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Pilgrims pray during the Evening Program at St. James Church

February 21, 2019
St. Peter Damian

Dear Family of Mary!

Our Lady has told us many times that God has given her a plan for the salvation of souls which will be enacted in and through her presence in Medjugorje, specifically in the parish of Medjugorje. We have seen over the past 37 years that a great program of prayer has developed in the parish of St. James. Through this program alone, many conversions have happened, many lives have been changed. Combined with the messages, the life of the parish is powerful.

Fr. Slavko understood the importance of the parish of Medjugorje. He points out that in January 1986 Our Lady gave five messages that were formative for the parish of Medjugorje. I will include them at the end of the reflection for us to pray over. Fr. Slavko mentions these messages in this homily from early February 1986:

“All those who listen to my messages and live them are my parish.”

Our Lady insists on prayer in a special way in her January messages, “I invite you to prayer”, “I invite you once again to prayer”, “I invite you especially to prayer of the heart”, and also in her latest message, “Today I invite all of you to pray so that all the plans God has for you may be fulfilled together with everything that God wishes to realize through you.”

This is a very simple message, but also very profound. Our Lady tells us that our prayer helps God to realize all the plans He has for us, for each one of us.

When she says, “Today I invite all of you”, we can say that she is thinking of all those who have accepted these apparitions and these messages. So, God has some plans for us and in us, to bring about peace in our hearts, love, reconciliation, the spirit of prayer and fasting.

If God has been able to realize His plans with us, He has another plan – to bring about the same things for others through us. Our Lady tells us, “God cannot do anything without you.”

Our Lady is not calling us to ask for peace from others or reconciliation from others in her messages. Our Lady always wants us to be the ones to bring peace, for us to start to be reconciled, for us to begin and not wait for others to do so. There is no human being in the world who does not wish to be loved, to have peace. But if no one loves and if no one brings peace, who will have peace, who will be loved? Our Lady is not calling us to criticize our neighbor because we already know how to criticize and judge others, but to bring peace, love and reconciliation to others.

Her message continues, “Help others to be converted, especially those who come to Medjugorje”.

In her last message, too, she also asked us to pray for others and their conversion and said that the ice of their hearts would be melted if we pray; she is making us responsible for the conversion of others. Many times, we say, “Leave him alone, if he doesn’t want to. He is an atheist, he doesn’t go to Mass, he doesn’t pray, leave him alone.” Our Lady doesn’t want us to judge or leave someone alone; we must pray day by day for the conversion of others.

It would be a big mistake to think, “Others need to be converted, not me.” We all need to be converted every day. By inviting us to pray for others, Our Lady is asking us to bring love to others, to everyone. She said, “Especially those who come to Medjugorje.” So she is making the parishioners responsible for our conversion.

We do all we can here; I do not know if you will return home converted as Our Lady desires…

Every evening Mass is celebrated here for all the pilgrims, for all those who come here and for all those who ask us; and we priests ask the people here to accept you, with love if possible.

When you return home you should become Medjugorje for others, like a sign and invitation towards conversion and prayer. We must be conscious of this reality – people will ask your help, just as Our Lady has asked your help. You are Medjugorje too.

Our Lady once said, “All those who listen to my messages and live them are my parish.” So, there are no boundaries to the Medjugorje parish; all those who live with us in prayer and fasting are parishioners. We feel responsible for your conversion, and when you return to your homes you at once become responsible for the conversion of others. In this way Our Lady’s wishes will be spread.

Now something very important. Our Lady said, “Dear children. Do not allow satan to take control of your hearts.” How does one become an image of satan? Look, if there is hate, bitterness, jealousy in your heart, if we quarrel with others, if we do not forgive, if we are not reconciled, who is in our heart? Certainly not Our Lady, not God, because God always asks us for love, peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.

If we want to become the image of Our Lady then it is necessary to open ourselves to peace, love, reconciliation, to God and to others.

Once again, “I invite you to pray so that you may become witnesses of my presence.” If we have now decided to become Our Lady’s witnesses, if we want to help towards conversion and the grace of peace, we must pray, fast and open ourselves to God and He will fill us. If we want to become witnesses of her presence we must pray.

Our Lady has also said, “Without you, God cannot fulfill His plans.” So, we are important.

A young man asked me why God who is almighty cannot realize what He wants without us. I explained that we have been created free; God respects our freedom and says to us, “If you wish…” It is in this sense that we can say God cannot do everything without us, because if God is love – as St. John tells us – He cannot and does not want to act by force.

In this message, too, Our Lady says, “God has given everyone a free will and it is in your control.” Our Lady knew that she was free when the Angel came and asked her, “Do you want to become the Mother of God?” She thought for a little and replied, “Yes”. She was free, even if she was full of grace; freedom was not taken from her and neither was responsibility. We must feel free, and in freedom and love answer the messages.”
(Fr. Slavko Barbaric – 1st February 1986)

Here are the January 1986 messages Fr. Slavko was referring to.  Powerful!

January 2, 1986 “Dear children! I call you to decide completely for God. I beseech you, dear children, to surrender yourselves completely and you shall be able to live everything I am telling you. It shall not be difficult for you to surrender yourselves completely to God. Thank you for having responded to my call.

January 9, 1986

“Dear children! I call you by your prayers to help Jesus along in the fulfillment of all the plans which He is forming here. And offer your sacrifices to Jesus in order that everything is fulfilled the way He has planned it and that satan can accomplish nothing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

January 16, 1986

“Dear children! Today also I am calling you to prayer. Your prayers are necessary to me so that God may be glorified through all of you. Dear children, I pray you, obey and live the Mother’s invitation, because only out of love am I calling you in order that I might help you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

January 23, 1986

“Dear children! Again I call you to prayer with the heart. If you pray with the heart, dear children, the ice of your brothers will melt and every barrier shall disappear. Conversion will be easy for all who desire to accept it. That is the gift which by prayer you must obtain for your neighbor. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

January 30, 1986 “Dear children! Today I call you all to pray that God’s plans for us may be realized and also everything that God desires through you! Help others to be converted, especially those who are coming to Medjugorje. Dear children, do not allow satan to get control of your hearts, so you would be an image of satan and not of me. I call you to pray for how you might be witnesses of my presence. Without you, God cannot bring to reality that which He desires. God has given a free will to everyone, and it’s in your control. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
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