Fr. Slavko's Commentary
Reflection on the Message of August 25, 1999

"Dear Children! Also today I call you to give glory to God the Creator in the colors of nature. He speaks to you also through the smallest flower about His beauty and the depth of love with which He has created you. Little children, may prayer flow from your hearts like fresh water from a spring. May the wheat fields speak to you about the mercy of God toward every creature. That is why, renew prayer of thanksgiving for everything He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

I greet all those who are trying to follow Mary's messages, and invite them again, as we normally do, to first remember the message of July of this year. There Mary called us to pray with heart and this prayer with the heart begins wherever we begin to pray with love, so there it only concerns the decision to do so. When we pray then it is certain that the rest will happen. In the message of July it is especially important that Mary thanks us and then calls us also to thank God for everything that He has given us here through her. We will never be able to understand all that God has done by letting Mary appear here in Medjugorje, but when she tells us to thank then we may simply not forget to respond to this wish. In order to be able to thank one needs humility and that is because a humble person accepts everything as a grace and as a gift, and is grateful all the time. A humble person sees and recognizes the other person. Gratitude is the condition for peace -- peace in the heart, peace among all men, and also peace between all men with God. Whoever is proud finds it very difficult to find reasons to thank. Mary, as the humble servant, thanks and calls us to be grateful along with her. It is her special wish that Medjugorje not only be a place of prayer, but also a place where all hearts meet one another, then that our hearts be transformed into hearts of love and of peace -- like her heart and that of her Son. From this we may deduce what Mary thinks of us. We can say that she thinks of us, like every mother, very positively. She knows that we can become this way. God has never and will never call us to something that would be impossible. And it is this way also with Mary. So when she calls our hearts to become hearts of peace and of love, then it is possible. But we also know that in every day life this concerns a constant fight against all that is evil. St. Paul once said that we have not yet resisted sin all the way to our blood, and this again is a reason for us to encourage each other and to say to each other not to fear evil, not to fear sin and not to say that it is impossible, but that it is possible because God is calling us to become the way that Mary wants us to be. We will, when we decide to cooperate, in our weakness discover that we when we are weak that we are really strong by way of the graces that God the Father gives us through His Son, Jesus Christ. Mary calls us to joy and gratitude for all that God is doing here, but she also does not want us to become discouraged by all that Satan is doing. He calls up all the hate, all that which is negative, and all the conflicts and disputes. Certainly, the more humility, love and trust there is in our hearts, the less chances Satan gets to bring these into us, into our families, into our communities and into the Church. But again, when there is pride and negativity in our hearts, then he certainly has wide open doors and windows through which he brings what is negative into the world. So, as she has so often said, we are very important for Our Lady's plans. Once she even said that without us she is unable to do anything at all. So, if we do not wish to work, then God cannot fulfill the plans that He has entrusted to Mary. We should be happy that God is counting on us, and that He really needs us, and then due to this we will only come back to Him so much more to gain strength to constantly fight against what is evil. Mary has promised us repeatedly that she is with us, that she wishes to lead us on the path of love, which again tells us that we must at all times very consciously decide for love and for peace and to pray for this every day.

The three visionaries -- Vicka, Marija and Ivan -- still have, according to their testimony, daily apparitions and we do not know for how much longer these will continue. At the moment Vicka and Ivan are here at home. Ivan is, as usual, giving his testimony to the pilgrims, while Vicka is at the moment not seeing anyone because she has had some problems with her throat which we hope will soon be over so that she will again continue giving the pilgrims her testimony concerning Mary presence here among us. Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti was here with her family for several weeks but has again returned home. Mirjana is at the moment in the USA and will speak at different conferences there. Jacov is here in Medjugorje and on August 28 he will be having his little daughter baptized. Ivanka, as she has been for quite some time, is living completely privately with her family.

We have now had the 10th International Youth Prayer Festival and it was a great festival from July 31 until August 6. Every day was very rich and most especially August 4, when Sr. Elvira with her Community gave the many youth who had gathered here their testimony, and then presented them with the Biblical Story by way of a Musical, with much show, music and songs. That evening the crowd may have reached some 20,000 pilgrims. August 6 was also especially impressive when Holy Mass was celebrated up on Križevac on the Feast of Christ's Transfiguration. We then ended the Festival up there when we asked God to transfigure all of us and then may return home to witness God's love and peace. Up there we certainly had around 6-7,000 youth who attended that beautiful Mass. The evening Masses on those last 2 days were also attended by between 15 and 20,000. The Theme of the Festival -- GOD, THE FATHER AS SOURCE OF LIFE -- was very important as well as interesting. The speakers, Don Maurizio De Sanctis, Fr. Tim Deeter, Sr. Elvira, Fra Jozo and Don Cosimo and the others who spoke brought this theme closer to the youth from various directions, and the results were all very good. Something for which we really must be very grateful was the number of Priests who were present, because every evening between 230 and 250 Priests concelebrated. From many different directions we have already heard many good experiences and we are grateful for all the good that happened. What was also beautiful was that every evening a different Priest celebrated Holy Mass, so that three men from our Province celebrated; but then also a Professor from Prague who really found his faith here in Medjugorje and who then found his calling to become a Priest which then happened this year. All in all the Festival was very good and successful and we hope that fruits are already showing wherever the youth are at home, while we also hope that the future Youth Festivals will also serve the Glory of God and the healing of the world.

All of August we had many pilgrims from all over the world and every evening during the evening program we had between 3,500 and 4,000 people along with a constant large group of Priests. In the last weeks we also had visits from different Bishops; one from Korea, one from Italy, and then one from South America. In short, Medjugorje is being accepted by more and more people and we hope that through the cooperation of all who have by now recognized and accepted the message, that Our Lady's plan will become reality.

In this month's message, it concerns our developing a new relationship between our hearts and God the Creator. Mary tells us...


All of nature speaks of God. Nature is the first step in God's revelation. God spoke and the world was created. So that which has been created is really the first proof that God exists, and that is because nothing can come about or exist by itself. The second step of revelation is the Biblical Revelation. God has spoken about Himself and about His relationship toward all of humanity and most especially toward the Israeli nation which he called "the Chosen People" from whom the Messiah was meant to come into existence. In all nature-based religions God the Creator was recognized and prayed to, and that is because every man in his heart is certain that the world and the entire Universe points toward someone who created it all. We know through history and until this very day that there always existed and still exist people who do not believe in a Creator. This means that the created world does not speak of God, but rather they declare that the world came about by itself or that material is in itself eternal. Everything that has an end must at some point also have had its beginning. And so nature speaks of God who revealed Himself in the Bible and who especially through Jesus Christ has shown Himself as our Father. And Mary wants of us to again think of this and that we may discover God in nature and then to again give Him glory. Especially when one reads the Psalms, one often finds how the Psalmist praises the Creator and gives Him honor, and how he calls on everything that has been created to, along with him, praise and to adore God. Here let us think of Psalm 8: "O Lord, how glorious is thy name in all the earth! ...who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained. What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All the sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O Lord our Lord, how glorious is thy name in all the earth!" ...and of many others Psalms. So in nature we recognize God the Creator, God the Strong One, God the Almighty One, God whose word is so almighty that it is enough that when He speaks everything is created. All of nature is in itself an absolute masterpiece, and man with all his knowledge and all his technology really creates nothing and only discovers. How touched are those scientists who became famous for discovering new laws! One of these once said: "I feel like a small boy who is playing on the beach along that huge ocean and who then finds a special little stone." Another one said: "When I succeeded at opening one door, I simply got to see 10 new doors which I knew not how to open." These are really expressions of humility in front of the secret of that which has been created. For us believers nature should really be a constant call for us to meet with God the Creator and, as it says in Holy Scripture, to give Him and only Him glory and then to pray to Him. Here we may not forget that all of nature and all of nature's laws are cooperating with God. Every growth, every move and the entire Universe and its lack of boundaries and the infinite number of stars and planets, and primarily that all of it works the way it does, is a constant miracle that should repeatedly call us to this adoration of God and to pray. Still it remains true that we first must see all this with our hearts, otherwise it can happen that although we can see everything that is happening in front us, we can still remain blind toward God the Creator. Mary, of course, wants us to discover this God the Creator and to give Him glory. Then Mary continues with...


So we should really only accept this. When we stand before a true masterpiece and say "it is beautiful", then this remark, "it is beautiful", primarily speaks about the Master, the artist who created it. But at the same time in order to have made it, he must have first received the necessary talents -- the talents of the lines or the colors that he has discovered -- from God to have been able to make it and then to present it to us viewers. So no person has grounds for making himself famous or for being proud for having done something, because everything that he has, first had to come to him from God. This is a simply a grace that God gives to each one of us so that we may serve the others, but, of course, we must be grateful for all that we are able to do because again, without our free cooperation, things would also not be possible. God, who made us with our freedom, also respects our freedom. How is one able to speak about God's beauty when St. Paul, after a vision, said: "The eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, and the heart has not hoped for what God has prepared for those who love Him"? When we think of St. Francis of Assisi or of many of the other Saints, then we can only get an inkling of what that really means what it is to feel the beauty of God with one's heart. Our visionaries, when they have spoken of their experiences with Heaven or when they just try to describe Mary, then they always say: "It is indescribable." So here we again stand before a call that all over again, I believe I may say, throws us onto our knees before God the Creator who gives us glimpses of His own infinite beauty. When a color, a flower or a fruit can be so beautiful, then how beautiful must He who created all these be!? And for this we most certainly must also be grateful in prayer and in our daily lives. It is most especially important for us to discover what Mary says next...


...and with which He created everything. This then is certainly another step toward God, not only that nature speaks of God's beauty and His Almightiness, but about His infinite love. When God created the world, so tells us the Bible, He always said: "it is good." About man He said: "it is very good", and every one of us is for each of us a wonderful masterpiece. God gave man the strength and the possibility to cooperate with Him in the creation of life. That is why from the very beginning man was man, from the moment of conception in the mother's womb all the way to death as well as beyond death, man remains man. What kind of secret is our physical, our psychological and our mental life really? This we will never be able to discover. So every one of us is a great secret of God's love. God wanted us, and even so if perhaps our parents did not want us or did not want a child, still God thought about each one of us! Once we have discovered this depth of love, then something really wonderful opens itself for us, and that is to be healed through God's love for us. Like it says in the Bible: "Even when a mother is able to forget her child, I will not forget you. You are written into my hand." So this love of the Father, with which He created us, should really heal us deep down in our roots of our life. This then is the reason that each of us ought to accept our life with love out of God's hand and then ought to cooperate with God in His creation. For us Christians, who have had the special grace that this has been revealed to us, there really exists no reason at all for us to develop and carry in us inferiority complexes, or that we become jealous of someone else, or that we become greedy for something, or sad for something that we do not have that others might. God has thought about each one of us personally, has created each of us, has given us life and also all our talents. He knows and loves each of us whether we are doing well or doing badly, whether we are happy or are sad, whether we are loved by others or not, whether we are able to love the others or not, God is always here as the reason for our life, and this then also gives us the inner strength because we are afterall built on a strong foundation. God is this foundation. That is why faith and trust toward God is really what we need more than anything else in the world. Sin is really the anti-thesis of all creation. Sin destroys, sin pulls away from the center, removes the foundation and only for this reason does man remain destroyed in the relationship toward himself, toward the others and then also toward God. That is why man, when he is in sin, remains desperately unhappy, unsatisfied, without peace, and without the ability to love. But in the depth of His love, God has also thought of this and given us by way of His Son, Jesus Christ, the opportunity to regret, that we can ask for forgiveness, and that we can then again with all trust throw ourselves into the loving lap of the Father. And when we discover God the Father's love, then he is really able to go his human way in peace, despite all his difficulties, problems and despite all his sinfulness. And this inkling of the depth of God's love will constantly give us the strength to continue with Him on the path and then one day to live eternally with God the Father, and that then is Heaven, to be in the presence of His love, constantly seeing and adoring His beauty and His almightiness. Here we may also mention very briefly how terrible abortion really is. There where God has given man the opportunity to cooperate in His "very good" creation, that exactly there man destroys life! Abortion is the anti-thesis of God, is an attack against God Himself, and is an attack against His love for each one of us. It is, so to say, betrayal of God the Creator that man, at some moment, says, yes to picking up his own hand and destroying what God wanted all along and kills that so wonderful life. We will only understand how terrible the sin of abortion really is as compared to how we deep we have discovered and experienced the beauty and the love in God's creation and when we find ourselves in His love with all our hearts. In other words, aborted children are only possible because we have not yet discovered and experienced God's love, beauty and almightiness. That is why we are also able to see Mary's education. She first wants us to discover God the Creator in all that He does for us, and then we will begin to accept, love and protect our own lives and that of all others. Then Mary calls us...


Here Mary relies on a reality that is very easy to understand during these hot days -- how important fresh water is for us. It is a condition for our lives, and so Mary wants us to go to this spring from which life flows. How can this happen? When we have been given the grace to discover the love, the almightiness and the beauty of the Father, then it will become completely natural to pray with all our hearts, with all of our soul and in this way to seek God. And when we, for instance, love someone and know that he did something, and then begin to admire his work, then the words, the compliments and the joys are never missing. This is the way that Mary wishes us to be toward God. So when prayer becomes difficult, when we do not know what we are supposed to pray, when prayer becomes boring, or when we are distracted, it is simply because we have yet discovered God in all these dimensions. Therefore it is again so important for us to pray for the grace of discovering God the Creator. Then...


God's mercy is again a dimension of God's immeasurable love toward all of us, and when Mary, as she does here, wishes us to see His mercy in those everyday fruits of nature, then it is just another sign that He accepts, respects and never rejects any one of us, even when we might be rejecting ourselves, the others or even God himself. God's mercy is, only once again, immeasurable. Discovering His mercy is really healing for us because we all experience so much lack of mercy and so many wounds. And how often do we hear the questions: "How is it possible that the innocent must suffer, that there are wars, that there are people who hunger, that there are catastrophes? Where do the love and mercy of God remain?" Certainly these questions are posed and come by themselves, but it is God's will that all people are at peace and when people are not at peace, then God wishes to turn everything to the good. God's mercy is also often praised in the Psalms and for us only one thing then remains, and that is that we, and especially so this month, discover and experience God's mercy, and then really to believe in His mercy. We must also be very careful not to project all that is merciless around us and all the wounds that we have experienced onto God Himself. God is merciful, and He will in His love someday also show His mercy to each of us. Then all this, at the end of the message should lead us again to thank and so Mary again calls us...


Then, what is left to all people other than a "thank you"? We must therefore thank God and from this gratitude have peace, faith, hope and joy, and from the thanks toward others, then also have more of the same. This gratitude must be in our hearts and in our prayers, because this stance of gratitude is also a constant theme of Mary's. In Mary's school we wish to practice thanking every day for all that is good and to also believe that we may also thank for all the problems that we have because God will turn everything to the good. So, let us pray...

God our Father, Creator of Heaven and of earth, along with Mary, Your most humble servant, and in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, we wish to thank You today. Thank You for being our Father and our Creator, thank You for Your almightiness and for Your beauty, and for Your love. But we also ask that You, O Father, open all our eyes so that may from day to day give You more and more honor and praise because You are an almighty, beautiful and loving Father. Give us the grace, O Father, that from our hearts prayer may flow like the fresh water from the spring. Open all our eyes for Your mercy and open all our hearts with the spirit of gratitude, so that we may constantly become more grateful toward You. Therefore we ask You, in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ, free us of all pride and egotism, free us of all Godlessness, from all praying to false gods, so that we may belong only to You, because You, and only You, are our God. We ask You on behalf of all those who do not yet recognize You, who do not love You, who do not hope in You and who still doubt in Your mercy, let us all discover Your love and Your Mercy, so that we all may then become witnesses to Your love, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Fra Slavko Barbaric
Medjugorje; August 27, 1999

Last Modified 08/31/99