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, just a few words on the position of the visionaries, followed by the messages. There are now four who see Our Lady every evening: Vicka, Ivan, Jacov and Marija. On 7th May Our Lady finished appearing to Ivanka. It was a Tuesday. They had all prayed together on Monday in the presbytery. Ivanka, Marija, Ivan and Jacov. Vicka was not well. They were praying in the presbytery and after a couple of minutes, which is how long the apparitions usually last, Marija, Jacov and Ivan uttered the word 'Ode' as when Our Lady goes away, but Ivanka still remained in ecstasy and Marija told me personally: 'I was frightened because I could not understand what was happening to Ivanka' : as a rule Our Lady always comes and goes at the same time for them all. They stayed kneeling and continued to pray. Ivanka continued to see Our Lady; she stayed for a further six minutes by herself and, during this apparition, Our Lady confided the tenth secret to her and finished telling her about the future of the world and of the Church (She has been giving her an account of this for approximately the last twenty two months, beginning, I believe, on 9th June 1983.). She then asked Ivanka to wait for Her the next day (Tuesday 7th May) alone at home. Ivanka did just this. The others came and prayed as usual in the presbytery.
Ivanka prayed at home and this apparition lasted an hour. (See the end of this chapter). Ivanka gave the following account: 'The Madonna said to me: "This will be the last regular apparition. I will come to you on every anniversary of the apparitions with the exception of the next one (that is to say not in 1985). You must keep the secrets I have confided to you closely, as well as all the texts. You can give them one day when I tell you." Ivanka confirmed that Our Lady again told her the date when she will leave the great sign but did not reveal anything.
Our Lady also told Ivanka: "You must not think that it is your fault if I stop appearing to you. This was my Son's plan for you. Thank you for having followed all these messages and also for having given them to others. You have received a grace that not many people have had in the world. I know that you will be sad, but you must offer your sadness for the conversion of the world." Our Lady then asked Ivanka if she had a wish and she immediately said: 'I would like to see my earthly mother' and in that very moment, said Ivanka: 'She appeared and I was able to embrace her.' Her mother told her: 'I am pleased with you.' Then her mother disappeared and Our Lady remained. Ivanka describes her: 'I have never seen her so beautiful, so splendid. She was with two angels who stayed all the time with her.' Ivanka embraced her and kissed her. Our Lady then disappeared. Ivanka was very sad after the apparition. Vicka said: 'After the apparition she came to me and kept on crying.'
The next day I spoke to Ivanka and she gave me all these details concerning the apparition. I asked her: 'Well, you now know all the secrets, what should I tell the pilgrims ? Hope or fear ?' She replied: Hope. The Madonna has come to save us. Pray.'
This is the position with Ivanka: she comes to Mass when she can. Our Lady gave her some personal advice. She did not want to tell me anything, so I said: 'Tell me something so that I can help others.' She replied: 'No, they are personal matters and I do not want to say anything. I have my own reasons.'
The position of Vicka is as follows: I have already told you that Vicka is ill: she suffers from headaches and rarely comes to church. She was here yesterday. Our Lady is still giving her an account of the future of the world.
Jacov, Ivan and Marija have no special task: During the apparitions, which usually last from one to five minutes, they pray with Our Lady for peace and ask for the blessing of all pilgrims especially for the sick, also for the objects.
Every Thursday, Our Lady still gives the messages.
A word about Mirjana: as you know, Our Lady ceased appearing to her as from Christmas 1982 and promised to appear to her for her birthday, and so it happened also this year on 18th March. The apparition lasted about fifteen minutes and the day after about another seven minutes. Mirjana said that Our Lady had given her many details concerning the secrets but cannot yet divulge anything. She prayed and talked a lot about nonbelievers: Mirjana also cites a phrase from what Our Lady said:
"They are also my children. I suffer much on account of them. If they only knew what awaits them, if they do not convert themselves: Please pray for them, Mirjana." I would like to say two things about this message: firstly concerning the phrase: "Mirjana, please pray for them"; we must understand this and take it personally as if Our Lady had uttered our name. Secondly: who is an unbeliever ? I should say that sometimes the nonbeliever can be found under our own skin. Of course, one can think of all those who do not know God, who say that God does not exist. Yes, these also. But there are also others who are very dangerous, who say: 'I know God. I am a Christian', but live as if they do not know God.
For example, when a Christian swears, when he gets drunk, when he harms others, when he lives in conflicts, when he does not want to come to terms with another, when he fails to take notice of the sick, this means that he is almost an atheist. So pay attention to your own atheism.
Mirjana said that Our Lady took the Rosary from her hands and said: "Tell everybody, this is the way to pray. The Rosary is not an ornament for your house." So one must really pray.
Please do not stand in front of the presbytery during the prayers: enter the church, the priest will tell you when the visionaries begin to pray, as usual, a little before seven o'clock.
I wanted to bring to your notice one more thing as more and more pilgrims come here: as you have seen, there are many who come to market their wares here, to sell souvenirs and many other things. I beg you with all my heart, if you want a souvenir from here buy just a medal, a postcard or a Rosary, but do not buy anything else. Why ? If you start buying, then day by day we will see more stalls appearing: and we have to really fight against this. As soon as a coach arrives they run up with their souvenirs and one then loses the atmosphere. Many pilgrims have told me: 'We are so glad there are not many stalls.' I say to you that if there is a market you have to be in two: one who sells and the other who buys. If you do not buy there will be no market. If you buy something to eat or to drink that is all right, but please not these things. If you still want to buy something you can go to Mostar or Ljubuski or somewhere else where there are these markets. I would be most grateful if you would tell also the others; sometimes I forget to tell you this. This is something apart, but none the less very important. And now about the messages.
The first and most important message for everyone is the presence of the Madonna. Although Our Lady only gives the messages on Thursdays, every evening when she appears it is a message which we can put into words: "I am your Mother. I am still with you." And always, when she says to the visionaries: "Go in peace," She is also saying it to us.
We can understand everything else that happens from this very presence. How, for example, this message has been spread in an incredible way. I was told that a small group in Mexico has distributed more than a million copies of a small book. They told me that already small groups were meeting. So the message of Medjugorje is spreading. This group told me: 'We cannot find enough time as we are being invited everywhere for talks.' Many people are open to prayer and to fasting: Our Lady invites us to peace and many are thirsty for peace, we all want it. It is evident that there are many fully convinced people who want the truth; when we do not know how to explain these movements, many conversions, graces and healings, only Mary's presence can explain all. All this is a sign to us, a great gift, not only to this Parish but to the whole world and all Christians. However, you know that a gift is at the same time always a bond. So, if we have received we must progress and if we give to others what we have received, everybody is recompensed. The role of conduct is what Our Lady demands implicitly of us: The Creed, seven Our Father's, the complete Rosary, the reading of the Bible, two days fasting every week and monthly confession.
Briefly: why the Creed ? Our Lady has asked for belief. How does one begin to believe ? It is a grace: all of us who have been baptised already possess this grace, but our faith can only grow if we dedicate ourselves to the Lord every day. Belief means to put your trust in God and not only to know that there is a God; this is what Our Lady asks of us, to take every day, indeed, a decision for the Lord. She asks for seven Our Father's so that nobody can make excuses: I do not know how to begin. It is very simple. But also in the number seven there is completeness: the seven sacraments, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sorrows of Our Lady: therefore, always a fullness. To read the Bible, naturally is the Word which Mary had also known. And to recite the Rosary, well, this is a very simple prayer, meditative, biblical which one can alternate with periods of silence, with hymns and words of praise; it is very suitable for the family where there are children because it is slightly rhythmic. In this way all those who know how to structure their Rosary can pray well.
Why fast ? You can find a lot of reading on fasting, but I am telling you: just start. Fasting is like prayer, it is a duty for us Christians because both Jesus, Mary and all the saints fasted. And St. Francis, do you know how many days he fasted ? This fasting means: living on bread alone for a whole day. This is very important, because one then gradually learns to live a simple life, one begins to realise that we have sufficient, that we do not have to worry and to be anxious and besides this it is also a help to resist our continual longing always to have more. But the best thing to do is: start fasting and then you will see. But in order to fast more easily it is necessary also to pray.
Now, regarding monthly confession: this is obviously very important in order to receive the sacramental grace of reconciliation. In this context, I would just like to give you the last message, as it is of great importance: "Dear children, I invite you today to a more active prayer and to participate in the Holy Mass. I would like every Mass to become a real experience of God for you. I wish to say to the young people: be open to the Holy Spirit. God wants to draw you to Himself especially now, during these days when you are coming closer to Him and at the same time when the devil is becoming more active. Thank you for having responded to my call."
This was last Thursday's message, that is of two days ago. Why is it so important ? I think that this message of Our Lady contains everything that she has said up to date. Why ? What does a more active prayer mean to you, to me, to everybody ? Each one of you should know by now how to pray. What happens in your families ? Who is the one who encourages prayer in your family ? Is it only your mother and the others let themselves always be driven along ... I believe that we should be a bit active in the organising of prayers in our families. One should prepare a text from the Bible, another a word of praise, a hymn, another the introduction of the messages and yet another the Hail Mary. It is something formal but important because if it is always the same person, either mother or father, who has to take the initiative, there is the danger that he or she may tire. Therefore, active prayer is the task for everybody.
This is only the formal aspect, but there is also the interior aspect for a more active prayer. When we pray truly with our heart, prayer does not become boring: who is active can dispel boredom and pray with zeal. Keeping this in mind, the same can be said about praying with one's heart. So, I think that with regard to a more active prayer it can be said that we should pray not only when we are tired, when we have nothing else to do, but we must find time during the day in which we can be active; for if we pray only when we are tired there is the danger that we cannot become active. Thus, step by step we can learn much.
Now, with regard to the participation at Mass, I am convinced, by examining both the experience of the Mass here and many other Masses with you, that people come at the last minute only when the bell rings and at the end they leave immediately. If they have found difficulty in parking as well, they are also a bit on edge and come into church when Mass has already begun. They may perhaps when find some peace during Mass; but as soon as Mass is finished, they go. If you behave like this, there is always a risk; that the Mass cannot become in this way a true living experience of God; that is to say, one must prepare oneself. Once Our Lady said: "Come to church a little in advance."
From this I understood: leave time for the Rosary, twenty minutes beforehand in order to prepare oneself, and stay, say ten minutes, after the Mass is over. For when you are teaching somebody you cannot say ten or twenty minutes is sufficient, but you must give time for the person to understand.
Once Our Lady said: "It is sometimes better not to come to Mass at all rather than come in a hurry and go in a hurry." A priest once was quite shocked at this and asked: 'How is it possible that Our Lady could say that it would sometimes be better not to come to Mass ?' So I explained it thus: 'Our Lady does not speak about the value of the Mass, but sometimes if we do not take part properly, there is the danger that we do not receive anything and, in the long run, if we receive nothing, one day we will no longer go to Mass.' Even in the kitchen where one prepares the best dishes, if one does not eat them one risks dying of hunger. The Mass is the centre of our lives and we must prepare for it.
You may perhaps now understand why we start praying an hour before Mass and why we stay for the seven Our Father's and for the prayers for the sick. As you can see, we prepare ourselves with the mysteries of the Rosary and consequently during Mass graces accrue. I have seen that it is not so important to understand everything, but it is very important to pray in one's own tongue, meditate and then graces will come.
At Communion one says: 'O Lord I am not worthy to receive You, only say the word and I shall be healed' ; now, if we hurry away immediately after Mass, Jesus does not have time to heal our soul, when everything becomes just automatic.
Stay, therefore, pray, give thanks, always pray for your healing and for the healing of others in your own words. In this way the Mass becomes a live experience of God.
Thirdly, Our Lady told the young people: "Be open to the Holy Spirit." This is valid for both the young and the old: in fact, I am telling you that as far as the soul and the spirit are concerned, everybody can feel young. If an older person succeeds in going forward in prayer, something in his life changes; he is young on the other hand, a young person who says he cannot give up this or that, is already old in his soul, because he does not move forward. All of us, therefore, are young who let themselves move forward.
Another important thing: the Lord wants to draw us all to Him. When the Lord wants to draw us to Him, He is as a father or a mother. He wants to grant us graces. It is true that we are somewhat used to running away from the Lord I say this more or less in fun . If, then, we have no peace, no love, if we are always in conflict, this, I say is our own fault. The Lord is always wanting to give to us, but we run away, we say: 'we have no time'.
One last thing about this message which is most important: the devil is very active. This is always evident. Wherever Our Lady grants many favours, there the devil is most active and tries to obstruct them. So, be on your guard: the Lord is really open to us, He invites us and if we open ourselves to Him we will receive in abundance.
(Fr. Slavko Barbaric 18th May, 1985)
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