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April 15, 2012 - Divine Mercy Sunday
Dear Children of Medjugorje, Praised be Jesus and Mary!
1. On April 2nd, 2012, Mirjana received her monthly apparition at the Blue Cross, surrounded by many people. After the apparition, Mirjana gave us the following message:
“Dear children! As the Queen of Peace, I desire to give peace to you, my children, true peace which comes through the heart of my Divine Son. As a mother I pray that wisdom, humility and goodness may come to reign in your hearts - that peace may reign - that my Son may reign. When my Son will be the ruler in your hearts, you will be able to help others to come to know Him. When heavenly peace comes to rule over you, those who are seeking it in the wrong places, thus causing pain to my motherly heart, will recognize it. My children, great will be my joy when I see that you are accepting my words and that you desire to follow me. Do not be afraid, you are not alone! Give me your hands and I will lead you. Do not forget your shepherds. Pray that in their thoughts they may always be with my Son who called them to witness Him. Thank you."
2. One single mass per year? Many are still unaware of a magnificent and astonishing element in Medjugorje’s history. It is a joy for me to share this with you today, because it is directly linked to Divine Mercy Sunday!
The Turks ruled the country for more than four centuries (1463-1873). Now during this period of time, the Christians were submitted to terrible persecution and forced to convert to Islam. In fact, according to the Papal visitor Peter Masarecchi, by 1624 40-50,000 Croat Catholics were forced to convert to Islam in the central part of Bosnia. (This explains the presence of Muslims in the country, who are in fact “ex-Christians” according to their roots).
The government at that time did not allow Catholics to celebrate the Mass, so a sort of secret Christian life grew that was similar to the secret life of the first Christians who celebrated Mass in the Catacombs of Rome, (also similar to the lives of Christians in modern day China). The Bosnian government did however make one concession: Christians were granted permission to celebrate one Mass per year, only one, in a predetermined place, in the middle of nowhere, far from any city. The date of this Mass was predetermined too - the first Sunday after Easter, the same date that Jesus would later choose as the Feast of the Divine Mercy, according to the revelations of Saint Faustina Kowalska. The Christians, who were so fervent in this era, did not hesitate to go by foot to this chosen place in their thousands, walking for days and through the night in all weather facing dangers along the way, in order to be able to live this Mass and “see Jesus” present in the host at least once in the year. This pilgrimage was, for them, the source of their strength, their hope, their joy, and their light in the night of persecution.
We know that there is method in God’s ideas! We will only see in Heaven, the whole tapestry that he weaves in the world in his Divine Providence, and how strongly we are connected to one another through the communion of Saints! Only then will we discover how certain events, which appear to be new to us, are in fact deeply rooted in the past, in the heart of several generations of believers who have prayed and paid the price, who have even spilled their blood for their faith. It happens that sometimes God reveals a little of his mysterious designs and illuminates a surprising continuity in His choices.
So this place, blessed by the annual mass for these thousands of suffering Christians, was none other than the rocky countryside of Medjugorje, in the exact spot where the cemetery of Kovacica is now, (where Father Slavko is buried)!! It is found just a few meters away from St James, where thousands of pilgrims gather again today!
No wonder then to see rivers of graces flowing on this village! Isn't our God truly Amazing?
3. My 15-day journey to Asia. Before Holy Week, I was able to go to Malaysia, Indonesia and even China. It is quite possible that one day, the Christians there will come to evangelize the West, which has fallen into the grave dangers of paganism!
In China for example, where the law only allows a family to have one child, imagine the problem, from the human point of view, for parents whose only son wants to become a priest! However, to have a son who is a priest is their pride and joy, because they love Christ over and above all. In the southern region of Peking, it is rare for a family not to have a martyr among their relatives, and nevertheless, they are baptized in their hundreds every year. Jesus is truly their treasure. One of these families, who was able to have two sons, joyfully accepted to give both their sons to God who felt called to become priests. They trust that, in abandoning themselves to God in their old age, He will provide for all their needs. This is admirable in view of the economic climate of their region! They also know that a priest brings to life thousands of children, I mean all the souls that he draws to God through his ministry.
But in another country where giving birth is unrestricted and where life is easier, one Catholic mother said to us, “I have three sons, but I do not want any of them to become a priest!” She does not know what she is missing! Let us pray that God will enlighten her heart! If God calls one of her sons, how she should rejoice over the immense honor this would be for her whole family, for those living and for generations to come, and how she should support his vocation, as did Barbara Stepinac for her son Aloys who has been beatified by John Paul II. The Lord needs mothers like this. He is calling as many men today as He did in the past, but very few respond because many families stifle the humble murmurings of Christ in the hearts of their children. It is satan who has sought to destroy the image of the priesthood in people’s minds whereas this vocation is so beautiful in the eyes of God. Satan exposes the sins of some priests in the media, causing the holiness and even heroism of so many other priests to be forgotten. These families need the blessings of God poured out on them and their descendents, and all would be well for them. If only they would open wide the door to the One who is the source of all blessings and who desires to give so much to us through His priests! Is it not Christ Himself who gives the sacraments through His priests?!
4. Our priests, our treasures, our ladders to heaven. During the novena of the Divine Mercy, on the second day, we pray for priests, and here are Jesus' words to Sr Faustina: “Today, bring me the souls of priests and religious, and immerse them in my unfathomable mercy. They gave me the strength to endure my bitter passion, they are the channels through whom my mercy is poured out on humanity”.
On March 18, 2011, this is how the Gospa ended her message through Mirjana: “With my motherly love, I will show you what I am expecting from each one of you, what I expect from my apostles”. Then, inviting us to pray for her sons, the priests, she added: “Again I insist, with them, I will triumph!”
Jesus also gave to Blessed Maryam of Bethlehem, “The Little Arab”, particular messages for priests. The lives of a lot of priests have changed as soon as they put them into practice: “I ardently desire that the priests say one mass each month in honor of the Holy Spirit. Whoever will say or hear this mass, will be honored by the Holy Spirit Himself. He will have light, he will have peace. He will heal the sick, he will wake up those who sleep.”
5. The priests are more in need than ever of our protection, because they really are the primary target of satan! Forced by God to reveal to Maryam of Bethlehem his traps and techniques, satan admitted to her: “For us (the demons), to bring down a priest or a religious soul, is more than perverting a whole city”. Effectively, thousands of souls depend mystically on priests first and foremost and also on religious. By celebrating daily mass alone, one single faithful priest draws a multitude of sinners to Jesus and to salvation. The enemy knows very well what is at stake here for souls, he is terrorized by the power of priests and he wants to destroy them; this is why they are in so much need of our prayers. If they take the hand of Mary with all their heart, they will walk in safety.
Marthe Robin (whose beatification is being processed) prayed like this: “Oh my God, keep all your priests within your divine ways, do not let the attractions of the world and the desires of the flesh have the slightest influence on them. May they all become even greater apostles, more unshakeable in their faith, more faithful to their ministry, and may your adorable will always be fully accomplished in them.”
6. Recipes for fasting ? During my missions, I noticed that certain people had, little by little, abandoned the practice of fasting on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays. In fact, they had become weary of white bread, which is not very nourishing. On the other hand a lot of people have been able to persevere in fasting by using bread, which is more suitable for fasting, or by making their own bread. For this reason, I hope to make an appeal here to all those who have persevered with fasting, which is now more necessary than ever before for our peace-less world. Please send me your recipes for making bread and whatever you have found helps you to persevere in fasting and I will publish them. This will really help people of good will who are still hesitating. Their ‘refound’ fasting will make a difference for the conversion of the world and the protection of priests. Thank you! This is the address where you should send your email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please put this title: “Recipes for fasting”:
Dearest Gospa, you are the mother of the High Priest par excellence. Please put in our hearts the same love, which burns in your heart for your chosen sons! Transform all judgments into intercession and all suspicion into mercy!