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The reflection of Medjugorje Message, May 25, 1998
Medjugorje Message, May 25, 1998
“Dear children! Today I call you, through prayer and sacrifice, to prepare yourselves for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Little children, this is a time of grace and so, again, I call you to decide for God the Creator. Allow Him to transform and change you. May your heart be prepared to listen to, and live, everything which the Holy Spirit has in His plan for each of you. Little children, allow the Holy Spirit to lead you on the way of truth and salvation towards eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call. ”
Greetings to all those who will be reading this message and these thoughts about it. As we have done so often before, let us first remember the message of April in which Mary invited us to open ourselves to God through prayer. She also helped us understand what that means when she used the metaphor "as a flower opens itself to the rays of the morning sun." We may not forget that there are two fundamental ways to pray: First, one can pray just as one does any other work. Many behave with prayer as they also do with their work when they do it as quickly as possible and, if in any way possible, to also leave it out entirely. Many people pray this way, and that is why nothing in their life ever changes. Or, one can pray the way Mary wishes of us. Mary wants prayer to be for us what the sun is to the flower. To pray means to make God a present of our time, and then to open and to expose ourselves to Him in our prayer. When we do this we will feel Mary's presence as well as God's presence -- and this is because she says: "Be not afraid, I am with you." Her loving presence frees us of any fear, and gives us freedom. Being distant or separated from her loving presence causes fear and so many other negative feelings. Many people live in constant fear because they are not before God in prayer, and others because they keep themselves distant from Him. Another cause for fear is when we sin against this Loving Presence. All of us, when we were children, quite naturally sought the presence of our mother or of our father, but all of us have also, at least once, tried to avoid their presence when we knew that we had sinned against the will of either our mother or our father. Many people live in fear because in their hearts they feel that have sinned against God and His holy will. Prayer means to be before God and the Sacrament of Confession then frees us of this fear. The fundamental message of the Bible is quite simply -- God's presence. He introduced Himself as the God who is present and who with the greatest of yearning is seeking the presence of His people.
That is why Jesus has the name 'Emmanuel' -- God with us. That is why, when He speaks after the Resurrection, He always says, "Be not afraid, It is I. Peace be with you." Therefore His Loving Presence frees us from all fear, and then fills us with His peace. Mary also prays that we open ourselves and that our hearts may then accept the grace of conversion. Conversion, when seen in the light of what we have already heard about prayer, can be defined this way: "To decide to overcome sin and the distance between ourselves and God, and then to always seek His presence and His proximity to us." But, it is here that we also come across the mystery of our human freedom. Man can also decide for a distance between himself and God, or he can even decide to hide from God, and then to live without His Loving Presence. But NO-ONE in such a situation can possibly be happy and in peace. That is why Mary prays and I am certain all of us will also pray for the grace that we may all feel God's presence, that we may then accept it, and that we will always keep trying to rediscover Him.
Since April's message it is also very important for us to understand how important grace is for us. For us that was also a call that we must be extremely careful in this world -- this world that has brought about such technological power that humanity can, with this power, either continue developing or, just as easily, be so severely misled. We are all tempted into believing only in human power, and in this way to forget how important grace is for us. Many people, either when they are young, or in good health, or when they are rich, no longer seek God, and therefore so easily forget the importance of His grace. But grace is imperative for the young, as it also is for the old, for the healthy and for the sick, for the rich and for the poor. May April's message help each of us realize that we ought to decide for God, that we ought to open ourselves to Him for then be freed from all fear, and that we then also accept the grace of conversion, and, in this way, come to know how important grace is for us.
We are in the week in which we prepare ourselves for the great Feast of Pentecost. That is why there are always more and more pilgrims, and right now we can easily say that there are pilgrims here from all over the world. Right now the Polish and the French seem to have the majority, but many other groups are here as well -- including from Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the U.S., Australia, the Philippines, Hungary, Romania, England, Italy and Belgium. We also had a group from the Ukraine, and even one from the Island of La Reunion. Every day more than 40 Priests concelebrate Holy Mass in the evening, and more than 40 have also been seen at English Mass in the morning. Quite simply said, there are many, many pilgrims here in Our Lady's Oasis of Peace. And we hope that we will celebrate this great Feast Day in a most worthy manner -- and especially so in this year that the Holy Father consecrated to the Holy Spirit. We also hope that we may celebrate this great day in deep openness toward God, and in a deep joy to be among so many people from all of humanity, all of whom have decided to gather here alongside Mary, and to hear Him.
The message that Mary gave us during the Novena to the Holy Spirit (on May 25) is also a word from Mary with which she wishes us to prepare ourselves for the great Feast of the Holy Spirit. First she says...
TODAY I CALL YOU, THROUGH PRAYER AND SACRIFICE, TO PREPARE YOURSELVES FOR THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Again, Mary mentions prayer. So, the prayer with which we should open ourselves and prepare for the Coming of the Holy Spirit, is the prayer for which we must first decide, then take the time, and then stay loyal to it. To be in front of God in prayer means to be exposed to Him, and to give Him the opportunity to fill our hearts with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, as the sun gives life to the flower. That is the preparation like the flower is the preparation for the new seeds, but, along with this preparation that occurs in prayer as in the sun, Mary also calls us to make sacrifices. But what does a sacrifice really mean in this case? We usually do not like to hear it when someone calls upon us to make a sacrifice, but when there is love in our hearts, then we will with happiness decide for that loving person. One can also say that it is love that makes the sacrifice possible, and the sacrifice, along with that needed love, then becomes meaningful and therein attains its real value. A sacrifice can also happen without love, but it certainly will no longer have its real value. Perhaps in our everyday way of understanding things, a sacrifice may be something negative, but it is in fact something absolutely positive, and thus God-like. In the context of this message, we should come to understand a sacrifice as something we do to become free and open to the Holy Spirit. That is why it should be our assignment to ask ourselves: What is it that hinders us from becoming open to the Holy Spirit? ...and then to work on the answer. For instance, what is it that hinders us from spending more time with prayer? And to be freed from the true answer to this question, then THAT is our sacrifice. When we begin to know that it is Mary who is after all asking us to do something, then every one of us will certainly be willing to do it. No? Mary then speaks about the...
THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Here we may first think, and ONLY think of what happened in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago when Mary and the Apostles prepared themselves for the Coming of the Holy Spirit. When He did come -- and He did -- their hearts had already been transformed. They had come to understand everything that Jesus had told them, and they were now ready to go out into the world and to spread His message. In that they were ready to spread it, they were also ready to suffer for it, because, through the gift of the strength of the Holy Spirit, they had also lost all fear. We are, right now, in the Novena to the Holy Spirit and that is how we too should behave like the Apostles -- to pray along with Mary. As you all know, this year 1998 has been dedicated to the Holy Spirit, and therefore that, by itself, also becomes one more reason that we really should prepare ourselves for...
THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Then Mary says...
LITTLE CHILDREN, THIS IS A TIME OF GRACE
This she has already said in many other messages, and "a time of grace" means for us, here in Medjugorje, and for all our pilgrims, the day that Mary's apparitions began, on June 25, 1981 -- and so, 16 years and 11 months ago. Many people have had the experience, and they have received the grace to pray, the grace to believe, the grace to reconcile with one another, the grace to love one another, the grace to do good, and among so many other graces, especially the grace of going to the Sacrament of Confession, which was inspired by their wish for inner cleansing. The "time of grace", a renewed world, began especially with Jesus' Coming some 2,000 years ago. Yet we may also call these times in which we live "the end times" -- but ONLY "the end times" in the sense that God has done everything that He had planned to do to save us, and to heal us. With the Coming of Jesus, this plan of God has been accomplished. It is our assignment that we, in these times of grace, also become a part of His plan. God is gracious for all time, He always loves, and He is not more merciful today than He was, for instance, before the beginning of the apparitions. It is ONLY the people who have perhaps become a little more responsive, a little more merciful, a little more willing, and therein a little more open to His graces than we were before June 25, 1981. Mary then continues with...
AND SO, AGAIN, I CALL YOU TO DECIDE FOR GOD THE CREATOR
Mary has often used this term, and it is really the First Commandment of God that she is repeating here. But to decide for God the Creator, it means to accept life as a gift from God and to do so with great love. This is because God created us out of His pure love for us. Every one of us is His creation and about whom He said at the very beginning of Creation: "It is very good." When He created the other world He said: "It is good," yet when He spoke about humanity, and therefore about each one of us, He said: "It is very good." We are permitted to accept our life with joy and with love, and so for a Christian there is simply no room to think about himself in anything but a positive way, and there is no room for him to reject his own life, or to live with an inferiority complex. With any of these attitudes we are only insulting God! Even when we have, in any manner, been wounded by our families, or by our parents and therefore have inner problems -- and this is happening a lot today -- still, we have more than enough reasons to accept our lives with great joy and with even greater love. Because even when the others did not love us enough, or when even our parents completely rejected us, God's love for us is still Complete, for He is our Creator. This love of the Loving Creator will help us all to really become healed of all our wounds. The other specific decision for us is to meet and to accept every other person as a gift and as a grace for every one of us. Every one of us is created by God and God said about every one of us: "It is very good. You are my much loved child." So to accept God the Creator, it means to have a loving relationship with oneself as well as with the other people, and then also to develop one toward all of nature. But if man does not have the true faith in God the Creator, then it can happen that he comes to consider himself as the lord over all of life, and this is very dangerous for him, for all of those around him, as well as for all of nature. And every time man turns against his own life, or against the life of the others, then he is clearly demonstrating for all to see that he does not yet believe in God the Loving Creator. This shows itself most clearly in man's relationship toward the yet unborn life, and we all know that this so-materialistic world has raised its hand against unborn life in a terrible, terrible way. Man has gone against God the Creator at such a decisive moment - the moment of conception -- and he goes against this new life, and he kills it. Man must reconcile himself with God the Creator, so that he can again cooperate with Him in the act of Creation. THAT IS THE CONDITION FOR MAN TO COME TO PEACE, and that man can then again live in joy.
The Holy Spirit for whom we are now preparing ourselves is the Most Holy Spirit Who creates all of life. There where we kill, there where we chase, divide or destroy, there we have already sent away the Holy Spirit -- the God of all Creation -- Creation that is very good. Just one of the fruits of the great Feast of Pentecost is a new, a loving, a creative relationship and cooperation with God and with EVERYTHING THAT HE CREATED. In this message we find the word ALLOW...
ALLOW HIM TO TRANSFORM AND CHANGE YOU
With this word ALLOW we again discover how God leaves us our freedom and how greatly He respects it to be our own decision. HE asks us that we may ALLOW Him, and here again is the great mystery of human freedom -- the freedom that we are also able to say 'no' to God, that we often prefer to say 'yes' to something else, that He ALLOWS it to happen that we may follow it, and that He ALLOWS it to happen that something else, and no longer God, transform and change us. When we say 'yes' to the Loving God as Mary says 'yes' to the Loving God, and thereby create conditions in which He can come to us, then HE WILL TRANSFORM AND CHANGE US! Even at this very moment each of us should really ask ourselves the question: What is it that hinders me, or what is it in me that does not allow God to enter my life? All of us see, on one hand, that man is good inside and that he has very many gifts, but we also see, on the other hand, that many among us are either deformed or are already destroyed by sin -- many young people, many families, and also much of the entire world. All of us need this transformation, all of us need this change. God wishes, through His Holy Spirit, to undertake these transformations among all of us. He knows this because He created us, and we should become transformed and changed according to His Image. The foremost element that these changes need from us is His love, for His love changes us from the inside outward. We are created according to His image -- with the gifts such as freedom and love, and it is here that we all need a transformation and a change. Mary says...
MAY YOUR HEART BE PREPARED
Knowing this is also extremely important for us. So, preparation happens by way of prayer and sacrifice, and when we have created these conditions inside us, then we will also be ready...
TO LISTEN TO, AND LIVE, EVERYTHING WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS IN HIS PLANS FOR EACH OF YOU
But even more so, each of us will recognize this plan that He has for us. Once we have recognized His plan, then we will also be inspired and transpired by this plan. Because that which the Holy Spirit has prepared for us is always the best for us. The word LISTEN appears in the Bible very often, and the celebrated form in the prayers in Israel were: LISTEN O ISRAEL! God calls upon us, He speaks to us, and He wants us to listen for Him. Again, the question for us is: What is it that makes us deaf? When we are open to the world, then we listen only for the world, but when we are open to God, we WILL hear God. Whoever hears God will himself, hear the others, and will not reject the world, but will rather have a good relationship with God. But the one who only hears the world, will then turn himself away from God, and away from the others. At the end Mary again uses the word allow when she says...
LITTLE CHILDREN, ALLOW THE HOLY SPIRIT TO LEAD YOU
The most important meaning for faith is really allowing God that He may lead us. He does this by way of the Holy Spirit. To let oneself be led, to listen for God, and to do what He has planned for us is what many people -- people who say that they believe -- still do not allow themselves to do. For instance, when we are wounded by someone, if we let ourselves be led by God, then we will forgive, and also not loose our patience, even when he has wounded us 70 x 7 times. Jesus tells us to forgive 70 x 7 times, but when we say only after 2 or 3 times that we no longer wish to forgive, then it means that we do not allow God to lead us. And every time, in every sin, the same thing is repeated, because we are failing to allow God to lead us. For instance, someone who does not pray and does not go to Mass, and who does not honor his parents, and who rejects, in one way or another, God's Commandments, he then fails to allow God to lead him. Why does this happen? Once because we are proud, another time because we are selfish. Pride means in itself the questioning of God: "Who are you to tell me this?" Then it also adds the statement: "I will do this alone, I will do this the way I want to do it." This pride is the cause of the first sin, and of every sin that anyone has ever committed. Why should man not know what is best for him? ...this is what God asked. But pride always says in every situation: "Who are you God? I decide the way I want to decide." This pride in us is what we must fight with all the means that are available to us by way of the graces that are given us by the Holy Spirit -- the Holy Spirit who wishes us to lead us...
ON THE WAY OF TRUTH AND SALVATION TOWARDS ETERNAL LIFE
What is truth really? The truth is again that God created us, that He loves us, that He wishes to work in our lives by transforming and changing us, that we may grow the way that He had planed for us to grow, and that we will then enter Eternal Life. The truth is that man is unable to serve the world, but the world is still able to serve man. The lower always serves the higher, but in today's world many people have let themselves be enslaved by the world, and they therefore no longer act humanely but inhumanely. This also happens with us Christians when we no longer think or live in a Christian fashion but rather in a non-Christian way. And this is what Mary tells us before this Feast of Pentecost, but we may also think that in one month we will come upon the 17th Anniversary of her Presence among us. The time until then should for all of us become a time of intense prayer to the Holy Spirit, that we may understand all that God has told us through Mary, that we may all allow ourselves to be transformed by God and may become people of God's peace. Let us pray...
God, our Father, we thank You for Your love, we recognize You today as Our God, our Creator. We thank You for our life, for the lives of our parents and all the people whom we have met, and those whom we have yet to meet. Along with Mary we ask You, give us the grace that we may, through prayer and sacrifice, prepare ourselves for the Coming of Your Holy Spirit. Give the strength that we may be freed of all that which at this moment hinders us from being open to Him, Your Holy Spirit. Lord, we bring before You our entire life, all that which is deformed inside us, all that is bad within us, all that is dark and injured, and we beg You, come and heal us, through You Holy Spirit. And we beg You forgiveness that we were often fearful of You, that we often distrusted You, and did not allow You to transform and to change us. Prepare our heart so that we may recognize Your plan through the Holy Spirit, that we may listen for Your word, and that we may then live it. Send into our heart your Spirit of Truth, that we may recognize You, our true God, and that we may allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit on Your path to Eternal Life. Lord, during this Novena and during this year of Your Spirit, we beg You, send Your Spirit of Truth and Love into the hearts of all those who are responsible in the Holy Church, and in the world. Send Your Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who, at this moment, are resisting You, who still distrust You, and change their hearts. Send the Spirit of Love into the hearts of those who hate, send the Spirit of Strength into the hearts of those who have become enslaved by sin, so that we, as Your Children, may come to be able to love in freedom and in love. Give us the grace that we may come to understand the message that the Mother of Your Son Jesus Christ has given us through Her, and that we all may come to live better lives with the strength of Your Spirit. Bless us and heal us, and bless all those who have ever asked for our prayers, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fra Slavko , Medjugorje
May 28, 1998
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