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.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.