The Family in the Messages of Our Lady Queen of Peace
Date: July 21, 2005 , Originally published November 10, 2001
Author: Dr. Fra Slavko Barbarić, OFM
Category: Priests of Medjugorje , Theology reports
Content of the article
Praying the Rosary in the Family and Time Spent in Prayer
On Sept. 27, 1984, Our Lady says, "I request the families of the parish to pray the family rosary". The prayer of the rosary is, in itself, a uniting with Mary and Jesus in Their joys, Their sorrow and Their glory. In this union, the family grows with the Holy Family as its model. Each person, as an individual, every family and each community seeks their model and their ideal. As the rosary is prayed in the family, the adults praying with the children, the old with the young, the healthy with the sick, they have before them the exemplary lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. To live this concrete union as a family with them means to have a new daily inspiration for mutual love and respect for the children as well as the parents. This is how one learns to live joy, to carry the cross and the pain in the family and comes to experience the resurrection. In the message of November 1984, Our Lady tells us that a family needs to put prayer in the first place and must not permit work and everyday obligations to suffocate the spirit of prayer. In that same message, She invites us to a renewal of prayer because work had suffocated prayer completely.
Only when we come to know the situation in most of our families as far as prayer is concerned, do we understand why Our Lady stresses that prayer needs to be put in the first place. Is prayer not in the last place in the majority of the families, if it has not disappeared altogether? How many families pray only when all the daily obligations are finished, when everyone is exhausted and can barely do anything else other than watch TV? The true response is to begin the day by praying together, but most families believe this to be practically impossible. Because of late TV viewing, the morning time is lost in the family. A lost morning is often a lost day, and an unrealised encounter in the morning disables other encounters during the day. In accordance with the deepest nature of man and family unity, there would be nothing more natural and normal than morning and evening prayer together. In the message of August 25,1995, Mary invites the family to begin its day with prayer, and to finish with the evening prayer which needs to be a prayer of thanksgiving. Therefore, the content of the morning and evening prayer is clearly set. In the morning the family decides individually and communally for God and His holy will, decides to pray that in every man we may meet God and that in everything we do we fulfil His will. In the Morning Prayer, we need to consciously and thankfully accept the new day as a great gift and place ourselves at the disposition of God and mankind.
In the evening prayer, we must express our thankfulness. Everything that we do during the day has been made possible in its entirety by the love of God. We must give thanks in the evening. Thanksgiving means to acknowledge that it is God who gave us the gifts. By thanking God, man struggles against pride and against the danger of attributing to himself the credit for what he has done. For gratitude belongs to God and to the others. This means to recognize Gods work in our life and in the lives of our families and to be completely conscious that it is a gift. Thanksgiving is the deepest expression of trust and faith in God. Whoever gives thanks acknowledges that everything good comes from God. In the same way, whoever is thankful can truly repent, because he can easily understand that he gambled away Gods gifts and followed his own will rather than the will of God.
The family that prays together in the morning and spends the day in love, in peace, in mutual respect and in successful work, will progress spiritually. With this spiritual progress, it will be able to live out all of the values, which adorn a family. In the same way, it is important that at the end of a day a family reflects together over the events of the day, thanks God for the good and repents for what was wrong and sinful and that the family members forgive one another for any offences and misunderstandings. These are the conditions for peace in the family and for a peaceful sleep. Whoever in the family goes for his night's rest, and has not made peace and forgiven cannot rest because a wounded soul cannot find rest for itself if it has not first come to a reconciliation and an acceptance of others with love.
To renew family prayer means to renew the meeting with the heavenly Father who loves us immeasurably through His Son, Jesus Christ. Drawn by the love of Christ, the family will, be able to understand and accept even the heaviest of crosses and sicknesses through prayer (January 25,1992). The crosses and the sicknesses will then bring forth great peace and togetherness.
To speak with the Heavenly Father means as much and much more than to speak with the earthly father in a family. A family that lacks open communication among its members loses the foundation and the basic expression of its togetherness. Our Lady again, calls to a renewal of prayer in the message of March 7, 1985.
In the December 6, 1984 message, Our Lady repeats Her invitation to family prayer, and She reproaches us for not having listened. In that same message, She reminds us that She does everything because it is God who sends Her and She speaks to us in His name. Whoever does not listen to Her call does not listen to God who sends Mary in His name.
The problem of the parish community not listening to Mary is repeated in the message of February 14, 1985. This causes sadness in Mary’s heart and a repeated invitation that the families listen and must pray in the family. The expression 'must is very rare in Our Lady’s messages in Medjugorje. Looked at from the perspective of methodology and education, this expression does not hamper the response with love nor does it bring Mary's patience into question. Instead, it explains Her great desire to help families live in a real contact with God.