This book is the first of the four volumes of sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric and Fr. Tomislav Vlasic during 1984 - 1987 in Medjugorje, and contains talks given from Easter until December 1984.
All chapters of this book are now included
I am going to disappoint you to start with. On 24th April Our Lady said : "That is enough news. People know enough. Tell people : this is a place of prayer."
When people arrive here they say they are happy ! Then they go home and continue the same life as before. So, please do not forget this, that I am giving you the items of news so as to bring you to prayer and to the path towards Jesus Christ. Remember this.
I will tell you something very interesting: you are always curious to know what Our Lady says, how she appears. Our Lady is very interested to know what is happening in your souls. I want to talk to you a little about this. During the apparitions, especially to Jelena and Marijana, Our Lady almost every day says : "Pray and fast." In this way curiosity will have no place in your souls. Pray and fast. If you pray you will understand everything.
In February, Our Lady said : "Do not be surprised because I often say: pray, pray, pray. I have nothing else to tell you." I must mention something else. Our Lady said : "When I tell you 'pray' do not understand this as meaning only an increase in the number of prayers : I want to bring you to an attitude of a continuous longing and desire for God." Our life must be transformed into a day of prayer.
A week ago, Our Lady said : "Pray when you can. Pray how you can, but always pray more and more", and then added : "each of you could pray even for four hours a day. But I know that many people do not understand this because they think they can live by their work alone."
I said, "If I tell people this, they will turn away." She replied : "Even you do not understand this. It is only a sixth of your day." I added, "I understand that you want us to pray all day." Then she seemed happy.
I tell you that it is really possible to pray all day, to be in contact with God all day long. When I told the peasants(?), they looked at me in a rather amazed way . I asked them what they did after half an hour's heavy work in the fields ? They get up and try to rest for a while. So I asked them why not say, "Jesus help me", why not say then, "Jesus bless what I have done" ? Why not keep in contact with God while you rest so that He may bless your work ? This is how you can transform prayer into continuous prayer.
We must remember what Our Lady said in the Autumn : "Do not forget : man does not live by work alone but also by prayer. Your work will not go well without prayer."
In fact, in the beginning of the planting season here I told the parishoners, "If you want to tire yourselves out while planting the tobacco, do not pray and work very hard. But if you want God to help you plant the tobacco - which is very difficult here because the earth is dry, water has to be carried and the plants protected - if you want God to work for you and for you to rest .... then come to church." They came to church more frequently and everything went easily. They did not even have to carry one drop of water for the tobacco : God sent the rain at the right moment.
I am giving you this example so that you can understand that we really must pray more : if we do not pray more, we are not truly converted.
One more point I want to stress is this : if we want to be honest with God, we must recognise that we have put Him away in a corner. The worst sin in your families is that television has become like a god in your homes. Television dictates the routine in your homes, the timetable, how to behave, how to use your time. And God has no rights in your families, He remains in a corner. If you understand Our Lady properly then put God in the centre and the television in the corner. The television can only be watched when God allows it and not the other way round. We must reverse our values. You must bring order in your homes if you want to pray. If the television is at the centre of your day, there is no room for God there. If many objects and gadgets in your homes are the centre, God cannot be there. Make your home simple and you will see how close God is to you.
I will give you another piece of advice. In the Autumn Our Lady said : "I should be very happy if families would pray for half an hour each morning and evening." Many people were amazed when I said this, but really each family should do this if it wants to progress spiritually. If you want to live the day with God you need at least twenty minutes' prayer each morning. You will then be in a condition to spend the day with God. Those who say that the whole of their day belongs to God are not telling the truth if they do not pray enough.When you spend a day like this, in the evening you will need about half an hour to unload yourself of all the difficulties you have collected during the day and to be in peace.
It is really very little if we look at the Divine Promises, at what God is offering us. I am telling you this in order to explain a way of growth in your spiritual lives. If people only pray a little in the morning and then make the sign of the Cross and just do the same in the evening, they cannot progress spiritually, they will become more and more restless and distracted. They want graces granted quickly, they want to push a button, and to take ... To be healthy, I must sleep seven or eight hours ... how can we live with God within us if we do not dedicate any time for this ? It is impossible. All work takes a certain time. We must dedicate some silent, serious time to God. People usually say that they have no time. I can assure you that this is most untrue because I have seen many of these people who say they have no time, but watch television until midnight. When there is a football match everybody gets up and runs ...
I will tell you something else ; if you use your time for God, God will use time for you, for your children and many problems will disappear. If you pray you will not come back here to ask for graces to be granted because they will be granted in your homes. If you reduce your prayers to a minimum, then you will receive a minimum ; it will be given to you according to your measure.
Our Lady has recommended various means of praying, emphasising prayer, fasting, not being worried, but allowing God to act. Learn this rule. Watch people when they enter church ; they are worn out, full of fear and this is not a good thing. We have not abandoned ourselves to God ; our belongings and difficulties are more important to us than He is. Especially of late, people have been running up to me to say that their daughter is ill, she has this or that, for example ... but almost no one has said to me that they have a problem ; they have not been converted. This is a reversal of values and graces cannot be granted in such superficiality of soul. First of all we must be converted. This is why Our Lady tells us, first of all, to read the passage in the Gospel of St. Matthew VI, 24-34, "Make it your first care to find the Kingdom of God", that is my conversion. Then you can ask for graces to be granted. If there is the right attitude within me, right according to the Gospel, I shall not worry. When I am not worried about these things my soul is free and God can act in it. If I am full of fear, of worries, I am closed to God. Remember that Our Lady said : "Pray, fast and allow God to act."
Our Lady gave us another rule : "If you want to be very happy, live a simple, humble life, pray a great deal and do not delve into your problems, let God resolve them."
Another rule that you must learn is to simplify your homes, because life has become too complicated : all those clothes, toys and pleasures. Give all this to the poor and you will be freer, less worried. When you have problems, do not have them analysed or go here and there trying to find out what has happened - leave them to God. You just pray and have faith.
Here is another rule. Our Lady said : "Peace must follow your prayer." At the beginning, during and at the end of prayer must be followed by peace.
About prayer and especially group prayers, Our Lady says : "Often prayers recited aloud in a loud voice send Jesus away because men want to win through their efforts. In that way there is no place for God. Prayers recited aloud are are good but they must come from peace and from the heart." Our Lady then said : " Even the joy, the singing can be an obstacle in the groups if people are only moved emotionally...."
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 24th May 1984)
Powered by www.medjugorje.ws