Fr Slavko Sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric from 1986.
1. Dear children, you forget that you are all important.
2. I would like the cross to also be a joy for you.
3. Pray in order to be able to accept the Cross.
4. We are once more invited to say our 'Yes' .
Sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric from 1986.
Contents 1. Dear children, you forget that you are all important. (26th April) 2. I would like the cross to also be a joy for you. (12th September) 3. Pray in order to be able to accept the Cross. (14th September) 4. We are once more invited to say our 'Yes'. (8th December)
1. Dear children, you forget that you are all important I will read to you last Thursday's message and try to explain it in the context of all the other messages, "Dear children, you forget that you are all important.
The elderly are especially important in the family. Urge them to pray. Let young people be an example to others by their lives, let them give witness to Jesus. Dear children, I beseech you, begin to change through prayer and you will know then what you need to do. Thank you for having responded to my call." The apparitions show us in a practical way how to go towards peace and how to achieve peace. I think all of us can find the answer to 'why am I here'? from this fact. Perhaps because I believe that this place, over the last five years, has become a place of prayer, of fasting, of re-awakening of faith, where peace is found, where it is possible to live reconciliation with God and other people. In her first five messages, Our Lady said "Prayer". Since last March, 1984, She has been giving us a message every Thursday. When we read these messages it can be seen that no message is without this strong invitation to "Pray". Naturally we must ask ourselves why there is this invitation to pray. If you read the messages you will understand the reason. Our Lady repeats many times, "Pray and
you will have all you desire", "Pray and you will have peace, a deeper joy, you will overcome your tiredness, you will have love, strength for reconciliation", and much else. Many people have discovered something very important here: that they can pray and that they have time for prayer. Many of us caught up in the hectic routine of our modern world lose the time to pray and may people excuse themselves, "I haven't enough time". It would be more honest to say, "I don't see the need for prayer." We can't see the value of prayer any more. Thinking of all of us who wish for peace, wish to love and be loved, it is true what Our Lady is telling us, "Pray and you will have all of this." And what do we do? We leave prayer, we haven't got time for it, we believe that we can resolve everything with our money, by our devices, and I don't know what else. This is a great mistake, also in the lives of us Christians. But when we discover the value of prayer, then we find the time for prayer and we start again to organise our life with God. This is our conversion. This is the significance of the words in the messages where Our Lady says, "Abandon yourselves, let yourselves be guided by me."
"You are too preoccupied with material goods, and in these goods you lose everything that God wishes to give you." In her last but one message, She said,
In other words, in the first place in your lives there is not God, love of God, or peace; material goods take the first place. Naturally, if we do not meet each other through our hearts, but with our money, our muscle, our heads, then conflicts and wars must follow. I would like to explain to you that
Our Lady has never spoken against our belongings, against our money or against our work, never. But She has spoken many times about changing our relationship with all our possessions and finding a new order of values in our lives. This is what the apparitions are for, to produce this new order of values in our life. God is not inviting us, through Our Lady, to lose something, but to change our values in the light of our faith. This is why Our Lady is always telling us, "Pray". Without prayer, this change is not possible. But not all prayer helps us to change our lives and to bring harmony to them. You know that Jesus told us not to pray as the pagans do, only with our lips, but to pray from the heart; seeking first of all the will of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and then all else will be given to us. Here Our Lady is inviting us to heartfelt prayer and asks that it be active prayer, that the words be active. She said, "I invite you once again to pray." What does heartfelt prayer mean? It means feeling the words of God in our heart and allowing ourselves to be moved by these words. Do God's words move me or not? What does it mean to me when God says, "I give you my love", "I give you My Body", "Here is My Word for you", and from the Cross, "Here is your Mother. Here is your son", "Be reconciled to your neighbour", "Love your neighbour, love your God above all else, love yourself, do not destroy yourself". If these words leave us indifferent and if we continue to find excuses it means that our prayer is not active, it cannot move us and we are closed. Or, in other words, what does the Cross mean for you in your family? When you look at it does it invite you to love and to reconciliation? Does it help you not to blaspheme and not to use swear words? Does it help you to love your neighbour? Does it help you to accept Our Lady? To pray or not? If we continue to behave selfishly in front of the Cross, if we affirm that we cannot forgive when someone has offended us, then it means that the Cross is silent and is no longer speaking to us. Our Lady, by inviting us to pray, wants us to be touched by God's Word once again, and not to be afraid in the face of these things. Like a Mother, Our Lady invites us, "Do this and you will receive all that you need." In one of her messages, She said, "I know that you want to live all that I tell you, but
you are not able to do so because you haven't yet started praying."
In this message too, we have an example of whether the word moves us or not: Our Lady said, "Dear children, you forget that all of you are important." These words said by Our Lady are serious. She is telling each one of us personally, "You are
important." Sometimes we talk about inferiority complexes in psychology; how many people, especially amongst the young, have lost the meaning of life, of sacrifice, of love and many other aspects and do not want to live life and so the way is opened for drugs, alcohol, crime and all that is negative. Our Lady says to each one of us, "You are important". I believe that these words must heal our soul and our heart of every fear and worry. We are important for Our Lady and important for each other. If we accept this and begin to live it, who will dare to hate someone any more, or with hate destroy someone? What parent will dare to fight or get divorced if they become important to each other, and if their children become important to them? Look how important what Our Lady is telling us is. In the Kingdom of Heaven no one can be idle because no human being refuses love.
So, if I make up my mind to love I will always have much to do. Do not complain that you do not have any work to do. You have work. Many people are waiting for your help, a word from you, and your presence. In this message we have an example, "The elderly are especially important in the family." Guided by this message, I often ask myself and I ask you too, when did we last tell some elderly person in the corner of our home, or in the family: you are very important? Perhaps because we have never said this they have lost every desire in life, and all joy in it. Many of them have lived in the belief that someone is of value if they work, and after retiring they lose the meaning of living, they lose joy, and they feel of no importance. Look at how Our Lady is educating us, how she wants to open our eyes to each other's needs. From my words, perhaps from the words of a young person, depend the parents' joy; and from the words of a parent depend the children's lives. So you see how important we are to each other, the life of another person can really depend on me, on you. If we discover these values life will change and perhaps we will have a new chance to discover and realise the nonsense of our fights, our hate, our envy, of our being closed and looking just for something for ourselves. Our Lady said for the elderly people, "Urge them to pray." These words must be understood in connection with the last words of this message, "Begin to change through prayer and you will know then what you need to do." Through this message, prayer is once again a way to discover that I am important, that you are, that each on if us is. Through prayer, we can discover what we must do. In her last but one message, She said, "Dear children, I want to guide you completely." Why say, I don't know what to do? I am frightened. If Our Lady tells us seriously, "I want to guide you completely", we must give Her our hand. I am sure that by coming here this is what you want to do. And now a few words for the young people. Our Lady is asking a lot from you. She said, "Let young people be an example to others by their lives, and let
them give witness to Jesus."
If you ask me how to give witness, I say "Try". How can you be an example for Jesus? By testifying. Jesus has invited us to live a life full of joy, of love for everyone, and life full of peace and a heart ready to bring peace. Jesus has invited us all to forgive when we are offended and not to be revenged; He has invited us to develop the gifts we have been given by God, and this is particularly valid for young people. You have many possibilities of developing them. In the life of a young person, all laziness, all letting one's self go is really a sin against the Holy Spirit. Our Lady has suggested two days' fasting and prayer; why? Not in order to annihilate us. If a trainer wants to get the young people in his team ready, he doesn't to reduce them to nothing, but to prepare them in order to have a good team for the new season. In the same way, Our Lady is asking certain things in order to prepare you young people to be able to face up to life, not to make you tired. We elderly can also be young on one condition, to be young in our spirit and soul. Someone who wants to renew his life doesn't lose hope, and even if difficulties come remains youthful. What does Our Lady want of us? She wants to help us to open our hearts to peace, be ready to live the fullness of life; then it doesn't matter how old we are.
We must be ready to open ourselves in prayer; as I open myself when I am with a friend, so I open myself to God. If I don't spend time with someone, I will never open myself up; and it is the same with prayer. Now I beseech you all to begin to change yourselves by prayer. I have already told you that Our Lady is asking for active prayer; this means that She is inviting us to be changed. If we accept the Word of God with our heart then it will speak to us. The condition required to accept it with a new heart is prayer. If you read the messages you will realise that this is repeated in other words in every message. But there is another important means available to us and that is fasting. It is a speciality of Our Lady. All our cookery recipes have become very complicated, but Our Lady has remained just as two thousand years ago; She has not changed the recipes of her kitchen which She is suggesting to us in our modern world where we have everything available. She says: the ideal is bread and water. But the stress is on bread. When we come to Italy we find your specialities and, when you come to Medjugorje, you find this speciality. Why? Our Lady is not asking us for fasting because She is happy if we are hungry. This is not so. This is the chance to live on bread and it is an aspect, perhaps the first which we should discover, the Eucharistic aspect of this fasting. By living on bread for two days a week we will discover how important bread is and by discovering our daily bread we will more easily be brought to realise our Eucharistic bread. This will come to us step by step, slowly. Fasting has its own value; it serves as a means, it serves us for our faith, for our prayer, for love and for reconciliation. In the Beatitudes Jesus said that those who are poor of heart before God are blessed. He did not say blessed are those who do not have anything, but those who are poor of heart. We can interpret this as meaning blessed are all those who feel a need for God. This is what being poor means, that is, open. Today, the editors of Spot (a local magazine) asked Vicka how Our Lady guides her, how she could describe Our Lady: friend, mother, unapproachable being from above; Vicka described her in the loveliest way, "Mary is Mother". Afterwards they asked her, "What do you like most about this Mother?" She said, "Her exceptional goodness and tenderness. She is a Mother who loves everyone and wants us all to be saved, the whole of humanity." I tell you this because we must understand that everything Our Lady offers us, She offers to us as a mother who has understood and taken seriously the words of Jesus, "Here is your son." She has kept these words in her heart. They are words which have moved Our Lady. If someone says, "She is asking a lot, it is not possible", we must accept. Our Lady loves us and this is why She is inviting us and I am sure that by coming here you will have understood and accepted her voice and will wish to continue. I am inviting you. Our conversion will never be finished. So, be patient with yourselves. Conversion means growing in love, in peace, and in the spirit of prayer and penance. Who of us is able to say that they have already grown enough, cannot love any more and cannot grow any further in faith? (Fr. Slavko Barbaric - 26th April 1986)
2. "I would like the Cross to also be a joy for you" In yesterday’s message Our Lady said,
“Dear children, during these days of the celebration of the Cross I would like it to also be a joy for you. Above all, dear children, pray in order to be able to accept illness and suffering with love, as Jesus did. It is only in this way that I am able with joy to give you graces and healing which Jesus is allowing me to.” We can well say that this message contains all that Our Lady said about the Cross. Our Lady wants my cross, your cross and suffering to become joy for us both. Let us ask ourselves, does Our Lady know, humanly speaking, what She is saying or is She perhaps an idealist who has forgotten what we are like? Each of us has some cross and suffering and Our Lady would like our crosses to become a joy for us - and if She so wishes - I believe we can say that this is possible. This is a very difficult message for us all, so we must ask ourselves whether from experience it is possible for the crosses which I have to bear to become, in fact, a joy for me. Our Lady wishes this to be so and her wish is not an empty one as ours so often are when we say, ‘I wish you well’, and perhaps we may have other feelings in our hearts. Our Lady wishes it. But let us read on in order to understand fully:
“Above all, dear children, pray in order to be able to accept illness and suffering.” Our Lady knows what we are like and it is for this reason that She tell us to accept with joy or with love, like Jesus, but She says,
“pray in order to
be able to understand and to accept.” Our Lady is not inviting us here to be a masochist or to rejoice in suffering. She does not invite us to look for the most difficult crosses but She invites us to pray and accept our crosses and suffering. I do not want to offend anybody who may in a special way be in great suffering, but Our Lady invites us to pray to pray and accept the cross with love. And now let us ask ourselves why? Not because we continue to suffer, but in order to get well again and save ourselves. So here Our Lady teaches us how to save ourselves from suffering, by praying in order to
“it is only in this way that I am able with joy to give you graces and healing which Jesus is allowing me to.” In this way be able to accept it with love;
both your suffering and mine can be accepted by you and me. Our Lady makes it a condition to pray in order to be able to accept the Cross, so we must pray in order that Our Lady may be able to give us these graces which are at her disposal through Jesus Christ. Our Lady speaks from experience, She knows the meaning of suffering and of the Cross and She behaves here like a mother who speaks to her son who must go into hospital for an operation. The child is afraid and does not want to go but his mother says to him, ‘You must go to hospital.’ What does the child see? He only sees the particular situation and is therefore afraid of the operation. The mother on the other hand sees the situation in its full context; she is pleased if she can find a bed in a good hospital for the operation because she hopes that after the operation the child will get well again. In the same way, Our Lady is not pleased when we suffer but invites us to accept our suffering in order that She may heal us. And here we must be careful. Jesus did not immediately accept the chalice, but said, “Father, if thou art
willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.” According to this message we may and should pray for healing, but after having accepted our suffering, always say ‘Thy will be done’. Our Lady knows that all our crosses and suffering can be changed into the Resurrection and She wants this. She once said, “Many people have begun to pray for healing here in Medjugorje but once returned home they cease praying, they forget and in this way lose many graces.” We must see here something very important; we set limitations to Our Lord; ‘ You must comply with my wish’ and if it does not happen on a certain day, we give up praying and do not live reconciled any more with Our Lord. We must have great patience. If you ask me what significance do these messages on conversion have, I would say that they invite us to be patient with ourselves and God; to have patience with our ways and let ourselves be guided. This message speaks in depth about reconciliation. We have all experienced suffering and have certainly asked God, why should it be me? Why my family? Suffering and the Cross has always been a great obstacle. You know the words of St. Paul when he says, the Cross is folly for many, but for all those who are called it is salvation and the wisdom of God. Let us ask ourselves how often we have borne a grudge against God because He has sent us a cross. To have a grudge against God means not to be reconciled with Him, with his plan for us and with ourselves, and thus so many times He cannot grant us all his graces. I ask you, when last was it that you have not accepted something from someone else with whom you are not at peace or with whom you were not reconciled? You refused to accept even the nicest thing from him because you tried to avoid it, to avoid meeting him or even greeting him. So if in the depth of your soul we are not ready to say in all circumstances, ‘Lord, your will be done’, as Jesus did, then Our Lord is unable to help us. Therefore, to be reconciled means to accept our life as it is, our limitations, family, parents, although we have not chosen them and many other things, not stoically, with indifference or disinterest but with love, in order to be healed and accept all that Our Lord offers us. With reference to the messages I would say that fundamentally this is the only way to peace; if we are not in peace with God we can never be reconciled to the world and people. This is a very important point but very difficult, as so often we have to say, with reason, that someone has offended us or not loved us, was not willing to forgive us, cheated us, and we then bear a grudge against that person. But if we wish to be in peace and serve the cause of peace we must be prepared to be reconciled in depth. This does not mean that it is a good thing that you made me suffer or offended me, no. It only means that it is not up to me to judge, but to forgive and I must not harbour any bitterness in my heart. I must be ready to accept you if you say, ‘please forgive me’. If we learn this reconciliation in depth through the messages, prayer and fasting, we are then on the right path to bring peace to the world. In the message before last Our Lady said, “I will be able to do everything with you, but without your help I
cannot”. If tomorrow you or I should receive a personal call, ‘Go and bring peace to that family or in your family’, ‘Forgive unconditionally’, but we are not ready to bring that peace, Our Lady cannot count on us. What can She do with me if I cannot forgive, if I am ready to start fighting with others?
I now tell you that there is no valid excuse if you say, ‘I cannot, he has offended me’, ‘he is very nasty’; there are no valid excuses. The only thing worth doing is to start to pray in order to be able to accept suffering and to live reconciled with it. And if someone should ask, what does Our Lady want of us, here is the reply: She wants you to accept your suffering with love, that you bear it with love in order to be healed. If you are a son or daughter who feels that your parents at home are a cross for you, or if you as a parent, mother or father, and because of their behaviour your children are a cross for you, here is what Our Lady says and wants from you; not that you go elsewhere to bring peace, but that you start in your family. Our Lady has invited us several times to start where we are. It is of no account how long the apparitions have already lasted or will last, the only thing that matters is what you will do about them. If we open our hearts to God we have understood everything and if not, then we have understood nothing, and Our Lady is very anxious for us to be able to understand. Well, thank you for your kind attention and I hope that during these days when visiting the hills of the Cross and of the apparitions, or just praying together with the other pilgrims, you will be able to experience that it is true that suffering can become a joy and that if we accept it with love it can be taken away from us in prayer. (Fr. Slavko Barbaric - 12th September 1986)
Pray in order to be able to accept the Cross
If we ask ourselves what Our Lady has said about suffering and the cross we will not find much except several references, for invitations. Once, it was Good Friday, She said in a message, "Do not be afraid to carry your cross, my Son Jesus is with you." Our Lady knows that we have the cross but She invites us to carry it, as we are not alone, "My Son Jesus is with you."
"I invite you to pray before the Cross because many great graces come from it", and She also Last year, before the Feast of the Cross, She again said,
invited us all to consecrate ourselves. Why consecrate ourselves to the Cross and how? Our Lady did not explain how, but we can understand what it means to consecrate ourselves. On this point we are helped by the tradition of the Church and the mystic experience of many saints. To consecrate oneself to the Cross and through the Cross to Our Lord means to abandon ourselves, to give one's own life. The following is very important with regard to consecrating ourselves to the Cross and that is to ask ourselves if this Cross speaks to me. In every Christian family and certainly also in your family there is a cross either on the wall or on your Rosary. How often do we swear in the vicinity of the Cross or behave badly, selfishly, with pride, offend others or do not want to be reconciled. If this is so and it is often so, this means that we are not consecrated to the Cross; that is the Cross does not speak to us, because the words of the Cross are always, "be reconciled, forgive, love unconditionally". If we have understood the Cross we have understood everything. But if we do not understand the Cross we will never understand anything of our life as a Christian. Our Lady wants us to understand the Cross because She herself understood it, not because She ran away from it, but because She accepted it, with her Son Jesus. In the last message She spoke about the Cross and about suffering, expressing a wish, "I wish that your cross may be a joy." If She so wishes, this means that it is possible. She never utters a word which is out of place; so if She expresses this wish, it must be possible for me and for you, your suffering and mine, and our crosses become a joy. She also showed us how we can do this, â€œEspecially, dear children, pray to
be able to accept the cross and suffering, with love". She does not invite us immediately to accept this, but to pray in order to be able to accept it. If we are sad or have many problems, much suffering or if we are desperate, perhaps at this point we are unable to accept this message. Maybe it will make us angry if one says, "Take your cross and accept it with joy and love." We may ask ourselves, when was it last that we prayed for the grace to accept the cross and suffering, with love, as Jesus did? This is the point we must understand, but can only do so through prayer. Our Lady is not happy when we suffer and is certainly not pleased when we have to carry our crosses. We should not feel afraid in the face of this invitation, "Accept with love your suffering." Our Lady wants to teach us a strategy by which we can bear the cross and suffering. We have already so often found false methods of facing suffering. So when we try to run away from suffering, from the cross, and we do not want to accept it, every cross we do accept becomes twice as heavy. By inviting us to accept suffering She shows us a path, a way for healing. In fact She goes on to say, â€œI can
only in this way give you with joy the graces and healing which Jesus allows me."
You see, when you accept suffering with love, as Jesus did, this is the final condition for being healed. I want to tell you something else in regard to perceiving two sources of suffering. One kind of suffering comes because we love and the other because we do not want to love, that is because we sin, because we hate. When one loves, this love is always connected to suffering and to the cross because love always guides us towards others and we always meet with so much suffering in others. If we love them we are bound to suffer, but this suffering makes us grow, helps us and the others too. For example, when a mother loves her child who is ill she suffers and the mother being with her child becomes a more mature mother and her love is purified. It is always like this. This suffering always accompanies love and at this juncture we can perhaps better understand the cause of Jesus' and Our Lady's suffering. Humanly speaking Our Lady says she suffers and the visionaries have seen her cry many times. Those in Heaven cannot suffer, but Our Lady tells us in this way that She loves us and wants to teach us about love so that we can understand suffering and be able to bear it and be able to help others to be saved by suffering. From this suffering which comes because we love, we cannot be saved because Jesus himself was not saved. But there is another kind of suffering. If somebody hates and does not want to forgive, what is this? Rancour. He can never be content or happy because hate destroys; he cannot bring life to us. This hate is dangerous because it personally destroys those who bear hate and do not want to be reconciled and these people then destroy others. Think of an alcoholic, one who drinks excessively, what is his suffering? How does his family suffer? it becomes a problem and the cause of much suffering. And is somebody takes drugs, how much suffering there is! Do you see the point? If only we Christians understood this suffering that comes from sin we would understand that we must leave sin in order to have love. I am telling you that when we possess love, suffering does not interest us any more, only one thing interests us and that is to love in every circumstance and every moment. And here today in celebrating the Feast of the Cross we should understand this point of Christian life. And so Our Lady invites us to come near to the Cross, pray before it and consecrate ourselves to it. And She is not afraid because She knows what significance the Cross and suffering had in her life and that of her Son. Our Lady has understood what her duty was; we are born under the Cross when Jesus said, "Mother, this is your Sonâ€? and then to the disciple, "Here is your Mother". We can well say that in that instant our Church and our community were born. As every mother, Blessed Mary wants to educate us and as Queen of the prophets She could not hide the Cross from us, She could not fail to speak about suffering and had to invite us to conversion, because all prophets had to do the same. Only the false prophets have promised peace and have not spoken of suffering or the need for conversion. Our Lady as Queen of the prophets invites us to pray in order to accept our crosses and with our cross and our suffering to be able to build a new world. (Fr. Slavko Barbaric - 14th September 1986)
4. "We are once more invited to say our ‘Yes’" Why these apparitions? Our Lady herself has answered this question,
bring you peace. I am the Queen of Peace.”
“I have come to
All this time Our Lady is with us is of no use if it is only to give us new invitations and messages, but it should serve to educate us in the search for peace. What does Our Lady do to teach us how to attain peace? What does She propose to us in order that we may be ready to achieve complete peace? Our Lady has given us several indications as to what we should do. It was not by chance that on the third day of the apparitions She appeared with the Cross. Marija said, “Our Lady came with a big cross and crying, She repeated three times, ‘Be reconciled’” On looking at all the messages and at what this one shows, Our Lady had to teach us about the Cross and sacrifice in order to teach us about peace. Our Lady has no complexes before the Cross. Many pilgrims have testified that they have seen the Cross changing, becoming whiter or taking another shape. Many said they had seen a statue in place of the Cross or near the Cross. The visionaries say that when Our Lady goes away they see the Cross, the Heart and the sun.
“Come near to the Cross, from it come numerous graces. Pray before the Cross”, and She also said about the Cross on Krizevac, “The Cross has been built according to the providence of the Lord. Pray before the Cross.” In her messages She said,
Why does Our Lady do this? What significance could this message have? The peace to which Our Lady invites us is a gift from God - it cannot be bought or sold, it can only be accepted as a gift. This peace is an invitation to open our hearts, to accept it as a gift from the Lord and afterwards to bring it to others. So, this peace requires a very deep reconciliation in us; in fact we can only make progress towards the advancement of peace if we are reconciled to God in every situation, and to others. The problem of reconciliation and peace is not that others are aggressive or may have offended us, but it is a matter of our forgiveness. The problem is not the wound, but our own egoism which is wounded - if we were as Our Lady, we would always forgive. To forgive is not easy, it is inevitably a cross; but only by forgiving do we receive peace and are able to grow in love. The Cross is naturally a symbol of the union between God and man with the two dimensions, horizontal and vertical. The Cross is also a sign of balance. In the image of Our Lady and the Cross we can feel the greatest invitation to reconciliation. We cannot be happy, we cannot experience joy and peace unless we are reconciled. Let us now see why wars occur, why all these disasters?
In today’s readings the Church proposes that we meditate on the first mother, Eve and the first man, Adam. Something convinced them that if they abandoned the Lord they would obtain something more. they would have become new masters. They believed in this promise from the devil. The Bible tells that the devil, the enemy of man, had promised them this. Having committed this sin and having lost the friendship of God, a great disaster followed - they were unable to love God any more or to listen to His voice and they had to hide themselves when they heard His steps because they had to accept the responsibility of what they had done. God asked them, “What have you done?” The man replied, “The woman you gave me tempted me” and Eve said, “The serpent deceived me.” So nobody was responsible, but it was a great disaster. And here, according to the Bible and according to our faith man was wounded in his entirety. From then on he had no peace either with God or with any creature. The vertical and horizontal dimensions were broken and there was no more any balance. God restored this balance again with man, and Our Lady shows us what is possible. I pointed out that Our Lady was created without sin, as also the first human beings who were not wounded by sin. The problem is not whether one is created with or without sin, but what do we do with all we have received. The Virgin Mary is today before us telling us how we can be saved, reconciled - with the Cross. As only through the Cross on which Our Lord died with love have we received the treasure of so many graces. If we now want to proceed towards peace, if we want reconciliation, to create in our hearts the state of Paradise, we have to confront ourselves already from today with the Cross, as an invitation to forgive. We cannot find excuses any more for not forgiving, we cannot say, “I am unable to forgive.” But when can we forgive? When we are anxious to do so, when it would be a burden if we did not forgive, when we see the Virgin Mary beside the Cross, when we feel in our hearts what Our Lord promises us if we abandon sin, if we give up sin and its attraction. It is for this reason, I believe, that Our Lady lets herself be seen Immaculate beside the Cross. She lets herself be seen by the visionaries as She is. They describe this to us and so we can once more with an earnest wish go forward. If we are ready to help Our Lord fulfil His plan of Paradise, then Our Lady invites us to something which seems to us impossible. We have today read in the Gospel about the Annunciation and this, not by chance. In fact the “yes” of Our Lady is the reconciliation with the Lord. With her “yes” Our Lady has made good the “no” of our ancestors. Our Lady, when speaking to the Angel did not altogether understand everything, but after having heard that with God everything is possible, said “Here, I am ready”. So to be reconciled, purified, today is a sign for us to say again with all our heart “yes”. It is not easy. It is not by chance that Our Lady said to us all, personally, “For Our Lord nothing is impossible.” When we speak to the visionaries we hear them speaking of Our Lady in this manner. Marija said, “I may come completely tired out to the apparitions, but afterwards I could embrace the whole world.” If in this Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary we could also feel a little the desire for an inner purity, for love, for peace, for reconciliation, then we will have made a big step forward, because already feeling that it is possible we will no more be afraid in the face of the Cross and we will not ask ourselves any more, “How is it?
How many times did I have to fast, how many times must I pray?” When we have understood what Our Lord is promising us in giving us Our Lady for all this time, then we will be full of joy and in trials we will no longer find ourselves in difficulty. Understand me well - we will no more have difficulties with our crosses because we will know that whatever happens in our life may well be for our own good. Our Lady repeated many times, “Pray in order to be able to accept the cross with love as Jesus Christ accepted it.” She also said, “Start doing all I am telling you
and you will not be sorry.”
I trust that your stay here in these days may be a sign to you and a reason for you all to be touched by Our Lady the Mother, in the depth of your hearts. Recently I experienced something very beautiful. An Italian boy said to me,” Father, I cannot recognise myself any more. When at home I so often miss Mass, it meant nothing to me. Here I do not understand a word but I feel so good. How is this?” I replied, “I do not know, but perhaps all I can say is that here Our Lady, with Her presence, has touched your heart and so now you feel a little more the presence of Christ even if you do not understand it.” I have told you that for a long time peace has been possible, since Christ died on the Cross, but we have become somewhat hard and we no longer wish for peace, reconciliation and love, with all our heart. We are witnessing a very special grace here if we start with an open heart. Your presence here is a clear sign of the wonderful work of Our Lady. I am also convinced that you will all receive a great purification now to enable you to continue following Our Lady. But do not forget that in the beginning Our Lady let herself be seen beside the Cross which is our goal. And the path is often hard, it sometimes becomes really a burden and we will feel weak, but this does not matter; do not forget the reason why and then all will be for your own good. Once Our Lady told us in a message,
“All the temptations that come from satan, all the difficulties, these can be converted to the glory of God and for your own good as long as you pray and love.” So I would say that this phenomenon of Medjugorje is a new beginning which Our Lord gives us, He presents Our Mother to us and says, “Look how Blessed Mary was, not however so much because of her strength, but because of the grace with which She collaborated.” It is as if He were saying to us that we can also become like Her. Our Lady once said almost the same thing, “Give me your hearts, I want to change them and make them become like my Heart.” This means that my heart and your heart can become like the Heart of Our Lady. How is this possible? How is the heart of Our Lady? A faithful heart, a heart which has more room for the Word of God in which love and peace can grow. The Heart of Our Lady is a Heart that loves, that does not tire, that did not tire, that will never tire because it is a loving heart. At this moment is my heart perfect? Or, who can say: I am so worn out that I cannot bear love in my heart anymore? Nobody can. We can all begin to open our hearts more and in
so doing, Our Lord can continue to do His work. This is an invitation, Our Lord’s plan - that we become as our Mother. A fortnight ago Our Lady invited us in a message to consecrate ourselves with love. And so this invitation to the consecration is the same thin as when She invited us saying,
“Give me your heart as I want to change it according to my Heart.” Because the word ‘consecration’ is not an empty word, but means - I become sacred, saintly with One who is already holy and I entrust myself to Him on my path. This is the first meaning of the consecration - I give my hand and my heart to Our Lady who is holy in order to attain holiness. When we consecrate ourselves another very important thing takes place. In the earthly Paradise, after sin, man had to hide himself, he was left alone. Consecration means that I come out of my solitude, I am no longer alone, but with someone who is my mother, sister, my brother, my all. So you see then, if we want to start again with the Blessed Virgin Mary, or continue, let us consecrate ourselves. Today it is possible - we are once more invited to say our “yes”. it does not matter what our life has been like up till now, Our Lady never asked how we were before. She said,
“Open your hearts, Our Lord wants to purify them.”
In order to be purified one must also have the courage to go to confession and with humility to accept one’s own truth, one’s own weaknesses, recognise one’s own selfishness, pride, and not to abandon one’s own responsibilities saying, “I do not Know who is responsible, whose fault it was.” Because this is only a repetition of the words Eve said, “I am not responsible.” We must have the courage to say, “yes, I am responsible for peace, but I am also responsible for strife in my family, in my community, in the Church.” It is not easy, it is the Cross. It is not always easy to fast, to renounce sinful habits, but if we do not forget the reason why, all will not only be easy but also sweet. Let us look at the life of the many saints. In his testaments, St. Francis said that all things before his conversion that were sweet now become bitter after having discovered Our Lord, whereas the bitter things had become sweet. Here we cannot pretend to take the bitter thing for the sweet and vice-versa. We see here a process, a growth. So, in showing herself beside the Cross, the Blessed Virgin speaks to us today about our responsibility and invites us to utter our “yes”, even if we do not understand, even if our past has been really disastrous. So today we can start again. I hope this can help you to understand a little that this feast is a new beginning with Our Lord. The other has been a failure. This has been successful because a woman had the courage to say “yes” and by saying “yes” She became the Mother of the Messiah and on becoming the Mother of the Messiah, She became mother of us all. When one becomes a mother one starts to cultivate life and to cultivate life means to prepare for peace.
Our Lady was alone. She said “yes” on her own. Look how many we are here. Let us again say “yes” and without doubt next year there will be an explosion of peace and reconciliation everywhere. (Fr. Slavko Barbaric - 8th December 1986)
Sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric from 1986