Monday, July 21, 2014

Crossing the street

More from Henri Nouwen...

We become neighbours when we are willing to cross the road for one another. There is so much separation and segregation: between black people and white people, between gay people and straight people, between young people and old people, between sick people and healthy people, between prisoners and free people, between Jews and Gentiles, Muslims and Christians, Protestants and Catholics, Greek Catholics and Latin Catholics.

There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the street once in a while and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might become neighbours.

Little children, pray and do not permit Satan to work in your life through misunderstandings, the non-understanding and non-acceptance of one another. Pray that you may be able to comprehend the greatness and the beauty of the gift of life.
part Medjugorje message, January25, 1990

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Love of neighbour...

This item arrived in my email box today (Sunday)...

“Love your neighbour as yourself” the Gospel says (Matthew 22:38). But who is my neighbour? We often respond to that question by saying: “My neighbours are all the people I am living with on this earth, especially the sick, the hungry, the dying, and all who are in need.” But this is not what Jesus says. When Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:29-37) to answer the question “Who is my neighbour?” he ends by asking: “Which... do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the bandits’ hands?’ The neighbour, Jesus makes clear, is not the poor man laying on the side of the street, stripped, beaten, and half dead, but the Samaritan who crossed the road, “bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them... lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him.” My neighbour is the one who crosses the road for me!
Henri Nouwen

Dear children! Today I call you to love. Little children, without love you can neither live with God nor with brother. Therefore, I call all of you to open your hearts to the love of God that is so great and open to each one of you. God, out of love for man, has sent me among you to show you the path of salvation, the path of love. If you do not first love God, then you will neither be able to love neighbour nor the one you hate. Therefore, little children, pray and through prayer you will discover love. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje message, April 25, 1995

Friday, July 18, 2014

Pope’s statement claim surprises Provincial

Medjugorje Today has quotes from Franciscan Provincial Fr Miljenko Steko refuting the claim the Pope asked him to pray that he made the right decision on Medjugorje... report here...

UPDATE: July 22, 2014
Fr Kevin Devine has issued a public apology for the impression given in spontaneous announcements made at the end of a Mass in Medjugorje on June 25 – that the Holy Father had reached a decision on Medjugorje – and for erroneously attributing the statement source to the Franciscan Provincial Fr Miljenko Steko.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Who is my neighbour?

Dear children! With motherly love I desire to encourage you to love your neighbour. May my Son be the source of that love. He, who could have done everything by force, chose love and gave an example to you. Also today, through me, God expresses immeasurable goodness to you and, you children, are obliged to respond to it. With equal goodness and generosity behave towards the souls whom you meet. May your love convert them. In that way my Son and his love will resurrect in you. Thank you.
part Medjugorje message, July 2, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Imagine a sower going out to sow...

You will know that you are on the right path when you will be on earth with your body and with your soul always with God. Through this unconditional and pure love you will see my Son in every person.
part Medjugorje message, August 2, 2007

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Do not be afraid…

Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without the Father knowing. Why every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows. Matthew 10 : 29-31

Dear children, I call you to accompany me in my mission of God with an open heart and complete trust. The way on which I lead you, through God, is difficult but persevering and in the end we will all rejoice through God. Therefore, my children, do not stop praying for the gift of faith. Only through faith will the Word of God be light in this darkness which desires to envelop us. Do not be afraid, I am with you. Thank you. Medjugorje message, October 2, 2007

We so often hear Jesus saying to his Apostles, “Be not afraid.” Someone counted that this expression, that we need not be afraid, is used in the Bible 365 times. Mary is our mother and the only new message of MeÄ‘ugorje is that she tells us... “I am with you”.

When we really believe this, and understand this with the heart, then we will no longer be afraid. Even when we have worries and, seen humanly, also fear something, if we know that Mary is with us, then our hearts will react to her presence and to her voice, and thereby be freed from all fear.

And especially in these modern times, it is so important to overcome this fear, this fear for our lives, this fear for the family, this fear for the Church, and this fear for the whole world.

It is sad that many who are involved in Marian movements are also wounded by this fear. Many Catholic Christians today spread an apocalyptic atmosphere and in so doing spread only more fear.

Here in Medjugorje we have never heard anything in the messages of which we are meant to be afraid, but exactly the opposite – that we need not be afraid, because in the end God is the Lord and the Ruler, and he will turn everything to the good.

That is why I want all of us, and especially those who live in fear, to hear these words very clearly – BE NOT AFRAID. This is Mary here who is speaking.

Fr Slavko Barbaric OFM

Friday, July 11, 2014

Bearing witness...

By your life bear witness for God’s joy. Do not be anxious nor worried. God himself will help you and show you the way.
part Medjugorje message, May 25, 1988

Beware of men: they will hand you over to the sanhedrin and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and pagans. But when they hand you over, do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it is not you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.
Matthew 10: 17-20

I call you, dear children, to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are necessary for you now in order to be able to give witness to my presence here and to all that I am giving you.
part Medjugorje message, April 17, 1986

“A sad face cannot become witness to God’s joy. A heart without an inner life cannot be witness to the living God. A heart without love cannot become a witness for God’s love. That is why it is a condition to witness God’s love for us to be able to carry God's love and joy within our hearts.”
Fr Slavko Barbaric OFM

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Silver or gold I do not have...

Yesterday the Vatican held a press conference to announce major changes in its economic and administration structures. The overall goal, said Cardinal George Pell and now head of the newly formed Secretariat for the Economy, is to make the Vatican “a model of financial transparency instead of cause for occasional scandal.”

A cause for scandal among the group of disciples who walked with Jesus was the accusation made against Judas of stealing from the common purse he had been put in charge of.

In today’s gospel
(Matthew 10 : 7-15) Jesus gives instructions to his disciples before he sends them out on mission. They are to provide themselves with no silver or gold for the journey, not even a few coppers for their purses not even a haversack, a spare tunic, footwear or a staff. Instead they are to rely on the hospitality of others – God providing for his labourers through the generous hearts of others. “The workman deserves his keep” adds Jesus.

This week some 300 hundred priests from around the world have arrived in Medjugorje to attend a five-day seminar.

As in previous years the priests are housed and fed without charge through the generosity of the local people, recalling other words of Jesus spoken in today’s gospel reading. “You received without charge, give without charge.”

While at times it may seem that the Medjugorje phenomenon has prioritised into an economic phenomenon for the village, this generous gesture by house-owners and families in providing meals and accommodation for those who labour for the Lord’s harvest is a shining sign of living the Gospel message.

“Whatever town or village you go into, ask for someone trustworthy and stay with him until you leave. As you enter his house, salute it, and if the house deserves it, let your peace descend upon it…”

What a wonderful blessing for the people of Medjugorje to be able to welcome priests into their homes in this way. And what a wonderful blessing for the priests also.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014


Commission is a word very much associated with the Medjugorje phenomenon. The investigative work of the group of people summoned and commissioned by Benedict XVI in March 2010 to study the Medjugorje phenomenon is completed and under review by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

In today’s Gospel (Matthew 10 : 1-7) Jesus summons and commissions his twelve disciples to go out and proclaim the kingdom of heaven to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. He provides the disciples with authority and instructions on how to go about fulfilling his commission.

In June 1981, Our Lady was also commissioned and sent out by the Lord to proclaim his kingdom on this earth. She chose the parish of Medjugorje as the place to make her messages known to the world.

Dear children, I love you and in a special way I have chosen this parish, one more dear to me than the others, in which I have gladly remained when the Almighty sent me. Therefore I call on you – accept me, dear children, that it might go well with you. Listen to my messages! March 21, 1985 

“God has sent me among you so that I may help you…” January 25, 1991 

“God, out of love for man, has sent me among you to show you the path of salvation, the path of love.” April 25, 1995

“God sent me to lead you toward eternal life.” October 25, 2006

In truth, we are all commissioned by God to proclaim his name and love in our daily lives and so to the world.

In Monday’s gospel the people were amazed by Jesus when he cured a man of his dumbness and he could speak again.

Mary desires us to be able to find our voice again in a way that proclaims and gives witness to the healing power of God in our lives.

As Jesus does with his twelve disciples the Blessed Mother also encourages and instructs her children on the steps to take to bring healing and peace to lost sheep.

In a recent message to Mirjana she spoke of living humble lives and said that the love that comes forth from humility will bring light to the world where there is darkness and blindness. July 2, 2014

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

International seminar for priests at Medjugorje

Medjugorje’s 19th International Seminar for Priests got underway yesterday and will end on Saturday.

This year’s themes are: “Behold Your Mother
(John19 : 27) and “In Our Lady’s School”.

Last year’s event was attended by 297 priests from 23 countries.

Leading the seminar is Fr Ljubo Kurtovic OFM who served in Medjugorje between 2000 and 2007. He is now the parish priest in Veljaci, Herzegovina.

Monday, July 07, 2014

The Immeasurable Love...

Dear children! In these peaceless times I am coming to you to show you the way to peace. I love you with an immeasurable love and I desire for you to love each other and to see in everyone my Son – the immeasurable love. The way to peace leads solely and only through love. Give your hand to me, your mother, and permit me to lead you. I am the Queen of peace. Thank you.
Medjugorje message, August 2, 2006

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Humble and gentle in heart...

The peace of Christ is found by those who ‘take up’ their ‘yoke’, namely, Christ’s commandment: Love one another as I have loved you. This yoke cannot be borne with arrogance, presumption or pride, but only with meekness and humbleness of heart.
Pope Francis, October 2013

With the love that comes forth from humility you will bring light to where darkness and blindness rule. You will be bringing my Son who is the light of the world. I am always alongside your shepherds and I pray that they may always be an example of humility for you. Thank you.
part Medjugorje message, July 2, 2014

Once you have received the refreshment and comfort of Christ, we are called in turn to become refreshment and comfort for our brothers and sisters, with a meek and humble attitude, in imitation of the Master.
Pope Francis, Sunday, July 6, 2014

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Dear children, I, the Mother of all of you...

Our Lady tells each one of us, “I am your Mother and I love you. If you knew how much I loved you you would cry with joy.”

And she asks, “Do you love me?”

There is only one right answer – the answer St Peter gave to the Risen Jesus in response to that same question, “You know that I love you.”

Fr Jozo Zovko FM

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Feast of St Thomas, Apostle

When Thomas the Twin was told by the disciples of Jesus that they had seen the risen Lord, he did not trust their witness, even from so many. He doubted. He needed to see for himself, to be able to touch the wounds of Christ.

Many who travel to Medjugorje go there with reservations and doubts about the claimed phenomenon and the testimony given to them by their friends, family and other witnesses. They are not entirely convinced and want to experience and see for themselves.

In reality, and perhaps not realising at the time of decision to go on pilgrimage, they are actually seeking an ecounter with Jesus, just as Thomas felt the need to. The witness of others was not enough to convince him. His faith was suspect. He set and demanded conditions for believing.

It is only through a real encounter with the Risen Jesus that our faith is strengthened

I’m always interested to observe the reaction of pilgrims to the phenomenon at Medjugorje where the Risen Saviour sculpture trickles water from fractures in the right knee of the cast.

Many ask why this is happening; many seek a natural explanation; most seem to want to experience and accept the phenomenon as miraculous.

Waiting lines of pilgrims queue to touch the spot from where the water weeps, symbolic perhaps of reaching out to Jesus, either in faith or in doubt, seeking confirmation of all they have seen and heard about this ‘miraculous’ feature.

Because of the height of the thirty-metre bronze sculpture, it is not possible to touch the hands or the side. The fracture, the ‘wound’ above the right knee, is accessible but only by standing on a raised platform. It is so tempting to do this and very few pilgrims ignore the opportunity.

Does this suggest that there is the ‘doubting Thomas’ in all of us – or just the need to touch something what is perceived as ‘miraculous’, possibly seeking healing by doing so – to encounter Christ?

When Jesus did eventually appear to Thomas he said to the disciple: “Give me your hand, put your finger here… doubt no longer but believe.”

Thomas was overcome and uttered those memorable, faith-filled words, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus responded, “You believe because you can see me. Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”

And in those words is a connection with Our Lady’s appearances and messages at Medjugorje. Six witnesses are privileged to see the Blessed Mother and hear her speak. The rest of us are invited to trust and believe their witness without seeing.

Many doubt the Medjugorje phenomenon, even from the time Our Lady first appeared at Medjugorje 33 years ago. However, one of the reasons Our Lady gave for coming to Medjugorje was because there were many true believers living there.

Those who had doubts then requested the visionaries to ask Our Lady for a sign. They did, and she gave this response: “Blessed are those who have not seen and who believe.”

“Give me your hand” said Jesus to Thomas… These are also words used by Our Lady. In a message given to Mirjana she said, “Give your hand to me, your Mother, and permit me to lead you.”

Extending our hand and touching the fractured surface of Risen Saviour sculpture can inspire many to a deeper faith in Jesus and a desire to meet with him in the Sacraments. Reaching out and touching the wounds of others we meet in life is also another way of experiencing Christ in our everyday lives and becoming the miracle for them, becoming the witness of Medjugorje and the resurrection in our own life.

Interestingly, John’s gospel (20 :24-29) doesn’t make it absolutely clear if Thomas ever actually touched the wounds of Christ as he was invited to. But seeing the risen Jesus was enough for him to make his declaration and be the only person in the Gospel to address Jesus directly as God.

This reminds me of the time my wife returned from Medjugorje after her first visit (my first visit came two years later).

When I went to collect her at the airport and asked if she enjoyed her pilgrimage. She responded by breaking down into a flood of tears and her first words to me before any greeting were: “Don’t ever tell me there isn’t a God!”

Like Thomas, she had encountered the Risen Lord. And that witness was enough for me to want to experience my own faith encounter with Jesus at Medjugorje.

Dear children! In these peaceless times I am coming to you to show you the way to peace. I love you with an immeasurable love and I desire for you to love each other and to see in everyone my Son – the immeasurable love. The way to peace leads solely and only through love. Give your hand to me, your mother, and permit me to lead you. I am the Queen of peace. Thank you.
Medjugorje message, August 2, 2006

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

July message of Our Lady to Mirjana

Dear children, I, the mother of all of you gathered here and the mother of the entire world, am blessing you with a motherly blessing and call you to set out on the way of humility.

That way leads to the coming to know the love of my Son.

My Son is almighty, he is in everything.

If you, my children, do not become cognizant of this, then darkness and blindness rule in your soul.

Only humility can heal you.

My children, I always lived humbly, courageously and in hope.

I knew, I became cognizant that God is in us and we are in God.

I am asking the same of you. I desire for all of you to be with me in eternity, because you are a part of me.

I will help you on your way.

My love will envelop you like a mantle and make of you apostles of my light – of God’s light.

With the love that comes forth from humility you will bring light to where darkness and blindness rule. You will be bringing my Son who is the light of the world.

I am always alongside your shepherds and I pray that they may always be an example of humility for you. Thank you.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Come back Peter... come back Paul

Dear children, I love you with a motherly love and with a motherly patience I wait for your love and unity. I pray that you may be a community of God’s children, of my children. I pray that as a community you may joyfully come back to life in the faith and in the love of my Son. My children, I am gathering you as my apostles and am teaching you how to bring others to come to know the love of my Son; how to bring to them the Good News, which is my Son. Give me your open, purified hearts and I will fill them with the love for my Son. His love will give meaning to your life and I will walk with you. I will be with you until the meeting with the Heavenly Father. My children, it is those who walk towards the Heavenly Father with love and faith who will be saved. Do not be afraid, I am with you. Put your trust in your shepherds as my Son trusted when he chose them, and pray that they may have the strength and the love to lead you. Thank you.
Medjugorje message. October 2, 2013

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Immaculate Heart

Dear children! Today I call you to come closer to my Immaculate Heart. I call you to renew in your families the fervour of the first days when I called you to fasting, prayer and conversion. Little children, you accepted my messages with open hearts, although you did not know what prayer was. Today, I call you to open yourselves completely to me so that I may transform you and lead you to the heart of my son Jesus, so that he can fill you with his love. Only in this way, little children, will you find true peace – the peace that only God gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, October 25, 1988

Today I call you to come closer to my Immaculate Heart.

by Fr Slavko Barbaric

This is a motherly call, because every mother carries within her heart the deep yearning to be with her children and to be there for them so that her children can also be there for her.

So that we may better understand this wish of Mary’s, let us think a bit about Mary’s heart.

We believe that she was conceived without sin as she told Bernadette in Lourdes when she said that she was the Immaculate Conception.

Her heart was obedient toward God; her heart was full of love, trust, hope and faith; her heart was merciful, and she was also the mother who kept her Son’s words in her heart and thought about them a lot; her heart was full of peace and completely subservient toward God and toward others. That is why she went to visit Elizabeth, that is why she could, out of this peace and love, see at the wedding of Cana that the people had a problem, and her heart inspired her to intercede with Jesus for this family. And when Mary wishes of us to come closer to her, then this also means that our hearts should become more similar to hers.

So every opportunity of practicing patience and trust in faith, hope and love and every attempt at forgiving really makes our hearts more similar to hers, and especially so when we are in difficulty or have problems and then remain firm and do not lose faith, hope and love, we are coming closer to her heart – her heart that also knows suffering and that still remains loyal to Jesus throughout His sufferings.

Here it becomes important for us to ask ourselves whether the yearning exists within us to remain close to our mother? This means that we should ask ourselves what hinders us in this yearning, or what suffocates our yearning for being near to her.

Every one of us will certainly find something in our lives that distances us from Mary's heart. But in general one can say that whoever wishes to come closer to Mary must dispose of all pride and to practice humility at all times. Whoever wishes to come closer to her heart must dispose of every uncleanness in order to become more similar to her Immaculate Heart. Everything positive that we do brings us closer to her heart, and especially so when we carry in our hearts and reflect upon God's words.

This way we will come closer to Mary and in our lives Jesus will then become alive as he did in Mary’s life. This way we will also discover what it means when he says that those who do the will of the Father are also his brothers, his sisters and his relatives.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Sacred Heart of Jesus

Dear children! Rejoice with me! My heart is rejoicing because of Jesus and today I want to give him to you. Dear children, I want each one of you to open your heart to Jesus and I will give him to you with love. Dear children, I want him to change you, to teach you and to protect you. Today I am praying in a special way for each one of you and I am presenting you to God so he will manifest himself in you. I am calling you to sincere prayer with the heart so that every prayer of yours may be an encounter with God. In your work and in your everyday life, put God in the first place. I call you today with great seriousness to obey me and to do as I am calling you. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje message, December 25, 1987

• Happy birthday, Sandra and Sarah!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gathered in prayer and song

Numerous pilgrims from all over the world gathered to take part in the 23rd Peace Walk from Humac to Medjugorje on the eve of the 33rd Medjugorje Anniversary celebration.

As in previous years, visionary Vicka also participated in the march.

Parish priest Fr Marinko Sakota invited all pilgrims in his early-morning introductory speech at 6:00am to be recollected in prayer and song as they walk towards Medjugorje.

Shortly before the walk began, guardian of Humac monastery, Fr Velimir Mandić said to the pilgrims: “May this walk that you are about to take be your contribution to praise and glory of God who will grant peace to all people in the world.”

In prayer and song, all participants arrived on the grounds of the church of St James a little before 10:00am where there was Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament and a short time of Adoration.

The first Peace March was a spontaneous event which took place in 1992, during the war when pilgrims no longer dared to visit Medjugorje. European friends of Medjugorje, together with other friends from around the world, deemed it inadmissible for Medjugorje to remain closed to all those who wished to pray for peace.

Pilgrims from various European cities, accompanied spiritually by the late Mons. Pavel Hnilica, met in Ancona (Italy) where they boarded a boat for Split. They celebrated Holy Mass aboard the boat and spent the whole night in Adoration. Thus, processing with the Blessed Sacrament, they arrived in Humac, whence they marched in prayer until they reached Medjugorje in order to celebrate the anniversary of the apparitions.

As a consequence of the war and its obvious dangers, the usual evening prayer programme was interrupted, but it was resumed as normal after the Peace March. Since then, the Peace March has become an annual event. It is a march characterised by joy, despite its strong penitential accent, and always includes prayer for peace in the world.

photos courtesy of Damir Ivankovic

Pope Francis: “Who do I like to follow”

(Vatican Radio) Why do so many people follow Jesus? That was the question Pope Francis asked in his homily this morning which centred on the people and the teaching of the Lord. The crowds, he said, followed Jesus because “they were astonished by his teaching,” His words “brought wonder to their hearts, the wonder of finding something good, great.” Other people “were speaking, but they did not reach the people.”

The Pope mentioned four groups of people that were speaking at the time of Jesus. The first of these was the Pharisees. The Pharisees, he said, were making religion and the worship of God a chain of commandments, turning the Ten Commandments into “more than three hundred,” loading “this weight” on the backs of the people. It was, the Pope said, “a reduction of the faith in the Living God” to a kind of “casuistry” or quibbling. And there were also “contradictions of the cruelest kind of moralistic quibbling.”

“For example, ‘You have to obey the fourth commandment!’ ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ ‘You have to feed your elderly father, your elderly mother!’ ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ ‘But you know, I can’t because I gave my money to the temple!’ ‘You don’t do that? And your parents starve to death!’ So: contradictions of the cruelest kind of moralistic quibbling. The people respect them [the Pharisees], because the people are respectful. They respected them, but they didn’t listen to them! They went about their business…”

Another group was the Sadducees. Pope Francis said the Sadducees “did not have the faith, they had lost the faith! They made it their religious work to make deals with the powers: political powers, economic powers. They were men of power.”

A third group was the “revolutionaries,” or the zealots, who “wanted to cause a revolution to free the people of Israel from the Roman occupation.” The people, though, had good sense, and knew to distinguish when the fruit was ripe and when it was not! And they didn’t follow them.”

Pope Francis then spoke about the fourth group, who were called the Essenes and were “good people.” They were monks who consecrated their lives to God – but, he warned, “they were far from the people, and the people couldn’t follow them.”

These, the Pope said, “were the voices that reached the people, and none of these voices had the power to warm the hearts of the people – but Jesus did! The crowds were amazed: They heard Jesus and their hearts were warmed. The message of Jesus reached to the heart.” Jesus, Pope Francis said, “approached the people,” he “healed the heart of the people,” he “understood their difficulties.” Jesus, the Pope continued, “was not ashamed to speak with sinners, he went out to find them,” Jesus “felt joy, he was happy to be with his people.” And this is why Jesus is “the Good Shepherd,” the sheep hear his voice and follow him:

“And this is why the people followed Jesus, because he was the Good Shepherd. He wasn’t a moralistic, quibbling Pharisee, or a Sadducee who made political deals with the powerful, or a guerrilla who sought the political liberation of his people, or a contemplative in a monastery. He was a pastor! A pastor who spoke the language of his people, who understood, who spoke the truth, the things of God – he never trafficked in the things of God! But he spoke in such a way that the people loved the things of God. That’s why they followed him.”

Jesus, the Pope said, “was never far from the people, was never far from his Father.” Jesus “was so joined to the Father, he was one with the Father!” and so was “so very close to the people.” He “had this authority, and this is why the people followed him.”

Contemplating Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Pope said, it would be good for us to think about who we like to follow: “Who do I like to follow? Those who talk to me about abstract things or quibbling morals? Those who talk about the people of God but have no faith and negotiate with political, economic powers? Those who always want to do strange things, destructive things, so-called wars of liberation, but which in the end are not the paths of the Lord? Or a faraway contemplative? Who do I like to follow?”

“May this question,” Pope Francis concluded, “bring us to prayer, and to ask God the Father, who brings us close to Jesus, to follow Jesus, to be amazed at the things Jesus tells us.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Our Lady’s anniversary message to Marija

Dear children! The Most High is giving me the grace that I can still be with you and to lead you in prayer towards the way of peace.

Your heart and soul thirst for peace and love, for God and his joy.

Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray and in prayer you will discover the wisdom of living.

I bless you all and intercede for each of you before my Son Jesus.

Thank you for having responded to my call.

God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being. 
Geneis 2 : 7

Thirty-three... a number of significance

Today, June 25, 2014, is the 33rd anniversary of the Medjugorje phenomenon. Not surprisingly, there are people who will relate the 33 years to the number of years Jesus supposedly lived on earth and so perhaps wonder if this particular anniversary year will signal a special time in the history of the apparitions.

Numbers and dates can have an significant role in our lives, especially in a celebratory sense, often serving as reminders of important events in the journey of the Church and people’s faith.

The patroness of Uruguay is known as The Virgin of the Thirty-Three. This unusual title derives from the time when 33 patriots landed on the beaches of Agraciada in 1825 to liberate the country. They headed on to Florida, went into a chapel and dedicated the future of the new nation to the Blessed Mother in front of a small wooden statue placed there by Jesuits in 1779. 

But if our focus on numbers and dates becomes obsessive it can often develop into the kind of superstition that makes us want to believe the number 7 is lucky and 13 is actually unlucky.

Here, BRENDAN McCANN, relates how a pilgrimage to Medjugorje re-aligned an obsessive focus he had given to the number 33 for much of his life.

• For years I have been haunted by 33. That is how old my brother was when he died, or so I thought. I could relate everything to 33; when Christ died, going over the speed limit, anything with that number would work its way into my life and I would give it prominence. It is only in the last two or three years that I found out my brother was actually 32 when he died. Clearly the shock of his death had blared some of my reasoning. So I was looking for the wrong thing for the last 20 odd years.

Last August I got the call to go to Medjugorje and on the second or third day, sitting in St James’ church, the number raised its head again. The priest claimed the church was built in 1933. This made me reflect on how I looked at the number in the past. I said to myself, instead of looking for the bad I should have been looking for the good, as so much good had clearly come out of this church.

A few days passed and it was the feast of St John the Baptist. I had been asked to light a candle for a deceased sister of a friend at work who died of cancer about ten years ago. After Mass I had the whole day to myself and had planned to walk up Cross Mountain on my own and barefoot. So before I went I decided to light a candle and say a few prayers for Catherine, as promised. I was at the side of the church in an area well laid out for the purpose; there was a large cross with an area underneath for lighting candles and seating for about 100 people. With the exception of a few elderly ladies in the corner I was on my own.

I started to pray for Catherine and slowly this changed to me saying to Catherine, “I don’t think you need my prayers because I think you are in heaven and I feel you can do more for me than I can do for you. You knew you had to leave this world and I have no doubt you made your peace with God before you left.” As I said this a dove landed at the foot of the cross, rested for a while and then flew up and landed at the right hand of Jesus, rested for another while and flew away. Was this a sign or a bird doing its rounds? I took it as a sign and said that I would now focus on my brother as I climbed the mountain.

As I was making my way towards the mountain my mind was clear but I asked myself, ‘“Does this work, making a sacrifice for the sins of others?” I was soon to get my answer. On the way towards the mountain I met Martin, someone I had befriended in the last few days. The conversation was short and in one direction. He said, “If you want forgiveness for sins you have to walk up the mountain in your bare feet. See you later.” He didn’t say my sins; he said sins.

That was my first sucker punch and I didn’t expect any more of these. I was wrong – just like my focus on the number 33 – totally wrong. So I got to the mountain, removed my sandals and packed them in my shoulder bag, took a good drink of water and with my walking stick, away I went.

I really had to focus. The sun was hot, the ground sharp and the mountain steep. A few times I asked myself if I was wise in the head. I wasn’t going to tell anyone I climbed the mountain in my bare feet so if I slipped on my sandals no one would know the difference. I wouldn’t be seen as someone who failed. As far as people were concerned I climbed the mountain. I would only tell them I climbed the mountain in my bare feet if they asked.

As I was going up I never looked right or left as I had to focus on my footing. The stony surface was pointed and uncomfortable. There were Stations of the Cross on the way up but I had other things on my mind – getting to the top. After about 45 minutes I stopped at a station to straighten my back. It could have been any station but it happened to be the 5th. It’s where Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross. This was an emotional body blow to me – one person lifting someone else’s burden. This was what I was doing; trying to atone for any sin my brother might not have been forgiven for.

Higher and higher I went and it wasn’t getting any easier. Soon I started to see a bit more of the sky. I was getting closer to the top. There was a big white cross with steps leading to it. Up I went, adulated. I was near the end of my journey and the ground was easy going. I was now at the top and I may as well have been at the top of the world. The view was fantastic. I thought: “A couple of quick prayers and I will be on my way down with sandals on this time.”

I had accomplished all I had set out to do but before I left I walked quickly around the base of the cross. Looking upwards to see if there were any dates telling when the cross was erected etc. One glimpse almost knocked me off my feet. 33-1933 was etched into the top of the cross. This was now a number that I could only associate with good; a monkey that for no good reason had been clinging onto my back was well and truly gone.

I skipped down the mountain and when I reached the base I could have willingly gone up again!