Fr Svet speaks of the everlasting facts...
Following the English Mass at 10:00am word passed around the friendly and informal way that things happen in Medjugorje, that Fr Svet had come from his own parish to speak to the English pilgrims. He has been closely connected with the events in Medjugorje since 1981. He speaks English extremely well and has the simplicity of a true scholar.
Fr Svet took us across a little road to a small wood opposite the church of St James. Here in the calm and quiet of a late summer day, with little brown birds flying low over his head, Fr Svet stood watching us with calm blue eyes, his face reminiscent of the picture of St Francis, pale and calm, absolutely at peace. We settled down on the ground, or upon the logs which lay about.
When the restless stirrings had died away Fr Svet led us in saying the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be; then he began.
“I could speak to you only of the latest news of the parish, of visionaries, of the Commission etc, but when you get home that will be out of date.
“So I will speak mainly of the everlasting facts. Our Lady is giving the same message as the Bible; I say read the Gospel; it is there.
“Our Lady comes to four of the young people every day at about 5:40pm when they meet to pray in the small room at the Presbytery. Our Lady is bringing the message in a special way for our time. She speaks of television and the like to the younf people. As Jesus used contemporary things to explain his meaning, so the Blessed Mother imitates her Divine Son.
“In Medjugorje the Gospel has come fully alive again. The whole parish works with Our Lady. The young people are her messengers. This is a pure gift from God.
“Eveyone here is at peace with themselves and with each other. No more quarrels! If there are trials, everyone bears them patiently. Our Lady is leading us, showing us the way back from evil and danger.
“If you pilgrims have had a hard journey – the house you stay in is not so good, no water and other problems – remember Mary. She lived in a land like this. Simple people. Like them she opened her heart and trusted. Her faith was our door to heaven. She is our door to heaven.
“Remember the long hard journey to Bethlehem. Maybe she felt ill or weary on the way, jogging along on a donkey. Maybe Joseph was weary! Then – nowhere to stay (like some of you), no water either to wash. At last they found a humble cattle cave, maybe smelling, but what do these things matter. Here she gave us Jesus, in all the lowliness of poverty and the human condition. Well, you pilgrims will give rebirth to Jesus by your living testimony. All the heat, dust, weariness lack of money, is part of it.
“You will never make a better investment than coming here. You will carry away in your hearts the words of Jesus, given by his Blessed Mother. They are your reward. In your lives, each year will unfold the blessings our Lady has put on you. So you will testify to these things in your lives.
“Maybe you have made sacrifices to come here. You are richer now than before. What use are all these possessions and high office? They imprison you! One English Lady said to me, “Our bishop is retiring, he wants me to take back to him all the information I can because now he has time to study Medjugorje.” I say this is sad. The bishop must be 75 and has to retire before he can start to increase his knowledge of Medjugorje!
“It is the same here. People work for the government. They are best paid and think they have all they need. When they retire they are lost, they come to church. The worldly goods do not satisfy. I say, in your country too, are you free?
“Pray to the Lord to release you from the chaains of many possessions – so-called luxuries. When you have cast off these weights you will be free to follow Jesus with Mary’s help. He knows what you need. Be gentle and humble. The poor are the richest.
“All you need is here in Medjugorje. Everyone speaks of the great Peace that comes to them – some of extra enlightenment. It does not come at first.
You may say, “Why am I here, hot, dirty with little food? Why am I climbing rocky hills? I see nothing unusual. My money is gone too!” But as the precious days go by, see the change. Your friends who seemed so cross and not like themselves, change, and you respond. Peace comes into you. You have found Peace that money can’t buy.
“Dirty and sweating as you are – this is not important. Your souls are at rest. From this hard experience Peace is born, te Peace which Our Lady is calling for. Some are then led further with extra signs, but the Blessed Mother is pointing you back into the church, to the Holy Mass, where the biggest miracle of all is happening each day, and Mary is there with her Son as she was at the foot of the Cross.
“You know, at first, the apparitions were on the hillside. The police stopped the crowds from coming. They came in thousands – walked by the church and up the hill to be there. The parish priest was sad. “They pass me by without a glance”, he said. He prayed always for such people to come to the church. Well, God’s hands. The police did his work! For once the Blessed Mother had gathered the people together the police made them come to the church grounds. Then Jesus and his Mother won them with love. Now they are always at the church, and thousands like yourselves too, from all over the world.
“Be always at the church when you go home. Join with us. This is Our Lady’s wish also. Blessed Mother is inviting you to fight evil and turn aside war and hatred. With the Rosary to hold us together we shall go in God’s peace. Satan cannot stand against us when we seek Mary’s protection.
“See inside the church many people from different countries – pressed together, trusting, praying the Rosary and welcoming Our Lady. The words sound different, but we know the meaning is the same. This is the gathering of God’s people, the building of power for peace through prayer.
“May the peace of God be with you always. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.”
• Adapted from MIRecorder, Epiphany edition, 1986
Fr Svetozar Kraljevic OFM