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 meditate with you so that we can make progress together in our spiritual life and so that each one of you may find the joy of being in the arms of our Heavenly Mother, not only here but when you return to your own homes.
The last message of Our Lady was given on Thursday, through Marija :"Now you have finished your work in the fields : renew the rhythm of your prayer; start praying again, pray more."
Jacov and Ivan commend the sick to Our Lady in a special way each evening; and each one of us will be commended to the Virgin through the visionaries this evening so there is no need to ask for any special intention. The best thing you can do is to open your hearts and ask Our Lady in your hearts and she will read them. The visionaries tell us that Our Lady says it is better for people to stay in church praying with faith rather than to be in the chapel out of curiousity during the apparitions. This is what we will do this evening and we will tell you about the most important moments, so that you will be able to participate in the best way.
The daily visions continue. Mirjana (the visionary who, as from December 1982, does not see the Madonna every day, but to whom Our Lady appears for her birthday) has had some unexpected apparitions this year. She had the apparition for her birthday on 18th March when Our Lady said, :"We will probably see each other again sometimes this year because of the secrets." Mirjana has the task of informing a priest three days before the first secret is to occur. This visionary heard the voice of Our Lady in her soul in prayer at the beginning of August and Our Lady appeard to her on 25th August. She started praying and Our Lady appeared immediately and remained with her for eighteen minutes. Before this meeting, Our Lady had said : "We will see each other on 13th September because of the secrets." Mirjana cannot tell us anything about this because it is a secret, but, from her attitude, we can see that Our Lady stresses all the messages given up to the present time and, by her behaviour, we can see that we really must take these warnings seriously. Mirjana says that Our Lady complains especially about the many unfaithful: and when she speaks of unfaithful she means those who say they are Christians but who do not live as Christians and those who are not educated in the Faith. Our Lady says that every person is capable of knowing the existence of God. She says: "Your cities are full of churches and mosques but people do not go into them and are not interested." The visionary emphasises this aspect : that we are called to interest ourselves in God and to know what God wants of us and what we must do at this time.
I want to meditate with you on a theme I feel in my heart so that you will be able to use this information to go deeper into spiritual life. My impression is this: we Christians are making a great mistake, many people pray, pray, pray, but do not enter Church. They behave as if they were always outside the Church knocking and knocking without going in, and we hear: 'I pray, but God does not listen to me'; 'I pray, but God does not take any notice of me'; 'I pray, but God does not answer'. This is the biggest mistake because God has opened His Heart and tries to give all of us His gifts. He is ready to answer each of our prayers and our requests. Our sin and our problem is that we do not feel as if we have received His gifts because we do not want to enter into possession of them and enter into Church. We behave more or less like this : 'Please God, allow me to live outside the Church, far from You, allow me to enjoy good health, allow me to resolve some difficulties so as to continue my life on this earth ... But I do not want to enter into Your Heart, I do not want to change.' This is why we are so poor, because we are always outside the Church...
If you want to receive graces you must enter into Church because this means entering into the Heart of Jesus. Then it is no longer a question of asking to be given this or that, not even good health, but rather to interest myself in what God wants from me, what we must do for God, how I can offer my life for God and how I can offer my illness for Him.
If I am in the Church, in the Heart of Jesus, then my interest is to adore God, to praise Him, to enjoy Him and to really be involved. Note well that the prodigal son was happy when he returned to his father's house, but the son who had remained at home was unhappy with everything he had, because he did not possess what his father offered him.
So you see, dear brothers, you must enter into the Church, you must enter the Heart of Jesus, you must decide to live for God, with God, in God, act in God. Your life cannot be outside the Church. You are extremely poor if you remain outside and if this evening you ask God and Our Lady only something for your earthly life.
If you want to live fully the friendship which God offers you, you must abandon yourselves totally to Him, really enter into Him. I experimented this a few days ago reading a passage from the Gospel of Saint Luke which tells how a person came to the doors of the Kingdom of God, knocked and heard a voice say 'I do not know you, go away.' I wondered why God behaved in that way. Then I understood that it was not God who was not accepting his son, but rather that that person was not capable of choosing the right door and so could not enter. That morning I started to try to enter all day long with no success. In the evening I felt like crying: I had begun to pray but was distracted, I tried to be full of good will to people asking me favours, but did not manage it completely, I tried to take the school boys forward in their Faith, but did not manage any of these things. Finally that evening, discouraged, I threw myself before God and said: 'Forgive me, I cannot succeed in entering.' This is not a story, you can all try it out. We do not admit it when we are distracted and cannot be recollected; why ? Those who love a person are attentive to that person; those who love sport and watch television are attentive as they watch because they are interested. I recognised that on that day I was not sufficiently concentrated. I was easily distracted, carries right and left, so was not able to reach that peace, that blessedness which God offers us. I want to call all of you to try to attain that peace. But we must love. We must think about what Our Lady has said, through Marija, about renewing our prayer and the spirit of prayer now that we have finished our work in the fields. I want to call all of us to renew this great desire to enter.
I told you at the beginning that it would make me happy if you could all be in Our Lady's arms. You can be if you want to, but you must really try to grasp what is happening here. I have given some of you a picture which might be of help to you. Some time ago, I saw a large new Cross in a church, and was asked what I thought of it. I said that the Crucifix to me was like modern man: not standing, not hanging, not smiling, not crying. There is only a little superficial sorrow but I did not feel that that Crucufix had been truly pierced. It seemed like modern man, full of tension: incapable of standing up, only of running, not of feeling life.
It is the same with is Christians, we do not have time to contemplate, to put the message into practice and to centre ourselves on it. When I speak to you about 'entering' it seems to me like an impulse: that is, to have the time, patience and abandonment to God to live this Divine message and to be so centred on it that we are ready to act. If we have sin within us, we must be capable of crying within. If Jesus suffers, we must become people capable of crying.
If God offers us a gift, speaks to us in the Gospel, we must be joyful and able to praise: 'come with love', 'come in peace.' So, dear brothers, we must understand what God wants of us at this time and allow His message to enter deep within us, to change our being.
Who of you can say : is this the only way ? Our Lady was given the message from heaven by the Angel ; she accepted It, made It become Life in her, gave life to It, made It grow and finally offered It on the Cross as the gift of Salvation. This was the only way revealed to Our Lady and we must follow it too. Remember though, that not even Our Lady understood clearly at the beginning what God wanted from her, but she started to ask how this could be ? I have no husband ... Look carefully, if you want to go a few steps forward, you must take the step taken by the Virgin: a step forward each day : ' Lord,what do you want me to do for You' not 'do this for me' not 'do that for me' not 'you know that I need good health' because Jesus told us : 'Search firt of all for the Kingdom of God and the rest will be given to you.'
We must ask ourselves in every moment what God wants of us, how we can actuate His plan, what His Word in the Gospel is telling us, ask Him to explain It to us and give us the strength to put it into practice.
If we have an attitude like this we will find ourselves inside the Church and everything else, all the promises of God will be given to us. We will feel like the son when he returned home and will feel the Father's love and the friendship God is offering us. So, dear brothers, this is the path we must follow: start out. I urge you to start moving forward.
Those of you who are here for the first time should start out with the decision to pray each day, to fast at least on Fridays on bread and water. The visionaries say Our Lady has asked us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays and to recite the entire Rosary every day. Do not be surprised at this. When the visionaries gave us Our Lady's request for the entire Rosary for the first time, I asked people here if they were ready to recite it and nearly everyone agreed. A man told me afterwards that he went back into the church and held his head in his hands asking himself what he had promised as he did not have time for the entire Rosary. He was worried, but as he had agreed he started to recite the Rosary every day and a month later confessed that he had been stupid because he now realised that he could say five Rosaries every day. When a person seriously sets out to do what God asks, he always finds time. Those of you who are here for the first time must make up your minds to do this. Those of you who have been here several times and have progressed further, please take anothe step forward to increase the quality of your prayer. We have heard from the visionaries that the newness of the Rosary is in contemplation. Our Lady asks us to contemplate each mystery, but I have seen that we Christians have transformed the Rosary into an "express Rosary", like an expresso coffee: 'in this mystery we contemplate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ - Our Father Who are in heaven, Hallowed be........' We do not meditate and cannot contemplate. So I ask you to make this progress.
The Rosary is a most beautiful prayer if it is contemplated, if we put Holy Scripture before every mystery, if we follow the life of Jesus and the life of our Redemption. In this way, we can proceed all the time with a heart that opens wider each day and with greater recollection. Be recollected like this in your homes, in your hearts, in your groups and you will see that everything will go well. In the name of God, please accept these messages and put them into practice.
Do not worry much about what you will tell people you meet, but try to bring joy which is the fruit of peace. If this blessedness which Jesus speaks about shines on your face then you can announce the Gospel and the apparitions. If we do not have this blessedness on our faces then our words will be empty.
As a step forward, make a sincere confession and continue, all of you, to deepen your understanding of these messages because it is clear that all these happenings are meant to bring us all out of slavery and bring us to a blessedness.
I repeat: the visionaries tell us that Our Lady says : "It is better for everyone to remain in Church in prayer then to remain there (in the chapel) out of curiosity." While these happenings are taking place, walls do not exist if we open our hearts.
Mass is offered for all the pilgrims. Every evening Mass is offered for you. Try to be united in a special way during the prayer for world peace. After Mass, there will be prayers for the healing of those in need of it.
Pray: the most useful thing for everyone is prayer. let this be a continuous time of prayer. If you cannot understand the language, you have the rosary in your hand and something else as well: you have your heart. It is better not to understand the words of the priest: if you close your eyes and invoke the name of Jesus and long for Our Lord, even if you do not understand the language, you will understand what God is offering you.
Thank you. It is a joy for us priests to write the Divine plan in your hearts, and we will be happy if this plan remains in your hearts and is filfilled.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 3rd November 1984)
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