of January 25th. In that message, Mary called us to prayer without ceasing. One can understand that and see that it is possible when we know that prayer is a meeting with God. We all know that it is not possible to pray the Rosary without ceasing. One can not be in church or read the Bible without ceasing. But, if we meet Jesus when we pray the Rosary, when we are at Mass, when we adore, when we go to confession - then this meeting can take place everywhere: in nature, at any type of work - because God has given us the gifts and talents to be able to work - and whenever we work out of love for God and for other people, we meet with God. The meeting with God takes place especially when we meet other people. Jesus said that we did for or against Him what we did or did not do for others (Mt. 25:31). Our meeting with God in prayer is being tested and confirmed in our meeting with other people. And the meeting with others is the most important criteria for our prayer. We should, therefore, pray that we become capable of recognizing and loving Jesus in people and then thank God for the good meetings and ask for forgiveness for the bad and sinful ones. When we pray, Mary says, we will be closer to God and He will fill us with peace, because He gives the true peace. In this message, Mary makes us aware that everything we receive from God we should give to others and that, in this way, we will become witnesses of God's love. Hoping that we have tried to live this message, we decide for prayer without ceasing so that we may continually feel the closeness of God.
The daily apparitions continue for Vicka who is in Medjugorje, for Marija who lives in Italy and for Ivan who is still in the United States. Mirjana, Jakov and Ivanka are at home and lead normal family lives. Mirjana is preparing herself for her yearly apparition on March 18th. She will be given the exact time of the apparition at her prayer with Our Lady on March 2nd. As you know, Mirjana prays on every second of the month with Our Lady for the unbelievers.
Although the winter has been cold and long, there were always various groups of pilgrims here, those who had the courage to come. Now that the weather is slowly getting better, more and more pilgrims are coming from throughout the world. At this moment, there are different groups here from France, Austria, Italy, the United States, England and Korea. More and more Croatians are coming. At this time, Fr. Jozo is also holding seminars for various groups from Sunday evenings until Thursday mornings. I also have various groups for fasting seminars.
At this time, Msgr. Robert Rivas, the Bishop of Kingstown in the Caribbean Grenadine Islands came to Medjugorje. In the talk I had with him, he openly confirmed his belief in Medjugorje and promised to take part in this year's Youth Festival, because as a bishop he works much with the young.
I ask all prayer groups to pray especially for the Priest Retreat, which takes place the first week of July, and for the Youth Prayer Meeting.
In this message of February, Mary calls us to...
WAKE UP FROM THE SLEEP OF UNBELIEF AND SIN
We already know this call from the Bible. The call of the prophets was to wake up the people and have them not sleep. Jesus Himself spoke in many parables about staying awake and admonished us not to sleep. It is clear that this call is not meant to awaken us from a physical sleep, but from a spiritual one. When someone sleeps, he sees nothing, hears nothing and is unconscious. The ancient Greeks had a proverb that says: "Sleep is similar to death". The same can be said about 'spiritual sleep', which is brought about by unbelief and sin. The unbeliever does not see and lives like a blind person. He does not see God, he does not recognize the fundamental truth of the existence of God, the Creator of the universe, he does not recognize the own human structure and because he does not recognize the Spirit, he puts himself and others on the level of animals and matter. So, an unbeliever sets wrong objectives for himself in life, most of which are humanly degrading, and chooses wrong means with which he endangers himself and others. An unbeliever takes roads which do not lead to the fulfillment of the human longing that God has sown in his heart, so he ends up disappointed in a blind alley. Sin in itself makes a person blind for the values of life and separates man from himself, from others and from God. In this separation which comes from sin, man remains alone and does not feel well. Sin wounds the human heart and, in a wounded heart, negative and desctructive behavior is born. It must be clear to us that not only people who do not know God, but also those who say they know God, yet, do not live according to His word, are in a spiritual sleep. So we can say that many who are in theory, 'faithful people', the Christians, go on the same wrong paths as the unbelievers and end up in the blind alleys of desctruction. And when we look at the situation in the world and in the Church today, then we see all the terrible results in the lives of individuals, families and generally of mankind which come about through unbelief and sin: wars, increasing violence, killing of unborn life, drug problems, loss of spiritual values, etc.
Mary continues ...
BECAUSE THIS IS A TIME OF GRACE WHICH GOD GIVES YOU.
Although we all and the entire world suffer from the consequences of unbelief and sin, God does not want the death of the sinner, but He wants him to convert and to live. We can say that God has not turned His face away from us. He loves us as a good Father and, as the God of Life, He does not want us to remain in deadly sleep. He first sent the prophets that they awaken His people in His name from the sleep of sin and lead them into life. In the fullness of time, He sends His Son, in order to open the way of salvation for us. In this time, He sends Mary, the Queen of Peace. It is a sign of hope for us. We have no right to despair over the situation of the world and the Church, but this difficult situation should rather wake us up to not sleep spiritually anymore. We Christians must not waste our time lamenting and judging but rather be inspired by hope, remain awake and, as far as we can, awaken others. We must thank God consciously with all who, through Medjugorje, have been awakened in their faith and have been roused from the deadly sleep of sin through confession. Viewed from God's side, the time of grace is every moment of our life, but from our side, there are differences. We can fall asleep spiritually when we are well but also when we are not well. The time of grace begins for us at that moment when we understand that we must change our life. When one listens to the accounts of the lives of those who have experienced conversion, one always hears similar statements, "Before, I did not see, I did not understand, I did not know; but now, I see my life differently and I live differently." When we, ourselves, scrutinize our way to see where we stand, then we should ask ourselves daily if we could recognize ourselves and others better on our way; if we could stand up more courageously for the good and fight without fear against evil. Where we let ourselves be intimidated by the mentality of the world, where we lose courage and hope, there is still something asleep and we must be awakened. When we believe a situation of sin to be normal, because everyone thinks the same and does the same, then we are like drunken or dazed men who do not see the reality in the light of God. Therefore, we must not forget that now is the time of grace, the time to wake up from the sleep and to take up a new road.
Mary encourages us ...
USE THIS TIME AND SEEK THE GRACE OF HEALING OF YOUR HEART FROM GOD, SO THAT YOU MAY SEE GOD AND MAN WITH THE HEART.
Every man is wounded. Most wounds develop because, by our nature, we long for the endless and unconditional love which we do not attain in this world. So the heart remains wounded. In the wounded heart, room opens for all negative things. This disappointed longing for love creates hate; the disappointed longing for peace calls the spirit of discord and violence; the disappointed trust causes insecurity, fear and aimlessness. So man becomes unable to live and to form his life in a dignified manner. Therefore, we all need the healing of the heart. When the wound does not heal, it leads to further wounds for oneself and others. And so the deathly chain of disaster comes into being which claims its victims from generation to generation. Only God can break this chain of sin and heal the heart. Through the healing of the heart, we understand the meaning of the word, "everything will turn to the good". This, we find often, especially in the lives of the Saints, who first experienced the depth of sin and then opened their hearts completely to God. Concretely, we must ask for the healing of the wounds which we are carrying since our childhood and then of all other wounds which we have accumulated throughout our life. It is important also to ask for the healing of the wounds which we have inflicted upon others and the healing of the wounds of the families. We must not forget that the wounds which have not been healed often make room for bad spirits, who take advantage of the situation and this leads to even greater disaster. One must recognize such cases and pray for liberation. The healing of the heart gives us a new dioptre. The sin and wound make us blind and we do not see correctly. Through the healing of the heart, we see God and men differently. Healing means inner liberation from any enslavement, it takes away the dark glasses and the sight becomes clear. With a clear sight, we will see everything differently.
It is said that a master once asked his students, "When does the day begin?" The students gave different answers. One said, "When one can distinguish a tree from a tree", the master was not satisfied. Another said, "When one can distinguish a leaf from a leaf", the master was not satisfied. The third said, "The day begins when one can see the colors"; this answer also was not satisfactory. After a pause, the master said, "The day begins at that moment when one recognizes in the face of a person the face of his brother!"
The question which we should ask ourselves should be, "How do I see God and people?" And everyone has to answer. The author, Antoine de Saint Exupery, once said that one can only see well with the heart. When our sight is born in a pure, loving, merciful and peaceful heart, we will see God and man differently and this will be the moment of a new beginning. We can also ask ourselves, what it is that makes us blind, so that we can ask with the blind man in the Gospel, "Master, heal my eyes so that I see" or "Heal my heart, so that I can see You and the others!"
Mary continues ...
PRAY IN A SPECIAL WAY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT COME TO KNOW GOD'S LOVE AND WITNESS WITH YOUR LIFE SO THAT THEY ALSO CAN COME TO KNOW GOD AND HIS IMMEASURABLE LOVE.
This prayer intention we know very well. Mary prays with Mirjana on every second of the month for the unbelievers, so that they come to know God's love, as I already mentioned. She repeats this intention in this message. Many Christians belong in this category. We all know what we should do, but we often do not do it, either because of malice or because of weakness. Mary calls us not to judge, but to pray so that each heart opens itself to love, because only love can awaken us from the sleep of unbelief. Mary herself prays for the experience of the love of God and invites us to pray. Many people have taken this prayer intention seriously. Only in this way can one understand why so many people have begun a new relationship with God in Medjugorje. This does not happen because they heard something new but because they are being prayed for. No one in Medjugorje says that he did not know that he should pray, but many have said that they have begun to pray. In this very intention, we discover the deepest meaning of Medjugorje. It is our help on the way to God.
We are called upon not only to pray but, through our life, to help people to come to know God and His immeasurable love. St. Paul writes in the Second Letter to the Corinthians 3:2-3, "... written on our hearts, known and read by all ..." This is also how Mary speaks. The most important book we can read and understand is our own life. When we live Mary's message and so become men of peace, then people will understand us and recognize the work of God in us, even if they do not speak our language. All books which have been written about Medjugorje cannot be of as much help as the good example of a person who has accepted the message and lives it. In these times, on the whole, and also in the Church, there is too much paper, there are too many books, explanations, declarations which are not really useful, unless, and most important one witnesses with one's own life. We should consciously be thankful for all people who were able to witness with their life that they have started on a new way in Medjugorje. Each person who began to pray, each prayer group, each vocation, each humanitarian and charity effort, which has begun through Medjugorje, enriches the tree that is being recognized by its fruits. The official recognition of Medjugore also depends on this. In an Apostolic Letter it is written, "The fruits shall be numerous and lasting". Each one of us is important, that is what Mary said in Her message.
Let us pray:
Lord our God, we thank You and we praise You, because You have sent us Your Son and because He has revealed You, the loving Father, to us. We ask You now, reveal Your love to us, so that we may believe in You with our whole heart. Awaken us through Your Spirit from the sleep of unbelief and sin. We bring to You, in the name of Your Son, as Mary calls us, all our wounds and ask You to say the Word to heal our heart. Take away from us everything that hinders us to believe in Your love, so that we can see You and all men with the heart. Forgive us when we allowed our sight to come from an unclean und sinful heart, darkened by sin. Heal us, so that our life will become for others a proof that You are our Father and that You love us all immeasurably.
(In silence, tell God your concrete wounds and the wounds of your family and those wounds that you have inflicted upon others through your behavior)
We beg you, Father, reveal Your love to all Your children, who have not yet come to know Your love, so that they also find strength in Your love and be awakened from their sleep of death. Bless, O Father, all those whom You have called, so that they show others the way towards You. Bless the Pope, the bishops, the priests, members of religious orders, catechists and missionaries, and all parents and educators so that they can proclaim to us through Your Spirit the strength of Your love. Free Your Church in this jubilee year from any sleep and sin, so that she may proclaim Your love to the world. Bless the visionaries, the parish of Medjugorje and all pilgrims, so that we can understand the message and live for the good of all and for Your honor. Amen.
fr. Slavko Barbaric
Last Modified 02/29/2000