Message of November 25, 1998 “Dear children! Today I call you to prepare yourselves for the coming of Jesus. In a special way, prepare your hearts. May holy Confession be the first act of conversion for you and then, dear children, decide for holiness. May your conversion and decision for holiness begin today and not tomorrow. Little children, I call you all to the way of salvation and I desire to show you the way to Heaven. That is why, little children, be mine and decide with me for holiness. Little children, accept prayer with seriousness and pray, pray, pray.
Thank you for having responded to my call.”
MAY HOLY CONFESSION BE THE FIRST ACT OF CONVERSION FOR YOU
Confession is for us Christians the Sacrament of reconciliation, in other words, when we personally seek a Priest and in front of him, in the name of God, recognize and then ask for the removal our sins. This is so important for us that we must prepare well for holy Confession. This first of all means that we ask God that we can recognize His mercy and His love, that, even when we are sinners, trust may grow in our hearts, that all shame and fear of confession may be removed from our hearts, so that we may completely freely come to the loving and merciful God in whose name a Priest receives us. It is important that we recognize our inner selves and that we in humility also accept it. Today, as we all know, there is a crisis in the Church when it comes to Confession, but this crisis only comes when we have forgotten what a sin is. A sin is anything that separates us from ourselves or separates us from the others, or anything that insulates us from the others and through which a person comes to be alone. And, naturally, it is not good for any person to be alone. This is why it is so important for everyone to be removed from this separation, and, from this point of view, it also becomes the easiest way to recognize the fact that sin does exist and what sin is. An alcoholic, through his alcohol, separates himself from himself, and that is why an alcoholic can no longer work as he should, speak as he should, listen to others as he should, becomes aggressive, becomes, in short, a problem for everyone — for himself, for his family and for all of society. Anyone who says a bad word or a lie about someone else does the same thing and, wherever we separate ourselves from the others or where the others separate themselves from us, there a sin is happening. These we must recognize and then ask God to pull us out of them. Perhaps it is not so difficult to recognize what separates us from the others, but we must also become sensitive toward what good we have failed to do. Recognizing something bad in Confession is very good, but it is just as important to recognize in Confession good things that we could have done but for some selfish reason still failed to do. A good word that we did not say can wound as much as a bad word that we said. A good advice that we failed to give to someone can have the same results as any bad advice that we gave someone. So we also can recognize good spiritual growth in that we can always see more and more clearly the good that we can do as well as the good that we failed to do. In Confession, it first of all concerns that we may forgive and also be forgiven, first between God and us and then between us and the others around us. Without forgiveness and without reconciliation, man cannot grow and therefore peace can never come. In the process of reconciliation we must forgive God and then also the others. We must also forgive God because we so often have asked Him for something that He has not given us, and therefore many of us have stopped praying and are no longer ready to come to Him in all situations. This is why forgiving God is the same thing as accepting God’s will. We must also forgive ourselves because we have often decided for something good but then, due to our weakness or our sinfulness, caused that we again fell back and did not fulfill our previous good decision. And when we become impatient with ourselves, then we can go so far that we no longer even want to forgive ourselves, and this then is also not good because, when God forgives us, we must always forgive ourselves. So God and ourselves must be forgiven so that we may also come to forgive the others. The Sacrament of Confession is also the Sacrament of inner healing. That is the reason why Mary says that our first act in our conversion must be a holy Confession. For this, of having a good and holy Confession, we must first pray, and we must also pray for the Priest who is acting as our Father confessor so that he can also understand us and then give us good advice, as he should while being the extension of God’s merciful hand. Once we have made such a good Confession, then we have made the first step in our conversion. In this way, holiness quite naturally also follows, because it is in Confession, as we have said, not only reconciliation happens but also healing. The beginning of holiness is really this reconcilaition, the forgiveness of all sin, and the healing of the fruits of sin. The other dimension of holiness is a steady growth in faith, in love, in hope, in peace, in trust, in goodness and in mercy. And, of course, once we have experienced all this grace in a good Confession, then it is quite normal for us…
God, our Father, we thank You that You sent us Your Son, Jesus, who lived among us as child and as adult, and who gave His life for our salvation. With Mary, we turn to You, merciful Father, and ask You, give us all the grace that our hearts may be prepared to accept Your Son, Jesus Christ, like You prepared Mary’s heart for the coming of Your Son, and prepare our hearts in the same way. Free us of our pride, our selfishness, our fear and our distrust so that we, like Mary, open ourselves completely for You and for Your Son, so that our hearts can become a living place for Your Son. We ask You for the grace of a good Confession, so that every Confession becomes a meeting for us with Your mercy and Your love. Give us the grace of recognizing where we have sinned, of being sincerely repentant, and that You can cleanse us and heal us of all of our sins’ wounds. Bless also the confessors and fill their hearts with love and with peace, so that they may all become an extension of Your so merciful love. Along with Mary, we ask You that we may without delay decide for conversion and for the path to holiness. Free us of all our bad habits that have enslaved us and that block us from deciding for the path to salvation. We give You, O Father, our past and our future and ask You for the strength to do Your will today. Fill our hearts, our families and our prayer-groups with the spirit of prayer so that we may meet You in prayer and, through every meeting in prayer, may grow in holiness. On behalf of all those who are entangled in lack of faith, in distrust, in dependencies, in bad habits and who cannot respond to Your word, we ask for Your grace to free them. Mary, we thank you that you are with us, for your prayer and for your intercession. Accompany us in this time of preparation so that we may, like you have, accept Jesus and remain loyal to Him, and that in this loyalty toward Him we may some day reach Heaven, through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.
–Fra Slavko Barbaric, Medjugorje; November 26, 1998