Children of Medjugorje
President: Denis Nolan
Vice-President: Sister Emmanuel
Cardinal Jaime Sin
Cardinal Bernardino Echeverria, O.F.M.+
Archbishop Frane Franic
Archbishop D. Peter Chung
Bishop Nicholas D'Antonio, O.F.M.
Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, O.M.I.
Bishop Donald Montrose
Bishop William Ellis
Fr. Daniel Ange
August 1st, 2004
Dear Children of Medjugorje,
Praised be Jesus and Mary!
1 - This comment, which at first sounds right, is often heard: "Why go so far on a pilgrimage and spend all that money when God is everywhere and the Blessed Mother is constantly with her children?"
Throughout the Bible we learn that pilgrimages are part of the spiritual life and special blessings are attached to them. It is sometimes necessary to step outside of our usual lifestyle and experience the unknown both interiorly and physically by making a pilgrimage, a literal journey toward God (health permitting). God sees our effort in these moments - when we have set apart time dedicated especially for Him and He speaks to us in a privileged way.
Together, St. Joseph and Our Lady set the example for us: Didn't they have the Son of God, in fact God Himself, in their home in Nazareth? They could have thought, "Let our Jewish brothers go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Glory of God is dwelling in the Temple and it's good for them to go there! But for us, we live with Jesus and our home is a tabernacle of God's presence, we speak with the Son of God everyday, what more could we gain by going to Jerusalem??" In those days, every practicing Jew had to go to Jerusalem for three Feasts of Pilgrimage: Pesar (Easter) around April, Shavouot (Pentecost) around June, and Soukot (Feast of the Tabernacles) around October. These trips were accompanied by a beautiful liturgy. For everyone, it was an opportunity to straighten things out with God. There, in Jerusalem, the pilgrim was "seen" by God who granted him special graces. Through His prophets, the Lord instituted the pilgrimage asking His people to make these journeys as a prayer. If Mary and Joseph insisted on making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, three times a year, by foot (over 100 miles), despite the insecurity of the roads, the discomfort and fatigue it entailed, who are we to start a new spirituality where pilgrimages are not necessary anymore??
Testimonies of conversions, healings and blessings granted through pilgrimages abound! Has God informed us in any recent message that he has changed his mind, that the shower of graces are shut down in the Shrines and that really there is no point going to them anymore? On the hill, during the evening apparitions, how many times did the Gospa tell us: "Dear children, tonight your Mother is so happy to see you in such large numbers!" She is inviting us! And when we invite someone to our house, we want to converse with him heart to heart, to share the best we have, to show him our love! We prepare a surprise for our guest and usually he doesn't leave empty-handed! According to the testimonies of many, their pilgrimage to Medjugorje marked a new beginning in their lives that they would not have missed for anything! (see PS 1)
Do we have our Mother at home everyday? Yes indeed! Do we have the Eucharist in our parishes? Yes. So why not answer the invitation of Jesus and Mary to take us by the hand and travel with them to these shrines?! We'll discover new aspects of their personalities on the way, and welcome the amazing things they have prepared for us in these places of graces. In the spiritual desert of the world today, can we ignore a place where the Divine Shepherd has created an oasis for us?
2 - What a joy it was for us to see here in July a group of 25 pilgrims from Nazareth and other villages of Galilee! It's the first time this has happened! One of them said, " When I reached the top of Mt. Krizevac, I though I was on Mt. Carmel!"
3 - As promised in the July 1st report, here is a short explanation of prayer groups.
A prayer group is formed when, according to Jesus' words, "two or three are gathered in My Name". In the Gospel Jesus often says, "Do this in My Name". In the Acts of the Apostles we see the Apostles of Jesus act "in His Name". This biblical expression is powerful and it is beneficial for us to know its extent if we also want to live and act in the name of Christ. Everyone who is baptized has been vested with Christ and is therefore enabled to act "in the Name of Jesus". But the majority of Christians live quite below their means and walk right by the most magnificent treasures offered by God. This is why our souls are in want! They yearn for these treasures but they allow themselves to starve and they sink into sadness. They walk blindly and are easily trapped by temporary satisfactions. But God is so willing to give us all his gifts! There is no problem of meanness or stinginess for Him!
So how can we get hold of the goods that are so divinely offered to us? It is Jesus who gives us the right key - His own name - to receive His riches, to be filled with His riches and spread them around us. "What you ask the Father, He will give it to you in My Name. Until now, you have asked for nothing in My Name" (John, 16: 24). It's like someone saying: "Here, I have a huge wealth in the bank, I consider you as part of my family, I have trust in you, I give you my signature for the bank account. Feel free to use it, what is mine is yours!" When we ask the Father something in the name of Jesus, it is as if Jesus Himself is asking it of the Father. Jesus invests Himself in our request totally. An image can help us to understand: when a King mandates a person to deal in his name, this person is invested with power through delegation and his signature is equivalent to the King's. Jesus said, "Whatever you ask in My Name, I will do it, so that the Father is glorified through the Son!" (John 14:14)
As for me I cannot doubt that because, when I lived in Paris, I was saved from death through the Name of Jesus; after a prayer meeting a person with great faith, had the courage to invoke upon me the powerful Name of Jesus. I went from death to life. The name of Jesus gives us an unexpected power but also a responsibility. In Hebrew, the name of a person indicates his identity and often his role in God's plan. For example the name of the Archangel Raphael means, "God heals", and this is what the Archangel did with Tobit (Tobit 11, 7-14). Jesus' Name in Hebrew, Yeshuah, means "God saves" and this is what Jesus did. He saved us! This is why using Jesus' Name for a request, a cure or a miraculous liberation presupposes that one fully adheres to Jesus. Not only to the person of Jesus but also to what that name covers, the work that He came to accomplish. Deep down, do we intend to extend the Spirit of Jesus and be for Him an instrument of salvation? The name of Jesus is not a magical password! If our intention is not pure, if our goal is not to glorify Jesus, our mouth may pronounce a hundred times the Name of Jesus, yet the name will be emptied of its substance, of its power. This is why Jesus said, "no one can do a miracle by invoking My Name and speak badly of Me soon after!" (Mk, 9 39). If I walk sincerely with Jesus, His Name lives within me and my life glorifies Him. (see PPS)
The Gospa says: "Prayer groups are strong, and through them I can see, little children, that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world." (June 25, 2004). This is where the prayer group's strength comes from: its members are united with Jesus! To adhere to the same source makes hearts united. Are we gathered in His Name? Then, Jesus comes! He is in our midst and He rejoices to open up His treasures to us! Each member has Jesus' signature and, depending on his boldness and trust, he takes the goods that Jesus is offering him, he is fed by them and shares them abundantly. The Destroyer cannot harm such a group because, even if the group is submitted to the flames, its members entrust themselves to the Name of God and come out unharmed from the fire. We see this in the story of three young men who survived being thrown into a furnace from the book of Daniel. The King Nabuchadnezzar saw among them a man who "looks like a son of the gods" (prefiguring Jesus). What a magnificent example of a prayer group dealing with a dramatic situation!
Another good example is given by the Gospa herself. Why does she need to speak to the visionaries about events in the future through the secrets?! Because in this way, when she comes to them, she forms with them a powerful "intercessory prayer group". Our Lady allows each visionary to join his or her voice to hers. Thus, they form one single heart together when they pray to God about these future events!
It seems to me that in the New Time, when the Spring Time blossoms (see message of Oct. 25th 2000), the Church will live what the Apostles experienced in the Acts of the Apostles on an even bigger scale! The Apostles gathered around Mary in fervent prayer. What a magnificent model for a prayer group and what fecundity it had for the world. For this reason through Medjugorje the Gospa is training, in a mysterious way, those who say "Yes" to her and who accept to enter her plan with all of their hearts. "Yes, dear Mother, here I am to enter your school, to live your messages and become your apostle! With your help, here I am to make one heart and one soul with Jesus like you, in order to fulfill your beautiful plan of peace and happiness for the world Totus Tuus!! "
Dearest Gospa, look at these young people arriving by the thousands for the Festival! Please bless them with your motherly blessing, comfort them, speak to their hearts and lead them to Jesus!