MEDJUGORJE INFORMATION CENTER Spiritual Director Father Scott Vandehey Volume 31 Issue 12 December 2013
Message of November 25, 2013“Dear children! Today I call all of you to prayer. Open the doors of your heart profoundly to prayer, little children, to prayer with the heart; and then the Most High will be able to act upon your freedom and conversion will begin. Your faith will become firm so that you will be able to say with all your heart: ‘My God, my all.’ You will comprehend, little children, that here on earth everything is passing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Medjugorje Update:(Excerpts from the Information Center “Mir” Medjugorje, www.medjugorje.hr) ++The National Seminar of the Permanent Formation of the Third Franciscan Order was held in House of Peace in Medjugorje from November 8 – 10, 2013. This seminar was organized by the Herzegovinian regional fraternity and the theme was “The Gospel and Life”. The leader of the seminar that had more than 50 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina was Fr. Ante Vuckovic, professor at the Catholic Theology Faculty in Split. National Minister Nives Kanecev, Minister of Herzegovinian Regional Fraternity Marija Brekalo and Zeljko Majnadzic, Minister of Bosnian Regional Fraternity of “Kraljica Katarina”. National spiritual assistant of the Third Franciscan Order, Fr. Ljubo Kurtovic and Fr. Danijel Rajic, national spiritual assistant of the Franciscan Youth were also present. During this three-day seminar all participants had chance to hear Fr. Ante’s meditations on sin of envy as well as about relations between faith and disbelief. One of his lectures was based on the verse from Mark’s Gospel 15,10: “For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up” and Fr. Ante explained the roots of sin of envy and dangers it causes as well as the ways to resist that sin. The reason for that sin is the feeling of deprivation, thoughts that someone else had received more than we did and that someone else has something that belongs to us. We need to resist envy with acknowledgment that God is merciful father who has given gifts and talents to each person and it is up to us to discover, develop and share those gifts. Giving produces feeling of gratitude. “If we happen to be the subject of envy, we need to respond to it with love and by looking into our Father who made us what we are.” He also spoke about difference between jealousy and envy. “Envy is human yearning for something that someone else has. Jealousy is a fear of losing what I have.” In his second lecture titled “Faith in unbelief”, Fr, Ante emphasized that unbeliever always stands in the middle and points himself out, while faithful person steps back and places God in the center. All participants took part in the evening prayer programme in Medjugorje and had chance to achieve their personal encounter with Christ and Mother Mary through the Eucharistic celebrations, sacrament of confession and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. They also climbed Apparition Hill.
Words of Fr. Slavko Barbaric, OFMListen to Our Lady’s messages and quote her. On the one hand she is patient: she keeps speaking, goes on walking with us, gives thanks to all those who respond, keeps calling everybody to do something for their brothers who are far away, who do not convert. But we have to avoid painting everything black and white about Medjugorje; we must not give an impression to those from outside or to the adversaries of Medjugorje as if everything were good and perfect here, and nothing else. One thing is sure: through Our Lady’s messages many people in the Church have rediscovered prayer and fasting and decided for them. Let me tell you the experience of a pilgrim priest. He said to me: “I have realized here that in 30 years of preaching I have never talked to people about fasting, for example to explain to them why, how, when to fast or what risks and advantages it brings. I would mention fasting sometimes, of course, at least during Lent. Now when I read the Bible, I wonder how it was possible for me to overlook this message when it appears on almost every page. Jesus used to fast, spoke about fasting, said that His people would also fast. How was it possible, I never cease wondering, and I am afraid that there are still many messages waiting for my conversion to be discovered by me.” In his encyclical of March 25, 1995, the Pope called everybody to fast and pray, courageously and humbly. I cannot say there are no changes, but I wish I saw more of them, both in every individual and in the official Church. Fr. Slavko OFM died on top of Cross Mt. 11/24/00.
Let It BeScott Vandehey Beaverton, OR “Mother Mary” ……Paul McCartney was my favorite recording artist in the late sixties. Being ordained to the priesthood in Portland, Oregon in May of 1966, I soon fell in love with his upbeat Marian song “Let It Be.” The lyrics and melody really touched my heart and seemingly those of many of our young people at the time. It not only received much play time at the top of the radio charts, but even played a part of our parish’s weekly “Guitar Mass” on Saturday night (All thanks to Vatican II.) By 1970, the Beatles last album, entitled “Let It Be,” made a statement about leaving problems behind and moving on with life. It was going to be called “Get Back”. But since the Beatles soon disbanded, “Let It Be” became the album’s lasting title. It’s seemingly strong biblical reference to the Virgin Mary in Luke 1:38 soon drew attention of many Christians around the world. And Mary said to the angel: “I am the handmaiden, (the servant) of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” McCartney, born in Liverpool, England in June 1942, of James and Mary McCartney, was raised Roman Catholic. He lost his mother to breast cancer when he was only fourteen years old. Ten years or so later, Paul had a dream one night wherein she appeared to him in his time of trouble speaking words of wisdom. This dream brought him much peace when he needed it most. It was this sweet dream of a mother’s care and loving concern that stirred him from within to begin writing what I felt to be a most beautiful tribute to our heavenly Mother Mary. Full of Grace and spiritual Wisdom, she knows us each by name, understands our plights and our pains and faithfully intercedes for all of us, her children, eternally before the throne of her son, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, what will it cost me to become more like you, a true and faithful “servant of the Lord?” Mother Mary, it is here in Medjugorje, you remind mankind that prayer is something very sacred, a heart to heart encounter with God our Maker. You also ask us to pray more “ pray, pray,pray”-Pray that we may know the one true God and His Holy Will for us; pray that we remain ever faithful to God, His Church and to the needs of one another, and finally, pray that God continue to grace us all to be His disciples of Divine Mercy, forgiveness and heavenly peace. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ Your Son. Pray with us as we promise to pray for your holy intentions. Remain with us always, teach us to pray, show us the Way, each and every day, the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus. And pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. So too, my friends, gathered here in Medjugorje. We must allow the same Holy Spirit to hover over us, open our hearts, cleanse them from every sin and defilement, bless our families and keep us one. Teach us through Mary, Full of Grace, how to listen, to learn, to love and to serve. With Mary ever so close to us here today and always so kind and caring for us all, may we humbly close by singing together the refrain of Mother Mary’s ‘yes’, to God and His plan for our salvation. With a Beatle’s twist and twang we joyfully sing—“Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of Wisdom, let it be, let it be.”
Advent is a time of vigilance, prayer and conversion….. Blessed John Paul II
You Do Not Be AfriadFr. Petar Ljubcic Medjugorje, 1993 From the first days on, and even until today, we wonder how it is possible for us to deserve this grace. We cannot find an appropriate answer. Maybe we will know eventually, when we are in Heaven. But I see here a great sign of God for these extremely difficult times, a sign of His infinite love for us. He wants to help us in every situation. Who could help us better but Our Mother, Queen of Peace? God sent the Queen of Peace to us for our liberation. Never before has she instructed her children like this, in the way she does here. But why has she stayed for such a long time? Because she wanted to open up a school, a school where she can teach all of us. In her messages she is giving us, she wants us to obtain everything our heart is longing for. We all long for peace, for happiness, for love, for life in all its fullness. But we realize that such life does not exist. That is why, as Our Mother, she constantly keeps on repeating the same things: “I am with you, do not be afraid, abandon yourselves to me!” I believe this, her call, should reverberate in our hearts. It is for this reason alone that I think that Medjugorje has been, is and will be calling us to conversion. A call to change our lives, to firmly believe in God and not continue in our sinful ways. We must be willing to sacrifice, to fast and to truly pray, just as the Mother of God says. We must allow our whole life to become prayer. We could say that the Mother of God has never appeared the way she is doing here. It is interesting that she has chosen six visionaries and that she transmits her messages through each one of them. But the messages she has given, and is continuing to give, through Marija are a call for us all, an exhortation to grow in the life of faith. I feel happy with every new impulse. Each message is really like a new injection for me, so that when I feel tired I may be able to go on. They are like a new impulse helping me to never forget that God truly is there, that He loves me. Through Our Mother, He invites me to live every moment of my life as a moment of grace. For me, the messages are a call not to allow myself to fall, an exhortation to always remember what is important for my salvation and the salvation of others. Many of the messages are similar, but they differ in some detail. I believe the most important call of the Mother of God is to prayer. She invites us to conversion and to change our lives. If we change, if we believe firmly, if we fast, then all is said that has to be said. The Mother of God says for example” “Pray so that your lives may become prayer.” But, of course, you will not be able to achieve that if you do not pray! Countless times, she has invited us to prayer. The Mother of God wants us to understand this as a grace, as a gift. The best would be if all of us could convince ourselves that it is not as simple as many would like it to be: just to take the messages, to meditate on them or to read them. No, I believe it is important to realize that the Mother of God wants to teach us, so that we may accept this life, living it in God’s way. That we love God in every person, and that we love every person in God. This is important. I am learning how to love all people, and that each and everyone is a way to bring me closer to God. Once we understand this, we will no longer have the impression that the messages are always the same.
A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us…Psalm 97
Christmas HollyFor the early Christian holly was not only reminiscent of the burning bush seen by Moses, but prophetic as well; it foretells, with its prickly points and drops of blood-like berries, Christ’s own crown of thorns. According to ancient legend, its berries were once yellow, but were stained permanently red by Christ’s blood, since it was used to fashion the Saviors crown of thorns. Holly’s symbolic roots go deeper still, into Roman culture. The Romans would send holly to friends, in gesture of friendliness and good will.
CENTER FOR PEACE – WESTWe send a sincere Thank You to you all for your prayers and financial help throughout this year. Both are absolutely vital for us to continue this ministry of spreading Our Lady’s message. We so appreciate you and do know that you and your intentions are in our daily prayers.
May the Peace of the Infant Jesus and the Joy of His Blessed Mother be with you and all those you hold dear during this Christmas season and the year to come.
Center for Peace – West Staff