To love and to be loved is the fundamental and the deepest desire of every man. We do not even need to discuss how important love and acceptance are in the family school of life. Lack of love and acceptance in the family leave deep scars. It is not unheard of that even the newly conceived child feels and knows if it is accepted with love or not. It is known from therapeutic practice, that deep fears, which can follow a person throughout his entire life, are often caused prior to birth, if the father and mother contemplated abortion.
For this reason, Our Lady's message of December 13, 1984 is clear in itself. First of all, we must begin to love in the family, then we can speak about love in the parish community, and only then about love of all mankind. With this message, Our Lady wants to prepare the parish community for the acceptance of pilgrims: "Only then will you be able to love and accept all who are coming over here"(December 13,1984). Once again, in a concrete and motherly way, Mary asks that the week in which She gave this message, be taken as a special time when we need to learn to love. This, in fact, was the week before Christmas, the feast of love and life.
The beginning of the exercise in love takes place at that moment when we decide to exercise love in our own family. In that same message, Mary reiterates the thought of St. Paul, that nothing can be accomplished without love. Love supersedes all laws and fulfils them and, yet, all laws in the world cannot supersede love. Everything is valueless without love and love gives an eternal value to everything (1Cor 13:1-13).
Before the fourth anniversary on June 6, 1985, Mary repeats Her invitation to love those in our own homes first and then we will be able to love all those who come. From a chronological perspective, we can easily say that Medjugorje became an international shrine at then end of 1984 and even more so in 1985. The circumstances of Medjugorje at that time were, on one side, the communist pressures and attempts to put a stop to everything and, on the other side, the very aggressive moves against Medjugorje from the Bishops ordinariat at Mostar. At the end of October of that year, Msgr. Pavao Zanic published his semi-official pamphlet about Medjugorje. Sometimes it seemed that the opposing forces of the world and the Church would succeed in suffocating the events of Medjugorje. However, it is clearly visible how Our Lady was guiding everything and was not concerned at all about these attacks, but warned and educated the parish community about love which conquers all. On Christmas day itself in 1991, amidst a terrible flare-up of the war in Croatia and the first signs of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mary once again cautions about love and peace. Love is a grace that we have to pray for, and Mary brings Jesus so that He may bless us all with the blessing of peace and love.
In the message of April 1993, Mary uses the image of nature, which awakens in springtime and is renewed, and invites us all to open to love just as nature awakens and opens to God the Creator. The hearts that open to love, as nature opens will, first of all, show and prove their love in the family. Love will save the families from unrest and hatred and will give them back the spirit of prayer. Through this prayer, God will give us the strength to love one another. Mary knows how important it is for us to understand this invitation to love and that we become active in the awakening of love. For this reason, She repeats that She loves us all with Her Motherly love. Motherly love is the condition of life in general. This love is especially active and is a condition for the birth of a new life. Without this love, life cannot begin nor continue to exist.
The consciousness of Gods love, which brings about new life within us, and the consciousness of Mary’s motherly love are again conditions for every man to decide for love and for every wounded love to become whole and healed. God revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ as immeasurable love, which accepts us unconditionally and which is the condition for every other love, especially in the family, because God has revealed Himself as Our Father.
Mary teaches us in the message of January 25, 1996, that love is the condition of peace in the family because he, who has no love, cannot live peace.
In the same message, Our Lady speaks of the link between love and forgiveness. We are weak. We sin and, in sinning, we imperil love. The love of someone who refuses to forgive is shallow and is conditioned by many different terms. Again, only he who loves can forgive. Only resigned prayer is left to us, so that we may be able to comprehend with our hearts and accept the invitation to love and forgiveness.
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