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
We learn to pray by praying, fasting and loving
The last three messages are typical: three weeks ago, Our Lady said : 'Dear children, at this time Satan wants to obstruct all my plans. Pray so that he will not succeed. I will pray to My Son so that you may feel His victory.'
The following Thursday, she said : 'You have felt the presence of Satan during this week. Do not be worried. God is watching over all of you. I have given myself for you and I participate in each of your trials. Do not be afraid.'
Last Thursday there was a strong appeal to increase prayer, especially by young people, to increase prayer and sacrifice. Our Lady repeated this yesterday evening both to the young people of the parish and to those who were present.
Ivan tells us that Our Lady has promised to give special grace to people who pray, fast and open their hearts during this time. Now she has asked for a heartfelt confession and a true participation in the Holy Eucharist.
Through one of the visionaries, Our Lady has told us of her 2000th Birthday. The Bishop has told us not to speak about this date until the Pope makes an announcement. You are to prepare your hearts. I am not to disclose the date and must not introduce any special Feast : you are to prepare your hearts.
The entire spiritual life Our Lady speaks of consists in the deepening of prayer. In these three years we can see clearly that we must deepen our prayer if we want to see our spiritual life deepen. It is a parallelism : to deepen our prayer is to deepen our spiritual life. Those who have abandoned themselves to God in their spiritual life have no difficulty to pray : prayer is sweet to them.
We learn to pray by praying, fasting and loving.
These are the three elements we can see on this path.
Another very important question is this : Many Christians behave like atheists. From the beginning we have seen people coming here who did not pray at all or hardly at all. Everyone complained "Who can recite 7 Our Father's , Hail Mary's Glory Be's ? But is it compulsory ?" We have seen that the Christian mentality is like this: to put God in the last place in our daily lives. When we speak of 7 Our Father's, Hail Mary's, Glory Be's, there are Christians who say "I have no time, I have to work, I cannot manage it .." But truly, when I stand before God as now and say "I have no time to say 7 Our Father's, Hail Mary's, Glory Be's ...." I feel ashamed. How can I be one of the faithful of Almighty God, Of God who is everything to me, and not have time for Him ? I am truly ashamed. When people say they have no time to pray I always tell them they have twenty-four hours a day, but they use this time for pleasant things. When we do not have time for God it means that we do not like Him; He comes last in our life. We have not discovered Him.
I will explain : prayer means searching for God.
The Gospel tells us that the most important Commandment is to love God with all our strength, with all our being and to love our neighbour as ourselves. How do two people behave when they in love ? They seek each other all day, they dream of each other because they love each other with all their heart. Time does not exist for them : I love you for five minutes, I look for you for five minutes - it cannot exist. If we look at our Christianity, if we are searching for God, it cannot be for five minutes, or two minutes. This cannot be. This is not true Christianity ... which is to love God with all our strength, to be in love with Him.
I have discovered a serious problem : we Christians have lost the need to pray. Man has certain needs : the need to eat, the need to sleep ; when I do not eat I feel hungry, when I do not pray .... I feel nothing ! A great many Christians feel nothing when they pray. They do not feel the need to. This illness is like a form of atheism. I have realised this now because I cannot live without God, because He has made me in His image and when I lose the need for Him, for God, then there is something sick inside me. If we want to pray, we have to make an effort. That is not a natural need if we have to make an effort. When we have to force a person to eat he is ill.
By a continuous prayer Our Lady wants to bring us to a desire for God. I must ask God before I go to work, I must speak with Him during my work and say :"Help me God, I want to be united with You and I want You to be in me." It is a continuous dialogue : to live in God and to thank Him when I have finished my work.
I have seen that this point of Christianity cannot be reached with today's mentality which only feels the obligation for a few prayers during the day. It is necessary to increase our prayers to reawaken our inner life, our heart, to desire God. I think what Our Lady said to Jelena in the Autumn is very important : 'I should be very happy if all families would start to pray and fast, to pray each morning and evening for half an hour.'
We cannot be nourished in two minutes : who can live eating for two minutes a day ? Who can live sleeping two hours a day ? It is not possible. We are in time and space. Our day must also have a time for prayer. It is my experience that if I do not pray in the morning, if I do not pray for an hour to feel myself in dialogue with God, I do not feel strong to live the day. I feel the need to be nourished in the morning, to be unburdened of all my troubles in the evening and to put myself in the arms of God like a child in his mother's arms. I see this need and tell you, from my experience, that Our Lady is guiding us towards this attitude to our faith.
People usually meet this problem : how to finish their work if they pray enough ? From my experience I tell you this : you will finish your work in a shorter time than before. You will have more time than before because you will not need to quarrel, to correct the children and take them to the psychiatrist and many other things ... There will no longer be any need because you will find an interior happiness from which the family will grow ; many things will disappear because we will no need them any more. Our work will also improve and will go much better.
What I want to insist on, with you, is that you really do begin to pray.
When people say : "I do not know how to pray " I tell them : "Everyone knows how to pray : open the Gospel, take the Rosary, these are sufficient for you. For the rest be guided by your priest." It has been clear as the sun, during this period, that prayer is a dialogue with God, speaking to God, without any special method of concentration.
When Our Lady speaks of this peace she is not talking about a technique - it has nothing to do with oriental concentration. Peace comes to us like a fruit after coming into contact with God and everything is in its right place. Inner peace comes when we know that God is guiding everything and I am immersed in Him and so I am able to continue. This inner peace comes by means of prayer and grace, not by concentration.
I will tell you about our experiences here : thousands of people have been changed in an evening. Many people have told me that they count the days since they first came here. It is a total change. Two weeks ago, a woman told me of a group that came here, including a man, an unbeliever, who had been in prison for for nine years. He did not realise where he was and strolled around the church with his hands in his pockets, and so he came into the chapel carrying within himself all his bad temper. As he entered the chapel he was shaken. He felt a terrible pain in his legs. He only just managed to get back to the pews and the pain increased in all his body. Profoundly shaken, at that moment he felt a voice from within saying : "I must do penance for many months and must ask forgiveness of the people I have offended in order to be able to participate here" and he clearly heard this voice within him saying : "no, now you belong to me." That evening he went to confession and is now doing a great deal of penance and prayer. There are other striking examples that pilgrims from every part of the world tell us of.
This peace does not come through concentration, nor tranquillisers ; tranquillisers do not bring peace, they are only necessary when people have lost God's peace.
I urge you to start praying.
The first grace you are offered here this evening is a good confession. When you are ready, I will recommend the Italian priests to organise your group for confession. There is no need to look for special confessors : place yourself before God and the priest. Leave everything to God and He will guide you.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 31st July 1984)