Medjugorje Yellow Book
I beseech you, Listen to My Messages and live them
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 last 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 from 1986, finishing with the early messages of 1987.
Not all chapters of this book are yet included
Opening our heart to the Holy Spirit leads us to deep understanding
A few explanations about the messages. Whilst I was praying for you pilgrims today I searched for God's Word and found these words in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 13, verse 26, "Brethren, you who are sons of Abraham, and you others who fear God, this message of salvation is sent to you. The people of Jerusalem, like their rulers, did not recognise Jesus for what he was; unwittingly they fulfilled, by condemning Him, those utterances of the prophets which they had heard read, Sabbath after Sabbath ... "
And then in verse 41, "Look upon this, you scornful souls, and lose yourselves in astonishment. Such wonders I am doing in your days, that if a man told you the story you would not believe him."
Dear brothers, I want us to be able at least to understand how to go towards today's Feast Day. All Israel knew the Scriptures and the Law; the priests and Pharisees, in particular, really knew the Scriptures, but when Jesus Christ came their eyes were closed to Him. Why ? If you want to know why, read Our Lady's last message again, when Our Lady called us to give Her our hearts so She can change them to be like her Heart. If we want to go on, we can see that the Apostles followed Jesus Christ for three years, and during that time they saw many signs, miracles, healings and even resurrections, but they still did not believe completely in Jesus. Let us go further along the story of salvation; for forty days the Apostles met the Risen Christ, they touched Him and they ate with Him. They saw Him but they did not believe in Him completely. Today's Feast is the day when God's Word is accepted from the very depth. You see, all the signs of salvations were not sufficient for the people; but opening our heart to the Holy Spirit leads us to deep understanding.
What do I want to tell you today ? You, too, be converted. I, too, must be converted today, this very day. If you have already been here and think you are converted, you are making a mistake; you are closed to God. Today we recall how the Apostles, locked in the upper room, waited for Jesus because they felt their own weakness; they were waiting for what Jesus had promised them, they were waiting for the Holy Spirit.
All the signs which happened here in Medjugorje are not sufficient to convert you, and I have seen that they are not even enough to convert the visionaries; they are not sufficient to convert people who have seen many signs in the sky, and have not been sufficient even for those who have been going to Mass each evening during the past five years.
They are only sufficient for those who have opened their hearts. The Apostles spent nine days in prayer while they were waiting for the Holy Spirit. Do you know which is the most profound message Our Lady has given us ? 'Pray, pray, pray'. Through prayer you will understand the significance of Our Lady's presence. If you understand Our Lady's presence, you will understand the Divine plan given to humanity through Her. If we are not whole-heartedly converted, if we do not listen to God's Word, and if we do not start to pray we cannot understand Jesus. I will share with you my experience. When I remain in prayer for hours I am able to say, "God, I understand". When I do not pray enough then I am disturbed, worried and see problems, but as soon as I live the reality of the Gospel again with an open heart I am able to say, "God, I understand, thank you. Give me strangth, because now I understand."I do not want to repeat everything Our Lady had said in these five years, but I want to say that these five years here in Medjugorje are years in the school of prayer, nothing else. The school for learning to pray and to start to pray. Our Lady has called us to frequent Mass, to Communion, monthly confession, to pray the whole Rosary each day, and to read the Scriptures. You have already heard all this just as I have, but when I got up earlier this morning to contemplate the Word of God and to open myself to the Holy Spirit I said to myself, "Up to now I have not understood. Just this morning I understand better." By praying more I understand more of what God means.
This evening I want to explain to you the attitude of peace and joy. While I was praying to the Holy Spirit this morning, the Lord made me remember that I must stay in silence, not asking for anything bu must remain in silence waiting for God; not thinking of anything, but remaining before God as Elijah did in the cave on Horeb. Our Lady made me remember this, 'Do not pray today, today you must praise God'. But inside myself I said ,"Mother, how is it possible not to pray when you have given me many Rosaries to pray each day ?" Again I received an admonition; that is, Our Lady made me remember what She had said in a message to the group, 'I have taught you that your prayer must be a continuous melody'. So this morning I understood that prayer must become a melody, it must become music. When our prayer becomes melody, music, then prayer becomes easy; we can pray continuously and prayer is transformed into life which is a melody. Two women came to my parish last week. One of them had already come two weeks earlier; she had been upset because she couldn't sleep and had fainting fits. I talked to her and then introduced her to silent prayer before God, to desire truly what Our Lady told us to read each Thursday, that is the passage from the Gospel of St. Matthew 6,24-34. I taught this woman not to worry but to entrust her life and the lives of her husband and children to God. The following week the woman returned, quite changed, bringing with her another family, another woman with her husband and three children, all as disturbed as she had been.
When I began to pray and to speak with them I realised the only problem that exists in that family is the fact that the woman worries about everything. I tried to bring her to an attitude of abandonment to God but she resisted, defending herself with, "But I must do this, I must do that." She was not able to listen to God, and I do not know how it will end up. I saw the consequences of her worrying on her children and husband. Now, brethren, if you have come here to listen to Our Lady and God, please listen to them; do not be worried. Brethren, you cannot accept what God is offering you if you are worried, because you are looking for something egoistic or material, you are worried about this earthly life, and you are not able to accept Him. If you want to open yourselves to the Holy Spirit during this Feast of Pentecost, accept this message, begin to pray and follow the path of prayer, so that, little by little, you will be able to understand Jesus and reach an inner silence in which to listen to Him. If you are in silence to listen, you will be able to accept. If you are not in silence, you will not be able to understand what God is offering you. I implore those of you who have come to Medjugorje many times to folow silent prayer, prayer of peace, and there you will find God and God will make everything clear to you and will offer you all you need. Silence before God is a sign of trust and our abandonment to Him. If you are able to offer all things to God and to wait for God without all your worries, you will soon make progress in spiritual life.
This morning I felt within me the need to praise God today. A long time ago I read a book by an Anglican priest who wrote that he had had a vision of many people going up towards Heaven but when they reached a cloud they fell down to earth again. The author said that he too felt he wanted to go up but when he reached the cloud he felt faint; however, a power held him, raised him up, and made him pass above the cloud. Then he asked God this question, "Lord, why does everyone fall down and not go beyond the cloud ?" The Lord answered, 'Because they do not praise God in their difficulties." People did not go beyond the cloud because they did not praise God in their difficulties. Brethren, recently while hearing confessions, I perceived that many go home with empty hands because they do not know how to recognise God as the Lord of their difficulties. They close up, wanting what they want, and when they see difficulties thay begin to complain and go no further. If you want to overcome your difficulties start praising God in the midst of them. You must recognise that God is Lord and Master of your difficulties. If your heart praises God then say, 'Thank you, Lord, You are master of these problems. You can change them. I know that You will deal with them better than I can. I praise You and I thank You. I trust You completely because You are love, You came on earth to save us'. If your heart is able to give praise in your difficulties, you will be an express train to Heaven and no difficulty, not even death, not even a sword, as St. Paul says, will be able to separate you from God.
Today, during the Feast of Pentecost, I invite you to put this into practice; pray so that you may reach silence in your heart, not to listen to yourself and your problems, but to listen to what the Gospel tells us and what God suggests in our hearts. Above all, pray that you may understand the messages of peace, trust and total abandonment in order to reach complete openness to God. Start praising God in your difficulties and recognise him as Master of them; He who is guiding everything. Then you will soon grow in spiritual life.
A week ago, at the start of the Novena of Pentecost, Our Lady told us in the group, "You will be happy if you do not judge yourselves according to your faults, but if you understand that in your faults even graces are offered to you." So you see, not only difficulties but also our mistakes offer us the means of progress, to understand and deepen our love of God and our neighbour. If we are able to reach this state of inner peace, of silence, of continuous joy, and of recognising God as the Lord of our difficulties, soon we will blossom like flowers.
Our Lady did not come by chance to give us the gift of peace. In today's Gospel Jesus continually tells the Apostles, 'Peace be with you.' The Gospel tells us repeatedly, 'Do not worry, have faith.' You have not come here mainly for external signs but, above all, you have come here to change your hearts. The signs Our Lady gives us here are only invitations to open our hearts. If you are able to open yourselves to the Holy Spirit, He will teach you everything. As Jesus said, 'I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.'
This evening God is before us, He will come in our midst and practically says, 'I want to offer you much.' I ask you, 'Are you ready to accept it ?' You will only be ready if your hearts are open, if you have made a very good confession, if you are open towards God, if you have not come here only for healing or for the solution to some problem, but to find Jesus Christ, to recognise eternal life and to understand that we will live eternally. If you open yourselves in this way to God, then you can receive the other gifts too. 'I still have many things to say to you' said Our Lord, 'but they would be too much for you now.'
During the five years that Our Lady has been present in Medjugorje there has been a continuous invitation, "Pray, pray, pray, be converted." It means being more open to receive more.
Dear pilgrims who are here for the first time, place yourselves before God in all seriousness, and before these happenings and Our Lady who is appearing every day. Take this seriously so that these happenings can urge you each day to pray, to contemplate, and to live prayer in deep silence where you will receive a new strength from the Holy Spirit. Start out seriously and accept that God is the God of your tragedies and the tragedies of the world. He will put everything in order. Praise God, praise Him continuously. If at this moment it were possible for me, I would take each one of you and put you in front of God, in silence, for hours and hours so that each one of you could remain in silence, open out, and enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit.
On Christmas evening, you know how you celebrate Christmas and how open everyone is, Our Lady said to Jelena a little critically, "Not one of you has remembered to stay alone a while in silence to experience God's presence."
You see, everybody was celebrating, but Our Lady chastises, "Not one of you has stayed alone in slience to experience God's presence." I invite you this evening, especially during this time when you are in Medjugorje, to seek moments of silence, also in your hotel rooms, to listen to God rather than the priest, and to listen to Him in your heart. The Holy Spirit will remind you of everything that you have heard, even years ago, and it will become clear to you; you will understand it, and these happenings will not remain closed to your eyes.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 18th May 1986)
Mirjana had a rather special meeting on the 4th June. We wanted to know more about that meeting and about the special meetings she had had, but the girl told us only this , "The great events contained in the secrets are near to mankind. Be converted, do not be afraid of death, because death is only a transition towards a better life." We noticed that the girl was very sad during these special apparitions, in fact several times she wept when she saw these secrets as if in a film. She explained to us that the warnings to mankind are very serious and at times hard, "therefore, I began to cry", but she then added, "in spite of these difficulties and this severity of the warnings, I always felt strong with Our Lady because a powerful force comes from her face, a life-giving force. I very much miss these special apparitions."
Our Lady continues to appear. I do not want to explain to you whether these apparitions are a fact or not. You have books and in particular the medical dossier where you can reach a scientific certainty that the ecstasies are a fact. It is another matter for those who believe because matters of faith cannot be shown by scientific conclusions. I would now like to pause and say something on the level of faith, as to how to accept these events, these apparitions of Our Lady.
In these last five years, every message of Our Lady bore the message of prayer, an invitation to conversion and an invitation to seek God. To seek God means to practise prayer. Sacramental life is prayer, fasting is prayer.
In last Saturday's message to the prayer group, Our Lady said : "Dear children, this is the last moment for you to begin in earnest to be converted, time is passing by, but many of you are still the same. You are only able to be converted through prayer."
She then added : "I do not wish that you will be the ones who in the last moment cry out, 'Jesus save us' : I want you to be full of peace, joy and that you may go ahead as if to a wedding." You see this last message to the prayer group is something fundamental, it places us in front of the reality of the meeting with Christ. If we now want to understand this message of prayer we must welcome this meeting with Jesus Christ.
I have repeated many times Our Lady's message : "Many pray, but do not enter into prayer." You see, if we through prayer, whatever prayer we say, do not reach this peace, this joy, this inner certainty, it means that our prayer is not working properly. At this meeting I only wish to outline some of the concrete elements - what does it mean to pray ? We accept the part of the Virgin Mary ; She was ready for that meeting with the Angel, She was immaculate, free from sin, ready. We must take this step in order to enter into prayer. To be freed from sin means to practise penance, to go to confession, express (a) deep and substantial act of contrition.
I truly discover in a decisive way that this is my sin, it prevents me from being happy or recollected in prayer, one thing or another are these obstacles which prevent me from being with God. I must then free myself from these obstacles because it is sin which prevents me from entering into communion with God.
Once I have done this in a really decisive way, namely to eliminate these obstacles, only then can I be in touch with God and take the next step. But not even the next step, which I will show you, was enough for the Blessed Virgin Mary and cannot also be enough for us. Even listening to a message attentively is not sufficient to know that message. It was not enough for the Blessed Virgin Mary to see the Angel or receive the Word. She acted, She started praying, "How can this be ?" She took steps forward. When you come to Medjugorje and say, 'Yes, I believe in these apparitions', this is not enough, it cannot satisfy you, you must take steps forward.
'What is your will, O Lord, for me ? What must I do ? Enlighten me concerning my problems, give me light. I want to understand your will here and now, for my family, for my marriage, I want to understand all this.'
If we do not take these steps forward, if I do not succeed in truly understanding the presence of God, and if I do not understand what God is telling me, my prayer is useless. I meet the living God and must receive the answer which is for me. If my prayer lasts for hours and hours, days and days and I do not reach this inner certainty, this light, my prayer does not bear fruit, That is why Our Lady says, "Many pray but do not enter into prayer."
On this level many people are stopped and fail to progress; there are those who have problems and when they go to Medjugorje do not ask themselves what is God's will, but immediately ask, 'Give me healing, give me this or that grace.' There is no inner opening of the heart and as a consequence if we do not wish it, the will of God cannot be manifested. Every prayer of ours must take this step and consequently every prayer of ours will increase the light within us and God's will becomes ever more evident. If we do not do this in our prayers we remain with only empty words, words which do not reach God. These words according to the Scriptures are dangerous as they put us on the road to becoming as the Pharisees.
Now, even if we have taken this step to discover the will of God we have not brought our prayer to conclusion. Our prayer must continue, it must take the last step, 'Your will be done'. Whoever does not put this into practise does not finish his prayer. I have often met people who live in a well of evil. For them to go to monthly confession is to climb up to the edge of the well, to see a bit of sky and the next day they fall down again. Or people - it may be in prayer groups or various movements - who when they meet, they find an immense joy, they are really happy, but on returning home they are the same, completely empty.
Why are they empty ? Because they do not put prayer into practise. "May it be done according to Thy will" said the Blessed Virgin Mary. And She did just this. Why do not Christians bear effective witness to atheists ? Because for them neither prayer nor faith is a reality. Yesterday a preacher said, 'The danger for our faith is not because there are declared atheists, nor because there are people who have left their faith. The real danger of faith lies in those Christians who say 'I believe', but their faith does not change, nor their own lives nor the lives of others.' I believe and I am convinced that this change of life can only come from prayer which is lived and practised. I must discover in prayer the will of God, I must accept it and try in every way to put it into practise. Without this journey into faith, this path of prayer, we are unable to advance in our spiritual life. It is for this reason that in the last message to the prayer group Our Lady said: "Time passes but many remain the same." They remain the same because they utter words but do not live them, they do not live their prayer. If one does not take these steps in prayer then it amounts to the attitude of crying out, 'Lord, help me, but why do you not come to my aid ?' It is always a cry, 'Help me'. Our Lady, instead, in a message says, "Do not remain with paralysed hands and do not repeat 'Jesus, help me', but open your hands and accept all that God offers you." When we advance in our prayer we discover that everything is at our disposal, that we can take it, just as in our family we take our food and everything we need. So long as we do not follow this attitude of faith we are unable to feel that interior peace and we are always like those who cry out but never obtain anything.
People pray, but do not receive and ask themselves, 'Why does God not comply ?''Why is He so hard of heart ?' God is not hard, but I am hard. I talked to a boy for two consecutive evenings; the first evening I explained to him the way how to open up to God. The next day he returned and said, 'I have prayed, but God has not complied, He has not answered anything, He is hard.' So then I began to be severe and said, 'Do not offend my Lord. You are continuously offending Him. What has changed in your life during the last month ? The Lord is telling you to be converted, change your life, open your heart, leave behind your worries. What have you left behind ? What have you done ? ' I began to be severe and said, ' Do not offend my Lord. if you go to confession with this attitude it is offensive. It is offensive to the Lord.'
We all commit these offences against the Lord to a certain extent. He is hard, He does not answer. What could Christ have done more than He did ? He sacrificed Himself and remains at our disposal, even at this very momentwhen He has sent His Mother to give us warning, to show us the path to our salvation. What more can we expect ? So the problem is to move our hearts. If I say my prayers but do not listen, my prayer is not right. Therefore, the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary in front of the Angel must always be in front of us as an image by which we must learn how to pray. We must purify ourselves of sin, we must ask for the light in order to enlighten our problems. The light, 'what must I do ?' and then, 'Lord, please act for me.' I must make an effort because as St. Augustine said, 'God created you without yourself but He will not save you without your help.' I must ask myself,'What must I do ?' 'What must I change within me ?' 'Lord, what is your will.' God is not a deaf or bad father. The Scriptures say, he who seeks will find.
Our heavenly Father is better than our fathers and listens to each one of us. If we do not succeed in understanding His presence, the problem lies in our hearts, we must reflect on what needs changing within us and how to change our hearts. And when we have understood this we must then put it into practise. In this way, by putting our prayer into practise we can then advance in our spiritual life.
What is prayer ? Prayer is a vital relationship with God. I put all my problems and He answers me; I put them all with my heart and He answers in my heart. If you start praying today or tomorrow, prayer in your hearts will will become stronger as a plant sprouts in Springtime and its branches develop; in the same way my prayer will develop as my life does with all its vital branches. One does not then ask, how can I pray ? In one's prayers one must express life with all its necessities.
A practical way in your life is to go forward through the Rosary, entering into the mysteries, trying to understand what a mystery of the Rosary is saying to you. When you understand what has happened and what Our Lord has said to you in this mystery, in your particular situation, then your Hail Mary will mean something new to you and each time will be further enriched. You will be neither tired nor distracted in the Rosary because you are seeking something concrete and will hear God's answer in every prayer.
When going to Medjugorje my wish is that you put yourselves on the path to prayer. To anyone who says it is difficult to believe in these apparitions, I say, start praying and you will understand.
(Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - 4th August 1986)