ECHO OF MARY
Queen of peace
"If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence ... What the Spirit brings is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Ga 5.16-22)
Here is Our Lady's call of the 25th March 1991:
Dear children! I am inviting you today too to live the Passion of Jesus in prayer and in being united with Him. Decide to dedicate more of your time to God, Who has given you these days of grace. Therefore, dear children, pray and in particular, renew the love for Jesus in your hearts. I am with you and I accompany you with my blessing and my prayers. Thank you for having responded to my call.
LIVE OUR PASSION, IMMERSED IN THE FATHER'S WILL
The message is suited for this Holy Week period. I refer to the first phrase, I invite you today too to live the Passion of Jesus in prayer and in being united to Him.It's all here: pray with Jesus and be united to Him.
One thing has struck me in these days, listening to Christ's Passion: His behaviour. He is completely immersed in God the Father, He has limited all His activities, His thoughts; His is oriented towards the Father, and His replies during the court hearing are practically only those to the High Priest: I AM = Yahweh.The confirmation of His unity with the Father is in His reply to Pilate: You say that I am King.Jesus remains deeply in union with the Father.
This is also our call: be united with the Father through Jesus. We can see two opposite types of behaviour: Judas who sells the Son of God for a few coins, and Jesus Who goes against a world full of sin and Who doesn't let Himself be conditioned by anything that could impede Him from going to His Father. We must understand that our call to offer ourselves is being united to the Father - win against all the obstacles that are between us and the Father.
The second thing that Our Lady asks us to do is Pray with Jesus,but pray with Him in the Mount of Olives: do not look to do one's own will, but His, ready to be thrown into the Father's arms even when we do not understand. And then the prayer on the cross is beautiful: it is here that the unity between Jesus and the Father can be seen. Jesus says: Father, forgive them as they do not know what they are doing .. into your hands I commit my spirit.
And with our prayer we want to be united to Jesus, united to Jesus' prayer, surrendered into the hands of the Father and ask forgiveness for everyone, even for our enemies. If our unity with Jesus is really unity with the Father in prayer, then a new life will blossom within us: this is the passage from death towards life.
Our Lady accompanies us with Her blessing and we too try to renew our love for Jesus.
Oh God our Father, send Your Holy Spirit down upon us so that we may be touched by Him in the depths of our soul, of our heart, so that all our being may tend towards You. Oh God our Father, draw us towards You so that we may be with You through Your Son Jesus. So that we may go to You, Father, and our sufferances will no longer be sufferances, but before us we will see only the Father.
Oh God our Father, bless us so that we may renounce every form of egoism and be completely yours for the good of our brothers. Then, on the cross, we will be able to forgive the others and be surrendered to You. Bless all those who will read these words. Bless all the Christians who will live Jesus' Passion in these days. Bless the whole world because Our Lady prays for the whole world, for each and every person. And I bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Tomislav Vlasic
13th May: Our Lady of Fatima.
TO YOU, WHO HAVE OFFERED YOURSELF
In the summer of 1916 the angel at Fatima taught the three young children the following invocation: My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love Thee. I ask forgiveness for all those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love Thee.
One year later, on the 9th August 1917, Our Lady recommended that they: Pray, pray very much and offer sacrifices for the sinners. Many people go to hell because no-one offers sacrifices or prays for them.
Those who offer themselves (after having understood this redeeming mission), continue in themselves this chain of love/suffering to save themselves and others. They totally feel the dignity of their call before the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and invoke from the Mother the strength to carry out this mission the best way possible. They were put on show in front of the whole universe, angels as well as men.(1 Co 4.9)
They study how to live the cross as perfectly as possible, so that their total descent into the 'form' of the Divine Will will produce that effect that the Most High has wanted for the common good. It is from here that the serene acceptance of afflictions come; the insistent entreatments, filial surrender to the Holy Trinity.
Since they are convinced that there is no remission without the spilling of blood (Heb 9.22), they continually offer their drops to redeem the brothers and console the Friends in Heaven. They are sure of one thing: that the Lord will never be able to accomplish in us what He wants, if we do not let Him do what He wants through our unconditioned yes. This is the secret of the consecration and thus of holiness. Padre Giovanni (Fr. John)
People who offer themselves - sign of the times
A great force that could save humanity.
A voice: (...) I ask for prayers, that victims may arise everywhere, victims willing to offer themselves to the Lord, so that wounds of grace will be produced in their body and spirit for the salvation of their brothers (...)
It will be to these that I will give my wounds - those of the body and those of the spirit - and if they will know how to be strong, and always keep their eyes on the Crucifix, then we, together with the Mother of Sorrows, will form a great strength that will be able to save humanity once again.
Thanks to you, your and My Sorrowful Mother is joyfully bringing many, many children into the house of My Father... It will your sacrifices and the sacrifices of our brothers scattered all over the world to save humanity from the hands of the supreme enemy.(Jesus associates with the voluntary victims, unaware of being complements to His crucified love, the infinite victims of fratricidal hate - entire nations that are oppressed or must escape from their countries, men that lack everything, innocent children killed by famine, or killed even before they come to the light. The abyss of sin will be filled with an equal accumulation of redemptive sufferances.)
This is the last battle, and then the enemy will exist no more, he will be no longer able to do any harm and 'death, weeping and lamentations will be no more': just peace, justice, love, in the Kingdom of God that will come.(6 December 1990)
ble to accomplish in us what He wants, if we do not let Him do what He wants through our unconditioned yes.
It seems that the Third Secret of Fatima
concerns the loss of faith.
We already know what the Pope's evasive reply was concerning the 3rd secret of Fatima, given at Fulda in Germany. In the end, noting how dangerous it is in wanting to know only out of curiousity or for sensational reasons, he said: This is the medicine that cures this evil (the Rosary). Pray, pray, and do not ask me anything further.(See Echo no. 72)
The magazine Medjugorjefrom Milan reported the conclusions of a recent study on the subject. Following is a summary:
Early 1982: Before his pilgrimage to Fatima on the 13th May, John Paul II consulted a Portughese priest from the Curia, asking him to translate the secret and to point out all the peculiarities of the language.
10 September 1984: The bishop of Leirea-Fatima declares: the contents of the 3rd secret of Fatima concern our faith, the loss of faith.
F. Michel concludes on termination of the studies, that they were able to distinguish with a good degree of certainty what the essential data in the 3rd secret were:
The dogma of faith will be preserved in Portugal, but in many other nations, perhaps nearly the whole world, it will be lost. The pastors of the Church will seriously fail in carrying out their duties and because of this a great number of consecrated people and faithful will let themselves be seduced by widespread pernicious errors (i.e. that cause great harm). This will be the decisive moment in the battle between the Virgin and the Devil. A cloud of diabolic disorientation will spread over the world. Satan will sneak his way into the highest positions of the Church, he will blind people's spirits, harden the hearts of the pastors, because God will abandon them as punishment for having refused the requests of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This will be the famous apostasy that was announced for the 'last times': the 'false prophet' that will drag the Church away to the advantage of the 'beast' (according to the prophesy in Revelation (12). It is not difficult for us to share this opinion if we think of how the 'progressive' ideas have seduced the Church, and of the Massonic influence that nourishes her.
Cardinal Oddi who was very close to the latest Popes, is also of a similar opinion.
Dear children, I am fighting the last battle and My Immaculate Heart will triumph. Children, I stoop over the world so that God may not wipe out all humanity with His justice and wrath. The dragon will be defeated because I will crush his head and break the chains that drag people into confusion and death. My dear children, My Heart will triumph and there will be peace, love: it will be a lasting peace, a eucharistic peace, God's big family. Dear children, there is much need for prayer and penance - only through these may the world be saved in part. Cry it out loud.28 February 1990
I am fighting the last battle and My Immaculate Heart will triumph. Children, I stoop over the world that God because I will crush his head and break the people into confusion and death. My dear children, My Heart will triumph and there will be peace, love: it wi
On pride of glory and divisions:
AN EVERLASTING DANGER
for visionaries and workers
Keep watch and pray: everyone's watchword, and particularly for the visionaries who are more subject to the evil one's traps. Incense is a drug! By incense I mean the incense of fame and exaltation. We don't realize the damage we cause them when we treat them like idols and call them here and there for the sake of prestige, exposing them to dispersion! Only humbleness and discretion can protect them from Satan's attacks who tries to neutralize their testimony - their testimony is a great asset for Medjugorje since they are in such a prominent position. And it is for this reason that they must protect themselves and be protected. Sure, they must go to where they're called if this is Mary's wish, but to carry out a mission. They must place themselves under spiritual direction and be obedient to their director, otherwise, they risk falling out and becoming a stumbling block for those whom they should have supported. (See Echo no. 75 page 9)
A very expert priest wrote to me: In these last years I have come across not only false visionaries, but also real ones who ended up falling by the way and they no longer 'saw' or instead gave messages of dubious source. Being charismatic or able to 'see' does not guarantee that one will remain in the truth. In the end Jesus will say: I do not know you,also to those who, 'prophesied in His name.'
I cannot stress the importance of being careful in not deceiving or abusing their position or charism, where they may end up giving (to people or communities) irrevocable responses, as if they had come from Mary. Often God confounds the way we judge His servants, by permitting that exceptional graces exist in these people together with puzzling weaknesses or negative appearances. It is not without reason that Jesus is a sign of contradiction.
Except for the core of the messages, that must be transmitted most faithfully, the visionaries do not know any more than we. Therefore, there is no reason to run to them for cheap answers in favour of personal theses or in search of solutions for living. For this we have prayer, the priest's advice, and our expectations laboured by time that mature our faith and God's real will.
They must be careful not to nourish disagreement and contrasting attitudes, as they would no longer transmit God's gift, which is communion, but would create division and factions, similar to Paul's Corinth - with serious damage to the simple people who become involved, then bewildered and confused. This is playing at Satan's game who is terribly irritated by the many graces at Medjugorje, and who wishes to cause division and destruction.
Those who have heard and responded to Mary's call, but have not carried it through - caught up by the love they have for themselves, by an unconscious desire for approbation, by feelings of protagonism (without mentioning those who aim at material profits) - use Mary's works rather than put themselves at Her service. Whether priests or not, worldly criteria takes possession of those who do not keep step with prayer with the heart and who do not remain attentive to God Who speaks to them in their hearts and who are thus not in a continuous walk of conversion and purification. It is no wonder then, that these people will no longer understand or no longer follow the way of peace, or if in the end they will even oppose themselves to it.
Let's not be surprised then. Medjugorje is not all Medjugorje.Human nature often takes the place of Mary, and this can happen anywhere, even if Mary's grace will triumph in the end over man's wretchedness and reap new conversions in those who have simple and open hearts. Fr. AFor the month of May: Dear children, today I am inviting you to begin praying the Rosary with living faith. This way I will be able to help you. Dear children, you wish to receive graces, but you do not pray. I cannot help, as you do not wish to start moving. Dear children, I invite you to pray the Rosary so that the Rosary may become a commitment you will fulfil with joy. Thus, you will understand why I have been with you for so long. I wish to teach you to pray.June86
SATAN YES, SATAN NO
How one falls under his dominion
and how one keeps out of it.
I continually receive letters from our readers, due also to the interest that the mass media is giving to the devil. In particular, I cite the interview I gave to Pippo Baudo (Italian TV showman) and the showing of an American film on exorcisms, with an immediate comment (minimising the fact) by Msgr. Balducci. To sum it all up, I was asked: doesn't the Queen of Peace get tired of making references to Satan? It seems to me that, of all people, the men of the Church are the last ones to take this argument into serious consideration.
Does Satan exist or not? Does he work on today's society more than in the past? Why? I know that many readers have read my book entitled Accounts by an exorcist,and that dear Fr. Livio is commenting in a superb manner on Radio Maria, page by page. A significant fact: Our Lady's calls at Medjugorje do not add anything to the evangelical message, but, as also in this case, they do signal a part of the catechism that has been forgotten about for years. In the various comments that I have published in Echo, I have had the possibility to say many things about the devil and about his devastating action. To answer the questions that are asked of me first, I will dwell on one particular aspect of the argument: the causes of possession. First of all, our readers must clearly understand three principles, and without which any other talk becomes useless.
1. The devil exists; he is a spiritual and a personal being (thus he is not to be confused with the abstract idea of evil); he was created good by God, but due to his own fault he became irreparably lost. Thus, from an angel he became a devil.
2. The devil also has the power to provoke possessions, or in other words, he can introduce himself into a human body and possess it, even if he may never possess that person's will. Even if certain theologians deny such a possibility these days (like one of them did just recently on TV), it is a reality.
3. All those who believe in Christ, and in particular the successors of the apostles (i.e. the bishops) have the power to drive out Satan. I will not stop to demonstrate these principles. To those who do not believe, I suggest you read the Gospel; if you do not believe in the Gospel, then you will certainly not believe my reasonings. Just as Our Lady continually tells us at Medjugorje, Satan is very strong these days, he is furious, he attacks us with particular anger. As a consequence of this reality we can see an increase in diabolic possessions or other troubles of diabolic nature.
Of course I cannot share the ideas expressed by Msgr Balducci who considers the number of people to be in this state as a minimum (in Italy, no more than 40). I do not know what he bases this idea on; I know that he is a demonologist, that is, one who studies phenomena. He is not an exorcist and therefore has no direct contact with possessed people. If I add up the possessed people that I cure, plus those being cured by the other exorcists that I know, I get a total of a few hundred. And there are many more people who suffer other types of troubles, more or less serious, that are not cases of possession, but are of diabolic origin and medically incurable. The list of causes whereby one falls into malefic illnesses will also help us understand why such illnesses are more numerous these days than in the past (and it is expected that they will increase in the next few years).
The possible causes are three. The first cause is simply by God's permission. But let me make one thing clear: nothing can ever happen without divine permission; but while for the other two causes a free human contribution is necessary, for the first cause it is only God to permit the devil to possess or disturb a person with the aim of purifying or testing that person. Such was the case with Job who was struck in his children, his possessions, his health. Such was the case with St. Paul who had to suffer an illness of satanic origin to prevent him from becoming proud.(2 Co 12.7) Many saints were also tested in this manner, and I recall Fr. Calabria and Sr. Mary of the Crucified Jesus, among the latest to be beatified.
The second cause is when a person is the victim of witchcraft. And the type of witchcraft used the most is the curse. One must be very wary before believing that witchcraft is involved even with cases where it seems obvious; but in spite of certain theologians' scepticism, witchcraft exists. In our society where faith grows less and less (and it is for this reason that people become superstitious), witchcraft is on the increase, abundantly filling the pockets of the many swindlers and the not so many sorcerers.
In the third case, the person who has been struck by the illness is entirely to blame. It may depend on the person being set in particularly sinful ways. I know of cases where people insist in their sexual perversions united with violence; cases of homosexuals who take drugs and commit other crimes; cases of repeated abortions ... I think that the Gospel gives us a symbolic example in the figure of Judas when it says: Then Satan entered him.(Jn 13.27)
Then there's a whole list of other ways where we are exposed to these evil influences or to being possessed: participating in seances, practising magic or other forms of occultism, resorting to sorcerers or to fortune-tellers or magicians, frequenting satanic cults (and the apex of which are black masses), subscribing to satanic sects. A consecration to Satan exists, it is possible to make pacts with the devil, and other forms of ties with him. Those who know about these things, also know that these experiencesare growing; and therefore, the cases of diabolic disturbances are also on the increase.
In all of the schools where I have been invited to talk to the students, I have always found someone who plays at invoking spirits (the 'game' with glasses on a table) or calling on the dead; but then someone always ends up being struck by the devil. We must warn the young people, put them on their guard, as they are very exposed - it could be out of curiosity, an imprudent action, it doesn't take much to be struck by this negative influence and have to bear it for the whole of one's life.
The main cause of these illnesses, I repeat, is the lack of faith; and that's why people then make recourse to its substitute: superstition. I would also like to add that those who pray, who live in a Christian manner and receive the Holy Sacraments, are protected. The devil has no power over us if it is not us to give it to him. The Blessed Virgin, the great and indomitable enemy of Satan, protects us. Our guardian angels and our saints also protect us. There is no need to be afraid of one who has been defeated by Christ. We only need to resist the devil and he will run away from us.(Jm 4.7)
Fr. Gabriel Amorth
The devil knows us well: With regards to the devil, a famous Jesuit priest, Domenico Mondrone who has had direct experiences with the devil during exorcisms, reports the following:
(Words pronounced by the devil) You would never be able to understand how much I hate you men. How much I detest you and how much you are detestable. You boast of the dignity in being rulers over animals, yet you are the most abominable of all animals. Your very being disgusts me. I consider you far below your own pigs. You consider yourselves intelligent, yet you show yourselves to be so foolish. Just look at what I make you swallow with the many means at my service - all free and all full of clever idle talk.
Just think of what I make you swallow through my mass media! You, a more noble creature than Him? I can buy you with a bit of trash. You give in to the allurement of my messengers so easily.
You care so much about your freedom and you let yourselves be taken in by my worst slavedrivers. Oh, how I mock you in the name of this freedom! You are horrified by filth, yet, overwhelmed by your passions, you roll in your filth like pigs in slime. It's incredible how cutthroat you become for a woman or a handful of gold.
He gained a lot that one up there, throwing away his blood to redeem you. Redeem you from what? From sin? But if you wallow in it so much you could drown! And what have you to say when I unleash feelings of envy, slander, hate, rivalry, vengeance among you?
(From Face to Face with the devil)
False witness at Fr. Jozo's hearing confesses publicly. About 10 years ago Fr. Jozo Zovko, ex parish priest of Medjugorje, was on trial, guilty of saying words inspired by the Sacred Scripture, but arbitarily interpreted by the secret police Udba. But one of the false witnesses didn't have a clear conscience and couldn't wait to ask Fr. Jozo's forgiveness. After having done it just recently, he then went to the editor of Sveta Bastina (that has now resumed its old name of Nasa Ognjista which means 'our hearths') to publicly confess his misdeed. He also asked that his confession be published in the paper. Following is an abbreviated version of his confession: My name is Tihomir Karacic', born on the 18th June 1962. My mother died in 1969. Due to the poverty of my family I joined the Police at Sarajevo because the school was free. After the 4 years of schooling I became a local policeman at Listica and stayed there for 6 years. Three years ago I left the Milicija (Police) on purpose and since then I have not been able to find a job. Every now and again I go to Germany to earn a bit of money. During my third year of schooling, while I was doing work experience in Listica, I was sent to Medjugorje together with the president of the local Communist youth group. It was the 11th July 1981. We had to listen to Fr. Jozo's sermon. Back in Listica, I referred everything I could remember to the commanding officer of the Milicija, but I had the feeling that they knew everything already. One Autumn day, during my fourth year at Sarajevo, I was summoned to the police headquarters at Mostar and asked to give witness in the case against Fra Jozo. The director of the school told me to go and not to fear. At Mostar, detective Gaspar Augustin, who later became police superintendent of Mostar, told me to keep myself ready, but not to go home so as not to let anything leak out. So I stayed with my aunt at Ilici. Gaspar came to see me at my aunt's home. He told me to get pen and paper and write down exactly what he said. I had to learn it by heart so that I could repeat it in court as a witness against Fra Jozo. After the court hearing, I returned to Sarajevo to finish my last school year and I was under the impression that I was being treated with particular attention, like one who had earned ... My superiors even offered me a home in Sarajevo as a help in my career, but I refused it and returned to Listica, where I was a local policeman for 6 years. My superiors here treated me as an enemy. I even refused the offer of a special course at Sarajevo to join the Kosovo, and I then resigned. I then became an unemployed person, and not only, but I was also kept under observation. I had to secretly go to Germany for work, but I was denounced and had to go back home. Back in Listica, it was rumoured that I was a spy, a dishonest person, people were told to avoid me. If I had been a spy I wouldn't have been without a job for three years.
As a Catholic and a man who wanted to be honest, I greatly suffered for having given in to the secret police and to have harmed an innocent person. As the years went by my conscience weighed down on me more and more. I didn't confess for 10 years, knowing that I couldn't present myself to God, without having asked forgiveness of the man I had hurt. For the same reason, I didn't marry. For many years I tried to go back to see Fra Jozo, but in vane: if it wasn't for work commitments, it was something else that impeded my going, including in part, lack of courage. Luckily I found a local monk that served as intermediary and helped me meet Fra Jozo. Fra Jozo greeted me as a friend and forgave me with all his heart. Then he confessed me. Afterwards, we embraced and kissed each other. My soul felt as if it had been freed of a heavy load. Fra Jozo has promised to marry me himself. How can I ever thank God for such a great gift? The whole affair weighed down on my conscience because I had told a deliberate lie, even if my superiors had pushed me to do it... But not even they are completely at fault; the real culprit is the system of that time. A system that took advantage of the weak, and the ambitious to serve its own means. Thank God that this system has finally come to end here too, after the rest of Europe. This can only be works of God and Our Lady. I have no hard feelings, because I am a Christian and I forgive everyone, just like Fra Jozo forgives. All I want to do is live as an honest Christian and an honest Croatian.The confession was listened to by Fra Jakov Bubalo and Ferdo Vlasic', who have no doubt whatsoever as to its veracity. (Translations by Mirjana Vasilj Zuccarini)
THE COURSE OF MEDJUGORJE
Mirjana tells of Mary's grief-stricken call
for prayer for the non-believers.
On the 18th March it was Mirjana's birthday and she had her usual apparition of Our Lady at 7.00 p.m. She was in her home together with her husband and numerous guests. After half an hour of prayer Mary appeared to her and remained for seven minutes. Here is the message that she received:
Dear children, I am glad that you have gathered in such a large number. I would like you to be always united in prayer to my Son like this. I desire that you dedicate all your prayers for my children who do not know my love and the love of my Son. Help them to come to know this love, and help me because I am the Mother of all of you.
My dear children, how many times here in Medjugorje have I repeatedly asked you to pray; pray; and I ask you again because I desire that all of you open your hearts to my Son, that you let Him enter, so you may be filled with peace and love. Let Him enter! Help Him with your prayers so that you too might be able to spread peace and love to the others, since this is now most necessary for you in this time of battle with Satan.
I tell you once again: Pray! Pray! Only with prayer can you drive off Satan and all the evil that comes from him. I promise you, children, that I will pray for you, but I seek from you more vigorous prayers. I want you to spread peace and love: I have been asking this of you for nearly ten years. Help me. I will pray to my Son for you.At the end, three angels were waiting for Our Lady and She left with them. (Alberto Bonifacio)
A group from Bolzano was present during the apparition. These people met the visionary the day after and report Mirjana having commented on how she saw Our Lady come from the blue sky accompanied by little angels - something she saw only 8 years ago. It is usual for Mary to pray one Our Father with Mirjana, but this time She prayed three: the first for non-believers, the second for the sick people that were present, and the third to ask for help from God for all of us. Furthermore, She asked that we pray the complete Rosary (Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries) every day for non-believers and that we attend Mass once a month specifically for them - as a tangible sign of involvement for them: if we can manage to open ourselves up to others, then the Lord will see to our needs. Someone remarked that the three whole mysteries were a lot. Mirjana replied that we eat three times a day, but no-one complains. (Anita C.) With the Crucified and Risen Christ
Good Friday. The Passion play was sung with the participation of many characters. In the evening and despite the drizzling rain, a few hundred people climbed Krizevac, praying while climbing the muddy and slippery track. After the songs and the recital of the Sorrowful mysteries Our Lady appeared to Ivan at 11.00 p.m. at the foot of the Cross and She invited all to accept the cross like Jesus.
Easter Saturday: Long lines of people for confession. Only a few priests were able to arrive for Easter, but the confessions continued both on Sat. and Sun., around the church and on the apparition hill, wherever a priest could be found. At 7.00 p.m. the big Easter Vigil began for the parishioners with the Mass of Resurrection at midnight. The church was overflowing with people. Easter Mon: A beautiful starry evening for the climb up Podbrdo. Our Lady appeared to Ivan for 5 minutes and lengthily prayed for peace.
At Tihalijna, Fr. Jozo dedicated the morning of Easter Sat. to a long catechism for the Italians. He spoke of sufferance and the cross, of Christ's pressing invitation to forgiveness. (If I cannot forgive I cannot obtain salvation; many diabolic possessions are caused by not forgiving.) He spoke of fasting, necessary to relive Christ's passion; and of confession to destroy all our idols.
"Divorces are on the increase,he said, because man is no longer able to love, because he does not love God. Priestly vocations are on the decrease because parents do not teach their children how to make sacrifices.He confessed having seen Our Lady cry for priests and Who said, You do not know how to read the Bible...A young man who had been healed at Medjugorje from drug addiction and who intends becoming a priest gave the following testimony: Look at my hands. They broke and distributed drugs.. tomorrow they will break and distribute Eucharistic Jesus.
During the Mass on Easter Sunday, a Danish teacher, daughter of a Protestant minister, became a Catholic. (A. Bonifacio)
False witness at Fr. Jozo's hearing confesses publicly.
About 10 years ago Fr. Jozo Zovko, ex parish priest of Medjugorje, was on trial, guilty of saying words inspired by the Sacred Scripture, but arbitrarily interpreted by the secret police. But one of the false witnesses didn't have a clear conscience and couldn't wait to ask Fr. Jozo's forgiveness. After having done it just recently, he then went to the editor of Sveta Bastina to publicly confess his misdeed, asking that it be published in the paper. Following is an abbreviated version of his confession:
My name is Tihomir Karacic', born 18 June 1962. My mother died in 1969. Due to the poverty of my family I joined the Police at Sarajevo because the school was free. After the 4 years of schooling I became a local policeman at Listica and stayed there for 6 years. Three years ago I left the Milicija (Police) on purpose and since then I have not been able to find a job. Every now and again I go to Germany to earn a bit of money.
During my third year of schooling (in 1981), while I was doing work experience in Listica, I was sent to Medj. together with the president of the local Communist youth group to listen to Fr. Jozo's sermon. Back in Listica, I referred everything I could remember to the commanding officer of the Milicija, but I had the feeling that they knew everything already.
One Autumn day, during my fourth year at Sarajevo, I was summoned to the police headquarters at Mostar and asked to give witness in the case against Fra Jozo. The director of the school told me to go and not to fear. At Mostar, detective Gaspar Augustin, who later became police superintendent of Mostar, told me to keep myself ready, but not to go home so as not to let anything leak out. So I stayed with my aunt at Ilici. Gaspar came to see me at my aunt's home. He told me to get pen and paper and write down exactly what he said. I had to learn it by heart so that I could repeat it in court as a witness against Fra Jozo.
After the court hearing, I returned to Sarajevo to finish my last school year and I was under the impression that I was being treated with particular attention. My superiors even offered me a home in Sarajevo as a help in my career, but I refused it and returned to Listica, where I was a local policeman for 6 years. My superiors here treated me as an enemy. I even refused the offer of a special course at Sarajevo to join the Kosovo, and I then resigned. I was then unemployed, and not only, but I was kept under observation. I went to Germany for work, but I was denounced and had to go back home. Back in Listica, it was rumoured that I was a spy, a dishonest person, people were told to avoid me.
As a Catholic and a man who wanted to be honest, I greatly suffered for having given in to the secret police, thus harming an innocent person. As the years went by my conscience weighed down on me more and more. I didn't confess for 10 years, knowing that I couldn't present myself to God, without first having asked Fra Jozo's forgiveness. For the same reason, I didn't marry. For many years I tried to go back to see Fra Jozo, but in vane: something always impeded me, including in part, lack of courage. Luckily I found a local monk that served as intermediary and helped me meet Fra Jozo.
Fra Jozo greeted me as a friend and forgave me with all his heart. Then he confessed me. Afterwards, we embraced and kissed each other. My soul felt as if it had been freed of a heavy load.
The whole affair weighed down on my conscience because I had told a deliberate lie, even if my superiors had pushed me to do it... But not even they are completely at fault; the real culprit is the system of that time. A system that took advantage of the weak, and the ambitious to serve its own means. Thank God that this system has finally come to end here too, after the rest of Europe. This can only be works of God and Our Lady. I have no hard feelings, because I am a Christian and I forgive everyone, just like Fra Jozo forgives. All I want to do is live as an honest Christian and an honest Croatian.
The confession was heard by Fra Jakov Bubalo and Ferdo Vlasic', who have no doubt whatsoever as to its veracity.
MIRJANA: Who are the non-believers?
What happens on the 2nd of every month? Prayer in the family.
Those who stay with God, have no need to fear future events.
Q. (...) What does Our Lady mean by non-believers?
A. When Our Lady says non-believers, She means even those people who go to church just out of habit or for tradition. She wants us all to consider the church as our home and God as our Father, so that we may be able to ask Him: What do you want? Have I done wrong? What do You need? For Our Lady, people who act thus are believers.
Q. What did She tell you in the last encounter?
A. That people start praying in the family again. She says that many parents complain about their children not going to church, not wanting to hear about God or Our Lady, and then they ask what to do. Our Lady says that the first to blame are the parents, as they must pray together with their children. That's why She wants us to start saying the Rosary again in the family and that families pray together every day.
Then She spoke of the pilgrims who come to Medjugorje and go to Mass and pray, and then once they are back home they forget everything, with the excuse that their priest does not say a nice Mass, he doesn't know how to speak well, etc. Our Lady says that these excuses are useless and that all priests make Jesus be present during the Mass. When we listen to a priest during Mass, we are listening to Jesus. Once the Mass has finished, we must live the word that He gave us. She would like us to remain in the church a little after Mass.
Q. What happens during the apparitions that you receive on the 2nd of every month?
A. Most of the time during the encounter with Our Lady, is spent in prayer. When She comes I see Her with my heart, like Jelena, but I also hear Her speak, just like when a person talks to me and with my eyes closed. This has happened right from the beginning. Lately, however, I can see Her with my eyes ... (Mirjana adds that the apparition of the 2nd is longer than that of the 18 March, and that nearly all the apparition is taken up by prayer.)
Q. When Our Lady comes, is She worried or serene?
A. Worried, because She says that we are all Her children, and as Mother to us all, She suffers for the non-believers. She asks for our help, our prayers, by saying: Please pray.
Q. Is it true that She says She is not happy because we don't pray enough?
A. She always says that we do not pray enough. When something goes wrong or something is not right, She always says it. We think that She doesn't think of us, or of our friend, instead She thinks of everyone. We think we are better than the others. But this is not true. We must pray much more and offer more sacrifices and not judge the others.
Q. I thought that after the strong message of the 25th January (by now only the Rosary can make miracles) during the war in the Gulf, you might have revealed the first secret...
A. (She shook her head in denial, and continued) Our Lady is displeased because there are no believers: there only need be a few. I remember that God said that if He found just a few men, He would not chastise the world. She wants all Her children saved. That's why She never says: I am happy.
Q. You say that we are protected by Our Lady and thus we are not to be afraid if something should happen..
A. Those who believe in God and have their hearts filled with God, do not fear because they are sure that their enemies cannot harm them. It is not just now that Our Lady said, Grasp hold of the Rosary,but right from the beginning.
Q. Mary taught you how to pray with the heart, but not us!
A. But there is no need to receive any particular instruction. Your heart only has to love God; and think of God and Mary as your parents; and pray with your heart full of love for Them. There is no need for any particular instruction. (Mirjana was asked about the apparition of the devil, but she did not want to reply. She only affirmed: I am sure that the devil exists, and I am surprised that certain theologians and priests deny his existence. When you pray, however, he cannot harm you.)
Q. Can you tell us something about Heaven?
A. I saw it like in a film for 2 or 3 seconds. I saw people who were all about the same age; about 30 years old and they were walking like in a big garden. I was astounded by the look on their faces: full of happiness and love. I couldn't see anyone looking worried, like we see people here on earth. Just serenity and peace. That was what touched me the most.
Q. Can you describe Our Lady's beauty? Fr. Jozo does not want to talk about it.
A. He is right not to talk about it, as Her beauty cannot be described. She has love on Her face, and when you say that Her hair is black, Her eyes are blue, you haven't said anything. Her beauty is beyond description. Yes it's true that I have tried to paint Her many times ... but with little luck.
Q. We know that you know the 10 secrets and that sometimes when you speak about them you start crying. But you continue to live normally, you work, you got married ... The secrets then, and the punishments, should not make us frightened?
A. I said before that those who have their hearts open to God, and think of Him as a Father, do not fear anything, because they are sure that God will not prepare anything terrible for them. You must just pray every day. If you want to be someone's friend you have to speak to them for the friendship to last. It's the same with God: if our friendship with Him continues to grow we will not be afraid.
Q. Can you remember the secrets, or have you written them down?
(She replies that she has written them down on paper given to her by Our Lady, and that the paper is object of curiousity, because it is neither paper, nor cloth.)
A. Each secret must be revealed to the priest 10 days before the event, then we will fast for seven days, and three days before the event, he will reveal it to all.
Q. If the world should return to God, will the world be chastised anyway?
A. Our Lady has not said anything to me about this.
Q. Years ago people said that the first secret would be that a part of the world would be completely wiped off the face of the earth.
A. I have never heard anything of the sort... I can say nothing about the secrets, otherwise they would not be secrets.
Q. There are some people who take the example of Bernadette of Lourdes and Lucy of Fatima, and are surprised that you decided to marry.
A. In the first year of the apparitions, we asked Our Lady what we should do with our lives. She replied, Do what God wants, and what you feel in your heart.I felt that I had to form a family. She says that in these times, there is a need for Catholic families that can serve as a model for others. What can I say of my family? We pray together, we go to church: God is always first for us. First we do what God wants, then what we want. And we are happy with our lives.
Q. Do you have to transmit the messages that Our Lady gives to you singly, or to the groups and that teach how to pray with the heart, also to us?
A. The messages that Our Lady gives to a single person, or to the group are for the whole world, not just for us, or for Medjugorje. (...)
(Alberto Bonifacio for Radio Maria 25 Feb 1991)
4th Formative Meeting at Pescara (Italy).
The theme: Conversion as a Process of Healing.
EVERY MAN'S REAL RECOVERY
is a total surrender to God and return to that boundless love
The meeting is over and we have returned home. Those strong emotions and sensations felt while at Montesilvano (in Pescara) have died down, but the taste of God's tender love is still present in the depth of our hearts. Fr. Tomislav was transparent; his gestures, his comportment, his very person - everything spoke of God's immense love for us. There were 650 people, of all ages, and 30 of which were priests, all drawn by Fr. Tomislav's presence, yet he was simple and loving. He did not appear to us as a leader who had to pilot our destinies, but he who simply proposes the truth. Fr. Tomislav plotted out in 3 points the quickest way to God:
1. HUMBLENESS. Man must acquire humbleness, the same humbleness that permitted Jesus, Almighty God, to descend to the earth and that opposes Satan's arrogance. Mary is humbleness personified and it is through Her that we must acquire this virtue, by praying continuously so that God will grant it to us.
2. OBEDIENCE TO THE ETERNAL FATHER. Just like Jesus obeys His Father, we too must obey Him. When I place myself before the Father to listen to Him and be obedient to His Will, then there's no room in me for arrogance - Satan is defeated. There is no visionary or mystic person that can hear God for me. Satan fears this obedience because he lost everything due to his disobedience. Satan tries to fog up our minds to stop us discovering the truth. When I am obedient to the Father, I defeat this fog and I turn into light: it is then that I become great.
3. LIVE GOD'S MERCIFUL LOVE. To live this merciful love one must remain before God, Who loves us without limits, and live in this light. If I have sinned and I kneel down before Him, asking for His forgiveness with open heart, then He will start caressing me just like a father. Satan cannot resist before the splendour of divine love. This merciful love can be reached by fighting against one's own ego. The man of sins, of bad habits (and it is from these that sin is born), must be destroyed in us. And the purification for this comes from God, through trials. We must discover God's face even in suffering.
To reach this divine love we must be totally crucified. If we offer ourselvestotally to God, then his merciful love will explode within us.
Fr. Tomislav spoke to us about humbleness and with every right, he himself being a humble, simple man. His readiness to listen to everyone was a lesson for us. He could have told us to be obedient to the Father; we know what his obedience has cost him, how it has transformed him, and perhaps only those who knew him right from the first years could note.
He was an example of merciful love for us. He was surrounded by crowds of people wanting a word from him (a personal word) and he always made everyone feel welcome. One episode struck me: people kept on asking him for a personal blessing, despite the profusion of blessings that were poured upon us during the functions. During one of his talks, he pointed out the uselessness of our behaviour, but to no effect. I was present and observed how he kept on blessing all those who asked him, attentive like a father.
Here is Our Lady's call of the 25th March 1991:
Dear children! I am inviting you today too to live the Passion of Jesus in prayer and in being united with Him. Decide to dedicate more of your time to God, Who has given you these days of grace. Therefore, dear children, pray and in particular, renew the love for Jesus in your hearts. I am with you and I accompany you with my blessing and my prayers. Thank you for having responded to my call.
On Saturday, he brought up an argument that, according to him, not many like to talk about, but was necessary to bring up: Satan. The Bible, the teachings of the Church, the official Church, tell us that Satan exists. The saints tell us that Satan exists. Satan is like a cavalier for the saints, who draws their cart, and helps them to proceed.
Mary speaks often at Medugurje about the devil and She invites us to wear blessed objects on our persons, to bless our homes, and consecrate ourselves to Jesus and Her numerous times during the day, as a defence. If our faith has been awakened, then he too will wake up because he doesn't want us to seriously work in the depth of our spirit. We must close ourselves to the devil who enters through the doors of our weaknesses. Satan pursues each one of us.
Satan steals. He closes people's minds and their souls to the action of the Holy Spirit. Our strength is prayer that gushes from the heart, it is fasting, it is joy in the Lord.
Through an experiment, we could see what happens in the soul of a person immersed in sin. At 9.00 p.m. on Saturday evening, at the beginning of Mass, Fr. Tomislav had the lights put out. The total darkness gave us a sense of insecurity and he said to us: I cannot see in the dark, I cannot walk, I can't even see my image in the mirror; in the dark I feel afraid. Here in the dark is like being closed up in a tomb. That is how man lives when he is enclosed by the darkness of sin.
Still on the subject of Satan, he then explained that if we develop the virtues, we are like a flower in tact that belongs to God. On the other hand, if we want to keep one of our vices, it's like leaving a door open to Satan. At times, mental disturbances and diabolic possessions give place to similar phenomena, but the roots of these phenomena are different. A psychologist can get down to the wound, but cannot see what the cause is.
Another door where Satan can walk into our lives is wanting at all costs a certain grace from God, without accepting His will. When I become the director of my life, I am nothing, I can do nothing.
We must be able to see only the positive things in other people, not the faults. The redeemed man that approaches others with the love of Christ, will burn also the faults in other people. The principal of Satan's teachings is to open up the wounds; his strength is expressed in condemning while Jesus' strength is expressed in saving. We cannot approach other people through judging, but through loving. Judging opens up the wounds, love heals the wounds. If we follow the path of egoism, then Satan introduces us to illusion, and agitated, we hurry here and there. If we love money, we belong to Satan.
On Saturday afternoon, Fr. Tomislav made us all go out to the beach to experiment the prayer of praise; to recognize God in the nature that surrounds us; to see His greatness in the immenseness of the sea and to feel His love in the blowing breeze. It is true that creation had united us to the Creator. We went back to our childish years, behaving like we would never dare to do had we been somewhere else.
Fr. Tomislav prayed: Father, may all the lands that are wet by these waves be blessed. Father, bless all the people who will be touched by the rays of the stars tonight. Bless all those people who will be touched by the rays of the sun.In this cosmic prayer, God is praised in all creation. If our prayer is just a formula, we remain trapped in by it. Our prayer must be a space where we can encounter God, so that the Holy Spirit may pray in us and we will live in harmony with all creatures.
To arrive at this open prayer we must make space in our hearts where only God can enter. If we manage to respect this space, we can adore God even in the most profound darkness. Our prayer must blossom into a blessing, so that others may discover the force to pray through our example.
We have to learn to live with the reality of our sufferings, without shunning them so that the supernatural dimension develops in us. If we use spiritual life to transform our whole being, then our life will become a happy announcement.
UNITY IN GOD - I must never have hard feelings against anyone, including God, for things that don't go the way I want, but I must see things in their positive aspect. This is the Church, when everyone forms one heart.
BELONGING TO A GROUP - I am Franciscan, or I am a priest, or I am a lay person. What counts is that I am in God. The various groups manifest themselves in different ways, but the important thing is to be united to God.
THE EUCHARIST - is prayer par excellence, because it comprises the Word of God that heals, the offering where I offer myself to God and communion with Jesus. When the Eucharist is lived in this manner, God silently heals our deepest wounds.
In the end Fr. Tomislav warned us of a most serious sin: making a habit of the Eucharist, a habit of Mass. After Sunday Mass, we all left for home, tired but extremely happy.
A.P., La Spezia, Italy.
MEDJUGORJE IN THE EAST
Fr. P. Tadeusz' letter is full of faith.
RADIO MARIA IN POLAND
with Russia in mind - and an Evangelization centre for the East. They are in need of everything however,
and the readers of Echo are invited to make the burden theirs.
Dear Fr. Angelo, (...) In union with thousands of people, I thank you for Echo ... for spreading the messages of the Queen of Peace, for the help you give to Mary, in co-operation with Mary, on the path that leads to Christ. I know Father, that you suffer greatly, that what is asked of you goes beyond human sufferances, but many, many thousands of people from all over the world pray for you.
Moving letters from our Eastern brothers - readers of Echo.
The testimonies, the letters of those people that have been saved, from the Soviet Union, Poland, Germany and all over the world, bring me great joy. They are people that have been born again in Christ, with thanks also, Father, to the service you offer as priest. Many wonderful letters from many parts of the Soviet Union encourage me and urge me to pray and work even more in this division:
Some of the letters are by priests too. A young priest writes. I thank you with all my heart for all your help. The people rejoice on receiving religious articles: little pictures, rosary beads, Echo ... or a book. They kiss these holy mementos with such feeling... I can assure you Father, that we pray for all those who send their help.
Another priest writes: ... I thank you for the chalice and the paten, for the star, the spoon, the other things and for the typewriter, for the catechism and prayer books, for everything... Now we have much work, especially in restoration works, but most of all in reconstructing the people. We need many prayers.The words that Fr. Maximilian Kolbe used to say when he went to pray the Rosary always come to my mind: I'm going to shoot down Satan. I thought that shipments of a different type of bread could have been organized: weapons to kill Satan (rosary beads, catechisms, holy vestments, the messages of the Queen of Peace, the Bible, etc) for our sisters and brothers of the East. Present orders have put a stop to everything. Yet the Mother of God always finds men and ways to organize shipments and avoid bureaucracy. She continually surprises us. She shows how much She loves Her children, and that She is the organizer of the 'chain of hearts.'
A radio station very soon at Torun. Nicolaus Copernicus, revolutionary for the world of science, was born in Torun in 1473 and it was there that his heliocentric theory was formed. In 1991, the first Radio Maria will be born for the so called Eastern Bloc countries, in Torun - to show the men that our God is the centre of the world's system and that all men and peoples in Him are His people and that we are all brothers and sisters.
This commitment keeps me very busy and goes beyond human possibilities. I know, there are certain things that only people like Fr. Maximilian Kolbe can deal with, not I. At times, my nights are sleepless. I entrust my every fear to Mary. I know She has many helpers, people like Fr. Kolbe; and I pray to Her that She may send them to us, to organize this project, Her project; that She may let the Fr. Kolbe of today be found. The Evangelization Centre for the East will also be in Torun. It will be from here that we want to systemically ship the Echo.., the messages, the books, the catechisms, etc...
Dear Father Angelo, it is Mary's will if we are pursuing the same thing. I put all my strength and everything that I possibly can into it; the Poles give their strength, their prayers and their work. In the states formerly dominated by communism, the enormous spiritual and economical damages are now emerging. It is all very serious: many people live in dire poverty; and that is why we need these evangelization centres. The centres depend on your help. We hope and count especially on your prayers, and then on any material help you may be able to send.
We need a computer, a fax for rapid communications would be wonderful. We need the paper for printing, means of transport; and soon there will be the need for more radio links. Everything that I gain, that I have, I use for this purpose, but it isn't much for such a big project. A miracle is needed.
Father, I count on your help for this work which really is yours, since it all started from you. Just recently, someone wrote to me and said: In the concentration camp in Siberia I was always sure that I would have returned home. When I was nearly dead from starvation, I cried out to the Blessed Virgin: Dear Mother, save me, You can see that I will soon die from hunger. A few minutes later, a prison mate came to me with a piece of bread, saying: 'I've got my channels that the guards don't know about. It was through these that I came into possession of this piece of bread. We're saved.
Father, I ask for your prayers; I pray that Mary may want to be the organizer of Her works, that many children may be saved from dying of starvation, that they may start living, because Jesus lives. He rose for every man, and we will live if we share the Risen-bread with the hungry!
Feast of St. Joseph, 1991 Yours in Jesus and Mary, Fr. Tadeusz.
* Our Polish Correspondent, Czeslawa Mirkiewicz, wrote to tell us how she has started a movement, not just in Poland, but also in Lithuania, White Russia and the Ukraine, of reciting the rosary every evening at 6.30 p.m. for all the readers of Echo.
Russia does not need bread alone,
but the good news that saves from desperation.
Satan must be driven out from every place with prayer.
(...) Dark clouds are forming over the Soviet Union. The perestrojka is failing... There are those who expect to return to the old ways. While provisions are rotting in the stations and ports, thousands of goods trains are being requisitioned to carry canons and army tanks to safety beyond the Urals. A world power reduced to begging, but they have atomic bombs. Have we come to that feared migration of starving masses of people who will inundate all Europe? They say 100 million people will migrate from the East to the West in the next 10 years..
In any case, any material help will be useless while the Soviet people are without spiritual values. We have a pastoral duty to carry out: re-evangelize the newly freed countries, through the radio, with priests, sacraments, books, and other appropriate means.
In deed, where people have been deprived of God and dominated by Satan, where they have been spiritually deformed, it will not be a perestrojka to save them. The Soviet empire cannot be saved and neither can we construct God's Kingdom. That's why Jesus gave His apostles the strength and the power to drive out demons before sending them to announce the Kingdom of God. (Lk 9.1)
And there is no need for any special mandate for this type of exorcism because Jesus says that this type of demon can only be driven out with prayer and fasting. (Mk 9.28)
But the stench of Satan poisons not only the East but also the West. Satan is conducting a world war. On all fronts, and especially in the secret of our hearts, he tempts at putting out the light of God. That's why he must be driven out from every corner, and straight away! Perhaps the catastrophe of the Persian Gulf, the tragedy of the Kurds and the anger of the many oppressed peoples are God's last warnings to make us turn away from sin..
(Werenfried Von Straaten)
For the triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart:
A HOUSE IN THE UKRAINE DEDICATED TO MARY
for the future apostles of the East.
The Ukraine, First Sunday after Easter, 1991
We're in Russian land together with Msgr. Paul Hnilica (commonly known as Fr. Paul), in Uzhorod - in that part of the land that borders with Slovakia. The city is central for Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania.
The reason for this umpteenth trip to Russia is the Domus Mariaeproject - similar to the house that will be built in Moscow. The bishop came here and spoke to the people crowded into the parish church and said: I have come here with my heart full of joy, to bless the land where a house will be built - a house to honour She Who freed you from the yoke of militant atheism that had caused the shedding of blood and tears of thousands of men.
Above all, this house must be a centre of spirituality and formation for future lay apostles who will catechize Russia and the surrounding lands. They, like each one of us, must be apostles of unity, because it is only this way that the Holy Spirit can act. Like St. Paul says: Only one Lord, only one faith, only one baptism, only one God and Father.
This house will be open to all the countries of the East, without exclusion. Without a doubt there is a special place in the heart of a Christian for his motherland, but not first place, as for every Christian the real motherland is Jesus. It is in Him that we must become one Heart only, one Christ only! Otherwise we are not Christians. In fact, being Christian means belonging to Christ: divisions and human barriers do not come from Him.
I thank you for having called me here to bless this part of the land chosen by Our Lady. A land that looks out upon so many other Eastern countries: countries that are so dear to the heart of such a wonderful Mother. It is not by chance that Russia means House of Our Lady.
The people listened intently and the joy was evident on the faces of all, from the little ones to the older folk and surely this joy is fruit of the Holy Spirit that blows so energetically on these people who have suffered so much due to religious persecution.
For those who would like to send in donations to help in the construction of the Domus Mariaein the Ukraine, the address is:
Msgr. Paul Hnilica, Pro Deo et Fratribus, Via Monte Santo 14, 00195 ROME, Italy.
THIRD YOUTH FESTIVAL Also this year there will be an international youth prayer gathering at Medjugorje. It will start on the 30th July and end with an all night vigil followed by celebration of the Holy Eucharist on the summit of Mt Krizevac at sunrise on August 6, the Feast of the Transfiguration. 5000 youth attended the festival last year, coming from 24 nations, including East Europe. The theme: Conversion as a Proces of Healing. The main guide will be Fr. Tomislav Vlasic'. In the morning there will be prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, national Mass and group sharing. Fr. Tomislav will hold a talk in the afternoon. An international Mass will be held in the evening after the Rosary. It is certain that after the Youth Festival many groups will go to the meeting at Czestochowa in Poland (from the 13th to the 15th August) with the Pope. For information regarding the Youth Festival write to: YOUTH 2000, 12 Stanhope Gardens, London SW7 5RG, UK (Organizers from other countries may advise us of their address and we will gladly print it in our next issue.)
The Eastern Bloc: reasons to rejoice and reasons to worry.
After the liberation, we must invoke unity and peace
for the churches of the Ukraine.
A reason to rejoice is that the hierarchy of the immense Soviet territories is being reorganized. An archbishop has been nominated for Moscow, two bishops for Byelorussia and another three for territories beyond the Urals. In the next European synod there will be 40 bishops from the West and 30 from the East, plus a further 15 representatives of other Christian Churches (and not just as observers; they will be able to speak), and there will also be a representative from both the Jewish and Muslim faiths, according to the Pope's desires.
The reasons to worry are the disunity and rivalry among the various Churches: the Uniates, the Orthodox, a new Orthodox Church that has broken with the Russian patriarch of Moscow and who present themselves to the population as the only real national religious community, then there are the ex-Poles of Latin rite who are not well seen by the Uniates. Claims and disagreements are the order of the day.
As can be seen, the Queen of Peace has a lot of work to do in the Ukraine. Patriotism can turn into a trap, set by the devil. It can be a cause of estrangement from the Gospel of Peace and Unity, devoiding the Church of its real ministry which is the salvation and sanctification of all men.
Let us pray then for our brothers, that they learn that it is not the number of faithful that count, nor the popularity among the people, but living Christianly, loving and supporting one another, not for our own glory, but for the greater glory of God. Longlasting fruit may be produced only if we work for the greater glory of God and Mary can do this for us only if we give Her a hand. Fr. A.
THE MAIL: We receive many, many letters, but unfortunately, space does not permit us to publish them all.
* A tumour - a wonderful grace! - God has given me a wonderful grace: an inoperable tumour that has kept me in faithful company of His sufferings for months... I will praise Him eternally for the mercy that He has shown me. I offer my sufferings also for you and for your Echo, so that many people may be saved. Let us not worry about anything, we are enclosed in the Blessed Hearts of Jesus and Mary.(Fr. G., La Spezia, Italy)
* Fear of falling back into old habits - ... God entered with violence to become part of my life and bit by bit He has helped me climb out of the dark pit that I had fallen into. However I fear Satan's force that bombards us from everywhere: the TV, newspapers and magazines, the radio... (S.M., Massa, Italy)
Dear Sergio - Yes, the devil works non-stop, but he becomes powerless if we let our hearts be filled with the Lord's love. When we are in God, Satan cannot harm us. Satan has been defeated. Have faith in God, listen to His Word and do not fear.
* Mary works among the youth and makes the enemy angry - ... We went to a spiritual retreat, one that Satan obviously didn't want, but that was very fruitful. On the way back home, three of the cars were involved in accidents, and one nearly ended up in the river, but nobody was injured. One girl's memory was healed. The Lord traced out the future of the group and wants it to grow so that the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the recital of the Rosary and the Bible may be made known also to other youth in other parishes. We returned home after 28 hours of non-stop adoration (in shifts), and many received extraordinary gifts. (G.B., Montreal, Canada)
An S.O.S. from Peru.
The needy of the Andes, baited by the sects, ask for priests and apostles to help them conserve the Catholic faith.
Whilst in the countries of the Eastern bloc Marxism has collapsed, here it continues to find proselytes, especially among the youth thirsty for justice. Since they cannot find a priest or a missionary that can guide them, they easily let themselves by led on by false prophets who do their best to cancel the faith brought to them by the first evangelists. How sad it is to note that this spirit of sacrifice is lacking in our young Catholics. It is painful to hear the Indios ask we priests: Why have you abandoned us? A priest hasn't visited us for 30 or 40 years!We mustn't wonder then why the sects make such progress. The movement of the Servants of the Poor in the Third World was born to carry the message contained in the Gospel to the poor and to reveal to them the treasures of the Church: absolute faith to the Holy Father, devotion to Our Lady and relief from the scourges that strike them: injustice, hunger, leprosy, diseases ...
We have two communities at Cuzco of young men and women from various nations who serve the poor. Their days are filled with prayer and work. We accept young people wishing to experience life with us. We have an international seminary at Toledo in Spain where various young men are preparing themselves to become priests for the poor. I entrust my letter to Our Lady of Medjugorje, that She may give the strength to many young people to consecrate themselves to God and to the poorest of our brothers in the Third World.
Fr. Giovanni (John) Salerno
If you wish to correspond or send in donations, write to: SERVI DEI POVERI DEL T.M.,Via E. Asfinio 8, 20070 SORDIO (MI), Italy.s to become priests for the poor. I entrust my letter to Our Lady of Medjugorje, that She may give the strength to many young
ENTER INTO YOUR PRAYER TO ENCOUNTER GOD
AND BEAR MUCH FRUIT
Message of 25 April 1991:
Dear children! Today I am inviting all of you, that your prayer may be prayer with the heart. I would like each one of you to find the time for prayer so that in prayer you may discover God. I do not want you to talk about prayer, but to pray, really.
May your every single day be full of thankful prayer to God for the life and everything that you have. I do not want your life to be full of words, but that you glorify God with your works. I am with you and I thank God for every moment that I pass with you. Thank you for having responded to my call.
The essence of the message is to enter into our prayer and live our prayer. Our Lady insists on us praying with the heart because it is there that we can find God. If we do not pray with the heart, we cannot meet God. It is important to make this message ours, especially where it says: I do not want you to talk about prayer, but to pray, really.This is very important. There is an enormous difference between listening in to the subject of prayer, and praying really.
It is easy to listen to meditations on prayer, but it is difficult to pray, because prayer is a battle, a battle against Satan, against our negative sides. Prayer is the moment of our redemption, when we meet with the living God, and therefore where we must see our wounds, admit our sins, and display everything in the light of the Holy Spirit.
Our heart then puts up defence; it tends to close. That is why we tend to get out of our prayer, we search for subjects to listen to, or nice formulas to recite, which is much easier. Our Lady however, takes us ahead. She wants our encounter with God to be prayer of thanks. This can never happen if we do not meet God and we do not discover His goodness in our every day to day lives. When we discover in our hearts that God is good in all situations, then we can thank Him and then we will bear much fruit in our works and these works will glorify God.
The tendency to listen to and to talk about prayer is a sign of our superficiality; it is a sign of our aversion to entering into intense life with God. And it is for this reason that we must force ourselves, every day, to enter into our prayer; but not enter again and again, but rather enter and remain with God in our prayer, remain in Him and thus continually bear the fruits of salvation that come through the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.
Now, let us pray: Oh Lord, I pray to you for all the pilgrims and all those who will read these pages: may the Holy Spirit descend and enlighten the minds of all men so that they may understand this message.
Oh Lord, send Your Holy Spirit to open our hearts, so that the wills of all men may accept all Your plans and so that there will be no resistance in the hearts of men.
Oh Lord, prayer is a grace and we beg You to grant us this grace, so that we may pray really.
Oh Lord, send Your Holy Spirit and give us the strength to confront the battle of prayer and defeat the enemy.
Then the peace and the joy of the Lord will enter your hearts and you will be able to contemplate God's face. I bless you in the Name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic'
The battle of IN THE FAMILY
With thanks to the generosity of the readers, we have received in these last two months the following donations:
For Medjugorje in the East: Lit.14,295,000 / Sahel: 2,611,000 / Latin America: 1,650,000.
Last year we handed over 10 million lire towards the plant for Radio Maria in Poland and just recently a further 15 million lire. We also gave 11 million lire to Msgr Hnilica for the East and 9 million lire to three groups who we support in Latin America. We have also been able to maintain the costs for printing the Italian edition of Echo and the foreign ones and send help to Marian and other communities.
Our correspondent for the French edition writes: When I started taking care of the French editon one year ago in February of '90 there were 400 addresses and 600 copies to be distributed. Now there are 2400 addresses & 13000 copies. Praise be to God! Echo is requested also by many priests and religious people. We don't know where Mary will conduct us, but we will follow Her, wherever it may be.
Echo is free. We do not make any form of publicity. It lives entirely on readers' donations. When you send in a donation, you may specify a particular destination. Money for Medjugorje in the East goes to Radio Maria in Poland, Marian Centre in Moscow and the Ukraine, printing of Echo in the Eastern editions, Bibles and catechism books, etc.
Donations may be sent in by international bank cheque or postal order to: Echo of Medjugorje, Casella Postale 149, 46100 Mantova, Italy. To keep mailing costs down, please try to organize groups where we can send Echo and then you distribute it. When writing to request copies of Echo, please PRINT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS, better if TYPEWRITTEN.
Please do not send us requests for any material other than for Echo. We thank Bernard Ellis, however, who has offered to help direct any English speaking enquiries to places in the UK where literature, magazines, books, videos, audio tapes, etc, to do with Medjugorje and other places of Marian apparitions can be obtained. His address is: Bernard Ellis, Spring House, 2 Old Quarry Hall, Spring Bottom Lane, Bletchingly, Surrey RH1 4QX, England. Tel: 0883 3 46365. Office address: Anglo World Steel Exports Limited, Unit J Lambs Brickworks, Tilburstow Hill Road, South Godstone, Surrey RH9 8JZ, England. Tel: 0342 893230, Fax: 0342 893515, Telex: 957002 AWSEL G.
We are thankful to Our Lady and we are sure that She will reward all those who distribute ECHO for us.
May Our Lady of the month of May open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and bless us so we may bear much fruit.
NEWS FROM THE BLESSED LAND
by Fr. Slavko Barbaric'
* Vicka went to Italy at the beginning of March to accompany her sister Marijana who had to undergo an operation. Marija went to Portugal midway through March to visit Fatima and some groups.
Fr. Petar is preparing for a trip to Poland with the visionaries.
* 120 from Germany on foot to Medjugorje (in 3 annual stages) - dramatic interlude. A group of German friends, guided by Hubert Liebherr, had planned an interesting trip to Medjugorje. Hubert, who had inherited a big industrial machine tool company, was converted at Medjugorje and then sold everything to dedicate himself to spreading the messages of peace.
The pilgrimage was to be done on foot with a statue of Our Lady in their arms. 1,400 km in 3 stages, one per year. It began in 1989 with the departure from Marienfried (Baveria) and destination Salzburg (Austria). In 1990 from Salzburg to Lubiana (Slovenia). In 1991 from Lubiana to Medjugorje, with this last stage divided into 2 other stages - from Lubiana to Livno and then Livno to Medjugorje - where they would have arrived in time for the German Mass, right on the 10th anniversary of the apparitions.
Something extraordinary indeed! 120 people passing along the roads of Jugoslavia carrying a statue of Our Lady! They reached Plitvice on Easter Saturday where they were put up by 7 different families. On the morning of Easter they were woken, not by the sound of bells, but by gunshots... They remained inside the homes all day long, waiting for the situation to return to normal so that they could continue with their pilgrimage. But it was impossible for them to move. Thus, a bus from Germany went to pick them up. Not at all frightened, however, they continued their journey to Medjugorje in the bus. This experience has made them even more convinced of the need to pray for peace.