ECHO OF MARY Queen of peace 88
DECEMBER 1991 - Month of the Immaculate Conception - Address: Echo of Medj, Cas.Post. 149, 46100 Mantova, Italy - Fax:0376-245075 - Sped.Abb.Post.3/70 - Aut.Trib.Mantova n13 -8.11.86 - Yr6 12
"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you " (Lk 6.27) because "Love is strong as Death." (Sg 8.6)
Our Lady’s message of 25 November 1991:
Dear children! This time too, I am asking you to pray. Pray, to be able to understand what God wishes to say through my presence and through the messages that I give you. I desire bringing you closer still to Jesus and to His Wounded Heart, so that you will be capable of comprehending that boundless Love that is given for each one of you. Pray then, dear children, so that a fountain of love may flow from your hearts onto every man and onto those who hate and despise you; so that, together with the Love of Jesus, you will be able to defeat the misery in that world of sorrow that has no hope for those who do not know Jesus. I am with you and I love you with the Love of Jesus which is boundless. Thank you for all your sacrifices and prayers. Pray, that I may be able to help you even more. I need your prayers. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Mary shows us how to see beyond human tragedy to see God’s Boundless Love, that we also may become living founts
This message has come at a crucial time. Many pilgrims are awaiting an answer to many problems, to the many questions in their hearts regarding the war in Yugoslavia. While they ask themselves the whys and wherefores of such a war, Our Lady is urging us to open our hearts through prayer, so that we may understand Her presence and the plan that God wishes to actuate through Her. Twice Our Lady stresses that prayer is our means of entering more profoundly into God’s plan for Medjugorje.
Another very important thing in this message is that Our Lady teaches us to look beyond human problems. We tend to see only the negative things - like in this war - but She takes us beyond these tragedies, She takes us to a level where God’s boundless Love can be found. Her words,
I desire bringing you closer still to Jesus and His Wounded Heart,
are very important. Our Lady did not say His offended Heart, but His wounded Heart, where we will be able to understand that boundless love that He gave for each one of us. This helps us contemplate how God - offended by this war, by all the evil in this world and by the wound He received through the sins of the world - how God is a God Who loves infinitely. This is where we must turn our glance to, so that we will not become frightened or scandalized in thinking why or why not something happens.
Another fact can be tied to this one:
Pray then, dear children, so that a fountain of love may flow from your hearts onto every man and onto those who hate and despise you; so that, together with the Love of Jesus, you will be able to defeat the misery in that world of sorrow that has no hope for those who do not know Jesus.
This piece of the message is very important because like wounded Jesus is a boundless love, our sufferances become like a fountain of boundless love when we are close to Jesus, when we are one with Jesus - this is really knowing Jesus, this is called strength that defeats darkness, sorrow, evil.
I also see a call here, particularly in the last phrase, to climb the Tabor, and to live this walk that transforms us:
Pray, that I may be able to help you even more. I need your prayers.
It is in knowing God’s plan better, that our relation with Jesus grows, and we receive that boundless love so that we can be boundless love for the world. Our Lady has given us just the answer for the problems that arise from war, because She takes us to Crucified Jesus, She takes us beyond all those questions that are asked by the world. We pilgrims of Medjugorje, as Christians, have to understand this call for all of humanity and we have to aim at being this fountain of love for the others.
Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may the Lord open your hearts through prayer and every sacrifice, so that you may comprehend that boundless love that God wants to love you with and let yourselves by loved by It. May your every wound received through sin and the world, be transformed by this boundless love into fountains of peace and love; and with this love be able to defeat all evil. May the Lord give you this real knowledge of Jesus Christ, so that the boundless love of God may be infinite light for all humanity which lives in darkness. I bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A call to love those who hate and despise you.
...Mary’s call is not a simple invitation to pray, but a call to pray to understand more profoundly the reason of Her presence, as the world’s situation gets more serious - because Her presence helps us to see with the eyes of faith during this trying period. The Croatian tragedy in particular tests the faith of those people who had opened their hearts to the Queen of Peace, and now see the peace project being so hindered, to the point that they may think: Jesus is not strong enough.
And those who had not opened their hearts, close their hearts even more, with this war breaking out around them. With this message, Our Lady wants to make us see the world through Her eyes. She shows us a world full of misery and wickedness, a world with no hope of salvation, because it does not know and does not want to know Jesus. Our world wounds Jesus’ heart, but at the same time it is the object of that boundless love coming from that same Heart and Mary’s Immaculate Heart, that dominate the world, that want to redeem the world. In the most trying moment, we are called to love even more, to love to the end, in union with Jesus and Mary’s sacrificed love, to defeat the evil in the world. The Queen of Peace does not hesitate to ask us to allow ourselves be totally transformed through prayer, to become like Her, with Jesus and in Jesus, Who is the fount of love for every man and in particular for those who hate and despise their brothers. For this love to flow out from our hearts onto every man, friend and enemy alike, we must offer ourselves to God, we must constantly burn with love, we must share Jesus’ cross and peace...
Tempted to hate
...There is the danger that many in Croatia will start hating and despising their enemy because here there is a terrible amount of sufferance, and it has to be overcome. We are aware that this is a big temptation. If those who suffer start hating and despising, this would not be the way indicated to us by Mary and Jesus. Our Lady wants to teach us to love even in sufferance, when others make us suffer. I do not believe that this message is meant only for us, here in this terribly unjust, cruel and trivial war, but for each one of you, for all humanity, because hate, disdain and negative things did not begin with this war in Croatia. They can be found all over the world. Even in the countries where there is no war, as there is so much hate and disdain for the others, the poor and the sick are abandoned to themselves, and many other things that aren’t good...
Fr. Slavko on Radio Maria
In this night of darkness, either we are light for the world, or we are betrayers.
Those who do not fight, are certainly traitors.
Something extremely obscure is happening in our world, some- thing that is similar to that long night in Gethsemane, where all the evil forces united to pour their fury onto Jesus, the Light. The dark forces of that night were and are strong, intense, because all the evil hidden in mens’ hearts was about to be revealed. The chiefs had already decided his death sentence, and everything that followed was nothing but an absurd and wretched farce. Judas came out of Jesus’ own number, but he wasn’t really one of them (1 Jn 2.19); and he became the instrument of mediation whereby evil showed up its real face: that of a BETRAYER. Satan always betrays men’s hearts. He practises the art of deceiving, his lies are his weapon, his intent is to kill, always, and first of all people’s souls.
The apostles during the Last Supper were dumbstruck and greatly distressed when Jesus said: One of you is about to betray me. (Mt 26.21) Perhaps suspecting that something grave was about to happen, they began to ask:
Surely Lord, you don’t mean me? (Mt 26.22) This question anxiously resounds within all of us - something is happening, something called treason - it’s an insult to God’s Infinite Patience and Mercy!
Sin and BETRAYAL are weighing down more and more on all of humanity in an obscure and oppressing manner. In this moment of history we can surely contemplate with open eyes and sincere heart the same vision described in chapter 12 of Revelation: A woman, adorned with the sun, is the great sign that appears in heaven. St. John continues: Then a second sign appeared in the sky, a huge red dragon... (Rv 12.3)
On the 15th August last (the feast of the Assumption) while in Czestochowa, the Holy Father most strongly called us all to this image of the Holy Scriptures. It is within these great signs in heaven that the history of our poor humanity is played - and the story is called battle.
It is right from the beginning (Gn 3) that we see it is impossible to make compromises between good and evil: She will crush your head, (Gn 3.15) and we see the battle begin against he who wants to devour the Son. (Rv 12.7)
The Holy Father reminded us that the devil’s main aim is to devour Her children (that’s us). Satan wants to destroy our dignity (in being God’s children), he wants to steal us from the Father and that is the reason for his continous battle against Our Lady (homily of 15 Aug. ’91), but Who does everything She can to defend us and take care of us. While we live then, we must put up a hard fight, without stopping, to defend ourselves from the one who wants to steal the most precious thing we own. And inevitably, those who do not join the fight, have to be betrayers. As long as we remember the dignity that comes from being God’s children, that we were saved, that we have received infinite graces, then we become recipients of a grace called vigilance. Those who do not retain this Memory betray.
The Holy Father repeated these things most solemnly during the Appeal at Jasna Gora, before the Queen of the World, Mother of the Church (14 Aug. ’91 - in front of 1.5 million youth). But what did we bring home with us? What light have we Christians (all children of the one God) donated to the world, after having received so many graces from Our Lady, and after hearing so many appeals by the Pope? How do we feel now while our neighbouring brothers in Yugoslavia are dying? The majority of us don’t really care what’s happening there, including the people who govern the countries.
What post do we occupy in that long night in Gethsemane? Perhaps we have not quite realized yet that we can be winners in this battle if we fight with the weapons passed down to us by Mary. Perhaps we are slaves of our own ideas, of our own individualism, and we haven’t realized yet that also our moments of betrayal, and our smallest participation in the Redemption, are part of this battle. This phase of history is rather mysterious, confusing and dramatic, and perhaps we do not want to take on the immense responsibility of being God’s children, to defend at all costs our most nobil and precious rights, even with our lives.
We are called to fight, but with real weapons, those ones that Jesus left us. In the fight against deception, we have the firmness of our Memory: the Incarnation, Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, our Lord. We have the Strength of the Spirit to help us fight this cruel and distressing satanic art. We have the Eucharist and the Truth to fight against the lies. Against the fear and anxiety, the disgust of treason, we have Forgiveness, we have the Cross of Our Lord. Against death, we have faith and hope to keep us alive. Against indifference and powerlessness, we can become powerful when armed with Love - that blazing Love of the Spirit that burns all evil, cancels every indifference, eliminates every indifference for ever. For us then, cruelty is substituted by Mercy.
The offering of ourselves to Jesus, through Mary’s Immaculate Heart, becomes the most beautiful song of praise to the Lord in reparation of all offences.
With my life I praise the Lord.
(Ps 150) If we open our hearts completely to Jesus and Mary, our hearts fill with Hope that defeats the darkness within us. Our hearts will burn within us, like the hearts of the disciples at Emmaus when Jesus opened their eyes and their minds upon breaking the Bread. If we are able to offer ourselves, with constancy, with love, with great affection, to our Redeemer; if we only think of what the Mysteries mean to us, if our prayers are loaded with faith and enthusiam; if our days are accompanied by repentance; then in this absurd death culture where the powerful rule with coldness and cruelty, we will become the only really live people, walking among the dead.
I want all souls to be saved.
Our Lady then does not promise to save lives, structures or cities, but: pray for my intentions, for what God wants, not for what you want. It means that many things are hidden from us. Good things too, that we normally ask for, have to take second place to that which is more necessary for the whole world. We fully trust that God will see to the rest.
MARY’S PLAN FOR US AND THE WORLD
Return to the Sacraments so that God may heal us and see that our conversion continues
(Continued from the last issue) Our Lady then has come to make us live the Gospel. She has come to remind us of those basic essentials that must accompany a conversion, i.e. sacrifice, the cross... These words cause fear within the Church, and thus to keep people happy we do not speak about penance, or sacrifice, or fasting...
You think this is unimportant? It’s too easy to pick out of the Gospel only that which is pleasing and most suits our desires. Our Lady instead, has come to tell us the Gospel in its entirety. She has come to tell us that it is better to walk according to the Gospel, the way it really is, bit by bit, to live the Gospel in complete humbleness, to take it slowly, but to get right to the bottom of it - rather than forget it or take from it what we like most, or again, to rush ourselves into performing great works. If we look around, we can see what has come of living the Gospel incorrectly - a mountain of trouble! Everyone is worried and running around to save the world, but look at the results of such behaviour!
Our Lady, spiritual and universal adviser, thought it best to come to us, to suggest that it would be best if we returned to the Sacraments. As Mother of the Church, She points at the same reason which is why the Church exists. The Church exists because of the strength of the Risen Christ, Who is present in the Eucharist. Therefore She says to us: My dear children, go to the church to pray and participate in Holy Mass, rather than organize lots of meetings and debates. Remember that what the Eucharist can do, nobody else can do..
The return to the Sacraments then is like being schooled. It is a movement that indicates a way to walk, to get up, to shake ourselves, a movement that takes us out of one door into another one. It is a movement that makes us go down onto our knees. This return to the Sacraments must be something violent
from a pedagogical point of view, even when teaching the children. When catechism is taught to the children, we must go back to teaching them properly about the Sacraments.
How can we win on our own when we are full of negative things? You’ve already fallen once, ten times... How can you win against a force that has already buried you a thousand times? What claims have you to think you can do it on your own? If that temptation, or that love for yourself is greater than your capacity to resist, just tell me who you should go to, to win? We’re talking about a battle against the prince of darkness, with the devils that are always surrounding us, as the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel says (that is not said after Mass anymore, perhaps because it is not fashionable to talk about Satan anymore). No, the devils exist, really, and we have to fight them with the right weapons. Go and confess then! St. Charles went every day..
The Lord is present in the Sacrament and pedagogy as a whole, even for infants, must take us back to this evangelical education in the fullest of senses. Children are to be taken back to the churches and helped to understand what is wrong and what is right. The two important tracks in spiritual life are the Eucharist and Confession. If you remove one railway track, the train derails; if you remove one of the spiritual tracks, then spiritual life is inexistent. This is the tragedy of the Church: in the end, you put yourself in God’s place - even in works of charity, and that is why most of them fail - because we claim we can do what only God can do. These two Sacraments then bring that so vehemently detested and forgotten category named sacrifice back into Christian education.
Prayer - indispensable in our relation with He Who gives us life.
Stay before God to let Him change you.
Prayer and fasting are the roads that take us to conversion. To convert, however, one must do something: make use of the Sacraments. One thing is clear: wherever God is, one advances. If I love Jesus, if I love a person, I like to stay with that person. You cannot say you love a person if you never stay with that person. Prayer is what touches on our sore points, and usually left to rot under the pile of so many other things that we occupy ourselves with - we are always busy doing so many things, but we forget about the Truth.
Prayer is the act with which one corresponds to the truth, because man is God’s creature and child, and as such man must have a relation with God. If this relation is removed, then man is just a mask. Our Lady has come to remind us of the need of this relation with God: if one stops praying, things cannot go well. He provided laws for the nature, to the heart of every man He gave the Spirit that laments and waits for you to deign yourself to look at Him, pray to Him, listen to Him, let yourself be guided by Him. Prayer is the profound truth of man. It is the greatest of acts, the greatest thing that man can do, and all other things, works included, are just the consequences of prayer. Praying well and always is hard work. That is why Our Lady said: move then, and pray.. If it is hard for you to pray then this means that it must be there that you have to purify yourself. Purification is staying in front of God, and He decides the conditions. It is something that costs, but it is necessary for a real conversion. We change in front of God, because God changes us - we cannot change ourselves.
Fasting is sacrificing our instinct for the essentials
Our Lady says that fasting is above all, fasting from sin. It is ridiculous that we fast from any other thing, but have our hearts glued to mortal vices. Starting to take something off your plates, and it hurts your stomach a little because you’re hungry, means seeing the importance of sacrificing our instinct for something else that is absolutely essential for our lives. Jesus says to the devil: man does not live on bread alone. But we Christians affirm: oh no, one has to eat. It's time we started saying too: man does not live on bread alone. In fact, our self-destruction starts like that - first we consider our own ideas, and then adapt the Gospel to them. Our Lady wants the Gospel to be first in our lives, that we convert our way of living and especially our instinct, to the Gospel. St. Francis’ year contained four Lents.. These days, if one says he’s on a diet to lose weight he is esteemed, but if one eats bread and water because God has indicated this as a way of purification, he is called fanatic.. Our Lady’s pedagogy is this: call us back to the truth and call good that which is good, and bad that which is bad.
The secret in why sinners convert is in putting the Lord first.
Mary calls the sinners and touches their sore points
We must remember that Our Lady desires all this for all of humanity, especially for the Church, because purification is all the more difficult within those mentalities worn out through following false idols. This plan, so well seen here in Medjugorje, is meant for all men. Our Lady is Refuge of sinners and the conversions that have been seen here have not been seen by the Church for years. What is the reason? This call to the radicalness of the Gospel.
When Jesus presented Himself to sinners, the sinners converted. If sinners are not converting anymore, then there is something wrong with the pastoral plans. Our Lady came then to explain that to make things work properly, the sinners (meaning first us, then the others) are to be brought back into the truth - because these days we are afraid to propose the truth. And the truth is Jesus, Who loves you and Who really cares about your life. One has to put the Lord first if sinners are to be converted - for it is He to convert them, not us. This is where pastoral guidance is lacking.
Sinners convert only because Someone accepts them as they are, and forgives them, but He demands that they do not sin anymore: Go, and do not sin again.
But who sets down this possibility of not sinning anymore? Man? Only God through the Sacraments, so patiently picks you up and gives you the possibility of becoming someone else a little at a time. Sinners can feel this, they understand where they have to go to be loved and to change their ways - because Someone has finally understood their sin and tells them what steps to take.
Then “Refuge of sinners” means that Our Lady really is Mother of all and our first mission is to continuously and insistently call upon that Mercy that God used in sending us His Mother. Then we will be able to embrace all the others with the same gift and She will touch people’s hearts, all those hearts that will open up. People’s hearts thaw out if they are sincere. We have seen this so many times here at Medjugorje... Why did those 30 people who had climbed Podbrdo in the last pilgrimage cry in the end? What’s the secret? The secret is the Heart of the Blessed Mother Who touches on that particular point of one’s most inner self and that no-one knows about - but She knows. She then, can touch people’s hearts, and how. This is Medjugorje.. Nike (reflections part 2 - Medjugorje July 1991 - End)
How many Jonahs in the Church - A sister from Frankfurt writes:
... After reflecting on the Reading of the day, and the way the world is at present, I found that this
refusal of the Spirit... all because you did not recognize your opportunity… is something really terrible. Only God knows how many prophets there are in the Church that are like Jonah - escaping from their duties. I don’t just mean the lack of interest in Medjugorje - I feel this reflects their whole attitude. Because they
sleep so deeply,
their disobedience to the Word is recking havoc among the little ones. How many of these Jonahs in the Church have never let themselves be roused from their sleep, and how many storms have been calmed for the sake of the elected ones?.. The extremely brief October message for me was like the cry of a mother who can see her children in grave danger. What else could she do, but cry out to tell them: beware?
THE ORDEAL OF THE CROATIANS
The situation seen by Fr. Slavko - Here in Medjugorje there are very few pilgrims. The war has still not reached Bosnia & Herzogovina, but things are very tense. Some supplies arrived today and this brought a bit of hope into our hearts. The situation is tragic. The news that we hear, talks of many deaths and many wounded, 500,000 refugees, houses destroyed, more than 270 churches destroyed (in Dubrovnik alone 30 churches and 10 or 15 convents have been destroyed). We see all of this, however, as our cross, our sufferance, and we pray, we offer it to the Lord, not just for our peace, but for the peace of the world.
I believe that this war is an invitation to the whole world, especially to Catholics and Christians, to pray to understand the seriousness of Our Lady’s messages. One of Her first messages was:
Pray and fast, because with prayer and fasting you can put a stop to wars and suspend natural events.
Who thought that a war would come, back in 1981? No-one! But here we are, 10 years later, with a war raging around us. I believe then, that this great sufferance, this hate, gives us new painful reason to take Our Lady’s messages seriously, not with fear or anxiety in our hearts, just seriously and lovingly.
I went to Germany and Malta just recently together with Marija. Fr. Leonardo is also travelling around Europe because there is very little work here. There are many people all over who pray and fast, who offer novenas and sacrifices. I thank all of you very much, the Italian pilgrims too who are praying, and all those who send help. Thanks to all those who offer hospitality to the refugees. We sincerely thank all of you, because also today a truck full of supplies arrived from Italy. We will distribute everything to those most in need. (Radio Maria 25 Nov.)
Other news - The following visionaries are still in Medjugorje: Vicka, Ivanka and Marjana (the one who receives inner locutions). Marjana has offered hospitality to 20 needy children. Fr. Tomislav’s community is still present. Ivan is in America, animating prayer groups all over. Friends in Montreal and Virginia keep us informed. Jelena is studying at the Franciscan University in Cincinatti. Jakov and Marija are in Italy.
We have many refugees here from a town near Vukovar, which was completely destroyed. All the families here have offered to put them up in their homes.
The tragedy in numbers - The Yugoslav bishops have estimated that there are: 500,000 refugees, 100,000 houses destroyed, 10,000 people have lost their lives, 20,000 have been injured, 270 churches have been destroyed, 12 of which are Orthodox, 170 parishes have been devastated, 130 parish priests are missing, 80% of the nation’s revenue has been lost. We add that three months ago, 7 Soviet ships unloaded weapons directed to Belgrade, without the Western secret services putting up any opposition whatsoever.
Armed Croatian defence and Serbian threats in Herzegovina We know for certain that on Saturday 21st September two armed columns of Serbians and Montenegrins, on their way to Split for the final assault, were stopped at Mostar and at Caplina by the people who, with the help of the authority, barricaded the roads, and mined streets and bridges. To retaliate, an area west of Neretva was cleaned up of Croatians and Muslims. Those who could not find refuge elsewhere were held hostage, and those who resisted, were shot. Armed men keep guard in the area day and night. After two unsuccessful attempts, Serbian artillery was finally dropped into the area from planes, in Neretva on the two hills between Mostar and Ljubuski, which was still inhabited by Croatians. Any excuse provocates fighting, as the Serbians would like to destroy the whole area. Armed men who have not joined the Croatian militia, keep watch day and night. The people of the villages gather together to pray.
Beware Europe, for you might be next - Flaminio Piccoli, president of the Foreign Committee for the House of Parliament in Italy, is one of the few members of Parliament in favour of independance for Slovenia and Croatia. He was interviewed by Radio Maria on the 25th November 1991:
... There have always been strong ties between Russia and Serbia since the times of the tsar. Just before the coup in Russia, Gorbachov had warned the Western world not to touch Serbia. In fact, it is well noted that the Russians aspire to reaching the Adriatic through Serbia. The Serbians have already reached the Adriatic, and Europe is not worried about what might happen in the future. When the Pope said that this war was a disgrace for Europe, I’m sure he was also thinking of how Europe is putting its peace at risk. (...)
When Shevarnadze returned to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on 21 Nov. 1991, he made the following declaration: I have returned to my place during a very grave situation, because it is our duty to think of our country when it has reached its limits. I have come back, however, also for the sake of the world’s salvation.
This means that the Russians are aware too, that if the nation were to fall to pieces, the army could start becoming active again (like during the famine in France during the French Revolution when Napoleon went with his army all over Europe and Egypt to find supplies). This danger exists for Russia... and Europe has shown how weak it is - once the Communist dome kept all the Western countries united, now we can see how weak, vain and superficial Europe really is. (...)
THE POPE: Stop this tragedy! The nations do not want to listen to his appeal.
Since the start of the war (26 June), the Pope has spoken out 18 times about the crisis in Yugoslavia. On the 13th November he harshly condemned aggression. (If only we could here our leaders of Europe saying the same things.)
The cries of sorrow and fear that reach our ears from Croatia cannot and must not leave any Christian or person of goodwill indifferent. In the last few days the attacks have been of an unheard violence.... Hotels and hospitals have been hit in Dubrovnik, which were full of refugees or wounded people. These acts of aggression must be stopped. May my cries of condemnation and imploration be heard together with those of all the people who are suffering and dying and with those of all the people who are horrified by the atrocities of the war in Croatia.
I beg the federal army to spare the lives of the defenceless civilians, to hold back that fury that is destroying private homes and public buildings. The international community must not accept that violence be used to deal with the controversies between peoples; that basic standards of conduct, ratified by international conventions and agreements, be trampled on. A stop must be put to this tragedy that dishonours Europe and the world. May God Almighty grant His Peace and His Blessings.
On the 17th November, the Pope took part in the prayer day dedicated to Croatia, proclaimed by the diocese of Rome. On the 20th he spoke to a group of Croatian refugees, some of whom had escaped from Vukovar and who bore visible signs of the tragedy that is destroying their country.
The Cardinal of Zagreb invites his people to love their enemies: The situation is tragic, the cities are being destroyed, so many people are being exposed to violence, the end of this war is not in sight. Our only hope is the Lord. May His Spirit touch the consciences of these men... This ruthless and cruel war was born out of the hate that Serbians carry in their hearts for Croatia and the Church. We preach love, because hate can be defeated with love. If we are attacked, we can defend ourselves, but never are we to hate or wish to take vengeance! ..."
APPEAL TO THE YUGOSLAV BISHOPS:
Re-consecrate Yugoslavia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart and acknowledge the importance of the Queen of Peace. We received this appeal, launched by the Medjugorje group of Beuren in Germany, from the Medj. Network in London. It is an invitation to all Medjugorje groups all over the world, to write a letter to: Cardinal Franjo Kuharic’, President, Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia, Kaptol 1, 41000 Zagreb, Yugoslavia. They suggest the following text:
To the Bishops of Yugoslavia, All of us who have responded to Our Lady Queen of Peace in Medjugorje thank her unceasingly for the fruits of conversion. During this time of crisis for Yugoslavia, which has international consequences, may we earnestly ask that you re-consecrate your nation collegially to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Queen of Peace, and implore her intercession for peace. United in prayer, we believe that this consecration, supported by worldwide prayers and sacrifices, will surely help to bring about peace in Yugoslavia and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart.
Is the Lord’s second coming imminent? There are some visionaries and charismatic people who insist that the Lord’s second coming is near. Even books have been written about it, saying that the signs described in Revelation speak clearly. We spoke to Fr. Gabriel Amorth about this and he replied:
I believe that, in the best of cases, the language is always Apocalyptic, like in the writings of the New Testament. And in the New Testament, even events that will happen in thousands of years (i.e. when God wants, and without notice) are said to be imminent. The Gospel also tells us, however, to be: ... ever alert!
FATHER TOMISLAV: A new people will be born from this terrible trial
The Queen of Peace has not been accepted
I accept that my people be sacrificed so that the whole world may be saved. In a society not founded on God all those unresolved problems can explode."
Fr. Tomislav was in Italy on the 10th November and we spoke to him on the phone. He told us: Things are getting worse, all the ports are closed. I don’t know if I will be able to return to Medj. by the same road that I took to arrive here and which was the only one open.
Fr.A. What’s happening in Yugoslavia?
Fr.T. For certain it is something satanic. This is the work of Satan, for only he could do such horrendous things, there where he finds hearts open to his action. Not even wars do these things. Just look at how the Catholic churces have been systematically destroyed.
Fr.A. People say: why doesn’t Our Lady give a sign in the country where She appears?
Fr.T. Our Lady invites us all to pray and to renounce. What else can She do but pray and protect? God’s plans must be carried out. I honestly think that we have not accepted Her and Her call seriously enough. Then again She never said She would preserve us from any trials, but if we think carefully, She has been preparing us for ten years... She didn’t even attempt to take Her Son down from the Cross. Everything must be accomplished. Let us hope that this calvary will be followed by a resurrection... a nation has to be sacrificed, just like individual people.
Fr.A. A nation, its freedom, its existence even...
Fr.T. .. yes destroyed... but regarding inner freedom, I would say that our people are becoming freer, because they are more oriented towards God, towards spiritual values. For me, our people are being born.. There is sufference, destruction, victims, refugees.
Fr.A. But Our Lady kept on preaching peace, forgiveness, love of our enemies - perhaps if the reaction had not been so fierce, things wouldn’t have been so bad.
Fr.T. Yes, but forgiveness does not exclude defence, it does not exclude activity.I don’t think that Our Lady was announcing pacifism, but peace. Peace has to be constructed and even defended. Our values must be defended - of course, not with aggressiveness or by hurting other people... There’s a joke that says: A pacifist party was formed in Serbia and everyone was joining it - their aim was to widen the boundaries of Serbia as far as the Pacific. I only pray that what is happening in Yugoslavia will not spread to the rest of Europe.
Fr.A. We’ve seen Europe’s inability - its indifference has been an accomplice...
Fr.T. Europe sleeps, thinking that there aren’t any problems in the West. But the problems are inside the people and they can explode in one way or another, because God permits Satan to act and he acts. Fr.A. Yes, Europe has turned a blind eye to this tragedy.
Fr.T. The problem has also been presented falsely. Serbia was at command, but made believe that the federal state had reacted to the disgregation. It is obvious that they had been preparing this plan for years - but it is not easy to explain all these things to the world...
Fr.A. Serbia has even asked that the UNO send a troop to stand between the army and the Croatians, now that it has already occupied a good part of Croatia...
Fr.T. Yes, to protect all the regions that they have occupied!
Fr.A. So much sufferance, but this tragedy has also roused so much prayer!
Fr.T. We must pray to save the souls because there are many victims. Before or later, the material things have to be destroyed...
Fr.A. Even the largest buildings, like the temple of Jerusalem:
not a single stone will be left in its place - everything will be destroyed."
Fr.T. I would be happy to see my people be sacrificed if this would save the world. Really, when we look at these times and how man has gone always further away from God, I see how all those un- resolved problems could explode. I also see the importance of constructing this community of victim souls... I say that I would be happy if even my mother were to be sacrificed for the sake of the world’s salvation - even if it would cost me a great deal of sufferance. We really must be open to Our Lady’s requests. She told us many times, as long as I am with you, all well.
We will under- stand then what Her presence meant for us. Now we cannot see it. We must pray that Our Lady may stay with us, and that we will be truly faithful with a response that comes from within. We have often mistaken when drawing conclusions (regarding the apparitions and the secrets), but I say that Our Lady could say nothing else, because all the messages boil down to opening up ourselves to God, to under- standing prayer in its right sense, in a positive sense. In Medjugorje Our Lady has done nothing else but call us to prayer, to a new awakening to prayer, and from which spiritual life is born.
CONFESSION - POSITIVE STEPS
that lead to Conversion
You have to let God talk to you from within
On the 17th August 1991 Fr. Tomislav met with a group of Italian pilgrims. He suggested three things that would help our confession be a true and fruitful confession.
The friendly encounter began with Fr. Tomislav noting how in the beginning the police had unwittingly taken the people of Medjugorje to the right place through forbidding them to gather on the site of the apparitions. For in fact, they had to gather in the church, where they could pray and confess. He then continued with a profound meditation on confession.
1. Our Lady has invited us to conversion, but a true conversion cannot come about if not through confession. Every man bears within himself spiritual illnesses and he needs God to help him get better. Fr. Tomislav went on to explain, however, that if we do not open up our hearts to God, then God cannot heal us. He waits on our first steps called goodwill and freedom. That is why the invitation to confession is fundamental on the way to conversion - it is a a first basic step that must be taken.
Our Blessed Mother invited everyone to confess monthly, and for those who wish to live a consecrated life, She suggested weekly confession would be better. It is not because they sin more than others, but because consecrated people have to be more attentive in purifying and revising their lives through the use of confession and in receiving the sacramental grace - to make them stronger on the way to conversion.
Fr. Tomislav continued:
My experience has taught me that there is a fundamental problem in people’s walks of faith. To a group of young boys, very enthusiastic boys who would like to announce the Gospel to the whole world, I said: You see, you will be able to announce the Gospel to the rest of the world only when you will be able to permit that the Gospel be announced to your hearts, and when you will be able to take the Gospel to those who are closest to you, to the people surrounding you. For me to be a living Gospel, I have to permit my inner self to be evangelized by the Word of God. I have to permit that this light, this saving grace, enter into me in every possible situation.
What could this more profound faith walk be like? Let’s take St. Francis’ example of when he asked the brothers where perfect happiness could be found. Some replied in doing miracles, or in being able to preach well. St. Francis replied: if late at night we arrive back at the convent, all wet, and the door-keeper does not recognise us, but he beats us up and repeatedly sends us away - and if all the same, we are able to remain happy inside, then this is perfect happiness.
See how the Word of God had entered him, his deepest self, even in the difficulties, in the most awful of things, painful and bewildering things - and happiness was inside his heart. See what progress he made? Francis, and all the saints, took the same profound way, because the Gospel became a part of their lives, even in persecution, in injustice, in sadness When we can recognize these same definite steps in our confessions, then our faith walk becomes a positive one.
Why confession? It is an opening up of ourselves, that permits us to receive God’s immense love for us. It is through confession that He heals us, he makes us rise from the darkness, He penetrates our hearts with His light and gives us true happiness. Real confession takes us to these profound passes, where the sacramental grace can reach. That is why, after ten years of Our Lady’s presence, She continues to invite us to confess regularly; and many spiritual movements have become aware of the need for frequent confession. Confession has to be an awareness in us of the danger in becoming hard of heart, to the point where one no longer cares about one’s responsibility before God, before one’s fellow men, and even before one’s own mistakes. A person needs to be guided to become aware of the real values, but also of one’s own errors. Conversion is not possible without confession.
2. Another important factor in helping our confession not to be just a rite: confession is not to be limited to that moment, but it must be prepared well before. Our Lady has taught us that we must pray before beginning to examine our consciences. She taught us to first consecrate ourselves to Her Immaculate Heart, then to the Heart of Jesus, and then pray to the Holy Spirit, because: if the Holy Spirit does not enlighten your minds, you will be unable to see your sins.
Often our confessions are nothing but a rite, and nothing changes within us...but if we earnestly prepare ourselves, and if our confession continues in our prayers, through trying to take those concrete steps, then this confession will take us to conversion. It is extremely important to pray to Our Lady so that through Her Immaculate Heart we will be able to see more clearly, and our hearts will become more transparent.
Another important means is adoration of the Cross, so that Jesus’ wounds may heal the wounds in us caused by our sins... We must try to arrive to the point where Jesus was before He died: forgive everyone and pray for everyone. When our heart gets to the point that it can forgive totally, then our wounds will be healed and we will become new creatures.
3. Another important thing: the continuation of confession. We must continue to confess before God, before our brothers, before ourselves. If we really live our confesson while in front of the priest, then this dimension must continue in our encounter with the Word of God, while praying, in trying to correct our mistakes, in approaching God... The real meaning of the words, forgive me I’ve mistaken is in admitting our wrong to our brothers - between husband and wife to start with, and then the others. It’s seeing ourelves as we really are, and asking forgiveness so that God in our lives will not be stained.
During the festival, a dark-skinned woman called me aside to tell me that she couldn’t understand how the members of the Church, who call themselves Christians, behave that way.. That African woman, just converted to Catholicism, was probably asking why the Gospel says one thing and everyone does something different. I tried to explain, not to justify. But anyway, what I want to say, to myself and to all of you, is that we have to be healed from this form of schizophrenia - we have to take the real meaning of confession and put it into practice in our daily lives, with our families, with our groups, with the Church. Then our confession will become a way to grow, instead of being an isolated rite.
Let us tell Jesus: My Lord, give me the grace to be attentive to my brothers’ feelings, that I may not place my arrogance between them and me. Give me the strength to ask my brothers for their forgiveness for being so arrogant: forgive me, for these feelings within me do not come from God - it is my high-handedness, my impatience, my nervous behaviour - forgive me for I have not been kind. Pray for me that I may become a better person.
You see, when we are truthful, when we are our real selves before God, then we are likewise also before our brothers.
(Edited by Paula - Rome) Part 1
How to start up and guide
A PRAYER GROUP
We would like to give a few indications to the many people who ask how to start up and conduct a prayer group. To begin with, I would like to quote from Fr. Bena’s booklet:
The first two years of the apparitions were needed by Our Lady to spread Her message, to waken us from our torpor and open our eyes. Once this was done, She gathered up the generous people in the garden of Her Immaculate Heart - i.e. those people who desired donating more than the others, to earn graces not just for themselves, but also for the community and the Church.
The first prayer group started up at the end of June 1983, under the guidance of Fr. Tomislav. Another group was then formed for the younger people. In the meantime, Our Lady (through Jelena) had expressed Her desire that similar prayer groups be started up all over the world. And now there are indeed many, all over the world. Experience tells that these groups are providential, and one of the signs that prove their usefulness is all the trouble they meet with.
Prayer groups are like the Apostles united in the Cenacle, or united in prayer before making any decisions. They prepare the action of the Holy Spirit, Who alone can build a community. It is under- standable then if Our Lady, instead of organized meetings or debates, indicates only one way of forming communities: praying in groups.
It is not important that the group be large or small. There need only be a few people, even just a family unit. The important thing is that the group seriously decide to follow Mary’s messages and seriously decide for conversion and sanctification. To people who wanted to form prayer groups, Fr. Tomislav suggested: My advice is that you consecrate yourselves entirely to Our Lady and I guarantee that She will be among you and She will guide you to the road that brings about inner renewal.
Our Lady of Medjugorje wanted the prayer group in Medj. so that it could be like yeast amid the community; and in fact, it preceded by one year the faith walk that She indicated to the parish with Her Thursday messages (March '84).
According to the spirit of Medj., prayer groups should be born with the help of the parish priest, or at least with his consent. Better still if the group meetings can be held in the parish, otherwise in someone’s home, like the first Christian communities. The parish priest, however, should be informed of the fact. The group has to be sanctified for the sake of the parochial community, and thus it will have to carry the burden of the needs of the parish on its shoulders, and offer them to God in prayer and sacrifice. The group must be a time of preparation and stimulation for its members to become workers in the Lord’s vineyard.
Even those groups that are not well seen by other sectors of the parish, must behave according to the logic of unity and charity: love is always patient and kind, ... it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope…
Of course, the devil will always try to create divisions within the group, and around the group, because the divisions make our prayers and sacrifices sterile: if I am without love, nothing will do me any good,
Groups then must not accept any kind of division. Attempts by others to divide cannot work if we do not accept them.
When a priest is not available to guide the group a leader must be chosen. The person chosen should have a certain attitude for the Church and be faithful to its doctrine, and be capable of creating an atmosphere of love, so that every member, feeling like one of the family, will be able to open his heart and with ideas and experiences help the group grow spiritually. Above all however, the leader must have experienced prayer - i.e. have discovered how God, through prayer, works in our hearts and changes our lives. The one who has to continually pump energy into the group must in turn have plenty of that energy.
How to conduct the prayer? There should always be a moment dedicated to meditation of the Word of God, and another one to spontaneous prayer for the various intentions. Apart from prayer with the heart, Our Lady also recommended in Her first messages that prayer become active again in the families and groups. Prayer is active when the singular components become interested in the prayers, suggesting different formulas, reflections, intentions, and observations - and thus the group will grow up together. The Rosary is better if it is accompanied by suitable meditations (these may be brief) and if songs are sung in between the various mysteries. The Rosary alone, however, is not enough, especially if it is said at the end of the meeting when people are tired. With just the Rosary, there is the risk that people will remain closed in their shells. It is necessary that their faith experiences (even if very little) be exchanged, that they talk about their problems, so that when they leave the meeting, they do not go out unchanged.
Marija Dugandzic’, from the first prayer group, summarizes Our Lady’s indications to the group: Our Lady said it would be difficult for a group made up of only lay people to stay together for long. The presence of a priest is necessary, to explain the Holy Scriptures (when a priest is ordained, he becomes an interpretor of the Scriptures), and also as a spiritual director of the group as a whole. Other reflections may be added by people who have already undertaken a certain spiritual walk.
Our Lady also indicated a 4-point scheme to follow: 1. Feel pardoned. Every time we begin to pray, either alone or with others, we must always remember to ask forgiveness for our sins, but we must also feel that God has forgiven us. She told us that it is impossible for a person to pray if they have not first made peace with God and with their brothers... But if we believe that the Lord forgives us immediately, then e really are, and asking forgiveness so that God in our lives will no us, however, to be ever alert.
2 minutes is enough to return to one’s senses. One of the first rules transmitted by the Apostles says: When you go to a meeting with your brothers, you will confess your sins, and you will not go to pray with a dirty conscience.
(From The Didach) Each member of the group should confess regularly, at least once a month.
2. Pray for ourselves and for the others. Let there be a moment of silence to allow everyone to collect their thought and then pray for their intentions, for those of the others, and everybody. 3. Remember to say thank you, always. Our Lady said that we are a generation that does not know how to say thank you, as if everything was due to our own merit - but everything is God’s gift. You must always be thankful for everything: for that which God gives you and for that which God takes from you. 4. The importance of the blessing. The meeting cannot come to an end without asking for God’s blessing. It is not just a formal gesture; we have to open our hearts to receive His blessing, especially the blessing given at the end of Holy Mass. It is a moment where God sends us His graces through the priests. God wants to fill our hearts with the priestly blessings. It is a guarantee for us that we are not alone, but that God is with us and helps us.
We know that Our Lady would like us to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. She asked the parishioners of Medjugorje to do this, right from the beginning, and also to attend Mass as often as possible.
A possible format for a prayer group could be: 1. Song of praise, adoration of the divine Presence, act of penance, prayer to the Holy Spirit, the Rosary (can be 5 decades, or more or less), litanies, or song in honour of Our Lady. 2. Readings from the Bible, explanation, moment of silence for meditation; or reading and explanation of the latest message; petitions; faith sharing; announcements. 3. Consecration to Our Lady and thanksgiving with the Magnificat. It is nice to have a statue or image of Our Lady and a lit (blessed) candle in the group. Our Lady must be seen as a real prayer companion and guide. Fr. A.M.
(A very interesting little book, compiled by Joseph E. McNamara and entitled Prayer Groups can be obtained from: The Riehle Foundation, P.O.Box 7, Milford, Ohio 45150) , to explain the Holy Scriptures (when a priest is ordained, he becomes an interpretor of the Scriptures), and also as Medjugorje, Cortina di Luce (Medj., Shining Curtain) - History, news, testimonies, 200 photos. Radio Maria defined it the best yet in 10 years of Medj.
The Italian edition was so successful, that it has now been translated into French, English, Spanish and German. Since contact with the pilgrims is no longer possible through Medj., distributors of religious material are asked to write directly to the publisher if they are interested in holding this book. Contact: Edizioni Martini, Via D Minzoni 23, 12011 Borgo S.Dalmazzo (CN), Italy. Phone: 0171-266249 Fax: 0171-266295.
* Donations received: This month, we have received the following donations: Lit.12,066,000 for the East; Lit. 23,123,000 for Croatia; Lit.2,385,000 for the missionary community in Sahel.
The danger lies not so much in the atomic bombs, but in our incredulity. Happy with the changes that have come about in Russia, and with the destruction of the atomic bombs.
Maria Do Fetal is Francisco and Jacinta’s sister, and cousin to Sr. Lucia dos Santos, and the only person in constant contact with her. When she was little, she tells, she did not know about the apparitions, no-one in the family told her about them. She discovered it by chance, a little bit at a time. Her grandmother then confirmed the fact to her. The apparitions had perturbed their family life. Besides Francisco and Jacinta, three other children had died. She found out more about the apparitions when she went to college. She was greatly moved when she visited the sites. In 1950 she began visiting Sr. Lucia at Coimbra and was quickly won over and started following her suggestions. She became her confidante and now visits her once a month. When moral laws are put into practice, one starts on a faith walk. She was asked: What does Sr. Lucia want now?
A. That people save their souls. That people talk a lot about the laws of nature, about morality. The faith in our world is very weak. The laws of nature are God, putting them into practice is a walk of faith, peace and happiness. Without it, unhappiness is sorrow. Therefore lets follow God and His law; we will be happy and God will be happy for us. God suffers if we are far from Him; like when we suffer if we see a dear person taking the wrong road.
The Rosary in the homes: This is easy for everyone to say, even children. Only through prayers can we save souls.
Fatima: A name of Arabic origin, now it is international. Our Lady attracts everyone to Her. It was not easy for the families of the visionaries to accept the situation, but they did, and they have also accepted the consequences. Portugal is a mixure of many races. The people are poor people, a lot of Judaic blood runs in their veins, like Jesus. They respect and welcome everyone, they are used to suffering.
On present events (Russia etc): The Word of God is carried out. Reality surpasses expectations. Sr. Lucia is happy, even if the difficulties have not finished. Communism is a gushing fountain that goes against God: now it has dried up. Things are easier now for humanity - we must take advantage of this. Many are happy about the changes in Russia. Things move slowly, but they move, and a new humanity will be born. God does not want these instruments that destroy humanity. Never before were weapons destroyed without them having been used. This is a miracle! Sr.Lucia was convinced that there would not be an atomic war.
Medjugorje? Sr. Lucia does not talk about it. Every apparition carries within itself the strength to develop. Fatima does not look to Lourdes for support. Medjugorje is a problem that regards the hierarchy. It is up to them say yes or no, just like Fatima.
The secrets? Sr. Lucia does not talk about them. She will not respond to questions concerning these. She handed over a letter to the hierarchy. The hierarchy did not reveal the secret. Not so much the atomic war, but our incredulity is dangerous. Leave the secret in peace. Nothing happens in our world that man cannot support. If the secret was revealed, nothing would change. Good is on the increase, but so is evil. We must confirm and increase our faith in God. Those who have lost it must find it. We must thank God, master of our history. The fact that Russia and America have come to terms without warfare is a miracle. It is our duty to pray for the good of all humanity!
The triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart: The culminating moment of the triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart was the consecration of Russia and the world by Pope John Paul II on the 25th March 1984. Our Lady desired it, and was pleased by it. The consequences of this consecration have begun. The unity of Christians also belongs to this triumph. Atheist laws will also fall. Christian laws will return. Our Lady will triumph together with Jesus. Jesus walked among his people, but few recognized Him. Mary’s triumph is like that of Jesus’. It is supernatural!
The world is not all evil: If God would let us choose, whether to stay here or die, what would we choose? Living here on this earth is a wonderful gift granted to us by God, and we like living.. The present progress is not regular. It must be checked, so that it does not kill life on this earth. Progress too is a gift from God, and God entrusted it to Mary. Sr. Lucia is a very kind person, very considerate, her charisma is that she knows how to love everyone, all of humanity. She is worried about the lack of priestly and religious vocations.
By Gigi Leva (Fatima, 14 Oct. 1991)
Fatima celebrations shown in Russia
Historic moment in Fatima
My name is Gigi Leva, I’m from Varese (Italy) and I can sincerely say that my spirit was reborn in Medj, back in that distant May of 1984. I should have accompanied another pilgrimage (my 30th) to Yugoslavia in October of this year, but it was cancelled because of the warfare. Together with some other members of the prayer group here in Varese, we decided not to interrupt our traditional Autumn pilgrimage and so we opted for Fatima.
They were 6 wonderful days. We were present on the 13th October, the anniversary of the last apparition. We realized straight away that we were witnessing an historic moment.
The most important events of those days were the presence of the Russian delegation, and the filming of the celebrations by the Russian TV. (In Moscow giant screens were set up in some of the city squares so that the people could follow the celebrations in Fatima.) There were 600 thousand people present in the square in Cova di Iria
(site of apparitions) with a large group of young people in the middle bearing Russian flags. Just a few years ago it would have been unthinkable that such a thing could happen, but now it has been made possible because God has visited His people. It was very moving seeing the local people cry, especially the older people. The y would have seen the Russian procession as the realization of the prophecy that the Blessed Virgin made back in 1917: My Immaculate Heart will triumph and Russia will convert.
Main celebrant at Mass was the bishop of Moscow, Thaddeus Kondrusiewicz.
In one of Her messages to the three children, Our Lady said, I will leave in all of Portugal a lasting faith.
I have witnessed that this is true. The faith of these people is very strong, sturdy, simple and real. My experience at Fatima helped me strengthen my beliefs. In the summer of 1990, Fr. Tomislav said: Medjugorje does not stop here, there will be a return to Fatima.
THE GOSPEL: IS IT JESUS’ GOSPEL,
or done by the Evangelist’s community?
The Gospel according to Mark was written in Rome, certainly before 52 A.D. The age-old traditions of the Church have always affirmed that St. Mark’s Gospel was written by Mark, disciple of Peter, that Mark had made a collection of St. Peter’s preachings to the first generation Christians.
The traditions of the Church have always affirmed that the Gospels were registrations of what first-hand witnesses said they saw Jesus do and say. During the last 80 years, however, a certain liberal idea has invaded the Church, saying that the Gospels cannot be dated before 70 A.D. This thought is based on the preconceived idea that the Gospels do not contain words said by Jesus or facts involving Jesus’ life, but words and facts imagined and invented by the first Christian communities.
This exegesis has just about infected all of the professors and teachers of our seminaries, and thus we hear priests saying: the Gospel of St. Matthew’s community, the Gospel of St. Mark’s community, the Gospel of St. Luke’s community; as if to say that Mark, Matthew and Luke are just borrowed names for Gospels written by unknown members of some Christian communities.
In 1972, Fr. Josè O’Calleghan discovered a fragment of the Gospel according to Mark, which was certainly written in about the year 50 A.D. The fragment has been denominated 7 Q 5. It is a very small piece of papyrus, found in the seventh cave of Qumran. The discovery was so sensational that Pope Paul VI wanted to make a solemn announcement. The majority however of the exegetists managed to dissuade the Pope from making the announcement.
O’Calleghan’s discovery was thus kept secret for 19 years. The discovery made their rationalistic opinions fall to bits. Thanks to God, the news has now been revealed and confirmed by eminent papyrologists, and accepted by a large group of Catholic and Protestant experts.
Another fragment has been identified as a piece of Paul’s first letter to Timothy - and written in about the year 50 A.D. Fragment 7 Q 5 is Mark 6.52-53: because they had not seen what the miracle of the loaves meant; their minds were closed. Having made the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up.
Fragment 7 Q 4 is 1 Timothy 4.1: there will be some who will desert the faith and choose to listen to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from the devils.
A round table conference was held at Eichstaett this year to discuss the discovery and a large group of various experts signed a request for the Israeli government to grant permission for further research work in the area concerning cave no.7 of Qumran, because it is suspected that other fragments are present. In fact, the two precious fragments came from a broken amphora, which bore the letters rwm. It is thought that this could mean Rome in Hebrew. 14 fragments were found in cave no.7 and Fr. O’Calleghan was able to identify the two pieces mentioned.
The leading element of the opposing team, Kurt Aland, was largely responsible for obscuring O’Calleghan’s discovery. Kurt Aland upholds the opinion that no part of the New Testament could have been written before 68 A.D. This statement has never been explained or demonstrated to be true by Aland, nor by others, apart from their theory that the Gospels and the other writings in the New Testament are fruit of elaborative writings by the first Christian communities. Aland and all of the opposers were invited to attend the international symposium which was held at the University of Eichstaett in Baveria from the 18th to the 20th October 1991, but none of them turned up.
One eminent papyrologist, Prof. Herbert Hunger from the University of Vienna, said at the symposium:
For me the attribution of the fragment 7 Q 5 to Mark 6.52-53 is authentic. My reasoning is scientific. The resistence that the theologists and exegetists are putting up is irrational. The reason is simple: they would have to re-date the Gospels.
(From Il Sabato - 1.VI.91; and 30 Days - June & Nov 91 - Fr. Angelo Bena)
* From Nepal: I became a Catholic 10 years ago, but up to last year if people practiced any other religion they were sent to prison... I desired to go to Medjugorje this Easter, so I sold my motorbike and went there for 2 weeks. When I returned home I was able to tell the others something of what is happening. I’m sure now that our small Catholic population (not quite 1000 people) will grow. Nobody except for 3 American Jesuit priests know what is happening there, we don’t hear anything here. I picked up a copy of Echo. We need it here. We need to know what is happening there.
(Chirendra Satyal, Kathmandu)
* Like the birds in the sky: We are very happy to receive Echo in French. The people are hungry for the Word of God. Yesterday a young man came to me after being thrown out of his home by his father because he wants to become Christian. He said to me:
it says in the Gospel that the birds have nests .. but the Son of Man does not have anywhere to rest his head.
This young man often skips meals because he has no money to buy anything...
(Fr. Mario, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire)
* From Bombay, India:
.. I never knew till I read last evening in the October issue of Echo that the real reason for the present bloody conflict in Yugoslavia is the fall of communism. No-one in our country knows it is the work of Satan. My non-Catholic students, clients and I daily pray to Our Lady of Peace. We are begging Her to crush Satan. I offer every month a Holy Mass for Our High Queen’s intentions and pray, and make people pray for our personal conversion leading to the conversion of at least one other person. Our favourite prayers: ’Mother, fill us with Your Jesus. Mother, fill the whole world with Your sweet Jesus. Save us, Mother, save us.’ Your articles echo Her voice and make the reader sense Her Presence. I thank the loving Father, our beautiful Jesus and His wonderful Mother for all of you and all you love and are trying to serve.. I can understand what the Croatians are going through. Satan never sleeps, but in the end the victory is Hers (Mary’s).
* From the sanctuary of the Beatitudes, Gennesaret: ...Don’t give in. Among the many people who are praying for you, I too, a poor ignorant nun, pray to Jesus and Mary to stay close to you. I’m on duty in the sanctuary. Our Lady inspired me to place copies of Echo in the various languages outside the sanctuary. I only put out a couple at a time however, so as not to upset the others here - but they disappear straight away!.. (She asked for many more copies in the various languages.) (Sr. Giampiera)
* From Glasgow, Scotland: I anxiously wait for my copy of Echo each month. It is then photocopied and distributed to a large group of people. We have to make extra copies every month. It helps us live in the spirit of Medjugorje, especially now that my annual pilgrimage has also become one of the victims of the sad situation in Yugoslavia. (James Y. Farrell)
* From Piraeus, Greece: Last August, a short version of Echo started being produced in Greek. There is also a booklet available containing the history of Medjugorje and part of the messages... We are foreigners here and we cannot participate in the retreats or prayer meetings, and therefore Echo is spiritual food for us. There are many non-Greek people here. If they wish they could write to me for copies of Echo in Italian, English or Spanish. Contact Gabriella Chalikia, Kolokotroni, Piraeus.
* May God send you a helper - so that you may continue to publish Echo. It brings much joy to so many people all over the world, including me. I also anxiously wait for my copy of Echo to arrive, to receive news from that blessed land. All we can do is to pray and hope. The Gospa is there, and everything is under Her control. (...)
(Sr. M.Therese, Nunciature of Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies)
Also Radio Maria in Poland - a success!
At long last Radio Maria has started transmitting. There are still many difficulties and adverse situations, but ... it’s as if it had been transmitting for ever. So many listeners ring in, with their testimonies, their conversions, their problems that are discussed over the radio, there are so many prayers said, even the breviary.
One young woman wanted to abort, but so many people including a doctor and priests rang in, plus her boyfried who said, please don’t do it. The Polish Radio Maria has even reached Parliament. A man who listens to Radio Maria was elected Member of Parliament after having given an interview on Radio Maria. The people liked his Catholic credo.
Fr. Thaddeus tells of the many big problems. The Communists and many other ethnic groups don’t want Radio Maria and they’re not sitting back, idly letting us transmit. But Fr. Thaddeus responds:
Radio Maria is wanted by the people everywhere, even in Russia. We would need at least six new stations. How can we do it? The bishops say: Either you do it, or someone else will.
Now is the time. Radio Maria is the fruit of many prayers and sufferances, including those of the Croatians and Serbians. One convent has started praying non-stop for Radio Maria. Also a group of 100 nuns offer their prayers and sacrifices for Radio Maria. The youth find a word of hope in Radio Maria - they know that they have someone to lean on. Fr. Thaddeus sends his love and blessings from the Holy Land.
I. Pietrobelli, 14 Nov 1991
Christmas: let’s not forget our brothers in need
Save the children used in committing crimes. A village of 5 units will house 60 children. Fr. Sometti’s team from the ME.BA (Medj for Children) Group will offer assistance in the field of education and formation. For donations for this new project and for the existing orphanage in Bombay, India, write to: Medjugorje for Children Foundation, P.O.Box 127, 6833 Vacallo, Switzerland. The founder, Mauro Harsch, who is a pianist, has recorded music by Mozart and Chopin on a compact disc. The proceedings from the sales will go towards helping abandoned children.
During these last few months here in Peru, a number of nuns and three young missionary priests (2 Poles and 1 Italian) were killed. We give hospitality to the children from the streets - we have two houses in Cusco, but we have been the object of defamatory campaigns. Our Bishop told me: Fr. John, the guerrillas want to hurt you and the young servants, because you are a nuisance to them.
But we continue to work for these 700 children, who are refused by everyone...
Donations may be sent to: Servi dei Poveri del Terzo Mondo, (Servants of the Poor), Via G Ponzio 46, 20133 Milan, Italy.
HELP FOR CROATIA
Donations may be sent to: Pro Deo et Fratribus, Via Monte Santo 14, 00195 Rome, Italy. (Indicate: for Croatia )
In the UK: C/o Bernard Ellis, Anglo World Steel Exports Ltd, Unit J Lambs Brickworks, Tilburstow Hill Rd, Sth Godstone, Surrey RH9 8JZ
For the hospital in Gruda, Yugoslavia: Fr. Slavko Barbaric’ forwards donations onto the hospital. Bank drafts must be made out to: Gian Pio Paolucci, Banco di Roma, Ag.21, Stazione Termini, Rome, Italy, Acc. no. 12498. (Indicate: Pro Croatia Gruda Hospital )
Dr. Gottardi from Bolzano legally represents Echo of Medj, and he also edits the German edition for us. His home, an apartment on the 3rd floor, was the object of a bombing attempt on the 2nd November. There was a terrible explosion. “We were struck but not killed” Dr. Gottardi jokingly writes. The motive could have been a refusal for extended sick leave for someone presumedly invalid. The dark force however, behind the action was certainly Satan, who hates me because of Medj. Our Lady’s protection was extraordinarily effective. Just think that when the bomb exploded, I was in adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. My wife and three children were home. Nobody was hurt. Let’s be united in offering thanks to Our Mother.
Echo is free, it lives on your donations. Bank cheques or international postal orders may be posted to: Echo of Medjugorje, Casella Postale 149, 46100 Mantova, Italy; or if you wish, transfer your donations to Fr. Angelo Mutti, C/o our bank account at the Banca Agricola Mantovana, Ag. 4, Mantova, Italy. Acc. no. aries
IN THE FAMILY
We must say thank you for all your prayers and letters, saying that we must continue to publish this poor miserable instrument that spreads Mary’s Message. We are still very needy of your prayers, and an important thing I feel is that our readers have been made more sensitive to our need for prayers. Your prayers are of immense importance to us! Sr. Margaret from Udine (Italy), who suffers greatly, writes:
I have lots of time during the night to pray and I entrust Fr. Angelo, his parish and Echo to our Loving Father - it must continue.
Our thanks to all those who wrote with offers of help, even from abroad. We have plenty of temporary help when it is time to get the parcels ready etc. What we need is a permanent collaborator, and in particular a priest. Let us all pray that the Lord may inspire the right person and send him to us soon. Infinite thanks also for all the donations received. Many sent in donations for Croatia and the money has already been consigned.
When requesting copies of Echo (in any language) please PRINT your name & address. Where possible try to organize bulk deliveries. We have no space this month to include the list of addresses for the translated editions. See no. 87, or write to our address (under heading)
May Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Child Jesus fill our hearts to the brim with their boundless love, especially those who suffer or are spiritually ill. I bless you all in Their Name.
their ways - because Someone has finally undersS
Legal respons: P. Gottardi; / Grafiche DIPRO, Roncade (TV), Italy. Tel: 0422-840804