This book is the last 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 from 1986, finishing with the early messages of 1987.
Not all chapters of this book are yet included
The characteristic feature of Christmas up to now has been peace. Peace has been a characteristic of Medjugorje since the beginning, because Our Lady's main message is peace. I say "of Christmas up to now" because it is really which is the main theme this month because certain messages emphasize this reality and, at the same time, we have felt it within us.
Above all in the prayer group Our Lady asked for a long preparation for Christmas and promised the special grace of peace for Christmas. And everyone has felt it, has experienced it ; they really received peace, an inner certainty which leads forward. Then for the New Year vigil, there were two messages. One, through Jelena, in which Our Lady invited the prayer groups to make the New Year's vigil and to begin the year by praying the rosary. She said, 'Next year will be the year of peace ; not because men have called it so, but because God has planned it. You will not have peace through presidents, but through prayer.'
Then, through on of the little visionaries, during the New Year vigil, Jesus said, "When you hear the bells at midnight, kneel down, bow your heads to the ground because the King of Peace is coming. This year I shall offer my peace to the world, but afterwards I shall ask you where you were when I offered you my peace." This is why I said that the characteristic of this period is peace ; you can also see it through the messages that Jesus and Our Lady give to the prayer group and which always lead to a lasting depth of peace.
It is not a question of political peace, but a heartfelt peace which is given by God and from this root, from peace, spiritual life really springs forth.
One characteristic I have discovered about peace is humility, as an element of peace. Satan makes use of all the power in the world ; he really swells with pride, whereas whoever wants to fight with Our Lady against satan must also be humbled because victory does not come through our strength, but through God's strength. My humiliation does not impede God's actions. But rather if I, in my humiliation, accept with all freedom what God permits, then I offer myself to God and through my humiliation God is glorified.
You see, on the one hand, Our Lady is hymble, Our Lady knocks at the door of our hearts, She doesn't force us, She doesn't menace, She is sweet and humble ; on the other hand, satan menaces, swells up with pride, he is proud and makes use of all power.
If we want to live this peace of God and Our Lady, we must understand that we must accept all the humiliation and, when it seems to us that the powers of this world are stronger, we must abandon ourselves to God ; it is God who will win. Our spiritual life must be profoundly rooted in this reasoning otherwise we will not reach the depth of peace because by our efforts and our strength we cannot carry Medjugorje forward.
Lately I have discovered in a special way, and I wish to stress this, that we are not able to change hearts by human reasoning, or even by human logic. All that the doctors are doing is to tell the world that the visionaries are sound of mind and body and that the apparitions go beyond medical science ; all this is logic, but this doesn't change men's hearts. Hearts can be changed only through God's grace. So we must remain humble in the depth of our soul, praying and fasting, not worrying because things are not going in the logical way we want them to go, but waiting for victory and God's glory even when we are incapable of doing anything.
Recently two pictures came to my mind. The picture of Pharaoh who refuses to accept the miracles ; he sees the sea divide into two and enters it. I cannot understand this hardness of heart, because he is going to his death.
We can change this hardness of heart through prayer and love, because God, who is able to change hearts, acts through prayer and love. The second picture which comes to my mind is Jesus in the Garden of Olives. He who is able to perform miracles offered Himself, became humble, powerless, and helpless. I think this picture is the opposite of the picture of Pharaoh.
Jesus puts all his miraculous powers in God's hands and takes a step, the last step in spiritual life : the offering of his own life, with humility. I believe that each one of us must take the following step if we want to be true pilgrims, even if the powers of this world overwhelm us or repress us : we must offer our lives in peace, and continue to live our offer in humility. Only in this way will God be glorified in us.
I feel that this is very important, because we are all ready to fight for Our Lady, to argue, to draw logical conclusions, to use human reasoning ; but all this is of little importance.
We must ponder, we should also bring human discernment ; but in the end it is God who is acting and, when we have no human strength, there again we must remain in peace, certain that God will win.
We all want success, success on earth ; but there will be no success on earth : only those who offer themselves, as Jesus offered Himself, will reach success in Heaven. Here on earth the only success is to offer our life so that our brother may be saved.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 8th Feb. 1986)
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