Prayer

The Community of Caritas begins and ends each and every workday with prayer. With labors of love, the community gathers around the “jobsite” for a “Saturday Workday”, clearing for new pastureland and building an irrigation pond for the garden… which would double as a “swimming hole.”

“Our Lady does not call people to come to Medjugorje just to ‘receive’ graces, but She is in need of our ‘response’ to Her Invitation for prayer…”

~A Friend of Medjugorje

“Pray as much as you can, pray however you can, but pray more always. Each of you could pray even four hours a day.”

April 24, 1984

Many have balked at the above words of Our Lady spoke in Medjugorje.

 

But it is possible to pray four hours a day.

 

One must decide for it and structure it into life.

 

A Friend of Medjugorje decided for and built several hours of prayer each day into his life in response to Our Lady’s call, and this simply was imitated and became the way in the life of the Community of Caritas.

 

All aspects of life in the community are covered in prayer—when there is a need, when thanksgiving is due, when rejoicing, when suffering, no matter what is done, it is done with prayer. The community prays together several times each day at structured prayer times. In addition, each community member is responsible for personal prayer each day in making up the balance of Our Lady’s desire for four hours of prayer a day.

A life lived in a mystical way in following Our Lady. “Rosary time” is the highlight of the community’s day when all come together in the Field of Apparitions to honor the moment of Her appearance upon the earth. A seamless world where Heaven and earth meet, where hearts are touched by Her and given over to Her. The community holds this moment to such importance that every appointment is cancelled, everything is put off in order not to miss this appointment when Heaven is so near. The community’s daily prayer schedule consists of 5:00 a.m. prayer in the morning for the husbands and the single consecrated men and women, 7:00 a.m. prayer to start the work day and open at random a message of Our Lady to reflect on throughout the day, Rosary time in the Field at 10:00 a.m., which is apparition time in Medjugorje (11:00 a.m. during Daylight Savings Time), 3:00 p.m. for Divine Mercy Chaplet, and prayer in the evening in the homes of the community members, as well as personal prayer times. 

There are some specific aspects of prayer Our Lady revealed rather subtly in Her apparitions, but a Friend of Medjugorje grasped them and instilled them in the community. For example, you may have heard a Friend of Medjugorje say the term “Machine Gun Rosary.”  A Machine Gun Rosary occurs when those praying the Rosary recite the prayers as fast as they can, sometimes completing it in less then ten minutes. Kneeling close to the visionaries at many apparitions of Our Lady, especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a Friend of Medjugorje took careful notice of the pace at which the visionaries prayed. In particular, he realized that during many of the apparitions, the visionaries’ voices would audibly return while they were praying with Our Lady before the apparition ended. He realized the visionaries were literally praying with Our Lady in that moment, and therefore the visionaries were praying at the same pace at which Our Lady was praying. This imitation of Our Lady became the pace of his prayer and the prayer in the community—a much slower, more beautiful way to pray.

The community children stop whatever they are doing to run to the feet of Our Lady to receive Her benediction at apparition time every day. During this time, the little toddlers often begin by rebelling, and through peer pressure, are trained by the example of the other children so that as they grow older they are the teachers for those who come after them. The children are not forced to pray, but know what is expected of them during this one moment of the day.

Another beautiful aspect of prayer a Friend of Medjugorje understood through his closeness to and prayerful reflection upon the apparitions was the demeanor Our Lady has towards children. Medjugorje visionary, Marija, relayed to a Friend of Medjugorje immediately following an apparition in Italy, that Our Lady had immediately smiled and blessed the little children who were, at the very moment when Our Lady appeared, in the room playing very boisterously with noisy toys and flying balloons right next to and in front of Marija. Our Lady didn’t scold them for being irreverent in front of the Queen of Heaven. A Friend of Medjugorje has often said that the Mother of the little Jesus, who Herself was surely interrupted by Him during some moments of Her deep prayer with God the Father, is not upset by, but rather is pleased by the joyful play of children.

 

Prayer is not forced upon the children in the community. There is no pressure to pray. It naturally surrounds them their entire childhood, and they simply kneel down and pray with the adults by choice as they get older. The daily Rosary is often loud and full of activity because of the children’s play, which they stop at the time of Our Lady’s apparition to kneel down in front of Her statue. They interrupt the adults sometimes. They make the adults laugh. It is a very joyful prayer time looked forward to by all community members.

In the community, the children play, and their actions are naturally incorporated into prayer. Prayer times are a time of joy for them that they look forward to from the time they are little ones. The community children are bathed in prayer throughout every day. The witness of the adults in prayer is important to the small ones and to the older ones who are free to play while the adults are nearby praying. If a child is adversely affected by being in a ghetto or a bad environment, the child who plays around while the adults pray is a healthy, unrestrictive environment for them to adapt to Our Lady’s way. It then becomes natural for them to choose prayer over play as they get older having been raised around that witness.
Our Lady said on September 10, 1984:

“...Prayer is life.”

And through a decision for prayer, prayer has become “life” in the Community of Caritas.

The Showing of Scapulars

Children learn by baby steps. The “children” of Our Lady learn by baby steps too. Young minds begin to comprehend their call to holiness through little things. When these children come begging for a snack, they first have to show that they are wearing their scapular and then recite a message of Our Lady. Little by little, they become conscious of their Christian vocation. Our Lady said on November 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..."

Prayer is in every aspect of the community’s life, whether in work or in play. Everything printed in the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages is first prayed over before leaving the mission grounds, calling upon the grace of God for each person who will read this material. Here, the community is praying over a container of materials to be shipped to our Mission House in Medjugorje where it will be dispersed to the far corners of the earth.

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