I greet you all and I hope you are well and enjoying your holidays. Let us here first remind ourselves of the message on the 15th Anniversary. In it Our Lady called us to be open to convert and told us that we were not yet open enough to her. She asked us to pray to the Holy Spirit so that He might help our hearts to become hearts of flesh and not of stone. It is once again good to ask ourselves what it is that hinders us from being open. When we continue to reflect on this, we find that good as well as bad things can make us closed. Being healthy or being sick, being young or a being old, being poor or rich, --everything can close our heart to God. Therefore, it is very useful to continue to ask ourselves, what it is that closes us to the will of God; in other words, closes us to being loving, to being merciful and patient. Pride, jealousy and every other negative feeling, -- especially the attachments and dependencies -- are all closing our hearts to the will of God. I invite you to continue to pray for the grace that God may open our hearts as Our Lady's heart was open, and that it may happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. Only He can help us beyond any of these conditions in our lives and then to be open to prayer and to pray - - communicating with God, not according to our needs but according to His love.
Our Lady continues to appear daily. At this moment, Vicka and Jacov are in the parish and have daily apparitions. Ivan and his family left to for the U.S. on July 27th. Maria and her family are in Italy and she promised us that she would visit in mid-August. Mirjana, who receives pilgrims every day and Ivanka, who lives a quiet life solely with her family are both here. It was through Ivanka that Our Lady asked us to pray for all those under the influence of evil. Here it is not for us to ask, who is under the influence of evil, but rather to pray every day, being conscious while we pray the Our Father, that at the end, we say "deliver us from evil". This means that our prayer is always protecting us as well as others. When we say it consciously, it means we have listened and then responded to Our Lady's call.
At this moment, there are pilgrims here from different countries: Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany, England and Ireland, France, Italy, and the United States. We also had different groups from Brazil in the last few weeks. Medjugorje carries on every day and we hope it continues. Again, in the Anniversary message Our Lady asked us to continue with Her on the path to holiness and also gave thanks to us for working with Her. I hope that none of us have become tired and are all ready to renew our decision to follow Our Lady.
Next week -- from July 31 until August 6 -- we are having our Annual International Youth Prayer Festival and we already know that many people will be participating this year. We hope and pray it will go well. On one day Sister Elvira, who takes care of the young people who were on drugs, will be speaking to us. On Saturday August 3, the boys from her community will be acting in a 'musical drama', titled: FROM DARKNESS INTO THE LIGHT, portraying the lives of some of the boys who had fallen under the influence of drugs. Now with God's help, they are free and on the path of life. In the morning of August 6th, Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, many people will be attending Holy Mass up on Mt. Krizevac. I invite you, to be with us in the spirit of prayer during these days, and to pray that all the hearts of the young may be open to the message of Jesus through Mary. Here also I ask that we all pray for those who are under the influence of evil.
This month's message, the first in the 16th year of the apparitions, again came to us through Marija.
This is Our Lady's foremost desire. This decision for God means to be open and to say along with Her, "O Lord, Thy will be done," and this without any conditions, in good as well as bad times and without any limitations. Every day She invites us to make a decision. It is normal that we may become tired with ourselves and with others, but it is a sign of 'spiritual maturity' when we make a decision every day for God. Neither yesterday nor tomorrow exists for us and, therefore, we only have today. It is both a grace and insight when we finish the day when it ends and start a new day when it begins. We are always tempted to take yesterday, with all its problems, its crosses, its sufferings and its wounds as well as our fears of tomorrow into today. When we do this, we are fighting against ourselves and also against Jesus' advice when He said, "every day has its own crosses and sufferings, and it is enough". We must pray for the grace to be able to have freedom from yesterday and tomorrow, and to have the strength to live the will of God today.
Here Mary is telling us not to speak so much about God, but to witness more with our lives. Here She says that we are doing just the opposite. This message was given to us on the Feast of St. James, and this sentence reminds us of his words. He was telling those who were listening to him and reading his letters, 'show me your deeds and good works and I will show you your faith'. When we do not do good deeds, we cannot show our faith. This is a very important point when we become conscious of Our Lady's messages. Medjugorje is a School of Life, a School of Love, and a School of Peace, and therefore, we do not have any new messages or any new revelations, but we do have innumerable impulses to act upon what we believe. Medjugorje is not a call for us to know more, but rather it is grace, a call and a gift for us to do better. This message is given for everyone -- for this parish, for the visionaries, for all priests, for all pilgrims and every family everywhere. Of course, it is very important to speak at times, and to thereby give witness by our words; but our words, only then have the power to help others when we give witness to these actions in our lives. Here too we can think of Jesus' words when he told the Pharisees that they were speaking but not acting accordingly. It is a terrible contradiction when we speak about love and do not love, when we speak about reconciliation and we do not forgive, when we speak about justice and we are unjust with others. It is for us very important to ask for the grace to be able to give witness with our lives.
We may simply not forget that conversion means to fight against evil and sin in and around our lives and to fight for the goodness in and around us. Conversion means growth in love, faith, hope and peace. This process of conversion never ends because we have to grow like the Father in heaven. Jesus asked us to be holy, to be perfect, to be just like the Father in heaven. The Father in heaven is immense. For this reason, on our journey on earth, we can not say "I am converted." We may say however, "I try every day again to convert", because the conversion means not only to fight against evil but to grow in goodness and the will of God. Here then Mary asks us to reflect . . .
And we must convert . . . . .
These are very significant words for us, because they call upon us to again think of who we are. We are human beings created by God who loves us! We are the children of God, who is our Father! Jesus revealed to us the Father, who loves us and who send His only Son to save us! And only when we collaborate with the will of God, and always try to grow in love, faith, hope and peace, will our lives be true before God. It will also happen when we try to live what we are saying and to say what we are living. When we do not practice this in our lives and speak it with our words, then our lives will not be true before God. Jesus called Satan 'the liar and the father of all lies.' When we grow in conversion, we also grow in truth before God and before others and by renouncing Satan, renouncing the Pharisee spirit and renouncing all lies, we grow in truth. And only by growing in the truth, according to the will of God, are we be able to witness the beauty God gave us. In Baptism we received the wonderful divine seeds of love, faith and hope and when these seeds grow in us and become large trees with wonderful fruits, everyone who meets us and will meet us, shall discover this beauty. How wonderful it is to meet someone who is peaceful, loving, and merciful; but this inner beauty of the heart and of the soul, depends on our outer beauty.
In the beginning of the apparitions, the visionaries asked Our Lady, 'Why are you so beautiful?'. She gave the answer, 'I am beautiful because I love, if you want to be beautiful, then love.' The beauty God gave us consists of the growth in love, faith, hope and peace. Sin makes our lives and our relationship with others ugly. When we continue to sin and thereby destroy ourselves and others, wound relationships in our families, among others and communities through our pride, jealousy, attachment to material things and other negative habits, we lose the inner beauty and become increasingly ugly. God wanted us to be beautiful and this is why He put the seeds of love, faith, hope and peace into our hearts. Our truth is that God created us in His image. We are free and with this freedom we are similar to God. We can love and it makes us similar to Him. Losing the love and inner freedom which is happening so easily in these times, we lose our beauty. We believe that Our Lady is the most beautiful creation God created because sin did not enter into Her heart, the sin did not wound Her heart and for this reason, She was free to grow in love. She is the most beautiful! May God give us this beauty in our hearts so that our words, our deeds and our behavior will be beautiful and in this way we shall show to others the beauty God gave us.
Conversion is our spiritual life, it is growth, it is fighting against evil and for the good, and for this we need energy. This energy we receive in meeting with God and if we do not pray it is impossible to convert. It is only through prayer that we can continue to grow. It is a normal reaction that when meeting with God in prayer, that He will then give us the strength. Last month Our Lady asked us to be open to prayer and to be open to it means not to set any conditions whatsoever, to call upon it beyond all hours and other limits. To be open to prayer means to seek God as He is -- the loving Father without limits. It means to seek every possibility to meet Him. Only when we understand why to pray will we be able to pray. Prayer is the food for our soul. Prayer is the condition and the path for our spiritual life. When we pray in the morning, during the day and again in the evening, then this can be compared to the morning, midday and evening meals for the body. Just as he who never has time to eat simply dies, so does he who never has time to spend with God, cannot live the conversion; he cannot grow. Conversion is the process of growth in the truth but also in the simplicity.
Here Mary speaks as Jesus did when He spoke about children, and when He asked all those listening to Him to become like them. Being like a child is a condition to enter into the Kingdom of God, so what does it mean to become similar to a child? Here it helps us to reflect, remember and imagine the relationship between a mother and her little child. This is especially apparent when a mother cares for and carries a child close to her breast. The child is in the mother's embrace, close to her heart that is love and close to nourishment without which it cannot live. The child gives itself to the mother or the father, is resting, feeling the heart and receiving the needed food. We see the simplicity of the child because the child does not have the doubts, does not have the fears or suffer from mistrust. The foremost condition for the child's normal development is to have a healthy, good, healing relationship with the parents and to have this, it must be in their hands, in their laps and in their embrace. Here, or course, it also becomes open to the love of the father. This is the way that Our Lady wishes to lead us in prayer. When we have their love, we will not be afraid; when we love, we will win against every evil. The Father's love for us is so great that we have absolutely no need to be afraid of anything. Again we must ask ourselves what it is that hinders us from being open to the love of the Father, -- the Father whom we need so very badly? Without ever experiencing the love of the Father, we are in danger of remaining empty, of losing the sense of life and the will to live. To be free from every fear, from every distrust and from every other negative feeling requires our response to the call to prayer, to the simplicity and to being as open as a child.
When we are open to the love of the Father, it will be easier for us to fight against egoism, our selfishness and our pride. The simplicity is needed badly in all relationships, and especially so within the family, within the community and with people with whom we work and live. Being simple means not to complicate relationships. Being simple means to understand the words that we say and to say them as we really mean them. Being simple means being true, being able to love, to forgive and to be merciful. Being simple means to forget about yesterday, not to worry about tomorrow, to accept today as a gift from the Lord and to try to do everything in the simplicity and trust to fulfill the will of the Father. When we are simple we will have more energy for our work and for meeting with others. We will more easily find the good counsel and advice for others. It is imperative that we invite one another not to complicate our lives, that within our families and within our communities. We are simple when we are wounded and forgive unconditionally. When we are wounded and need many hours of discussion to forgive, then we are complicating our own lives as well as those of the others. This is why the simplicity is needed. It is one of God's dimensions. Being simple means to be able to live with others in peace. Let us pray:
O LORD, We thank you for your love because You love us unconditionally and invite us to conversion. We ask You now for the grace to be able every day to decide for You because You are the Father. This means to decide every day for life, for love, for peace and for mercy. Forgive us, O Father, when we are speaking too much about You while failing to witness with our lives Make us free from everything that hinders us from being a witness with our life. Your Son had called us to convert and You repeat this message, O Father, through Mary, the Queen of Peace and Prophets. Give us the grace of conversion so that we may grow in the truth before You. Give us the grace to grow in love, in faith and in hope so that we may show the beauty You gave us. O Father, give us the grace of prayer, for only through prayer do we know that we can live with You. Give us the simplicity of children and free us of everything that complicates our relationships with ourselves, with others and with You. O Father, give us an open heart for Your love, and the ability to rest with and in You as Your Son had called us "All of you who are tired and oppressed, come to me and I will give you rest and peace." O Jesus, give us the grace to experience that without You we cannot have peace. Through the intercession of Our Lady, Queen of Peace, bless us O Lord. In the name of Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
July 28, 1996
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