This book is the second of the four volumes of sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric and Fr. Tomislav Vlasic during 1984 - 1987 in Medjugorje, and contains discourses given from January to June 1985.
30 Chapters of this book are now completed
First of all I greet you. Welcome. I always regret when I cannot meet the people, either individually or in a group. I have a real pang in my heart whenever the messages are given for the world but they are not given to the people
By the way, I can tell you that at Medjugorje a lot of messages are given by the visionaries; particularly those messages aiming at our spiritual growth, given through Jelena and Marijana, but they are not conveyed to the world.
I am going to tell you something from my point of view, because you will hear from Fr. Slavko at Medjugorje the latest news. He follows the visionaries and all that is happening day by day. He is the one that can give you the news.
I am giving you my thought, first of all on what I can see is happening in Medjugorje.
I am considering not only Medjugorje, but also the pilgrims coming from far away and I have already noticed some problems.
One of the problems is the increasing number of books about Medjugorje by several authors. In my opinion there is a danger in this, because several productions of books are being edited. On the contrary we must go straight on the road of spiritual growth, not editing books, not writing, but becoming saints, living the messages and conveying living messages. Each one of us must be first of all a living message.
There is the danger of hurrying to try to write new books, but always more or less the same. By doing so many of them bring the movement born in Medjugorje to a certain superficiality and, I am afraid, to a loss of strength.
I have had experience of a lot of movements that faded away when they came to the surface, when they became concerned with superficial things. On the other hand, every movement which had a saint in its bosom progressed. We must therefore aim at living the dynamics of the messages.
I can see another danger: there are always people asking: 'What is happening now ? have the apparitions come to an end ? what are we to do now ?'
When we are at a standstill it is satan who has done his job. A Christian must never be at a standstill: if you want to understand this, read yesterday's Gospel where Jesus says: 'I will not judge you but Moses will.'
On the other hand, if we have lived what the priest says, what the Holy Scriptures say, what the rules say, we are able to understand also what Our Lady is saying now. If we have not done this previous work, as Jesus says: 'Moses will judge you. Moses is your judge before God's throne.'
Now look , we must always move on this level, when we move on this level we can judge things, because we do not move on a rational level only, but on the level of faith. Faith, like the interior light, lights up the heart, because for faith rational arguments are not sufficient.
We cannot understand why God allowed His Son to be crucified. We cannot understand how life can be in the desert and why the Jews grumbled against God. It is something natural.
God has His own way, but those who have had an open heart and the interior light have followed this way. Who can understand by reason that a Virgin may conceive without a husband ? This cannot be explained on a rational level, but on a level of faith. If we try to be enlightened on the level of faith, if this light increases within, we are always able to walk, to go on.
If we read that passage in the second epistle of St. Peter (first chapter) we can see how St. Peter progresses and how we must advance. First of all, he says, you must be honest, then join the knowledge of faith, then develop piety. In this way you will not be left, neither without love nor without knowledge. So, if we progress by doing everything we have to do, the messages become clear and we are able to understand things.
With regard to Medjugorje I will only tell you certain things that are important for me, so that you may enter into the atmosphere of Medjugorje. Yesterday two men came who every now and then come to Medjugorje, and say: 'I go to Medjugorje, because I come back a new man. I do not know how, but I feel happy when I am there.' And the other one says: 'There, priests preach like nowhere else.'
Now, this does not mean that priests are cleverer there, but that there is a special grace. And this grace can be accepted, received only on the level of faith, not so much by introducing several rational subjects, but by practising faith, true confession, true communion, true prayer. If we enter prayer in the religious sense, in the sense of faith, we can receive these messages like a special grace. The characteristic of the apparitions in Medjugorje now, is that the apparitions are still going on through the visionaries.
I have no news about Mirjana, about what happened on March 18th for her birthday. I only know that she had an apparition on Christmas Day 1984, but we have not seen her since.
All the other visionaries have apparitions every day. The essential point is that Our Lady, with Her messages, is driving the Parish forward and the world as well; She is always calling to conversion. At this level of Her call, it is very important to observe what Our Lady is saying through Jelena, because She gives the messages to the prayer group, messages for a spiritual growth, through her.
Maybe you will be a bit upset by what I am going to tell you: a week ago when I was in the prayer group, Our lady asked us to meet three times a week during Lent. When we met, She said: "This evening you are not going to say the Rosary. You must start again from the first class in school."
We, therefore, started with the first class on prayer. She taught us to pray the Our Father, and to practise only the Our Father. The first time, we spent an hour praying only the Our Father. Then She asked: "But why are you praying ? To be with God, to experience God within. After five minutes for prayer something ought to happen within, if you do it properly."
So we began to live every word and then we exchanged some ideas. After a week we thought it over and somebody said: 'I have been trying by myself for the last month, but I had great difficulty in uttering the words forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. I began then saying aloud in my room: 'I forgive that person'. But I could not physically utter these words. I had to practise for a whole month to be able to forgive and to be able to live this part in prayer. Then when I started saying: 'Thy will be done', I felt it was so difficult to utter, in every situation, 'Thy will be done.'
Well, you can see what we are doing: we are not doing anything new, but Our Lady wants to lead us to the depth of prayer, to the depth of life.
At the beginning of Lent She said: "But you can receive a grace in an instant, in ten days, in one hundred years. It is up to you, to the intentions of your heart."
Just now it is clearly noticeable that Our Lady wants to lead us to meet the living God in our prayer. And through this encounter to be able to live, truly live.
We have discovered that many Christians say their prayers, say a lot of prayers and they do not know what they want.
After this exercise we had three other meetings. During every one Our Lady emphasised this exercise of the Father, and once She said: "You should understand, the Our Father ought to be like a continuous melody for you." We should feel as children of an almighty and great Father, in order to be able to live this reality.
Now I have not told you everything. I have told you what Our Lady taught us in order to practise, to exercise the Our Father. But when you are made to exercise a prayer in this way, your eyes open just as the Apostles' eyes were opened after the Resurrection.
For instance, for us priests, the problem of how to preach is typical. Since I have been doing this exercise I have not had this problem. With the Scriptures your eyes open. With the text of the Exodus and Numbers, when they deal with the Alliance, when God, so to speak, was cross with the people, do you know what happened ? He wanted to destroy the people and He said to Moses: "I am going to make a new people from you." Moses prays, but do you know how he prays ? He does not say a prayer, he does not say some prayers by heart; instead he enters into God's very heart. And so to speak, he makes God change his mind ....
And when we see a person in a mood we say: why are you in a mood ? Come, consider this or that ... So Moses entered into God's heart and said: 'You are good, remember the past, your promises, your goodness.'
He made Him rise again, ha made Him change His mind. Look at the depth of renunciation on the part of Moses. Those people were also troublesome to him. But when God said He wanted to destroy them, Moses said: 'No, not that. I want the conversion of the sinners.' So you see what praying means; it means renouncing all, renouncing and living for your fellow men, going every time we pray, into God's heart. Driving away the wrath, making that positive part of the divine heart flourish again, discharging it of anger, to make what is positive rise again, then we pray. This is then prayer.
Now we must live this. When Our Lady says: "pray, pray", we have not only to say our prayers by heart, but feel the sinners around us and pray, beg, remember all the divine promises, all Our Lady's promises, remember all the tears, all the martyrs. Inside, we must be a new person.
First of all we have to go on being, like Moses, always good and not like the others who became unfaithful. If we want to carry on the messages, we must continue being good in every situation, even in a very very bad one.
We must be capable of awakening the divine heart.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic 22nd March, 1985)
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