Planting the community garden is an excitement that is looked forward to by all. Kids are on shoulders, on laps with the tractor drivers, and in the freshly plowed dirt between each row. The first words ever spoken by Our Lady in the valley where the Community of Caritas is located were on November 20, 1988:
What is it that sanctifies and helps to make us free from vices? What in life brings security? What prepares us for a future life, that without this one thing we would have no future and no security? …Work.
In the book Poem of the Man-God, Jesus describes the love for hard work exhibited by Our Lady and St. Joseph. Speaking about Their home while the Holy Family was in Egypt, Jesus says:
A Friend of Medjugorje, whose parents established in him a strong work ethic from an early age, and with his wife, who also is a hard worker, came to understand that Our Lady knew there would be a lot of work required of him, his family, and the Community of Caritas in responding to Her call to spread Her messages through the mission of Caritas of Birmingham.
In the early formation of the community, it was only a Friend of Medjugorje and his family working through hard work, sweat, and tears, and all of life’s experiences in response to Our Lady’s call. He instilled, first with his own children, a love for work. Through these early years, the path was cleared and the ground work set, making possible this Way of Life.
Love for souls and love for work translates into a lot of hard work and long hours. The Community of Caritas works six days a week, resting from work on Sundays. A Friend of Medjugorje says,
This gift was the blessing of some of the first words Our Lady gave in the valley on November 20, 1988. Amazingly, Her message on that day was:
All the work of the Community of Caritas is approached from the standpoint that it is done directly for the Queen of Heaven. By God’s grace, the lives of those in community lead others to conversion through the sanctification of their work, which is offered as a prayer. In their everyday life, they see the fruit of their labor and the fruit of their prayer, and God becomes nearer. So, as a Friend of Medjugorje wrote in “A Way of Life in a New Time,” the rule of the Community of Caritas,
Work on Monday through Friday is devoted more strictly to the mission, while “Saturday Work Days” typically consist of projects that are geared more towards building the community infrastructure, which in turn strengthens the mission. Through its work, the community strives to provide for itself so that as much of the funds as possible that come into the Mission, stay in the Mission and go directly into materials and efforts that spread Our Lady’s messages. Many families today are wasting their time running around during the week and on Saturdays at sporting events instead of building a way of life and a work ethic in their children that will benefit them for their entire lives. It will be very difficult for them when the time of grace is over and they come to the reality of what frivolous things they did when they could have been building a way of life instead of propping up the culture of death. Our Lady says:
On “Saturday workdays”, typically the whole community will work together on one or two outdoor projects, like building a new fence or cutting wood at the sawmill or firewood to heat all the homes in the community. These days are very satisfying because everyone is together working as a unit, and so much visible progress can be made when so many hands work together. At the end of the day you feel joy. Medjugorje visionary Marija said that in Medjugorje it was very difficult working in the fields during the day, but they would come home and stay up past midnight laughing and cutting up. Work gives self esteem and accomplishment, therefore making one happy and strengthening one’s spirit. During these workdays, the children work right along with the adults. Though the job may take a little longer with their “help”, their future contribution through this proper formation will more than make up for any loss in current production.
The following about work is taken from the Rule, “A Way in a New Time”, written by a Friend of Medjugorje:
A Production Factory of Her Words straight from Heaven. The love for Our Lady has brought together a group of people ready to spread Her words to the ends of the earth. Everything is produced in house, the completion of this book from start to finish. This keeps the cost low and makes it possible to put forth quick labor to fulfill this Holy work which fills their days and fills their hearts with joy. Being debt free and managed by a Friend of Medjugorje of both aspects spiritually and physically, and through the community’s labor and those who support this work, Caritas of Birmingham is able to give away millions of dollars of materials free!
Play or Work? The children are right alongside the adults in the community while they are at work. Our Lady said on August 14, 1989:
Many children today don’t experience this forerunner to good work ethics, never learning to play and therefore never learning to really work. It’s not important to give children toys or gadgets. In the picture above, the children have all the lumber, nails, and tools they want. Add their enjoyment, and it becomes toys that give life-long lessons.
A Friend of Medjugorje tells visitors, “The best toy you can give a kid is another kid.” He adds, “When their batteries wear out, they nap, recharge their batteries, wake up and start all over again.” The Caritas kids are in constant play.
This Cross, etched with the words “For the Soul of America,” on top of Penitentiary Mountain, behind the Field of Apparitions, was in the heart of a Friend of Medjugorje for many years as he felt, through prayer, that a Cross was to be built to resemble the Cross on top of Cross Mountain. This prayer manifested into a physical reality and God, through Our Lady, opened the door for this Cross to be built. Every member of the community; the husbands, single consecrated men and women and youth working long nights, to the wives of the community constantly making meals and hauling it up the mountain, to the members of the community in Medjugorje lifting everyone back at home up by means of prayer; every community member contributed. This Cross was built with so much love and is the fruit of very hard labor and the result of hundreds of novenas and sacrifices. This Cross is the Soul, and the grounds the heart of America; the central point for American conversions and healing, as Independance Hall was for the American Revolution.
Below are some resources that provide more information on the correct mentality about work and some articles that give a glimpse into the work of the members of the Community of Caritas in the Mission as well as in “Community” life.