My heartfelt greetings to all those who will be reading this reflection. I want to remind you of the last message from March 25, 1997. Our Lady had called us to take the cross and meditate on the wounds of Jesus and ask for healing caused through our sins and through the sins of our parents. She asked us to pray for healing of our faith and become true apostles of the faith. This is very good advice for us all, in order to learn how to deal with our own wounds caused by our sins and the sins of others. She does not ask us to analyze the situation psychologically, She asks us to take the cross and discover the wounds of Jesus' love and through His love be able to forgive. Forgiveness is the healing. When we forgive we can again love. When we love, we shall then again be 'active'. I hope for all of us and for all our families that we have listened to the message of Our Lady; that during Lent and now at this time after Easter, we are continuing to take the cross and meditate on the wounds of Jesus and ask for this healing. I ask again and pray that the Lord, through His wounds, may heal the faith and give us the grace to become true apostles of the faith. When we listen to Our Lady we shall see and experience how wonderful this advice is that She is giving us.
After Easter, there are have been more and more pilgrims. At this moment, there are many Polish, French and Italian pilgrims, who are all coming more frequently. There are English and German speaking pilgrims, pilgrims from Slovakia, Hungary and Korea, who are also coming more frequently as well. Continuously there are more and more groups of pilgrims arriving. When we compare Medjugorje now, it is like ten years ago, in 1987, when more and more pilgrims began to come. At this time, there are many visiting priests and several bishops. There was a Bishop from Kiev and we expecting other bishops as well. While many people asked, "Why didn't the Pope mention Medjugorje"? We do not know why. However, it is good to say, that even though he did not mention Medjugorje, by what he did say; it was clear that he was thinking of Medjugorje, especially during the general audience, on the Wednesday after his visit. He said ' . . that in Bosnia-Herzegovina even, during the war, the pilgrimages did not stop'. It is clear that there is no other place in Bosnia-Herzegovina where pilgrims come to except in Medjugorje. His visit was a great event for all of us. We pray and I invite you to pray that the 'seeds' that he planted may grow and bear good 'fruit'.
At this moment, Jakov is the only visionary home in Medjugorje. Vicka is in Zagreb with her mother, who is ill. Marija is in Italy. Ivan is in America and we are expecting him to return to Medjugorje at the end of month. As we know, the visionaries continue to receive the messages of Our Lady where they are. This month begins 15 years and 10 months since the beginning of the apparitions. We must be conscious that we do not know how long Our Lady will continue to appear in this way, but it should not be our concern. Our concern should be to try to live what She is telling us and to try to do what She is asking of us.
First during this time after Easter, Our Lady is inviting us in the message, to be united with God the Creator:
This union with God the Creator is a condition for us to find the sense for life and to comprehend that God is love. It is true that in these times, there are many people suffering due to this 'lost sense of life' and especially young people. It is easy to understand why, when we are isolated from God we cannot have nor find the sense for life. Our Lady continues in Her message about this when She says:
God is fundamental for our lives, He is the Creator. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life and He is the Light. When we lose this connection with Him, we lose the Life, the Truth, the Way and the Light. Under such conditions, we cannot have nor discover the sense for life. At the same time, if we are not united with God, how can we understand His love? When we are in darkness, when we are in the death of sin, we cannot see the Light nor have the Life. If we have hatred, we cannot see the Love. In order for us to have the condition for peace, to have the sense for life, we must be united with God. In this moment, we must ask ourselves, "What is really isolating us or disconnecting us from God?"
In the next to the last sentence of Her message, Our Lady tells us to leave sin. Sin is the reality which is causing our isolation or disconnection from God. It is good to remember that in the German language, the word for sin is 'Suende'. It comes from the word 'absondern' which means "isolate". We can recognize the sin exactly according to this isolation. When we say something bad to someone, it happens that we cannot look anymore into the eyes of this person, we cannot give our hand, we avoid this person--we are in "isolation". To get out of this isolation we must forgive and be forgiven. When we accept the responsibility of sin, we then come to realize what is isolating us, disconnecting us from God. The first sin isolating us from God is pride. Pride in itself means: "Who are you to tell me this?" Pride caused the first sin, Original Sin. God told Adam and Eve, "Do not touch the tree". In the end, they asked, "Who is God to forbid us to eat from the tree?" This is what Satan had told them. They accepted this question from Satan and ate from the tree. This is the deepest meaning of when pride began. We follow on these same lines, when we ask "Who are you God, to ask me to pray, to fast, to forgive or to love?" This is the deepest expression of pride. This question to God is causing the deepest wounds in the hearts of all of us. It is the same for parents when the children ask them, "Who are you to tell me to do this or that?" This is then how every mother and every father can understand what is causing the sin of pride. When we are full of pride, asking God, "Who are you to tell me this or tell me that", we become as gods and accept only those who we see as ourselves to tell us something. In this way, we exchange the Creator for the creature. In listening to the creature, we reject the Creator. In this moment begins the destruction of our life, of our families and of the world. We must remember what the Ten Commandments tell us. One of them is asking us to respect our parents, however, when the children ask "Who are you God, to tell me to respect my parents?", this is a form of pride. Another example can be seen in telling us not to kill, and we witness the killing of the unborn, we see others killing themselves through drugs and alcohol or read about the violence done to others-someone is asking, "Who are you God, to tell us not to kill?" Those who enter into the sexual life are asking God, "Who are you, to give me this order?" The main thing that isolates us from God is our pride and from that stems other sins-envy, jealousy, dependencies of drugs and alcohol and materialism. We are then in complete and total disorder.
It is not good for we, as human being to be disconnected, isolated or disunited from God. For this reason, Our Lady is telling us to leave sin, to overcome sin and all consequences of sin and to be open to God who wants to serve us. In many messages Our Lady asks us to open our hearts and allow God to be in the first place in our lives. We do not need really to be afraid of God. He wants to serve us. When He says, "I am the Bread of Life." He wants to nourish our souls. When He says, "I am the Way, I am the Good Shepherd"-everything He says, He wants and desires to serve us. In this way, of course, we understand how God is love and we find the sense for life. Mary is Our Mother. She knows us and sees our situations. For this reason, She says:
This is what we must try and really understand-that without God, we have no future. It is the same, if Our Lady would have told us, 'without God, you cannot have the Light, you shall live in darkness.' 'Without God, who is Life, you shall be dead.' It is the same if She had said, ' God is joy, without Him, you shall be in sadness.' In this point, we find the biggest problem of our time, probably in all time for every person. In our pride, we try to build our future, to have our joys without God. It is the most fundamental mistake. In this moment, we can only say, "Lord, we thank you for sending us our Lady, our Mother Mary, the Queen of Peace", because many people have found the love, the peace and the sense for life through Her. Many people have left sin and have found the true way for their future and have opened their hearts to the joy coming from God. In the same way, many people are opening themselves to striving for eternal salvation. On one occasion, the Pope said, "Medjugorje has helped many people experience the 'supernatural' realities." It is exactly what Our Lady is trying to teach us and to help us understand. Again Our Lady is calling us:
Prayer is a meeting with God. In meeting with Him, we shall find out the meaning of our life, why we exist or what is our task. We shall understand why we should love, what is the meaning of suffering, why we need to forgive and why we should give to and accept others as they are. We shall, through prayer, be in God and God shall be within us and we shall become witnesses of His presence and of His love. Only when we pray, can we come to understand that we have to strive and look toward eternal salvation. How many times did Jesus tell us in the Gospel, "What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" St. Paul says, "The suffering of this world cannot compare to what God has is in store for those who love Him." How often in the Bible, we find that this life is passing. We must be 'free' in this world and in this 'freedom', we must love and look toward eternal salvation. It is a terrible thing to be condemned to the 'eternal absence of God and His love'. We know that the end exists and that salvation means to be in paradise forever with God in love and peace or to be far from God in eternal isolation. We can only ask God to reveal to us this love and to give us the grace to continuously see what we do is for the eternal salvation of our souls. At the end of this message, Our Lady says:
With this sentence, She is touching again the deepest problem of our relationship with God. God gives Himself, He gave everything, even His own Son, Jesus to save us. He is rich in peace, in love, in forgiveness, in mercy. The problem is-do we seek Him or do we not seek Him? For us, it is important to ask ourselves again, "What is hindering us from seeking God?" The answer may be very simple-our false hopes are hindering us from seeking God. The fact that we are listening to the false prophets is hindering us to seek God. In listening to these prophets, our passions, our attachments to materialism, our bad habits and our sins become the many obstacles that blind our eyes each day, hindering us in seeking God. The greatest grace that God gives to people who come to Medjugorje is to begin to seek Him. Everyone who begins to pray, to fast, to go to Mass, to go to the sacraments have been moved to seek God. All those who seek Him, shall find Him. We must be patient in seeking Him and in finding God. We are in constant danger of being like the child who wants everything he asks immediately. We can be so spoiled that we are unable to wait for and in God's time. When we become impatient and are not willing to wait for God's time, we can begin to have problems with our prayer. If God does not answer in our time when we think He should answer us, we stop praying. The greatest grace we can receive and we should ask for is to seek Him in good times and in the times when we may feel or may not feel God's love or His presence. In one message teaching us to pray, Our Lady tells us, "seek God not according to your needs, but according to His love." This conversion in prayer means when we seek God only when we need Him, it is not enough. We become tired with our prayer and with God. Very often we do not receive what we ask in the time frame we ask it, and therefore, we grow tired and begin to think that God does not love us. When we begin to seek God because of His love, we shall never grow tired and shall want to seek Him more and more. It is the logic of love. When we love, we seek those we love and never grow tired of seeking those we love. God is promising us true love, true peace, true life and true light. Through Mary, God is calling us because She is the true Prophet and Queen of Prophets. In this world, there are many false prophets. When promises are made for a good life, without changing our life with and in God, this can be considered a false prophet. We can be false prophets to ourselves, to our children, the teachers to the students and wives to husbands. When we try to 'have it good', without trying to 'be good', this can be a problem. When we pray, when we seek God, He will reveal Himself to us. May those words give us consolation and comfort. Now let us pray:
Lord, we thank You for being our Creator. We thank You for the great gift of life. We ask You now to give us the grace to be united with You and make us free from everything that is disuniting us from You. We ask You to reveal to us Your will and the meaning of our lives. Give us the grace to understand Your love. We thank You, O Lord, for sending us the Mother of Your Son and for all the help You are giving us through Her. Give us the grace to understand that we have no future without You. You are everything to us and for us. O Lord, we ask you for grace and the inner strength to overcome every sin and make us free from pride, from jealousy, from envy, from every dependency of this world. Make us free from hatred, from fear and aggressions, from all negative feelings. Give us the grace to pray and in prayer to seek You. We present to You all those who have lost the sense for life, that they may make a decision for prayer in order to find the meaning for life in You and You alone. We pray for all who are sick that they may discover the sense of their sicknesses and their crosses. Give them, O Lord, this grace. We ask You now, may the sorrowful seek You and find You in joy. May those in hatred, seek You and find You with love. May those who are in 'death', seek You and find You as life. May those who have lost the hope, seek You and find You in hope. May those who are wounded seek You and find You to ask for healing from their wounds. May all those who are in conflict seek You as the God of Peace to be reconciled through You. O Lord, through the intercession of our Mother Mary, give us Your peace, give us the grace that we may be open to receive You as Yourself as You are giving us Yourself. We thank You for Your love and bless us in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
fra Slavko , San Marino, Italy
April 28, 1997
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