Our Lady’s words, just as her love for us, her children, remain unchanged. As in the last message, she calls us also today to prayer and fasting for peace. She presented herself here as Queen of Peace who brings and gives us peace. Many have experienced it in their hearts. They took this peace into their daily life. Although in her messages she addresses herself to everyone, saying “dear children”, as a mother she speaks to each one individually, to each heart. Starting with the individual, peace spreads into the family and from the family into the people and into the whole society. It is important to answer to this call personally. Everything starts with the individual. We should not expect and wait for others to be converted, to become better, to believe, but it is important to turn ma heart personally to the Mother who leads us to Jesus - the King of Peace. She sees well how much men are threatened, how much peace is threatened in human hearts. She knows well that peacelessness and hatred come from a troubled heart. She offers us a remedy for this and such heart.
Our Lady has neither revealed something new here, nor has she brought something unknown. Our Lady addresses us the same invitation as the Prophets in the Old Testament: conversion of hearts, faith, fasting and prayer. According to the witness of the visionaries, Our Lady has invited us all to peace, to fasting and prayer, to conversion and a strong faith. From the beginning of the apparitions to August 14, 1984, people were fasting one day a week. On the vigil of the Assumption 1984, through the visionary Ivan, she gave us this message: "I would like the people to pray along with me these days. And to pray as much as possible! And to fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays, and every day to pray at least one Rosary: the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries."
There are many other messages in which Our Lady invited us to fast: On September 20, 1984, Our Lady invited us: "Dear children! Today I call on you to begin fasting with the heart. There are many people who are fasting, but only because everyone else is fasting. It has become a custom which no one wants to stop." On September 26, 1985: "Dear children! … Especially live the fast, because by fasting you will achieve and cause me the joy of the whole plan, which God is planning here in Medjugorje, being fulfilled." On September 4, 1986: "Dear children! Today again I am calling you to prayer and fasting. You know, dear children, that with your help I am able to accomplish everything and force Satan not to be seducing to evil and to remove himself from this place. … Therefore, dear children, my call to you is that your day would be only prayer and complete surrender to God…"
In the message of July 25, 1991, Our Lady said: "Dear Children! … At this time peace is being threatened in a special way, and I am seeking from you to renew fasting and prayer in your families. Dear children, I desire you to grasp the seriousness of the situation and that much of what will happen depends on your prayers and you are praying a little bit. Dear children, I am with you and I am inviting you to begin to pray and fast seriously as in the first days of my coming..."
In the message of April 25, 1992, she told us: "Dear children! Today also I invite you to prayer. Only by prayer and fasting can war be stopped..."
We need to recall Our Lady’s words, but even more to take them to our heart and put them into practice in our lives. It happens that we forget the words, but if we take them seriously, they will lead us to the source, to Jesus, from whom Mary takes and brings the desired peace of heart and soul.
The Blessed Virgin Mary invites us often to fasting, but even more often to prayer. Fasting is a prayer of the body. Fasting cannot go by itself. It is always linked to prayer, to almsgiving and works of charity. Jesus himself speaks about the power of fasting (cf. Mk 9,29). In her messages, Our Lady says that through prayer and fasting war also can be stopped. Our Holy Father John-Paul II also invited and keeps inviting all Christians to prayer and fasting for peace in the world. This is the only way for overcoming difficult and deep crisis in the world: through fasting to obtain the conversion of hearts, and to stop the wars that are begotten in human hearts. Thos who pray are more useful for the world then those who fight, and if things are bad in the world or become worse and worse, it is because there are more warriors than those who pray. Let us become warriors in Our Lady’s school of prayer and of love, so that - from day to day - we may come closer to God, belong more to God, and with us also this world.
Medjugorje February 26, 2003
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