Medjugorje Red Book
Pray with Your Heart
Other languages: English, Italiano
Date: November 7, 2006
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 third of the four volumes of sermons and discourses given by Fr. Slavko Barbaric and Fr. Tomislav Vlasic during 1984 - 1987 in Medjugorje, and contains discourses given from July to December 1985.
Not all chapters of this book are yet included
"God has decided to purify the world"
If you look at the Gospels of the last few Sundays, what has Jesus been talking about ? Jesus has been talking of His and our own suffering.
Jesus started telling the Apostles openly that He was to suffer, not with the intention of putting them into a crisis or of frightening them, but so that they might know that they would have to go through the Cross, through suffering. If we are not aware of this reality, then we are not true Christians. This is where the pilgrim’s problem appears, a problem which, if unsolved, is a source of fear, but if solved, becomes hope for the future.
Yesterday I read in a Croatian monthly published in West Germany that last year four hundred million marks have been allocated to abortion. Who will pay for this before God ? Who will ? We will. All of us.
I just gave you one example. Who will pay for the drug addicts ? Who will pay for those killed ? Who will pay for those dying of starvation ? All this is injustice on earth which must be paid for. We live in a civilisation which is virtually without God. Unfortunately, we Christians too, we live on the whole a life of atheism. And if we Christians do nothing to bring people towards hope, then we are left with a terribly hard Cross.
Therefore, to look ahead at a future which will be beautiful means to look at a world without sin. If we, at this moment, when Our Lady is inviting us, do not see these sins and the need for conversion, penance, prayer, then we have not understood the times we live in.
There is no need for us to fear the future, but we do need to look at the future in the light of faith, of supernatural life and we do need to commit ourselves to the world’s future, so that men may be saved and life on earth may be more beautiful. But this will be difficult if the world is to carry on living without God.
I am sure that, from all these messages, God has decided to purify the world. If we are converted then this purification will be easy; but if the world will not be converted, if it is not prepared to accept the programme of God, then God will go ahead by means sacrifices and these sacrifices will not be voluntary. You must be realistic if you want to renovate your house, see how many difficulties there are, and when God wants to put this world right, which is living in atheism, how many difficulties we are then faced with ! We must be realistic and look at the future with realism but with peace ; if you want to find once again your peace in looking at the future, then you must become ‘voluntary sacrifices’. Many, out of their own will, chose sacrifices, fasting, prayer, sufferings for God, so that God may save the world.
This is the reality of the Gospel, when Jesus plainly told the Apostles that He has to suffer. He willingly took the sacrifice upon himself in order to save His brothers, because through sacrifice the one in which we offer everything to God we do the best thing before God. For this reason Our Lady invites us to fast, for this very reason Our Lady invites us to conversion, to point out a radical decision to follow God, to belong to God.
Talking of suffering, the Gospel says you have to cut off your hand, you have to cut off your leg; theorists say that this is too much. But this is not too much. If you have a ruined limb, you tell the doctor, ‘Cut it off to save my life’. ’Get rid of my eye in order to save the other one, in order to save my life’. This is the way we have to behave before eternal life. If we do not behave in this way before eternal life, we are not realistic, we do not wish to save our lives; we want to save one hundred thousand liras, we want to save something, we want to save a car, but not our lives. Try to clear out your homes of all superfluous wealth.
You will realise the need to cut things out all the time to cut habits out, to cut time out, to cut things out, to cut pleasures out; how many things there are that need to be cut out !
If we were able to remove so many things, so many programmes, so many wishes, then we will come round to understanding the joy of suffering on which we must meditate on Friday, the Feast of St. Francis.
You will be in a position to welcome the Word of God only to the degree in which you will have been able to renounce things, in which you will have done penance; therefore penance combined with prayer is worth more. They are two paths without prayer, fasting is lame, without fasting, prayer is lame, whereas both help us and drive us forward. For this reason Our Lady has particularly recommended that we fast. There are people who are unable to fast on bread and water; however nobody is exempt from fasting. There are a thousand ways to fast.
One must fast, because our body which is constantly worried about nourishment, money, pleasures, needs to be emptied like one does when one is under treatment; it needs to be purified also with regard to spiritual life, so that we do not worry if we spend a whole day without eating, but are rather like Jesus in the desert who, after forty days was not worried, but could bear up to it because He was living on the Word of God.
This is the sense of penance, of fasting, the sense of sacrifice, and another thing if you want to go forward and follow Our Lady then make some voluntary sacrifices. Those four hundred million marks need to be compensated, must be paid for, let us make sacrifices for the sins of the world.
Without this, we will not have understood Mass, as Mass is not only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but it must also be my sacrifice united with the one of Jesus Christ, my blood, my sweat united with the one of Jesus Christ. Then Mass becomes what Jesus meant it should be.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic 29th September 1985)