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
Peace is the root of all life
I believe that most of you have come here to search for God. I say this because pilgrims often seek something else but not God .... a cure, perhaps, graces, but not God ! This is wrong ! The Gospel of Matthew says : "Look first of all for the Kingdom of God and all the rest will be given to you ..."
During this meeting, I would like us to set out towards God and in these three days I would like to develop some themes that will bring us to a deeper purification. Today is the Feast of the 'Pardon of Assisi' and I want to set out with you to obtain this Pardon.
On 2nd August, 1981 everybody here saw 'the sign of the sun'. This phenomenon has been repeated several times, but not to all the population. On that day the visionaries had another experience I do not think any of you know about. While they were in a wood praying with forty or fifty people, Our Lady appeared. When the people saw the visionaries in ecstasy, some of them asked if they could touch Our Lady. The visionaries asked Our Lady if this were possible and she replied : "Yes". One after the other they drew nearer and some of them felt the presence of a being. After the apparitions, Marija started to cry. A man asked her the reason why. She replied : 'Because people have made Our Lady all dirty.' She explained that when some drew close to Our Lady and touched her they made her garments dirty. Then Marija asked Our Lady the reason and Our Lady replied : "Those who live in sin have dirtied me. Tell people to go to confession and to make amends for their sins". From that day onwards (three years ago) many people have been to the priest to confess their sins and make amends. I would like you to start from this experience : that today each of you start out towards the purification of your souls and the garments of Our Lady. By this picture and experience we can see the effect of sin. Today is the Feast of the 'Pardon of Assisi' and I asked you if you wanted this pardon. You replied : "Yes, we wish to achieve it."
I will give you an example : we have very little water here, but this does not mean that a lake of water does not exist underneath us. In fact, it is said that under this arid earth there is water, that lakes exist in the whole area.
So it is with spiritual life: God offers Himself with infinite love and the Church wants to offer us pardon. However, pardon cannot be taken just like that, by going into a church and taking it. This is a deception. The Church asks for confession, not a ritual confession but a real opening of ourselves to God. This is why I want to develop this theme with you so that you will be able to make a true, deep confession, in order to obtain this grace offered to us by God. The visionaries say that the peace Our Lady speaks of here is the principal message. We must see how Our Lady and Scripture interpret it and how we can reach it. When we go to confession, peace does not come about only through a rite; peace must achieve a reconciliation between myself and God, myself and my neighbour, and I must be reconciled with myself. Many tense people are not reconciled with themselves, with their neighbour, not even with God. Whoever quarrels with himself, quarrels with God. Whoever is discontented with himself, quarrels with others. Whoever is not at peace with himself, who has not accepted himself, cannot accept others either. Whoever quarrels with his neighbour, quarrels with God in prayer and is not content with his life. In order to achieve reconciliation and forgiveness, it is necessary to reach them in all reality; between myself and God, my neighbour and myself, and to find reconciliation within myself. In this way I am able to accept myself in the Divine plan as God wants it to be.
In order to see what we must achieve I will put before you the message of peace, as the visionaries have given it to us. They describe Our Lady as a most beautiful person ; there is a smile on her face, a sweet gentle face full of peace. She never scolds, never gives orders, never gives punishments, never menaces. A certain journalist from 'Domenica del Corriere' wrote an article in exact opposition to the messages of Our Lady - his article was full of menaces.
Our Lady has never menaced. She has a sweet gentle face that is full of life. She never scolds. She is like a bud about to blossom. That is how I think of her. Peace is like this.
Little Jelena says: 'Our Lady does not like to speak about sin and Satan because she has lived everything in a totally realistic way from the very beginning.' When Our Lady has to speak about sin, she appears to be weeping and says : "Do not think about wars, evil, punishment, because if you do you are on the road towards them. Your task is to accept the Divine Peace, to live it and to spread it."
We are called to achieve a face like Our Lady's : a face that shines from the heart, a gentle face, full of forgiveness and joy. Jelena tells us that Our Lady says : "Christians make a mistake when they look to the future because they think of wars and evil. There is only one attitude to the future for a Christian : the hope of salvation." From this message, you will see that peace is hope, peace is joy and certainty. And you will see that peace is the root of all life.
We are not talking about political peace here; political peace comes as a consequence of an inner peace, like the root from which all fruits derive.
When people arrive here for the first time, they are still on a superficial level and are disappointed because they want to see some exterior happening, they want to ask for something superficial for their bodies. However, if we remain always on a bodily level only asking for cures, solutions to problems ... we are only on an earthly level. If an earthquake occurs everything is destroyed ! We must change this level, live a deeper one.
Soon I will undergo my catastrophe ... and you too : we will all die. This is our catastrophe but we behave like people who will not undergo this catastrophe. We want to be secure on this earth - this is the root of our fears and problems. I may undergo my catastrophe on the road, in hospital, by an atomic bomb - it makes no difference. Something deeper exists. I am talking about the experiences of the visionaries here where they have spoken of Heaven and of Paradise. Three of them have told us of an experience they had of being taken up to Heaven and living this reality for several minutes. I am telling you about their experience which I felt in my heart - this is the fundamental root which we must live. My death is not the end of me, it is not an evil or punishment but a transition. This is the root of Christianity : death and resurrection. This is the centre.
Every Mass celebrates this event : the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. If we set out to participate in this Mystery, if we live by this root, we will be able to be in peace. But if we want to build our house only on earthly things, all will be destroyed.
Our behaviour and our attitude to God in our daily life, bring us to this reality : if we behave like people who want to live on this earth for ever, we will never obtain Our Lady's peace. If we begin to behave in a radically Christian way in our lives here, and to offer ourselves totally to the Kingdom of God, we will also obtain peace on this earth. This is why Jesus says: "Seek first of all for the Kingdom of God and everything else will be given to you." This is important to enable us to start living a Christian life. It is important, too, for another reason. If you want to have a blessed life personally, in your family and in society, begin with the Kingdom of God. The fruits will follow. A plant can only bear good fruit if it draws water ; we cannot expect good fruit from dry earth.
The important fact is the call to peace and to open ourselves to God and to His Kingdom, to enable us to live this true Christian life. It is also important because, in this way, we will be able to purify all the shrines which have often become shrines of superficial and fanatic pilgrims. Take that article in 'Domenica del Corriere' - instead of bringing peace it brings wrong facts, brings fear and menaces. Many Christian pilgrims accept the message of peace but speak of wars, in this way bringing war into souls instead of peace. This is why Our Lady says, through the visionary : "Your task is to accept Divine Peace, to live it and to spread it - not with words but by your life."
I have spoken to you about this matter so that everyone can make a confession which is neither superficial nor ritualistic. We can start out today, and if we do so, tomorrow we will be closer to having peac, which will become richer and richer, and we will be able to go forward in our spiritual life.
I want to tell you what I have discovered from the pilgrims during this time ; some things which may be of use to you for your pilgrimage. People have transformed confession into a rite, just a rite. I often used to give a picture of domestic life to explain this : a broken washing machine does not work well and the clothes are still dirty when they are taken out. It seems to me that we Christians often make a confession like that, we go before the priest but we continue to live with a dirty soul : we do not change because going to confession once a year is just a habit. For me this is a sick kind of behaviour. If a person has a high temperature he goes to a doctor at once for help. A person who is sick in his soul waits for a year and does not feel the need to be reconciled to God, does not feel the need to be united with God - he has not discovered the reality of confession and the reality of life.
Jesus offers Himself in every Mass in the Holy Eucharist. People stay outside the church or at the door and do not move towards the altar. This is why there is not real peace in them and in their families.
If we want to understand and to obtain this peace I am speaking about, it is necessary to deepen our confession and not to remain at the level of making a list of sins, but of truly confessing. We must deepen our life and bring everybody to try to reach peace there and to search for peace. There is a great deal to say to each person individually about this path because each one of us has his own road. I have met other problems, too, I want to talk to you about. I have already told you about that of reeling off a list of our sins. There is a sin that's never confessed. I have never heard Christians confess it and this is the sin of putting God in a corner, like something of no use, something old. Look carefully at what it means not to entrust oneself to God each day, not to pray to Him. It means putting God in a corner, not relying on Him in prayer, in thanksgiving, in our requests ...
There is a scientific, sociological and political struggle, but do we seek God's strength to overcome the evil ? Or is God rather for five minutes only each day, something superficial and of secondary importance in our lives ? If this is so, we must face up to this problem, this sin.
We have often heard through the visionaries : pray, fast and leave your problems to God. This means abandoning ourselves totally to God, seeking Him each day to find rest in Him where everything is in order and at peace. When we meet God and put Him at the centre of our lives then we will be able to expect this reconciliation within us and with the whole world.
Another problem is that we priests do not gie enough penance, what we give people in confession is only symbolic : if someone has not been to confession for years and years and is only given a Rosary to recite, that person does not become reconciled with God. We must be sincere here and, if we want to achieve the peace I am speaking of, we must pray and do penance, to pray and to fast. You know well that if you want to build a house or factory you start looking for friends, money and so on, and when you have everything ready you start building. Why don't we do the same with our sins too ? When we see a sin in our life, a problem in our marriage then we must solve it ! We must start to pray and fast seriously, to ask God and to read Holy Scripture to see what God tells us on this matter. Go, knock and ask that it may be opened for us. Jesus has said ; "Knock and it wil be opened to you."
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 2nd August 1984)