Fr. Slavko's Commentary
Reflection on the Message of June 25, 1997
Today I am with you in a special way and I bring you my motherly peace. I pray for you and intercede for you before God so that you may comprehend that each of you is a carrier of peace. You cannot have peace if your heart is not at peace with God. That is why, little children, pray, pray, pray, because prayer is the foundation of your peace. Open your heart and give time to God so that He will be your friend. When true friendship with God is realized, no storm can destroy it. Thank you for having responded to my call."
I greet all who over these years have stayed on the path with Our Lady and who still today are awaiting Mary's message with great expectation as well as joy. Let us again reflect upon last month's message with which Mary intended to prepare us for the Anniversary. She called upon us to give glory to God, to renew prayer in our families, and again confirmed to us that she is near to us. For us the core of everything is whether or not we are giving glory to God. One glorifies God with words and with deeds. If one only glorifies God with words yet the deeds are left aside, then one really only remains at the level of a Pharisee. Deeds without prayer, without a relationship with God, are also not enough. Only with word and deed can one in truth glorify God. That is why it is good to ask what people think about the God in whom we believe, and what do they think about the Church to which we belong? When we give testimony for God's love, for His mercy, and for His love for life with word and with deed, then we are giving a good testimony on His behalf. But when these are missing, then we are very simply giving the world around us a poor testimony. That is why it is very good to think about this and to often ask God to cleanse our hearts and our tongues so that we can always praise Him. It is exactly that which Mary is always repeating in the messages when she says:
PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!
When one prays the way she has taught us, out of love for God, then one will praise, give glory and thank God; and then that will be giving true glory to God! When through prayer, and this will also happen, our love grows, then we will also through our deeds or our active love for neighbor also be giving glory to God. Another worthwhile question is whether we have found the time to give glory to God within our families. Parents ought really to ask themselves whether over these years something has changed in this regard within their families. If not, then it is high time that we do something; and if yes, then we must be careful to always remain loyal to Our Lady's messages. Finally she said to us that she is near to us and that she prays for us. The presence of Mary with us is the ONLY new message that we in Medjugorje have received. Only through her presence can one really come to understand what is happening here. So, thankful for her 16 years of grace-filled presence with us, let us all, with open hearts, decide to hear Mary's message, and then to remain on the path with her.
We have now celebrated the 16th Anniversary in a grand way. The day before we had again organized a 'March for Peace' from the Franciscan Monastery in Humac near Ljubuski, which is about 11 kilometers from here. In fact it was a Eucharistic Procession consisting of about 6,000 pilgrims. At 7:00 a.m. the Superior of Humac, Fr. Vladimir Bunti, greeted and blessed everyone there. Shortly before 11:00 a.m. we all arrived in front of the St. James' Church in Medjugorje. Then our Pastor, Fr. Ivan Landeka, again greeted and thanked everyone that so many had participated and in this way most certainly assisted in Mary's plans for peace. Then he gave us all a Eucharistic Blessing. Following the normal evening program, we had two more hours of Eucharistic Adoration where again an enormous crowd prayed along with us. On the Anniversary itself the crowd had again become even larger, and we had pilgrims here from every corner of the world. According to estimates we had more than 50,000 people at the evening program, and more than 200 Priests, including Bishops Pavol Hnilica of Rome and Archbishop Frane Frani of Split, concelebrated Holy Mass along with us. We had Priests from every continent and from 31 countries. It was truly an enormous celebration and for it we had prepared ourselves with a Novena. Because there was not much that we could have possibly added to the normal evening program the visionaries joined us after Holy Communion and prayed Mary's prayer, 'My Soul Rejoices in the Lord', and the congregation responded in singing 'Ave, Ave'.
All the visionaries except for Marija are here in Medjugorje. Marija stayed in Italy although she had really wanted to be here, but her doctor had advised her to stay at home and, because she is expecting her third child in July, not to make any longer trips. Vicka, Jacov, Mirjana and Ivan are untiring in that they, on a daily basis are sharing their testimonies with the pilgrims.
On the Anniversary Ivanka had her yearly meeting with Our Lady. Mary came at 6:40 p.m. and stayed with her for 6 minutes. Among other things, Ivanka told us that Mary had spoken with her about the fifth secret, but more than that she could not tell us. Mary gave the following message:
"Dear children, Pray with your heart that you are able to forgive, and that you will be forgiven. I thank you for your prayers and for the love that you are giving me."
Normally Ivanka lives entirely privately with her husband and her family.
The message that Mary has given us on the 16th Anniversary gives us new impulses for the basic program that she has repeated so often to us over these 16 years. It concerns her presence with us, it concerns prayer without which we can have no peace, and it concerns our own friendship with God that, when it is close, cannot be destroyed by anything.
TODAY I AM WITH YOU IN A SPECIAL WAY
It can never be over emphasized that only through her presence here can Medjugorje be understood and explained. She is truly here!
AND I BRING YOU MY MOTHERLY PEACE
When we hear the word 'blessing' we must reflect upon the Latin words 'bene dicere', and this means to speak of well. Mary does not judge or condemn us, for she blesses us and speaks well of us before God. Her 'motherly blessing' cannot really be explained as well as it can be understood with the heart. That she blesses us with her motherly peace can only be understand well when we realize that she is our mother and therefore protects us and takes us under her motherly cape. A child can only have true peace and true safety when it is in the lap of its mother, and this we can also have once she has taken us onto her lap. But it depends on us how far we are prepared to let her take us onto her lap.
I PRAY FOR YOU AND INTERCEDE FOR YOU BEFORE GOD
... and this with a particular goal. In this message the goal of her prayer, or her intention, is...
SO THAT YOU MAY COMPREHEND THAT EACH OF YOU IS A CARRIER OF PEACE
Everything for which Mary prays and that she wishes to teach us leads into our need for peace, that everyone has only gotten it from God, and that no-one of us may then keep it only for themselves. To this there is also a logical order that starts with peace inside our hearts. When we have his peace with God, and thereupon peace with each other, then we can also become carriers of peace within our families, within our communities, wherever we work, wherever we find ourselves, and therefore in the whole world. Here it really concerns the most beautiful assignment that any human can accomplish, the assignment of offering others around him peace, the peace that God has given us. How awful it is for someone to meet someone or to live with someone who lacks peace, and who is incapable of offering peace to others. In the same way, how beautiful it is when one has peace and offers it to the others! We may never forget that peace is a grace that God gives us, but also a result of our cooperation with God's grace. Peace primarily means a relationship with God, but then also a deep activity concerning ourselves as well as the others. Whoever wishes to become a carrier of peace and whoever has peace in his heart must love himself and respect the others, starting with the yet unborn all the way to the oldest among us. Only the one who loves, forgives, respects, helps and protects the others is a carrier of peace. Here we must be careful not to stay alone with words, for words alone do not help us to become true witnesses in this world. So very much is spoken about peace, but there still is no peace! Peace can only come about when we have gotten peace from God, and then from this peace get the inner strength to meet the others and do for them what we wish for them to do for us. That is why Mary says...
YOU CANNOT HAVE PEACE IF YOUR HEART IS NOT AT PEACE WITH GOD
Peace with God primarily means that we love Him, that we out of this love for God also have trust in Him, and that we seek, discover and accept His will. But all of us are in danger of or tempted by our possibly wishing to force our will upon Him. Often it happens in our prayers that we do not actually seek God's will for us but that we instead wish from God what we think we would need or think would be the best for us. So, it can happen that a person prays but that all his prayers are a conflict or a fight with God's will. The person who prays this way is in fact trying to change God's will rather than his own. Peace comes when we accept His will and start working along with it. This peace of course does not exclude suffering, does not exclude the cross. Crosses or problems are when we tend toward accusing God, and it can go so far that we cannot forgive Him and then are unable to accept what we are experiencing at that moment. God wants our peace and, because His name is Emmanuel, He wants to be with us. He wants to be our strength and that we, out if His strength, then are able to overcome our lives, as well as being able to love and forgive the others and in doing are able to live also in peace with them. Several times before and also in this message Mary has not only said...
PRAY, PRAY, PRAY
How often it is said that...
PRAYER IS THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR PEACE
And here again we must become very conscious that she wants our peace everywhere, and in everything that we do we should wish for peace. The problem, however, is that so few are really willing to take hold of the tools for peace, and these are prayer, the personal meeting with God -- with God who is peace. Man cannot disregard peace and all that he does is done in order to have it. A person who prays, who goes to Confession and to Mass, who reads the Bible, who forgives always does it so that he can have peace, for when he does not forgive, peace becomes impossible. But we are also in danger, and here many go astray, that we take the wrong methods to attain peace. For instance, when someone drinks or takes drugs, when someone hates another and simply refuses to forgive, when someone becomes unjust or distrustful or when someone destroys his own or the lives of others, he always does this in order to have peace. The greatest danger is when we take the wrong methods for the same wish in our hearts. But God is sending us Mary so that we can have the true methods of attaining peace. On this path to peace we may never forget prayer and fasting, for these are the surest of all ways on the path to peace. With prayer and fasting our hearts become free to recognize God's will and to accept it. Also with prayer and fasting we are freed of our pride, our selfishness, our egoism and all our other negative tendencies. Whoever prays and fasts will certainly have peace and whoever has peace will then develop a new relationship toward himself and toward the others. Mary again calls us to...
OPEN YOUR HEART AND GIVE TIME TO GOD SO THAT HE WILL BE YOUR FRIEND
To have a friend really means to have someone to whom we can open our hearts and with whom we very simply like to spend time. When we do not love or trust someone then it is impossible to either open our hearts or to spend time with him. It is sad but many Catholics do not open their hearts to God and do not give God the time, and from this we must deduce that they do not understand God as a friend. When we here think of relationships within families, then it can be said that it is very important that the parents become friends to their children or that during the crises in puberty, crises in youth that the parents become the children's friends. When this does not happen then the children close themselves to the parents and then go find their friends outside the family and this can so easily become very dangerous. God wishes to be our friend and at one point Jesus told the Apostles, "I will no longer call you 'servants', but rather 'friends'." Friends know what their friend does, so God wishes to be our friend who shows Himself to us completely, and also expects of us to accept His friendship and to become His friends. We can only be grateful to God that so many people have become God's friends here in Medjugorje, and the first sign of this is that they started to pray. How many accepted and responded to the impulses to go to Confession, to Mass, and to Adoration? This is God's grace, and for this grace Mary is praying constantly when she, for example, along with Mirjana is praying for non-believers on the 2nd of every month. This true friendship with God is another foundation for peace, and Mary then says...
WHEN TRUE FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD IS REALIZED, NO STORM CAN DESTROY IT
When we analyze today's world, the relationships between people, and especially those within families, then we will see that many people are depressed and unstable, that there are no longer true friendships and that people only do things out of interest to find someone. Today it is especially difficult for people when they have no friends but only exist out of interest, for then there always remains a fear or distrust, and in order to overcome this fear and distrust, people must first become friends with God. Then we see the families of which so, so many are destroyed by divorce. Why? Because they no longer have true friendships toward one another. This is why people are so easily led onto false paths such as drugs and alcohol, violence or different types of unjust and dangerous behaviors. People are unstable for they have lost the very foundation for their existence here on earth. Then neuroses and depressions come about. We are created in such a way that we really have a need for God, and for a deep, strong and trusting relationship with Him. In the Bible there are references to storms as there are references to boulders that when the wind blows protect us. That is why the Psalmist says God is his boulder. To understand this we must primarily think of faith, for faith really means to be able to stand firmly with God. Our word 'amen' that comes from the Aramaic 'aman' describes the situation of the child when it is in the lap and in the arms of its mother. The child that hears and has accustomed itself to the rhythm of the mother's heart and body, the child that is held by the mother's arms and feels the warmth when it is cold, and is fed when it is hungry, is the child that finds itself in the situation called 'aman'. That child is happy and safe and cannot be threatened by anything, for no storm can destroy that child. Or when we read in the Psalms that God is our boulder, it concerns experiences in the desert. In the desert very strong winds can come up that then carry along sand like waves. That's why people who lived in the desert or had to travel through one had to remain very aware of the weather as well as the surrounding terrain so that they could quickly find a boulder behind which to wait until the storm with its sand went by. Exactly this is the way that God wishes to be for us. He wishes to be our real friend, such a friend that He gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ. Anyone who stands with God in such a way will never be fearful about his life, that of his family or for the world. That we so often meet many who are depressed or in danger of suicide is only a sign that we have distanced ourselves from God and are therefore being carried back and forth by the wind and the sand. Mary again says...
THANK YOU FOR HAVING RESPONDED TO MY CALL
Even though it should and could have been better, there are still a huge number of people throughout the whole world who have accepted the messages and have decided to go on this path to God with joy and peace in their hearts. When we ask ourselves what will be happening in the 17th grace-filled year of Mary's presence here or how long still will she be appearing here, then we must say that we do not know; but one thing is certain. Whoever starts to pray, starts to open their hearts to God, starts to make time for God and thereby establishes a true friendship with Him will himself and with his family be able to withstand all storms. With all the problems and uncertainties he will still be able to go on his path with God with certainty. Let us pray...
God, our Father, give us the grace that we may constantly praise and glorify You for the love that You show for us. We praise and give You glory for the 16 years of Mary's presence among us. We praise and glorify You for every apparition and every message that You gave us. We, along with Mary, the Queen of Peace, ask You to give us all the grace that we may become carriers of peace. Through Your Holy Spirit, open our hearts that they may be open for You, that we may become Your friends, that we may spend more time with You. Free us of everything that still hinders us from realizing a true friendship with You. Free us of everything that hinders our hearts and our families from being in peace. Free us of everything that hinders us from being in peace with You. Free us from our pride, selfishness and distrust toward one another, heal all our wounds, free us from our anger against You that comes out of our wounds. Fill us all, the entire Church, and the entire world with the spirit of prayer, and that prayer may become our foundation of peace. O Lord, we bring before You our weakness, and our tendency for sin. We bring before You all the difficult situations in our families, in our communities, in the Church, in the whole world and everything that threatens us or that could destroy our friendship with You. Free us so that we from day to day may for the rest of our days along with Mary praise and glorify You. Mary, we thank you for your presence, and now ask you for your motherly blessing of peace. Let us become your children who are all protected in your motherly lap. Help us to stay on the path to peace. Bless with your motherly blessing our families, our communities, the whole Church and the entire world. Bless especially those people who at this moment feel themselves abandoned and alone, those who are ill, those who are hated today and who are responding with hate. We ask you, O Mary, with the Lord, bless all children who are not experiencing enough parental love. Especially protect the children of divorced families, the single mothers who have been abandoned, and the orphans. Bless all these so that they may all go on the path to peace through this uncertain world with you, and become able to praise the Lord who, out of love for us, has sent you to us. Glory be to the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Medjugorje; June 28, 1997
Last Modified 06/30/97