Fr. Slavko's Commentary

Reflection on the Message of June 25, 1998, the 17th Anniversary

"Dear Children!

Today I desire to thank you for living my messages. I bless you all with my motherly blessing and I bring you all before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."

I greet all those who follow the message of Our Lady and with Mary I want to say thank you for following Her messages. Before we begin to reflect on Her last message, I wish to remind us of the message of May. In that message, Our Lady invited us to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Holy Spirit through prayer and sacrifice. We should not forget that this invitation is not only for the Novena to the Holy Spirit but for the entire year, which the Pope has consecrated to the Holy Spirit. So I hope that we, who are living Our Lady's messages, will call upon the Holy Spirit daily to enlight and renew each one of us, our families, the whole Church and the entire world. Of special importance was the word that we make a decision for God, the Creator, because from this decision follows the decision for our own life, that we accept it as a gift from God, that we protect and love it but that we also do this with the lives of the others. Each one of us is created by God, the Creator, out of love and only love can give us the right behavior toward ourselves, the others and toward God. God asks us through Mary that we allow Him to change us and to lead us on the path of truth through His Holy Spirit. So we should fight against pride and egotism in us since they are the greatest obstacles in this change. Mary teaches us to be humble, a humbleness which She expressed when She said, "God, Your will be done, I am Your humble servant!" When we allow God to change us then we will surely become new persons and receive the strength to fight against the bad and negative things in us and to make room for the new and good to grow within us. This is how we want to begin the 18th year in the School of Our Lady and to continue to live as She invites us in Her messages.

At this time all the visionaries were at home and every day after the evening Mass, they prayed with the pilgrims the Novena by reciting Mary's prayer, "My soul magnifies the Lord ..." and those present answered by singing. It was very beautiful to see Ivan, Marija, Mirjana and Jacov on the altar and to pray with them; they also prayed the Creed and the seven Our Fathers with us.

Ivanka had her yearly apparition. On May 7, 1985, Ivanka had her last daily apparition together with the other visionaries. That evening she received the 10th secret and Our Lady told her that she should remain at home the following day. The apparition, which took place at her home, lasted a whole hour and, like Mirjana, Ivanka was told that she would continue to have the apparition once a year, that is on June 25th, the day of the anniversary. So the first yearly apparition for Ivanka took place 1986 and since then Our Lady appears to her once every year. This year Ivanka prayed with her family at home and the apparition lasted six to seven minutes. Ivanka said that Our Lady was joyful and Ivanka recommended all people to Our Lady and She gave Her blessing to all. During the apparition Our Lady also spoke to Ivanka about the secrets and invited us all to pray for our families during this time, especially for the families with sick family members. Mary called us to open our hearts and to thank Her Son for the great graces. Finally, Mary gave thanks for our prayers and love. So we have the task to pray even more for the families and in our families and during our prayers we should not forget to pray especially for those families with sick relatives, particularly those with sick children.

We celebrated the 17th anniversary with a big event. There were many pilgrims here during the nine days of preparation for the day of the anniversary. It is very difficult to say how many people were here during these days, but on the day of the anniversary, 250 priests concelebrated Holy Mass and an estimated 50,000 people were present. So we consciously want to say, "Thank You God for these 17 years and for having brought back so many people toward You through Mary; thank You for all those, who have decided for prayer and in prayer are experiencing peace, and thank You, Lord, for all people who pray, fast and make sacrifices for peace. We ask You with Mary for perseverance on the path with Her."

Our Lady has given us a very short message. The shortest message She has ever given was on October 1991 when the war in Croatia became very strong and She said, "Dear children! Pray! Pray! Pray!" In that message She did not say the sentence which She always says, "Thank you for having responded to my call."

In this message Our Lady says ...


Thanksgiving is a main theme in Mary's messages. With one exception, Mary says in every message, "Thank you for having responded to my call." It is a surprise for us but also a reason to ask ourselves, whom Mary should really thank. Which one of us can really say that She is thinking of me when She says, "Thank you"? Who has really lived and accepted the messages of Our Lady so that She can thank you? But Mary sees all positive and good things, even when they are small, and for these positive and good things, She is thanking. This should be a reason for us to think about the following:

Thanksgiving is the condition for peace among us and also between us and God. The one who thanks shows that he first of all sees the positive things and gives thanks for it. When we thank each other at home for the positive things, we will have peace. When we do not see the positive things but only notice the negative things, criticize them and talk about them, then we will constantly have conflicts, we will not have peace among us and we will be without joy. Also there will not be peace between ourselves and God. When someone does not find a reason to thank God then we can say that he does not have enough faith. God has created everything, He has given us everything we have and only pride and egotism can make us blind for these things and if we do not find the reason to thank Him, then we will also not be able to pray and then we will also really lose our belief in God and live in mistrust against Him. When we find ourselves in difficulties then we say so easily, "God, why me?" but when everything is going well for us then we so easily forget to thank Him. We are called upon to always be thankful and only if we are humble will we be able to always be thankful. Also, where thankfulness ends, that is where sin begins. Let us take a quick look at the situation when the first sin took place; we can say that sin began there, where Eve became blind toward all things that God had entrusted to her and Adam and only saw that, which was forbidden, or that, which they did not have. This is also how it is in our own lives; when we are not thankful it means that we do not see the good things and that we are open to conflicts and to sin. It is a great danger for us all when we are only interested in the negative and talk only about negative things. This is a great danger especially in raising children. We are all somewhat deformed professionally and behave like a teacher with the lesson of the students; there where he finds a mistake, he underlines the mistake strongly with a red pen so that it can be seen. Maybe is should be this way in school but when we underline in our lives only the negative things then peace will not be possible and persons will not be able to develop well, especially the children. Only the one who sees the good things and gives thanks and talks about it, can educate others well. Those, who only criticize, lose all authority with the children and in school. I believe the same is true of the priests and the homilies. When the priest only criticizes and never talks about good things in the parish then he also loses all authority to say anything else.

The problem in giving thanks is surely our suffering and our cross when the question arises in our heart, "How can I thank God for my suffering and my cross and should I do this at all?" We can only receive the answer through our faith in front of the cross of Jesus. How often do we thank Jesus for His suffering and for His cross and how often do we bless and praise His cross because through His cross He has redeemed us and the world? We believe that all our suffering, whether we have caused it through our own sin or whether the others through their sin have caused our sin and suffering, can turn to the good. Did not Saint Paul say that for those who believe everything will turn to the good? And I believe the last test of our faith and our relationship to ourselves, to God and to the others is to begin to believe that all my personal sufferings will turn to the good; when and how - this we have to leave to God. But the person, who also thanks God for his own suffering and cross will be freed from anger and mistrust, from fear and depression, he will be able to live in joy and hope.

Thanksgiving is also the deepest expression of faith and the most beautiful fruit of faith. Mary is a thankful servant of the Lord. When we take a quick look at Her prayer, then we see how She gives thanks. Her soul magnifies the Lord, because the Lord has looked upon Her, as His humble servant. She gives thanks for the history of the people, for all that the Lord has done for Her fathers, and She sees that God has heard the small, the humble and the poor and that He does not honor the great and those full of pride, if they remain in their pride and egotism. Mary gives thanks. She sees God's love and God's guidance throughout Israel's history and She sees it also in Her own life. This is what we all really need. Once I spoke with one of the visionaries about her experiences of heaven, purgatory and hell. The answer she gave me with regard to heaven I like very much; she said, "In heaven we will be giving thanks continuously when we discover all the things God has done for us and we did not see while on earth. We will need all eternity for this thankfulness." So the great task for us all in this 18th year of the apparitions is to learn to become thankful, which means that we first of all open our eyes for the positive and good things within us, that we say thanks and through this thankfulness experience joy and peace and so protect ourselves from the negative attitudes, that we discover the good and positive things in others and talk about it and give thanks for it - and only then will we have the courage and strength to handle the negative things within us and the others. We must continuously thank God for His great love, for His fatherly care but especially we must thank Him for this great gift that He has given us during these times. When we look at the Gospel how Jesus healed 10 lepers and only one of them returned to thank Him, the others did not find the time to do so. Only one out of ten - this is too little; if we question ourselves as to whether we are thankful - maybe it is also the same with us. As we are in the school of Our Lady, it should not remain like that.

Mary continues ...


What does this really mean? This includes all Her activities as a mother for us. So it is not only a saying like "God bless you", which is also important, but it is Her presence, Her prayers for us, Her prayers with us, Her intercession for us, Her bringing us before Her Son Jesus; She is our mediator, She is our consoler, She is the one, who intercedes for us and who makes this pilgrimage with us. All this is Mary's motherly blessing, Her whole behavior toward us. In the past, She has also said that She takes us in Her motherly lap or protects us under Her motherly cape; we also remember that She once said that we can give Her motherly blessing to others and we must become absolutely aware that we can and should carry this blessing in our families and to all people, but not only as a saying but with our totally new behavior toward the others and toward God. The word 'blessing' comes from the latin word 'benedicere', which means 'to speak well, to defend, not to judge, to be there for mankind' and that is the blessing. At this moment I hope it is appropriate to say that we should be careful when we carry blessed objects that we don't slip into some sort of magical behavior or mentality. Magic means to have a formula by which a person can get God under his power; black magic is when a person has the formula to put evil spirits under his power and white magic is when a person thinks that through a certain prayer or a blessed object he can put God under his power. The blessed objects, Mary's blessing and blessings in general are certainly a protection for us but even more, they are an invitation to become aware how we are really behaving. The blessing should call us to do good, to fight against evil and to change our life. The danger is that someone will search for the formula of the blessing or the blessed objects in order to protect himself to be able to continue to do bad things and to continue to behave in a negative manner and so through the blessing keeps the space to remain in sin. Mary's motherly blessing is a great protection but an even greater invitation to really behave in a manner befitting Her children.

Finally Mary says ...


This is the situation, which should really make us very happy, we are not alone, Mary knows us, and She loves us and She brings us before Jesus. What does She say when She brings us before Jesus? Surely She intercedes for us, She prays for us, She also brings before Jesus our problems, our questions, our doubts, our illnesses, our intentions and this should be a renewed impulse for us, that we let ourselves be brought before Jesus through Mary, that we do not resist or that we do not remain in disobedience, that we go this path with Her so that we are also able to bring others in our prayers with Mary before Jesus.

And so we hope that through Her messages, through Her presence and through Her bringing us all before Jesus, Our Lady will help us to attain a new world. This is really our hope but She said in another message, "Without you I cannot do anything. You are so important to me." Through Her presence, Her words and Her prayers, She has helped many persons to obtain a new behavior. And for this we now wish to pray:

Lord, we thank You that You continue to send us Mary. We thank You for Your love and for every grace You give us, for every word You give us through Her. We ask You now to bless us so that our hearts will be open to Her motherly blessing, that our families, our parents and children, our young people and elderly, the healthy and the sick, the rich and the poor will blessed and that through this blessing, our families, our communities, the whole church and the entire world will be renewed. We ask for Your blessing so that we can fight against the evil in our life and in the lives of the others. We ask You, O God, in the name of your Son Jesus to bless the visionaries and all who have become witnesses of peace during this time. We ask You to give strength to all those who have become tired on the path with Mary, to all those who are without hope and without peace at this time, to all those who have lost the meaning for life. Especially we bring before You in the name of Jesus with Mary all wounded relationships in our families, in the church and in the world from which then come conflicts and wars. We ask You to heal all so that with Mary, our mother, the Queen of Peace, we will already obtain peace here on earth so that one day we will be able to experience peace in heaven through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr. Slavko Babaric
Medjugorje, June 29, 1998

Last Modified 07/01/98