Medjugorje and the New Evangelisation
Date: August 2, 2005 , Originally published November 10, 2001
Author: Dr. fra Ivan Dugandzic, OFM
Category: Theology reports , Medjugorje in the Catholic Church
Content of the article
Returning God to human life
All the above-mentioned Church documents are profoundly aware of the real condition in the world and especially in Europe. With the collapse of the Marxist atheistic ideology, practical materialism did not disappear. It characterizes the way of life of a huge number of our contemporaries. Bygone bitter discussions whether God exists or not were replaced by an indifferent way of life in which people think and act "as though there were no God". Still it seems that people have not turned their backs on the true God, but on the one that the Church is proclaiming in an unconvincing way. Therefore, despite the sea of practical materialism, a silent longing for God is alive in many people. It is evident also in the increasing number of various sects and esotericism in the most possible variety of forms. The gospel, in spite of everything, always has a chance if it is a genuine answer to the longing of the human heart, that is, if it is proclaimed to, it as the Good News, which sets free, and only people of the Gospel can do that.
The previously mentioned bishop laments that the proclamation of many priests is ineffective because when a living God is not abiding in our hearts, our word also does not give any evidence of passion for God. Apologizing for the sharpness of his words, he asks himself: "Is it not because many live "off" the Church and not really "in" the Church, in its real mystery?" And indeed, it is not only individual truths or particular areas of concrete Church life that are in question, but God Himself, and that, among those who are supposed to show others the way to God. This is why the above mentioned extraordinary synod for Europe says without any hesitation: "Indeed, all of Europe today is facing the challenge of a new decision for God."
If the Medjugorje messages are considered from this point of view then it is not difficult to discover a great agreement. In spite of having the concrete messages of peace, faith, conversion, prayer, fasting in the first plan at the beginning, in time to an ever-greater degree it was God as such who was becoming central to these messages, as well as man's relationship toward him, and this in very different variations. There are here repeated calls for man to decide for God who is offering Himself to man; to give God the first place in man's life because that place belongs to Him, but in the same way also to abandon everything to Him, especially the burdens of life. Man is called to thank God for His gifts and to glorify Him in his life. Numerous messages warn that it is possible to get to know God only in prayer and that, only in prayer, which comes from the heart. There are various messages that speak in this way about God revealing Himself to man so one should understand it in the sense that actually God's revelation to man is the main purpose of these events: "Dear children! Today I call you to the way of holiness. Pray that you may comprehend the beauty and the greatness of this way on which God reveals Himself to you in a special manner" (January 25, 1989). On another occasion: ". . .therefore, my dear children, open your hearts to me so that I may guide you more and more to that splendid love of God, the Creator, who is revealing Himself to you day by day. I am with you and I want to reveal and show to you the God who loves you" (August 25, 1992). Therefore, we could say that Medjugorje is much more than a place of prayer and conversion. It is first of all, a place where God wants to give a sign that man's longing for Him is not in vain and a way to God is possible also today because He comes half way to meet men.