I’m greeting you all at the very beginning. I thank God and I thank Our Lady for this meeting that we are going to have here because as we are today, we are all here because we have been invited and called by Our Lady. Even those of you who think maybe you’re coming to Medjugorje is just by accident, we just think that way. We are all here because Our Lady has invited us all to be here. We are here because our dear God wanted us to be here today. I’m going to say to you the most important things about the very beginning about the first days, the beginning of the apparitions here in Medjugorje. And then I will speak a little bit about what is most important here, what Our Lady has been inviting us to, here in Medjugorje. Before the apparitions, I lived as every other ordinary child here in Medjugorje. At that time I was only ten. I lived the faith of a child. That was, a child who knew that God existed and Our Lady existed and that we need to be praying. I never heard of any of the apparitions in the rest of the world. And that is why I was never asking God to give me the gift of being able to see Our Lady.
On June 25, 1981, God gave me a great gift, and that was to be able to see with my own eyes, Our Lady. I remember that day, the day that we all met at the base of the hill of apparitions. And on the hill we were able to see the image of a Woman that was inviting us with Her hand to come up, to come to Her. It is difficult to describe how I felt in that first moment. The first moment was fear. I had a wish, a desire to flee, to run away. But at the same time I felt a desire in my heart to get to know that person who was inviting me. I don’t remember how I came to the hill, but I remember what is the most beautiful. I remember the first time I knelt down in front of Our Lady, the time when I looked into Her eyes. The time when I felt Her love. The time when I was able to feel, how I felt so loved, so protected. It is difficult to describe even those emotions because at that moment you don’t have any words. In that moment your heart speaks for itself. And I remember I kept repeating in myself, “I do not want this moment to cease. I do not want this moment to end.”
So in the first apparition, that’s when the questions began. One of the first questions was “Why me, why me?” But then I also wondered, “Am I going to be able to accept all that (what Our Lady is telling me)?” Because I was unprepared already to do something like that. And then Our Lady gave us a message and that message was an answer for me. Our Lady said, “Dear children, it is enough for you to open your hearts. I will do everything else.” And at that moment I was able to understand. I can’t do a lot, but I can do a great thing and will be able to surrender and to give my heart completely to Our Lady. I am able to entrust my life into Her hands. And that’s what I did. And that’s how my life with Our Lady began.
Our Lady has been appearing here for 28 years now. Many who come here to Medjugorje they all wonder and ask themselves why the apparitions last for so long. Why there are so many messages. Unfortunately many people would come and say Our Lady always says and speaks only one thing, the same thing. The messages are always the same they would say. But I would invite and call them only to one thing. Let us ask ourselves why. God knows why. Because this is God’s plan. We can say something extra, something different, something that we very often forget to say and that is to be able to say to our God, to say to Him, “Thank You”. Thank God for all the graces that He has been giving to us. We don’t understand how many graces we are being given, that God is allowing Our Lady to be with us for such a long period of time. If each one of us today who are just here open our hearts towards Our Lady he will be able to understand why Our Lady is coming and staying with us for so long. He will be able to understand that Our Lady is a Mother, a Mother that loves us, a Mother that wants to bring Her children to peace and joy, to salvation. And that peace, that joy, that salvation is Jesus Christ, Himself. And that is why Our Lady is giving us Her messages. Our Lady’s messages are nothing else but only a pathway of how to come closer to Jesus Christ. And that way is the way through prayer, through conversion, peace, fasting and Holy Mass.
Those messages that I mentioned, Our Lady repeated those messages so many times here in Medjugorje. And those who always say that what happens here is just the same thing, . they are the people who don’t live Our Lady’s messages. If we accept these messages, if we live these messages with our hearts then we will be able to understand that Our Lady’s messages are our strength for life. At the same time (the messages are) Our Lady’s answer to everything we’ve been seeking and looking for. Before I start speaking about Our Lady’s messages, I would also like to invite you to one thing. You have come here to Medjugorje to begin a true pilgrimage, right here. In order for you to be able to do that you need to have a pure heart. And that means go into the Sacrament of Holy Confession. Purify your hearts because only with pure and clean hearts will we be able to accept and to live what Our Lady has been inviting us to here.
Our Lady is inviting us to pray every single day. There are messages in which Our Lady spoke only three words to us. Those words were, “Pray, pray, pray.” Our Lady is inviting us to pray the Holy Rosary. And at the same time Our Lady says every prayer that you say with the heart is important. And that is why Our Lady always says, “pray with the heart.” Many come to me and ask me, “What is that prayer with the heart?” I would like to explain that gladly. But I’m not able to do that because that is something each one of you needs to feel in your own heart. The prayer with the heart is a gift from God. God would like to give that gift to each one of us. In order for us to be able to accept and to receive that gift, we need to ask and seek and look for that. We need to be prepared to accept and to continue living that gift. Because when we pray, if we pray in a way that we feel that we are obliged to be praying, you can’t do that in that way. Our hearts need to feel the desire to pray. Prayer needs to become our food. And as I said before, prayer is going to be answered through everything that we look for in our life because Our Lady said, “Pray and you will receive all the answers.” We need to transport prayer into joy. Our Lady is inviting us to pray in our families, to place God in the first place, that we have time for God in our families. Because Our Lady said nothing can unite one family more than the prayer that we will say together. If we place God in the first place, if we pray, then we will be able to be the family that Our Lady has repeated with so much patience, that we become holy families. Every family can be a holy family. We need to be an example to our children. We need to be the ones who will pray with our children. Because everything will come and be driven out of our families.
And I think every parent should understand only one thing. Every child that we have is a gift from God. We are responsible for that child. There is one thing I always gladly repeat to all of the pilgrims, and that is what the late Fr. Slavko said. He said, “You parents, you need to be the ones who will give the roots of the faith to the children when they are really little. And even if one day they are driven away they will be able to come back because the little you have given to them will be implanted in their hearts.” And that is why we as parents have a huge responsibility. A few minutes ago I repeated, I said that Our Lady wanted each one of our families to be holy. The word holiness, I thought in the very beginning that to be holy, that means to kneel down 24-hours a day and just pray. But that’s not the way it is suppose to be. To be holy in the first place means to accept God in our life, to pray, to live God’s commandments. And then later I was able to understand, I can feel holiness when I have peace in my family, and I have love in my family, when I am able to see that my children are on the right path. To help somebody. To help those who are sick. Because so many times we ourselves would say we are Christians. But are we genuinely Christians? Or are these just the words that we don’t practice? Because I think that to be Christian means to show those inner deeds in what we do. We have so many brothers and sisters who live close to us who are so much in need of everything that we can give to them and we don’t understand that. There are so many who are sick, who are in hospitals. Do we see them? Do we visit them? There are so many orphans in orphanages. Do we see those children? And we always keep saying we are Christians. Sometimes to be Christian that means to give our hands to another human being, to love him, to give him a warm word. We all need to be witnesses that we are Christians that we live together with Jesus.
And there’s one other thing that surprises me very often lately. We laugh so little in the last few years. And I think that when we live with God, if we live with Jesus, if we live with Our Lady, if They are in the first place to us, then that is joy by itself. And we need to be the ones who pass that joy to other people. Because Our Lady has said, “I would like each one of you who are around me, to be my apostles in this world.” If somebody who doesn’t believe in God sees you, sees you with your sad face then he will say, my God if this is Christianity, then it is better for me not to be a Christian. We need to express the joy in our lives, of having life with Jesus.
Our Lady is also inviting us to fasting. Every Wednesday and Friday on bread and water. Today is Friday. Hmmmm. I don’t see that you are smiling at me when I mention Friday is a fast day. Many of us wonder and ask themselves why should we fast? There is a message that is absolutely the answer to that question. Our Lady said, “Dear children with prayer and fasting you can achieve anything. You can even stop wars.” What other answer should we be looking for? And we on so many occasions go around and we look for what is that we need to be doing. We know what we should be doing. But we are not doing it. And we should be doing it.
To fast is not difficult. But when we do it we need to be doing it out of love and in the silence of our own hearts. So many times it happens that people would like to show that they are fasting and they come back and say, “Well, I’ve been fasting today. I don’t feel very well. I have a headache.” To fast is a small sacrifice. But at the same time we should be meditating and thinking why and for whom are we fasting? Is it because of us? Yes, because of our future, because of our salvation. And one day when we truly start fasting out of love then we will start thinking about other things as well. We will start thinking about all those people who today are starving in this world because of hunger, because of lack of food, so many children that starve to death because they are hungry.
And how much are we, ourselves, grateful to God? Are we grateful for that piece of love that we everyday find on our table? Because unfortunately, very often we only look for more and more and will not be grateful to God for what we already have. And Our Lady once said in a message right here, “Dear children, you are doing so many things, you work all the time but all that is without blessings.” We always need to be grateful to God for everything He has given to us.
So when you come here to Medjugorje, why come to Medjugorje at all? You shouldn’t be coming because of the visionaries. We are people just as every other people. We live in that way. We are not holy. We try to be holy as every human being should be trying to be holy. You shouldn’t be coming to Medjugorje because of signs as well. Because so many times we look and we seek for signs. And signs are everywhere, in us, around us. We even don’t see those signs. Each one of us is a sign from God. And we don’t see that sign. Here, you should be coming because of one thing. And Our Lady is calling that to be the greatest sign of all—that is our personal conversion—to begin a new life here, a new life with God, a new life with Our Lady. And what is even more important than anything else, we need to bring that to our homes because I believe your true pilgrimage will begin when you get back to your homes. That is where you will be able to see everything that you received in Medjugorje and whether you will continue to live that.
Our Lady has come here as the Queen of Peace. In the beginning She has invited us to pray for peace. And in order for us to be able to pray for peace we ourselves need to have peace in our hearts. And that is why Our Lady says, “Pray for peace in your hearts in the first place.” We all know that this world is in need of peace because of everything that happening today in the world. But there is one thing, one thing that we should always be grateful for and that is what Our Lady has said, “If we pray, if we fast, if we witness with our life we will be the ones who will be able to change this world.” But then we need to ask ourselves, did I start today what Our Lady has been inviting me to? What did I do for this world?
Many people when they come to Medjugorje they are interested in something else as well. And that’s…the secrets. And there are so many, even now, who are trying to find out what are Our Lady’s secrets. A secret is a secret. But there is one thing. And I believe what is the greatest secret of all—that is our life. The way we live our life and the greatest mystery of every human being is whether he is capable to come in front of our God in every second of his life. Because we never know when it is that God will invite us to come to Him. Are we prepared to come in front of Him? That’s a difficult question. There is a certain thing that I do every single morning. When I wake up my first prayer that I’m saying is prayer of thanksgiving to God. “God, thank you for this new day.” Because every new day for me is a new grace, grace that God gives to me because I understand that it’s a new chance given to me to become better, to come to Heaven. And that’s it. What else do we need in our life?
At the end I’m going to say one thing, one message that Our Lady gave, the message where every love that She has as a mother for us is obvious. Our Lady said, “Dear children, if you knew how much I love you, you would cry with joy.” Let us think a little bit about these words. How much love Our Lady has towards each one of us. How much time She spends coming to us here through these years. Let us look for that love in the messages She has been giving to us. Every message She gives to us She begins with the words, “Dear children,” and at the end of the message She says, “Thank you for having responded to my call.” Our Lady says “thank you” to us! And how many times and on how many occasions do we ourselves say “thank you” to Her? But we can become better. We can change that. And we can start thanking and being genuinely grateful to Our Lady for everything that She is doing. And we can accept Her as our mother. I will be praying for each one of you, for all of your needs, for all of those who are sick who are here, but I also invite each one of you to pray for all of us who are here who are in Medjugorje. Let us remain united in prayer because being united in prayer is the most important thing of all. And we will end this meeting with a prayer.