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
The last messages tell us this: now is the time in which God gives us graces, we must pray and open our hearts; it must be emphasised that we Christians have forgotten the Feast of Pentecost, the Novena from which all other Novenas have come, the only Novena which is compulsory for all Christians and which is not practised in many churches.
We have heard in the messages of Our Lady, how important this period is. God is giving up graces, but these depend on our attitude in prayer and on doing penance. What I feel I ought to emphasise is, that many pilgrims go to Medjugorje and look for details and often they are more concerned about their personal problems but forget the very essence, and that is the main message for humanity. Only if we accept the main message, then we will find peace, we will find all that we are asking God for. There is a fundamental error: to ask for things instead of seeking God. He who is looking for things is not seeking God: he will find neither the things he is looking for, nor God. But he who seeks God finds both God and the things he is looking for, because Jesus said: 'Seek first of all the Kingdom of Heaven and the rest will be given to you.' I stress this point because people who come to Medjugorje do not look at what the Madonna has said regarding all humanity, they do not pay attention to what Our Lady says, instead they look for something useful for their own lives. This is a mistake. And you cannot go into the depth of the messages of the Blessed Virgin nor into depth with the Gospel, if you do not seek this fundamental message.
Without this you can neither fast nor pray nor progress in your spiritual life. It is most important to keep all this before us: only then, little by little, will we understand things, we will see that God begins to take notice of our problems, but, firstly, we must be concerned with the problem of God, that is with what God wants of us. And this is the exchange of love that we must make. Now you cannot stop at one of the messages, for example, only the message on prayer, but you must follow every one of the messages. Whoever wants to go deeper into prayer cannot without also fasting. Whoever wants to understand fasting further and go deeper into prayer cannot do it without conversion.
So, here are all the messages, if we progress in depth, all together they form a single thing: I cannot pray if I do not change my mentality.
The world will not learn how to pray if it does not undergo conversion. If I do not walk on the path of conversion, if I do not fast, if I do not go deeper into my prayer, I will be unable to give up certain things, as I will not have the capacity of understanding them. If I am not detached from things I am not able to think. We know very well that when we are in love with someone we are also able to understand them. On the other hand, if we carry hatred in our heart we are not able to understand that person, but only to hate him.
And, therefore, if we wish to get to the bottom of the messages in our life, every day we must proceed, go forward, bestir ourselves on every level of the messages: that of prayer, of fasting, of sacramental life.
Once I said that I had seen many Christians who do their Christian duty, but I have seen very few who progress in their spiritual life. You can discover this truth for yourselves if you look around you: many people were just the same ten years ago as they are today. They have not progressed in their spiritual life, they do their duty, they go to church, they say their prayers, but do not go forward, do not change. And this is because of the lack of a way and the motive power of the Resurrection. And on account of this, we do not progress in our spiritual life, so the world cannot be changed. Only if I bestir myself, then people around me will move. But for this I must go forward in my spiritual life. The messages given by our Blessed Virgin during this period represent messages of a spiritual progression: whoever accepts these messages only as items of news or as rational formulae, has not understood anything.
The messages given to the Parish represent a whole journey. In this way also the last message that the Blessed Virgin gave can be understood, when She invited all the parishoners to take part in the daily Mass. So you see the Parish is on its way, not out of obligation, but only out of love.
A group of Italian pilgrims asked me this question: 'How is it that the people of Medjugorje are capable of praying for such a long time, hours and hours ?' I replied with another question: 'But how can we live without prayer? '. The people ask themselves this: 'O my God, how many distractions keep me from you: when will the time come when I will have all my time for you ? ' Because with their encounter with God they have discovered the meaning of life. It is really while praying, while adopting the right attitude towards God that we become filled with the fullness of life within.
When we understand that we get more out of life by living with God, then our blessed life will begin; and we are all called to live this blessed life. We Christians should in the end understand that we are called to live a life to its fullness.
Remember when St. Peter said to Jesus: Look, we have left everything and followed you, and what do we receive ? He gave us a reply: You will receive a hundred times more on earth and will be given eternal life.
By this, we must understand that every effort we make, every moment that we have offered for the Lord on this earth will be something useful for our happiness also here. If we go along on this level, then soon, God, prayer, fasting, conversion, will become something easy, something joyful on the spiritual level but not on the level of curiosity, and in this way we will be able to live the messages that we have heard from the visionaries. Otherwise, if we move only on the level of duty, we cannot go forward in our spiritual life and our duty will only become a burden. But if we start living these messages with love, we will soon discover that to live with the Lord is joy and in this way we will be able to bring the Gospel to others.
There then, the next time you go to Medjugorje I would like you to be happier and hope that we will all be very, very happy in Paradise. I will always remember you in my prayers. Do not forget: with prayer you can move mountains. So try hard to change at least the half of your gossip into prayer; this will be sufficient to gain the Kingdom of God.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic 19th May, 1985)
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