Medjugorje Grey Book
Open Your Hearts to MARY Queen of Peace
Other languages: English, Italiano
Date: November 7, 2006 , Last update March 1, 2008
Author: Dr. Fra Slavko Barbarić, OFM , Fra Tomislav Vlašić, OFM
Category: Early Medjugorje Reflections Books , Books , Priests of Medjugorje
Content of the article
This book is the first of the four volumes of sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric and Fr. Tomislav Vlasic during 1984 - 1987 in Medjugorje, and contains talks given from Easter until December 1984.
All chapters of this book are now included
I understand that you want continuous prayer
I have spoken of the peace that God offers, of peace that is beyond all human means, peace that comes from the supernatural life of man.
There is no reason, therefore, to be surprised because Our Lady always asks for prayer as a means of reaching peace. At the beginning of the apparitions in 1981, she once said: “By prayer and fasting you can even dispel wars.” Therefore, we must understand this theme: prayer is the only means of reaching God. No saint has ever become a saint without prayer and fasting. The Church has never renewed herself in spirit without prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting stand at the centre of every religion and, for my part, I say that one of the faithful who knows how to pray, knows how to believe.
Prayer is only active faith; I will lead you to what Our Lady says about this through what I have heard from the visionaries. In the beginning, they told us that we should recite at least seven Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s, Glory Be’s and the Creed every day. Our Lady said: “Christians who do not pray are no longer believers.” In the Autumn of 1983 she said: “I would be happy if families started to pray each morning and evening for half an hour.” When I told this to pilgrims they shook their heads. In May, 1984 Our Lady said : “I know that all families in the Parish could pray for four hours a day. “ I replied that if I told people this, they would turn away. Through Jelena, Our Lady said: “Not even you understand it is only a sixth of your day you are not able to understand it because you think of living by your work alone.“ In another message in the Autumn, 1983 she said : “You do not live by your work alone, but also by prayer.” I replied ; ‘ I understand that you want continuous prayer.’ She did not answer and is content that we pray continuously. I want to explain what is meant by praying continuously. I have talked about a parable several times; two people in love are always seeking each other, they wish to live together, they are always dreaming of each other, they think of each other all the time, they write letters to each other because they are in love. The fundamental Commandment of Christianity is really to be in love with God: to love God with all our might and our neighbour as ourselves. Prayer is a continuous searching for God if we want to understand it.
Radical Christianity means to be united with an in God always. Prayer means searching for God. Many people pray but they do not search for God, they move their lips, they say prayers, but they do not search for God. Searching for God means going towards God from the depths of my heart, desiring what God wants, asking for His Kingdom to come, asking to be able to understand what He wants, asking for His Strength so that I may do what he wants. many people come to shrines to ask for something for themselves good health, solution to problems and so on ... but they do not search for God. This is an example : today I was with a girl who has been an invalid for seventeen years. In the Autumn, 1981, her mother and brother carried her in their arms towards the church as she could not walk by herself. Near here, in front of that little bridge, she saw a beautiful Lady who said to her : “Come here, I will heal you.” From that moment, she has been able to walk six or seven kilometres with a stick but is not completely healed. This morning she told me : ‘Our Lady did not tell me that I would be healed immediately. I understand that I must suffer for the salvation of souls and do not worry about my health. I prefer to save a soul more than anything else in the world and do not worry about my health but only pray for the salvation of souls.’ This is an example of how a person starts searching for God and the Kingdom of God. Jesus has told us : “Search first of all for the Kingdom of God and the rest will be given to you.” Many people want to receive the fruits of faith but do not search for God. It is like wanting to cure a fever without wanting to cure the illness; we must search for God. What does this mean ? We Christians do not look for God in the air; we know God. We know where to find Him, we are able to know everything necessary about Him to follow this path ; it is all written in the Gospel. We must search for God in the Gospel : it is very simple, everyone can understand it if they want to and so our task in prayer is to open the Gospel, meditate on the Word, accept it and put it into practice. This is Our Lady’s way : she accepted the Divine Word and gave life to It.
I want to show you how to search for God. To begin with, we are not searching for God because every day we say :’I have no time for God.’ Or in other words : You are not worth seeking for. If we have a friend who can resolve a problem for us, we go to see him. If we believe in God Our Saviour and we do not look for Him it means that God is a lost value for us. When people say they have no time for God, I reply : ‘You are really an atheist : you have time twenty four hours each day you have time to sleep, eat, pray, joke, gossip ... but you have no time to pray. If God is the least important factor in your life, then you are an atheist.’ We must prepare a new timetable if we want to meet God ; we must set a time for God during our day and not allow it to be taken from us. I also say this in convents, because these elements of prayer have been lost there, as well. I recommend all of you, in your families to find space for God in your homes as well as time for prayer to God. When you return home, I would like you to put God in the place of the television. it is most important for children and everyone else to have a room for meditation where there is a visible presence of God a cross, perhaps or a statue .... and where He can be adored. If you want salvation then free yourself from the mad rhythm of your towns you must have time and space for God.
Now I will give you some messages repeated to us by the visionaries in order to take us forward in our prayer. I already gave you this message yesterday : “Pray, fast and leave everything to God ... “, leaving everything to God really means to attain the salvation and peace Our Lady speaks of.
Another message is : “If you want to be very happy, lead a simple, humble life, pray a great deal, do not delve into your problems but leave God to resolve them.” Remember, pray a great deal because many problems will disappear on their own.
Another message was given on Holy Thursday, 1984 : “If you want to be stronger than evil make yourselves an active conscience; that is pray much in the morning, read a passage from the Gospel and root the Divine Word in your hearts and live by it during the day, especially in your trials, and by evening you will be stronger.” This message has meant a great deal to me and I now realise that, according to this message, Christians grow because their inner strength increases all the time. People who pray as a habit or who pray in fragments do not reach an inner resurrection but go round in circles: they are strengthened a little and then fall, they are strengthened and fall ...
If a person is charged with Divine Strength in the morning and continues to increase it, in the evening starts again, then the strength increases and this person is continuously growing. It seems to me that often we Christians do not want to use our spiritual medicine : if there are quarrels in the home, I must open the Gospel. What does the Gospel tell me ? We must root the Divine Word in our hearts and pray to Our Lord so that this Word may become life in us and grow within us and bring us fruits. The nervous person must seek the Word for himself, the impatient person must do the same and each one of us, every day, must find the Word for himself in order to grow. If we choose the Word that can heal us every day, we will reach a complete personality in God and so we will be able to live the presence of the Redemption.
Many people ask me : ‘How can we be recollected in this frenetic life ? ‘ and I want to indicate a way to you. Remember, first of all, what I have already told you: find time for God, make space in your homes for God, discover God as the greatest value: God is the Only One Who can resolve all my problems. I will search for Him .... Then there is another point : during this time Our Lady has stressed a fruit which must always follow prayer. This is the peace which must be created before prayer as recollection. Pray with peace and recollection. Our prayers must finish with a great sense of peace.
I want to remind you of what Jesus taught us : “Our Father ....” Pray very slowly, not hastily as you usually do. Pray like a child secure in its mother’s arms. When you want to pray, sit down so that your body is at rest because, if all your muscles are tense, prayers cannot be said with recollection. Try to sit or kneel down, calmly .... For the first few days, try to sit abandoned to God with your eyes closed. Offer every part of your personality to God, really unburden yourself and give God everything that weighs on you. In your mind place all your problems before God, then when you are abandoned to Him, start listening to the breathing within you. You must enjoy it because it happens not through our efforts but only through God. Remember Jesus with peace and invoke His Name, really savouring that Name and feeling its peace within you. Start to pray calmly and you will learn how to pray.
There is something else. People come here as though they know how to pray already but only very few people know how to pray, to search for God. To be able to know how to pray, we must make many sacrifices. I will tell you something if you want to follow me: start to pray today, tomorrow and the next day, pray all day; pray, pray, pray. You will receive an inner gift. Prayer cannot be learnt by techniques, but only by praying. Once I asked Our Lady, through Jelena: ‘Dear Mother, how was Jesus able to pray all night without becoming tired ?’ She replied: “He had a great desire for God and the salvation of souls.”
Prayer is a great desire to reach God, so start to desire and search for God and you will reach prayer. You must recognise this if you want to achieve this great attitude to prayer. Those who want a life of Christian prayer cannot be satisfied by brief prayer. It is a mistake when people say everything they do is prayer. Only a person who prays a great deal during the day can say this, not a person who never prays during the day.
Increase your prayer: you cannot live if you only eat for two minutes each day, you cannot live if you only sleep an hour a day, you cannot live a Christian life if you only pray five minutes every day. I am ashamed when I think that there are Christians who do not even pray five minutes a day and they call themselves Christians. How can God be my priority when I behave as if He were last ?
It is my experience that I cannot live my day well if I do not pray for an hour in the morning, if I do not search for God. Soon I get tired and turn to God again in prayer during the day so as to be with Him. In the evening I must withdraw for an hour to unburden myself and to find peace.
If you want to make progress, you must increase your prayer, you must give many things to the poor because you have many unwanted objects in your homes which prevent you from praying. Those who have many clothes must clean them and look after them. Those who have many possessions must worry about these. So we must empty ourselves, to be open towards the poor and other people, sacrifice many things in order to be able to pray.
Listen, I now want to tell you something practical: try not to talk too much outside the Church now, but instead increase your prayer, do not even lose a minute of prayer; I would be pleased if nobody comes to the Presbytery to ask questions or to look for holy objects; use your time for prayer.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic 3rd August 1984)