“THAT THROUGH THE EXAMPLE OF YOUR LIFE, THEY MAY RECEIVE FAITH AND LOVE FOR GOD” Fr. Slavko’s Reflection on Message of Nov. 25, 1997

Message of  Nov. 25, 1997. “Dear Children! Today I invite you to comprehend your Christian vocation. Little children, I led and am leading you through this time of grace, that you may become conscious of your Christian vocation. Holy martyrs died witnessing: I am a Christian and love God over everything. Little children, today also I invite you to rejoice and be joyful Christians, responsible and conscious that God called you in a special way to be joyfully extended hands toward those who do not believe, and that through the example of your life, they may receive faith and love for God. Therefore, pray, pray, pray that your heart may open and be sensitive to the Word of God. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

TODAY I INVITE YOU TO COMPREHEND YOUR CHRISTIAN VOCATION

Jesus always spoke clearly and He called the Apostles together and sent them throughout the world. He Himself came with a four-fold power of attorney — to announce the Word, to heal the sick, to forgive our sins, and to free the people of the evil spirit. And with this power of attorney He sent out the Apostles and thereby also transferred it to the Church, which entails all baptized Christians. A Christian vocation really means to open oneself completely to God, to accept His will, to live in peace and then, out of this peace, to go out into the world and there to do what Jesus did. A Christian vocation, very simply said, is to hand over ones whole life to God the Father and to the Holy Spirit, and through this go about our lives so that the others may recognize Jesus in us. Then Mary says…

LITTLE CHILDREN, I LED AND AM LEADING YOU THROUGH THIS TIME OF GRACE

It is 16 years and 5 month since she founded this school and here it really concerns a particular guidance. The fundamental messages of peace, conversion, prayer, fasting, faith, praying the Rosary, confessing once a month, attending Holy Mass and reading Holy Scripture are the main curricula in this school. But the weekly messages that she gave us for some time every Thursday and now for the last ten years once a month are her very own words that truly give us a direction. From month to month Mary gives us a word and if we try to live with this word, if we think about this word, then we will always find very specific directions and also answers to our questions. In the encyclical MOTHER OF THE REDEEMER, the Pope said that Mary was not only Jesus’ mother but also His teacher, and so she is the one who can teach us to understand Jesus better than anyone else, because she is BOTH mother and teacher. She leads us and this time, since she began leading us, is truly a time of grace. Certainly many, many people have understood that this is a very special time in which we are living, simply because through their having either come to Medjugorje or having just made contact with it, they have received graces. This can be confirmed by all those who have begun to pray, to fast and to reconcile with others, or who have discovered the Mass or the Word of God in the Holy Scripture, and also by the ever-growing number who have discovered Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. And…

THAT YOU MAY BECOME CONSCIOUS OF YOUR CHRISTIAN VOCATION

…is certainly also a grace. With this call for us to become conscious that we have a vocation, we can think of the enormous number of people who do afterall call themselves Christians, but who simply live the way they live without thinking about it. There are so many who do not pray at all, so many who, since either their confirmation or their wedding in a church, have had nothing to do with the Church, and also all those who, in their lives do not inspire or guide themselves by the Commandments are ALL unaware of their Christian vocation. Here I am thinking of the many things that I have heard from the participants at our fasting retreats. How often did I hear that they were ashamed of fasting in front of others? My answer was always that if those who eat or drink too much are not ashamed, then why should we be ashamed of fasting? Why should we not be able to say, “Yes, I am a Christian. I am called to fast, and so I fast.” But, not only does this occur in respect to fasting, for many are even ashamed to pray. Who still prays openly? Who still prays in a restaurant when he is out with his family or friends? How many parents have stopped prayer in the family altogether? This can only be understood when people have become unaware of their Christian vocation. When we hear how many Christian families get divorces, and there are areas where, out of every three families, two are divorced. Here again it concerns the absence of a consciousness of their Christian vocation. How many youth from Christian families are today falling into drugs and the other dependencies? Here it again concerns the same problem, for they are unaware that we belong to Jesus. A short story is told about the Macedonian leader, Alexander the Great. Somewhere there was a problem with a soldier who was then brought to Alexander the Great. First Alexander asked for the soldier’s name, and as the soldier answered that his name was Alexander, Alexander the Great’s reaction was, “Either change your life, or change your name, for if you continue the way you have been, you are not allowed to call yourself Alexander.” This call of Mary’s must make us realize that we are the children of God, that God is our Father, that we are connected to one another with the Holy Spirit, that Mary is our mother, and that we, in realizing this, form our lives around it. And we can ask ourselves where are all the conscious Christians in politics, in economics, in the armies, or do we most often just say that our mistakes, our shortcomings and our sins are simply a part of the times in which we live? This attitude finds no room in our Christian vocation! This is not worthy of a Christian who claims to be following Jesus — Jesus who gave his life for the truth out of love. That is why Mary also puts the Saints before our eyes when she says…

HOLY MARTYRS DIED WITNESSING

…and then she defines martyrs when she tells us what they said…

I AM A CHRISTIAN AND LOVE GOD OVER EVERYTHING

A martyr is someone who, in every situation remains absolutely clear about who he is, and in every situation loves God above everything else, even his own life. These are the men and women throughout all of history who carried the faith forward and also those through whom the Church kept living or who keep renewing the Church. And when we now think about the Catholic Church we will also realize that it, just as Jesus said, has become a small herd. This, because many people have lost their awareness about themselves being Christians, and they no longer know what this really means. So it is justifiable when the Pope wants us to take part in the New Evangelization, so that we again become aware of who we really are. Certainly Medjugorje has, through the grace of God, and Mary’s presence here helped many make that first step in this renewed awareness. The remainder of what Mary says in this message is deeply involved with the Gospel.

TODAY ALSO I INVITE YOU TO REJOICE AND BE JOYFUL CHRISTIANS

Someone once said, “A sad Christian is really a sad Christian.” This is because we all have good reasons to be joyful, for when we have our Father in Heaven who loves us, who revealed to us His infinite love through His Son, Jesus Christ, who promised us the Holy Spirit, and when we know that our names are written in Heaven in the ‘Book of Life’, that we are carried in God’s hands, and that the words, “were you to fly by the morning glow to the far ends of the earth, then there too would I be carrying you in my hand”, also concern us personally, then these are the real reasons that no-one can remove from us for being joyful! Jesus Himself said, “If you suffer everything, if you are persecuted, have no fear, be joyful, for your names are written in Heaven”, it is through these words that a baptized Christian ought to become a joyful Christian. We also find in Holy Scripture the words of St. Paul, “The joyful giver loves God.” So when we pray, when we fast, when we do good, it ought always to be done with joy. This joy however does not exclude suffering, sorrow and tears, for it is a condition of the soul that gives us the strength to also carry our cross and our tears with joy. And ONLY in this way can we fulfill our responsibility in this world and accomplish our assignment, because Mary also wishes us to be…

RESPONSIBLE AND CONSCIOUS THAT GOD CALLED YOU IN A SPECIAL WAY TO BE JOYFULLY EXTENDED HANDS TOWARD THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE

And it is really up to us…

THAT THROUGH THE EXAMPLE OF YOUR LIFE, THEY MAY RECEIVE FAITH AND LOVE FOR GOD

This is simple to understand when we think of Mother Teresa. At her funeral all those people who spoke, from all different religions and denominations, all spoke as though she had only belonged to them. She taught us all, her hands were always “joyfully extended toward” all others and certainly she helped many people to return to their faith and their love for God. It is always a part of the Christian vocation and assignment to carry joy and peace to others and to this Mary also called us in October’s message. Who is going to believe us if we are sad Christians? Who will we make enthusiastic about God, if we do not meet the others with joy? And there are more people who expect joy and peace than there are those who seek a piece of bread and turn toward us for that. The bread of love and the bread of joy is the bread that is always sought from all of us, and if we Christians do not, from our faith, always try to bring joy to the others, then they will try to find it in the world and such a joy only ends in pleasures which in turn only lead them to dependencies and destruction. Especially in this time of Advent we should again and very specifically show our “joyfully extended hands” for those who need us. This is why I now wish to thank all those who have anything at all to do with orphans, with adoption programs or with the many refugees, because every act that was done with joy not only alleviated their physical life but also their purpose of life. Then Mary again calls us three times to…

THEREFORE, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY

…and this time her intention is…

THAT YOUR HEART MAY OPEN AND BE SENSITIVE TO THE WORD OF GOD

Here there is a question that is very appropriate and necessary for all of us. How are we going to begin the new liturgical year? We now are in the time of preparation for Christmas, yet we are also starting the Year of the Holy Spirit. Will our hearts be open for it? Are we going to be sensitive for the Word of God? For instance, if God with His Word tells us, “be joyful”, will this call really result in our being joyful? A heart that is open for and sensitive toward God will, for instance, never live in fear. In the Bible one finds the words, “Have no fear, I am with you”, 165 times. An open and sensitive heart will live in peace because Jesus’ first greeting after the Resurrection was, again, “Peace be with you, have no fear.” So now, in Advent and in the time of the Holy Spirit, only one thing remains for us — to pray that our heart stays open and sensitive for the Word of God. Mary encouraged us to pray for the Holy Spirit for when He comes we will know everything that we need to know. Let us pray…

God, our Father, we thank You that You are our Father and that You called us to be Your children. We thank You that You revealed Your love for us through Your Son, Jesus Christ, Who became man. We praise You for the mercy that You showed in Him. We thank You that You promised to send us Your Holy Spirit, and especially we thank You that You have sent Mary to us so that she may lead us in his time of grace. We ask You, God, our Father, open our hearts and free us of everything that closes us from You, and give us the grace that we may be joyful for Your Word, that we may understand Your Word, and that we accept Your will without fear. We especially ask You to open all the hearts of baptized Christians for Your Word during this Advent, so that we may become very conscious that You have sent us into the world to show the others Your love. Give us the strength to live with our hands joyfully extended so that those who do not know You may come to know You. Give us the grace that we may in every situation remain conscious that we are Christians, that we love You above everything else. We beseech You, bless the Pope and all Bishops, all Priests, all parents and teachers so that they may be open to Your Word and that they may serve and help those whom You have entrusted to them to come to know the Father. Let all of us then live in this world responsibly and consciously. Give us the grace that we may become people of good will, so that during this new time we may become Your hands in this world. This we pray, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and through the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fra Slavko
Medjugorje, Nov 27, 1997

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