Fr Slavko Sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric 1984.
Contents 1. The complete rosary 2. What does it mean to recite the rosary? 3. Give all your worries to the Lord 4. I am your Mother, my beloved ones, and I have come to teach you to love. 5. If we have not understood the Cross, we will never understand anything of Christian life. 6. It is necessary to start praying, to start with Our Lady 7. Invoke Jesus in your hearts
Sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric 1984.
Contents 1. The complete rosary 2. What does it mean to recite the rosary? 3. Give all your worries to the Lord 4. I am your Mother, my beloved ones, and I have come to teach you to love. 5. If we have not understood the Cross, we will never understand anything of Christian life. 6. It is necessary to start praying, to start with Our Lady 7. Invoke Jesus in your hearts
1. The complete rosary During the past months and past Thursdays, too, the messages have always had the same meaning as the very first message. You know it: the first message is: "Peace" Our Lady said:
"I am the Queen of Peace, I have come to bring peace to the
world". To obtain peace, therefore, we must be converted, have faith and fast. On 14th August, the Eve of the Assumption, Our Lady appeared to Ivan in his home after prayers, in a special apparition, as he was not expecting to see Our Lady, and gave an
"I would like everybody to pray with me as much as they can at this time. To fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays and to recite the rosary every day, meditating on the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries." important message:
By this message we can see what Our Lady wants of us. At the beginning, Our Lady asked for seven Our father's and we knew that this request was only the start. A start in the sense that all of us can begin, without any excuses, the Creed and Seven Our Father's. But 'THE CREED' does not just mean reciting it, there is a deeper meaning: a daily dedication to Our Lord. You should know that the apparitions are never new revelations and it is not possible to expect anything new from the content of them but they must be understood as a new impulse in order to drive us on. When we talk of 'peace, conversion, faith, prayer, fasting, sacramental life and confession each month' this is only a fruit to make us put the old message which we have known for nearly two thousand years into practice, because the first words of Jesus were: 'Be converted, do penance, pray and believe the Gospel. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.' The practical side of the apparitions is always this stimulus and the first stimulus is the Creed which amounts to our daily choice for Our Lord. We say seven Our Father's every evening with the visionaries but this is only the ABC to help us learn to read; it is necessary to read in order to learn to read. This means that when we start to pray we must continue to do so and to increase our prayer. Prayer can be defined as a life with Our Lord. Meditating on this message of 14th August when Our Lady asked for the "complete rosary", I realised what she wants from us: a permanent prayer. I will explain this to you. When Our Lady asks for the complete rosary every day, this does not mean finding half an hour each day, reciting the Hail Mary's as quickly as possible and then telling ourselves that we have finished the message. No. The sense of this prayer is another. To recite the entire rosary of all fifteen mysteries means being close to the mysteries of life of Jesus, to the mysteries of the Redemption and to the life of Mary. If you want to pray in the sense of this message, it is not a question of finding half an hour for prayer; another type of behaviour is needed. For example, if you have no time for prayer in the morning, meditate on a mystery, a joyful one, for example.
"I am ready to do Your Will. I understand what You want from me. I am ready and allow myself to be guided by You." This is the first joyful Our Lady said: mystery.
If we want to deepen our prayer, we must keep the Word in our heart; so that a readiness to look for and to do the Will of Our Lord every day may grow in us. After we have allowed the word of God to enter our heart and, by grace, our heart becomes ready to look for and to do the Will of Our Lord, then we may pray ten Hail Mary's for ourselves, our family, the people we work with or study with. So our first impulse each day must be: â€˜I want to look for Your Will and put it into practice.' If you want to continue to pray and to follow Our Lady's message, take another mystery, for example: how did Our Lady visit her cousin, Elizabeth? What significance does this have for us? Our Lady is attentive to others, she sees their needs and visits those who need her time and her love. She brings joy to Elizabeth. This is a concrete stimulus for you: to pray every day that we, too, may be ready to do the same: to give time to those who need us, to see, to help and to bring joy. This is the way to meditate each mystery. When we do this for five or ten minutes each day, we are then ready and close to the mysteries and always have a new stimulus to live our life with Our Lord. This is the most important factor in the message. If we want peace we must pray and so prayer is only a means of finding peace once more, of meeting Our Lord. I am convinced Our Lady is not asking for so much prayer just to take up our time, but to lead us to Jesus, to Our Lord. This is an indirect invitation to read the Scriptures because the rosary is a meditative, biblical prayer and it is not possible to meditate on the rosary well without knowing the Bible. Every Thursday, Our Lady gives a message to the Parish and to everyone. This is the latest
"Dear Children, I need your prayers. Some of you ask the reason for so many prayers. I will tell you. Dear Children, look at what is happening in the world and you will see a great deal on sin reigning there. Pray that My Son may overcome." message:
"Do not ask the reason for so many prayers. There is a great deal of sin in the world." Our Lady explains this to us:
She invites us to help fulfil the plans for the whole world she has started here with us.
"The Devil wants to destroy my plan, but I urge you: pray. I will pray to my Son that He may win." Look, if somebody asks me: 'how can I find so much time for prayer, for the Two messages given this summer, those of July and August, are very important:
whole rosary or, for prayer to contemplate the mysteries?' I reply: ' I have realised we do have the time but, as we often do not see the value of prayer, we say we have no time.' Each person who smokes finds time for twenty, thirty or forty cigarettes a day. If we say: 'I cannot find time for prayer'; it would be better and more honest to say: ' I do not see the value of prayer'. This is an invitation from Our Mother, an invitation which must bring us peace. If we want peace, I believe we must find time for prayer.
"Dear children, without prayer you cannot have peace, so pray much before Cross for peace." This message was in In another recent message, Our Lady said:
direct connection with the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross which we celebrated last Sunday which is, by tradition, the first Sunday following Nativity of Our Lady. This invitation is valid for all of us: to pray for peace every day in front of the Cross. (Fr. Slavko Barbaric 15th September 1984)
2. What does it mean to recite the rosary? What does it mean to recite the rosary ?The rosary is a meditative, biblical prayer, and when Our Lady asks for the rosary, she wants us to come closer to the mysteries of the life of Jesus and her life too, so that we may come closer to the mysteries of the Redemption. Prayer is life with Our Lord, not just words for Our Lord. So it is not enough to say one hundred and fifty Hail Mary’s, but to dialogue with Our Lord. Our Lady recommended the entire rosary
“Dear Children, pray and fast wholeheartedly: do not let fasting or prayer become a routine, a habit amongst you. Many have started to pray and fast because everyone is doing so. Pray with your heart.” She told the Parish: “Thank Our Lord, by fasting and prayer, for allowing me to remain with you for so long.” To recite and pray the rosary means looking for a real stimulus for and said:
our own life in each mystery, it does not mean just saying Hail Mary’s, but to deepen our prayer. We can begin with ten minutes each morning for one mystery. The first joyful mystery, for example: I am ready to do Your Will. Our Lady said: “Thy Will be done; Behold the
Handmaid of the Lord” (Ecce ancilla Domini). When we contemplate the Annunciation we really must take time to do so; to contemplate means looking for the significance of the Will of Our Lord for me today. Where does Our Lord want me today? What does Our Lord expect from me today? Where can I do Our Lord’s Will today? If we do not take time to pray in this way there is a danger that our prayer will become just lip prayer. When Our Lady asks us to contemplate all the mysteries that the Church gives us in the rosary every day, she wants the life of Christ to speak to us, to mean something to us. The moment in which the Word or a mystery of the life of Jesus or the Madonna starts to speak to us, our conversion has begun this signifies a change in our life and our behaviour. When Our Lady tells us : “Pray with your
heart”, this is one of the biggest problems not a problem of knowledge because we know the message as the world has known it for two thousand years, but we have become like deaf and blind, we no longer search for Our Lord. Our Lady wants Our Lord’s Word to begin to speak to us. I will give you an example: in every Christian family there is a Cross. Many times what do we do in front of that Cross? We do not forgive others, we quarrel, we blaspheme ... the Cross is the Word for forgiveness, love, sacrifice, eternal life. If it does not mean anything to us why do we have it? When we look at the Cross new impulses should be born in us for our life with Our Lord and with others. This is the experience of a man. He started to fast and pray with his wife and children, but his prayer was distracted, as was his first experience of fasting. He told himself that he had never taken to heart the words of the Gospel heard in church, and as he continued to fast he felt that the Word would not leave him in peace any more. But all of a sudden he knew what to do. He has been quarrelling with his brother for many years, but suddenly felt free to go to him and make peace. Without fasting, he had been able to be a Christian but, at the same time, quarrel with his brother. Now he realises that the Word of the Lord requires a radical change on his part. I believe that this example shows us that this must happen to all of us: the Word must start to mean something to us and start to change us. This means conversion as it is meant in the message of Medjugorje, changing our lives according to the Will of Our lord which can be found
in His Word if we listen with an open heart. Our Lady has explained in a message why she requests so much prayer: â€œDearest, I still need your prayers. If someone asks me
why they must pray so much, I tell you: look around you a little and you will see many sins. Pray that my Son may forgive.â€? Our Lady invites, not only to change our lives, but to pray, to help, so that the plans of Our Lord and her plans may be fulfilled. Our Lady has made us responsible for peace by asking us for continuous prayer and a more radical life with Our Lord. Who can bring us this peace? Only human beings, people with a new heart who are capable of forgiveness and making peace with each other. Peace is not possible without forgiveness and reconciliation. Who can forgive and make reconciliation? It is difficult to do so and you know that many times it is easier to give money rather than to forgive. Our Lady says that prayer and fasting are the means by which we can start to search for Our Lord in a radical way. (Fr.Slavko Barbaric, 6th Otober 1984)
3. Give all your worries to the Lord "Thank you, dear children, for offering up all your worries about the fruit harvest; Our Lord loves you while he is testing you. Always do the same when you have worries: always offer everything up to Our Lord. Thank you for following my call". Last Thursday's message was this:
This message tells us three important facts from the theological and practical point of view. Our Lady leads us to Our Lord, to Jesus, saying: "Our Lord loves you." She has repeated many times: "I love you." In a message for Jelena she said: "If you knew how much I love
you, you would cry for joy." These short messages show us a pure Mariology; Our Lady tells us: "Our Lord loves you even when He is testing you; give all your worries to Our Lord." This is said especially for those priests who ask themselves what is happening at Medjugorje and perhaps are sceptical. For me, as a priest, this is a criteria of authenticity because Our Lady's only duty is to bring us to Jesus, to Our Lord. She behaves in all the messages as she did at Cana in Galilee where she said: 'Do everything He tells you.' She always shows herself as the simple handmaid. She said something else of great importance to our people
"Thank you for offering all your worries about the fruit harvest to Our Lord." People had many reasons to be worried as they picked the fruit recently because the here:
vines and everything else had been destroyed by heavy rainfalls. Our Lord and His Mother see this, too, and console us: do not be worried. In March, through Jelena, Our Lady said: "Every
Thursday, during the Adoration, meditate on the passage from the Gospel of Saint Matthew 6,24 up to the end of the chapter." This passage tells us that we cannot serve two masters. A decision is necessary, a choice. Another thought here is this: look at the birds of the air, the grass in the field... you cannot lengthen your life by worrying, so abandon yourselves to Our Lord and He will guide everything. The third fact is to search first of all for the Kingdom of Heaven. Father Laurentin commented on this: Our Lady has adapted herself to the smallest things in our lives and tells us not to worry because she knows that the vines have been destroyed by the rains, but to remember that Our Lord loves us even when He sends us trials. This is an example: you have done well in giving your worries to Our Lady and always do this when you find yourselves in similar situations. There were more than two hundred priests here on Saturday and one hundred and fifty-two celebrated Mass together, there was a large assembly and, through Marija Pavlovic, they asked if Our Lady had a message for priests. Our Lady answered: "Dearest Children, Our Lord
has permitted me to gather you here: always work with the Holy Spirit and always pray before you start work." In a message at the end of September, Our Lady said: "Thank you for helping me by your prayer and fasting because my plans and my projects are being fulfilled; but continue to pray so that all my plans may be fulfilled." I spoke to the visionaries, as I do every week, and asked if they know anything about these plans and if they are allowed to tell us anything about them. They said that they know about them but are not permitted to say anything.
In another message, the Madonna said:
"Our Lord has allowed me to gather you
here" which means that Our Lady has a plan. My coming here to Medjugorje, also yours and that of father Tomislav, is part of Our Lady's plan. There is a great plan but we cannot see it all. For me, working here, only one thing is important now: to do everything I can today. I have learnt what it means to abandon oneself to God and to let oneself to be guided because, many times, we have found ourselves in a situation without a solution but then realised that there was a solution, a new attitude to learn: abandonment to God. Several times we have been given the messages when we found ourselves in a difficult
"Why are you worrying? Pray and fast; I will guide everything." There is resistance here, of course. Twice this summer Our Lady repeated: "Pray because the Devil wants to destroy my plans." We have always situation:
felt the attacks very strongly several days after she has said this. This is the direction in which Our Lady is guiding us we must learn, and on the one hand, to pray and fast and, on the other, to abandon everything to Our Lord, all our difficulties because He really does know everything. Our Lady has told us many times that He knows; that He knows our life and that He loves us she is asking us to allow Our Lord to do what He wishes with us. In this sense, we are able to see what is meant by conversion. Our Lady has told us to pray with our heart when she asked for the complete rosary. What does it mean to pray with our heart? It means allowing the Word to speak to us and when this happens then our conversion has begun or is continuing. Our Lady has not come to give us new messages: "Peace Conversion Faith Prayer Fasting" , it is all in the Gospel. The first words of Jesus were: 'Be converted'. We do not need the apparitions at the level of revelation or new truths, but they are to enable us to see these things in a practical way and to stimulate us to put them into practice. Our problem is not that we do not know what to do, but the
"Many people have started to pray, but pray with your heart. Do not allow prayer and fasting to become a habit, a routine for you. Many have started to pray and fast only because others are doing so." She said to the Parish: "Thank Our Lord for allowing me to stay with you for such a long time." We were following Our Lady's call when we began to difficulty to do it. Our Lady said:
pray, but in praying we must deepen our prayer. If our prayer remains at lip level, mere words, then we are not doing Our Lord's Will and we are not following the invitation to prayer because Our Lady has said: "with your heart." This means allowing each word and sign to speak to you and move you. For example, in every Christian family there is a Cross, and the Cross is the Word of forgiveness, love, sacrifice, eternal life and a total abandonment to Our Lord; but so many times in our homes and communities we quarrel, do not forgive, do not seek for reconciliation and behave in an egoistic way. Let us ask ourselves: what significance does the Cross have for us then ? The Cross is the Word, but if we look at the Cross without feeling in our hearts what significance it has, we have interrupted our path to conversion. Conversion begins when the Word begins to mean something to us again. When Our Lady asks us for the rosary she is not just asking us to say one hundred and fifty Hail Mary's in half an hour or forty minutes, but wants us to become closer to the mysteries of the Redemption and the lives of Mary and Jesus. To become closer to the mysteries means finding a real stimulus in each mystery for our everyday life.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation today or tomorrow and you lose patience, why not stop for ten minutes and meditate on how Jesus carries His Cross, for example? In this way, a real situation can bring us to, and speak to us of, Our Lord. If we lose patience because it is a difficult cross or situation to bear, we should find a short time for prayer, to look and meditate on how Jesus behaved and to find in the mysteries a solution to our problems. If we contemplate how Our Lady visited her cousin, Elizabeth, for example, what does this mean? Our Lady sees a situation, the need, goes to help and brings joy. In contemplation this mystery, if I find the Will of Our Lord for me, for example, is to visit an ill person, it means that I am continuing to pray, that I have prayed and that The Word has spoken to me and moved me to go out and act on it. Prayer is not only a word to Our Lord but is life: prayer must become life and life must become prayer, so prayer becomes permanent prayer. If we link our work to our prayer and prayer to our work, we will receive inspiration in our prayer and our work will inspire us to pray. This is possible, but if we cannot achieve it today, it does not mean that we will not be able to do so in a month's time: we must begin as we are able. By eating an appetite comes, by praying prayer also comes. When Our Lady asked for seven Our Father's in the beginning, she has shown that she wants permanent prayer from us. Our Lady does not theorise about prayer but gives concrete advice suited to the people she is speaking to. To tell people here 'become closer to the mysteries of the Redemption' does not mean anything, but to tell them to 'recite the rosary' means a great deal. It is in this way that we can recite the rosary all day and so start permanent prayer; this is the reason I did not tell you to find thirty minutes each day to say one hundred and fifty Hail Mary's, but to pray all day. Sometimes I say that every smoker finds time every now and then for a cigarette, so why should not every good Christian find time for prayer in certain circumstances during the day? This is the prayer which is connected with my active life, but prayer has another dimension as well, an inner one, in my life with Our Lord. It is here that I receive the deep peace Our Lord wants to give me, peace for abandonment to Him, as He asked for in the Gospel of St. Matthew, 6, 2434, as I have already told you. (Fr. Slavko Barbaric 17th October 1984)
4. I am your Mother, my beloved ones, and I have come to teach you to love. Every Thursday, Our Lady gives messages for the Parish and for all the pilgrims. Last Thursday,
"I beg you, during this period, to renew prayer in your families. In the name of Our Lord I have given you many messages, but you have not followed them. If you listen, if you follow my messages, this Christmas will be unforgettable for you. If you do not follow them, do not allow this day of joy to become the saddest day for me!" After every message Our Lady says "Thank she said:
you for answering my call." What does this message mean? You can understand it by these happenings at Medjugorje during the last forty-one months: Mary has decided to enter into every family and wants to be accepted as Mother. She says in a message: "If you have not
listened to my messages, the day of joy will become the saddest day for me." In what sense does she say this? Like a Mother she wants to gather us together in peace and love. If a son or daughter is missing from home a mother will be sad. We must understand the message in this sense. Each of us is in a way responsible for whether Christmas will be a day of joy or not. Our Lady, like a Mother, has entered into our life and families, into our Church. On 8th May, Our Lady asked all of us to be consecrated to Our Lord. This means: 'I accept you as my Mother and let you enter my heart, my family, my community or where I live.'
"Dear Children, you do not yet know how to love and you do not know how to listen to the messages with love, the words I give you: I am your Mother, my beloved ones, and I have come to teach you to love, to listen with love, to pray with love but not just because you have difficulties or crosses. You glorify Our Lord with each of your crosses." At the start of this time of Advent Our Lady said:
A new liturgical year is beginning and we see that Our Lady, as Mother and teacher, tells us:
am your Mother and I have come on earth to teach you to love." There is one question which is valid for all of us here in this church or in the world; who of us can say they have finished this school of love and know everything? None of us can say this, I believe. Love is something dynamic and we cannot say today that we loved yesterday and that is sufficient, this is like saying that we breathed yesterday; we must breathe today as well. It is a hard school that lasts all our life long. If Our Lady has so much patience with us, our hardness and the hardness of our heart, then I believe that we are held to follow her. Our Lady is not coming to us because she has nothing else to do in heaven: she loves us all as Our Mother and in many messages has told us:
"I am your Mother, and I am the Mother of everyone: I
love you all." "Dear Children, you are a chosen people and Our Lord is giving you many graces. But you have not yet understood: I have nothing else to tell you but this: pray, pray, pray. By prayer you will understand my love for you and the love of Our Lord." In a message in November, she said:
Our Lady behaves like a mother who has prepared a large table with much to eat and drink but who sees her children in the corners of the home complaining: we are hungry, thirsty, in trouble, have no peace... The mother tells them to come, look, everything is ready, to come and be seated together and eat so there will be no more hunger and thirst ... but peace for all. So, everything is ready, Our Lord has given us everything. If we wait, then it is partly our fault. Let us open our hearts!
"You do not yet understand the significance of the messages I have given you, which Our Lord has given through me. Pray to the Holy Spirit that he may illuminate you and that you may understand." So pray to the Holy Spirit. You will remember other messages about the Holy Spirit: once Our Lady said: "You ask for many things: ask first of all for the Holy Spirit and if He comes, everything else will be given to you." In another message in November, Our Lady said:
"Today I ask you, dear children, to read the Bible. Put it in a prominent place in your homes so that it may be a stimulus to you to read it and to pray." This was said on the Feast of Saint Luke the On 18th October, Our Lady asked everyone:
Evangelist, who has written much about Our Lady, that only she could have told him: her dialogue with the Angel and her prayer, the Magnificat. It is very important for us to know that Our Lady asks us for the entire rosary (the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries). Without knowing the Bible, we are not able to contemplate and meditate well. Our Lady asks us for these mysteries, not just to make us recite one hundred and fifty Hail Mary's each day and then to say we have finished! This is not the sense of the rosary. In a message, she said: "Pray with your hearts." This means that, by contemplating the mysteries of Our Lady's life and those of Her Son, Jesus, we come closer to our Redemption. For example, if we say 'let us contemplate the second joyful mystery', we meditate on how Our Lady visited her cousin, Elizabeth. This does not mean just knowing that Mary visited Elizabeth, but Our Lady wants us to use her example to find a real stimulus for ourselves during contemplation: who is waiting for us today, who is waiting for our help, our time, our words, our consolation? We have contemplated well if we act according to our prayer, so prayer continues. Reciting the rosary with our heart means for each mystery, searching and finding real stimulation for our daily lives. If you cannot forgive someone or find it difficult, why not meditate the fifth sorrowful mystery: Jesus forgives everyone. If we contemplate this mystery with our heart, we will find grace and be able to forgive and make peace: our conversion has begun when the Word makes us act. Jesus once said: My Word is like a sword, it will never leave you in peace while you are in sin, while you hate or are unable to forgive. The Word will not leave you until it has brought forth fruit. This is what it means for all of us to begin with, so take your time and your prayer will grow. Prayer comes by praying not by theory about prayer. Prayer comes by praying as an appetite comes by eating. To say that we do not know how to pray does not mean that we should not begin: it is but an excuse. We must find time, take up the Bible and the rosary. Start and you will see! (Fr. Slavko Barbaric 8th December 1984)
5. If we have not understood the Cross, we will never understand anything of Christian life. Another message at the beginning of this time of Advent, tells us that Our Lady has come to teach us love: "You do not yet know how to love, you do not yet know how to
listen with love. I am your Mother and I want to teach you something very important." At the beginning of the liturgical year, Our Lady gives us the task of: "Love." At this point, we must ask ourselves a deep and intimate question: if Our Lady had said once more "there will be a catastrophe" how would we behave? If Our Lady says:
"You do not yet
know how to love" has this moved us or not? If these words do not move us it is a sign to us that we see our physical life as more important than our spiritual one. We can pray or not do so, be converted or not, but one day we all must die and this will be our catastrophe. When Our Lady tells us: "I have come to teach you to love" this means that she has come to preserve us from the most dangerous death, the death of our soul. These words must move us. Another very important fact is that Our Lady wants to bring us to the Cross. In two messages she has said: "Pray a great deal for peace in front of the Cross." Our Lady knows what significance the Cross has. She is educating a prayer group with Ivan and sometimes tells the group to pray the joyful mysteries together, the sorrowful mysteries two by two in the group, but for the glorious mysteries she says:
"Go to your homes and pray in front
of the Cross." The Cross is the most important Word Our Lord could tell us. What does the cross of illness or suffering mean? If we have not understood the Cross, we will never understand anything of Christian life or of the life of Jesus. We have to pray a great deal in front of the Cross and meditate on It. Our Lady was poor in front of Our Lord, she said to the Angel: Behold the handmaid of the Lord. This is the summary of the whole of the Bible. By these words Our Lady showed that she understood that a Servant of the Lord would come Who by His Life and Love would save the world. Others were waiting for a political saviour. As a poor handmaid, Our Lady waited for the Servant of the Lord. To become the Mother of Our Lord, she had to understand the Cross and she wants us to understand It, too. You can see how much the visionaries suffer; they are with Our Lady every day but still suffer. It is suffering for Jacov to live without his parents and so is it also for Ivanka. Vicka has been ill for so long and now also Marija! I can see that suffering exists in their lives, but in a different way because they bear their crosses with joy. Our Lady wants us to learn this, too. We will not be spared our crosses and our suffering, but Our Lord will give us strength. Our Lady has come, as Jesus did, not take away all the suffering of the world, but to show us how to live with it. As the Apostle says: 'to those who love Our Lord all suffering will be worthwhile.'
"Read the Bible, put it in a prominent place in your families so that it will be a stimulus to you." We see Our Lady wants to bring us to the Bible. She has said:
the Cross and the Bible so often and can have a hundred Bibles in our homes, but if we do not look at them with our hearts they will not give us an impulse for reading and prayer; if we want them to do so, we must begin with our conversion. Conversion means letting ourselves be moved by the Cross and the Bible which is the Word given to us. Many times in our family life
in front of the Cross we behave badly. If the Cross and the Bible do not mean anything to us anymore it means that our spiritual life is dead. When Our lady asks us to fast she wants to lead us to the life of the poor. She is not asking for hunger from us, but for a deeper life, purified from every sin and evil. A poor person is able to believe and to abandon himself to God, because he will never put his hopes in the material world or earthly goods; he will never tell someone who does not need them. A poor person is open to God and to his fellow men and this is what matters. Our Lady knows this and this is why she asks us to fast twice a week. A French journalist told me today that he had not heard any more about Our Lady giving messages containing threats or similar warnings. I explained that all the secrets remain. Our Lady has not said that they will not come about, but has told us something important: "By
your prayers and fasting you have helped the fulfilment of my plans." What can the plans of a mother be for her children? Only plans of good and peace, but Our Lady added:
"Continue to pray and fast so that all my plans may be fulfilled." Our
Lady wants to save not only us, but the whole world when she gives us the means of prayer and fasting into our hands. We are all responsible and I understand this responsibility now more than ever in my life. We are all responsible for each other and for everything which happens in the world! Yesterday I told you to appreciate every act of forgiveness; even if it is only forgiving a swear word, if you have shaken hands to make peace, it is a great step... peace is like a house, it is built with small stones, stone by stone it becomes a house, and forgiveness by forgiveness will make a new world. You have heard this today in the readings: Isaiah, this voice from the desert, tells us to lower these hills. These hills and valleys are my hand and your hand, your heart that no longer knows how to forgive. If they are full if grace and love then Our Lord can come. The prophet Isaiah and John the Baptist did not mean that we must lower our Monte Krizevac, the Italian Alps or the Apennines, but we are thinking of our hearts which can be higher than these hills and wider than all the valleys in the world. In this sense, too, we must understand Our Lady's last message:
"You can say that my joy at
Christmas lies in your hands." Like a Mother she wants to have everyone seated at the table in peace and love together. The road of love is a great and long school that lasts all our life. (Fr. Slavko Barbaric 9th December 1984)
6. It is necessary to start praying, to start with Our Lady There is a general message: THE PRESENCE OF OUR LADY FOR EVERYONE. The Second Vatican Council defined Our Lady as 'Mater Ecclesiae': Mother of the Church, and we are the Church. This presence of Our Lady is the strongest message of Medjugorje and this presence is seen in the daily apparitions. These daily apparitions are a problem for many people: how can it be possible? I would never have believed that is could be possible, but I see that this is what Our Lady is doing because, for forty-two months, with absolute certainty, the visionaries say: 'We are seeing Our Lady' in front of everyone, from the Bishop down to the last pilgrim who comes here. I would never have thought it possible, but I can see what is happening and that this is the way Our Lady has of saying "I am with you." Consecrating ourselves to Our Lady, as we did on 25th March this year (in the whole world), means: 'I accept you as my Mother and keep you in my life.' To keep Our Lady in our life means allowing ourselves to be taken to Jesus because this is what Our Lady wishes. She behaves as she did in Cana in Galilee when she told Jesus that the family had no more wine and said to the servants to do everything Jesus told them. I am sure Our Lady did not know what Jesus would say to the servants, but she knew He would say something to save the family. It was important that the servants did as He told them. This is how Our Lady is behaving here: she comes and invites us to search for Jesus because she wants us to find Him. Many times she has said:
"I need your prayers, help me !"
A person of responsibility in the Pentecostal Church told me here that he was afraid to come to Medjugorje because Our Lady has not yet been given a place in their churches, but after coming here and seeing what is happening and that at the centre of the apparitions there are the Eucharist, the Cross and Jesus, he was able to accept the apparitions. This is very important from the ecumenical point of view. Our Lady tells us:
"I am the Mother of everyone." She presents herself as the
handmaid of the Lord who wants to help for the salvation of her children. A famous Franciscan sculptor was given money in America for a statue of Our Lady at Medjugorje. He came here and told me he had the time and the money but wanted confirmation from Heaven: if Our Lady permitted him to, he would make a statue, but if she did not want it, there was no one on earth who could persuade him to do it. The question was asked through Marija Pavlovic and the answer was: "Not mine, but that of my Son (the statue) and let yourself be inspired by the words 'Come to Me all of you who are weary, I will restore you.' "He was breathless and said he would make the statue of Our Lady's Son with her permission, but would also make Our Lady's statue without permission from Heaven. We can see that Our Lady shows herself as the humble handmaid who wants to be of use for our welfare and for our heavenly salvation: "I am with you, but fast and pray so that
you may have peace." "Dear Children, I invite you to take a real step for Jesus, bring flowers. I wish every family in the Parish to bring a flower as a sign of abandonment and for each member of the family to In the last message before Christmas she said:
have a flower on the crib so that Jesus may see your abandonment and come." Like this Mother who loves us, we must prepare ourselves for the coming of her Son. In another message Our Lady said:
"I am with you also in your sufferings." Vicka
told me that Our Lady had been present during her forty-five minute operation which took place at 4.00 pm. A young man was in the room after the operation and Vicka was still under the effects of the anaesthetic when, at 5.45 pm, she woke up, without an alarm, and had an apparition lasting five or six minutes. Immediately after the apparition she was under the effect of the anaesthetic again. The young man told me that if only he had had a video recorder it would have been the proof of all those who still have doubts. This apparition during Vicka's operation is a message for all of us. Our Lady said: "You do not yet understand: if you
want to understand my love and Our Lord's love, you must pray." By this message she has told us something very important about prayer which is, not saying a Hail Mary to someone who is in a corner of our life, saying a Hail Mary or a Glory Be in the morning or evening and then going about our usual life; prayer is something else. Prayer is being together with someone who is listening to me and replying to me. Prayer is this communication. If we remain at a level of just asking for something, we are not praying. Prayer means taking time in the way we find time for a friend who comes to visit us and not allowing ourselves to be disturbed until we have finished our talk with him or the time we have dedicated to him. So it is in prayer, Our Lady will show herself little by little if we want to pray in this sense of prayer. We must take time. I have asked you if you can do without the telephone and all the rest for an hour, or a quarter of an hour, in your families in order to pray and to be with God? If you say you are distracted and cannot pray .... It does not matter, you are distracted, but you have never looked for the place to pray. So continue or begin to pray but find both the time and the place to be able to pray. I think that we are all very busy, but we will always find excuses if we have not discovered that the whole of prayer is 'what does God mean for us.' Nobody can convince us: we must begin in in order to find out. A few months ago, I read some statistics about the hours spent watching television in France: a percentage of families watch television for eighteen hours each week, that is three hours each day. And we say we have no time to pray. We will not have time until the day in which we rediscover prayer. Prayer is being together with Our Lord. Our Lady asks us for the Creed which means decision. We live in a world full of atheism so how can we begin? There is a personal practical atheism and an organised atheism. The practical atheism of the Christians is more dangerous for the Faith than the organised type. We must start to pray, to start with Our Lady who us asking us for Faith. Practical atheism means that I have everything and do not need Our Lord: I know Our Lord exists but I have everything. It is the most dangerous atheism for the Faith, for peace and for love. Our Lady is asking us for the whole rosary as well, all the 15 mysteries but not just to make us say one hundred and fifty Hail Mary's and then say that we have to do this again tomorrow. She is asking us to become closer to the mysteries of the Redemption, to become closer to God and to other people. The first joyful mystery means allowing Our Lord to enter our life, into the intimacy of our life as when Our Lady said: 'Behold the handmaid of
the Lord.' The meaning of her visit to her cousin Elizabeth is: 'I am bringing the Lord to those who are waiting for me and to whom I have to go.' Each mystery should be said in this way. To pray with our heart means to find the answer for myself and this must drive me to search for reconciliation and to forgive. If the Word does not urge me to act, I remain with my sins.
Conversion begins when, on hearing the Word, I start to put it into practice. Our Lady visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and if I contemplate this mystery, it means that afterwards I must know who is waiting for me today, which sick person. This is the meaning of reciting the rosary. Fasting is something else. Fasting means 'eating' not 'not eating'. Many people think that when we fast we do not eat anything. This is not so, we eat bread and Our Lady has asked for bread and water. People have asked me if it is possible to fast on tea rather than water. Of course. Why is Our Lady asking us to fast on bread? I believe there is a deeper reason: Our Lady is not asking us to go hungry, but to live a life of the poor. A poor person as Our Lady, is open to Our Lord and to mankind. Practical atheism means: I do not need you. If we start to live one or two days like a poor person with just a piece of bread, little by little, a process of purification starts whereby I become detached from the material world and my egoism, and open myself to God and to others. A person who is poor in spirit forgives easily. One who is proud, for example, tries to vindicate himself, whereas a person who is poor in spirit tries to make peace; a person who is poor in spirit can never say to Our Lord he does not need Him. A proud person, full of himself, can say to Our Lord that he does not need Him. Our Lady's teaching is quite radical but is quite possible to practice. It is radical, not in wasting our time in prayer or making us live on bread, but in order to prepare us. Prayer and fasting are indispensable means for reaching peace, faith and to be able to abandon oneself to God. The experience of not needing much when we fast, serves us and helps us to understand this passage of the Gospel that Our Lady requests every Thursday. She said: "Every Thursday meditate on the Gospel of St. Matthew 6, 2434 during the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament." This passage tells us that we cannot serve two masters: or Mammon (money) or God. It is the same, when at the beginning the Madonna asked us to recite the 'CREED', which means to take a decision. For all else: look at the birds of the air. Why do you worry? For all your worries and fears you cannot prolong your lives: abandon yourselves to God and search first of all for the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven consists in this: if I am open to God, if I am able to forgive, if I look for peace, if I love others, If I help as much as I can... this is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Fr. Slavic Barbaric 29th December 1984)
7. Invoke Jesus in your hearts Our Lady said: "I am your Mother. I have come to teach we look at Jesus as a living Child. He becomes poor, even smaller
you love" and at this time
He becomes daily bread and enters into our life. He has done everything: now it is up to us to open our heart Jesus comes in the Host: He has come. How many times do we receive Holy Communion without thinking of Who has come, Who we have accepted! Invoke Jesus in your hearts We have prayed and sung for two hours. Now enter into the depth of your hearts. Invoke Jesus with faith and when we are all united in love, in faith, let us pray for the sick It is thus that Our Lord can make signs amongst us Many times, as we know from the Gospel: He cannot do anything in the way He did at Nazareth because we do not believe Jesus Himself said: "I cannot do it, because you do not believe" So all these prayers prepare us and open our hearts. Now abandon yourselves in real communication with Jesus. (Fr.Slavko Barbaric, 29th December 1984)
A collection of sermons and discourses given by Fr Slavko in 1984