• A parting message for pilgrims, from Fr Slavko Barbaric OFM
Dear pilgrim, seeker of God, when you come to Medjugorje you are called to pray in the church, to celebrate the Mass, to confess, to adore Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar, to pray on Krizevac (the hill which reminds us of the passion and death of Christ as well as of our own suffering and our own cross) and on Podbrdo, the hill of apparitions. I believe that you have done that, that you have renewed your faith, love and hope and that you have felt how near God is. Anyway, that is exactly the reason for your coming here.
And really, God is very close here to all who are seeking him. You can feel his presence; you can come to love Him. He gives us the strength to abandon ourselves to Him. God has created here an oasis of PEACE through the Queen of Peace.
I am sure that there is a question now on your lips, which bothers many pilgrims. It is nice here. It is easy here. Everybody is praying, everybody is seeking God, but at home? What can I do there for my peace to grow, my love to develop? What can I do so that trust may overcome mistrust, that the spirit of reconciliation may be stronger than unreconciliation? This question is of decisive importance.
Medjugorje is what Tabor was for the disciples: to convince us that it is possible to live love and to experience the glory of God. But then one has to return home, to one's own Jerusalem, to one's own everyday routine, to work, to school, among people who do not have the same conviction.
Yes, one has to return home. In Medjugorje you prayed for long hours. It was not difficult for you to climb Krizevac no matter if the weather was good or bad. You also found time for Podbrdo, and you were fine.
Now leave Medjugorje as a parish community and go back home. In your heart take along the places and events of Medjugorje.
We know one thing: at home you have your own Krizevac, your own hill of the cross, your own cross and suffering. You left it at home and it is waiting for you. But have no fear. The Krizevac of Medjugorje is not easier than your own back home. Nevertheless, the cross at home has become understandable and bearable for many, since the lower hill, the Hill of Apparitions, became, by God's will, a place of intensive communion with God through Mary. Therefore although your Krizevac at home, often built out of troubles and sufferings for which you are neither responsible nor to blame, is standing and waiting for you, build a smaller hill next to it right away; build your own hill of apparitions, your own Tabor.
Then your Krizevac, too, will get a new colour; will be wrapped up in new peace and new hope. Build the Hill of Apparitions in one corner of your apartment or house. Furnish it with a small crucifix, a candle, the Bible, rosary beads and a kneeler. There you will understand your Krizevac, too, and your passage, and your passing. By the side of the Hill of Apparitions, Krizevac becomes a place of resurrection, for no Krizevac is there to destroy you, but to help you attain to salvation.
Remember well that our Lady has taken Christ's words seriously. She goes with you up to Krizevac, up to your Calvary as she said in a message of Christmas 1986:
Dear children! Today also I give thanks to the Lord for all that He is doing for me, especially for this gift that I am able to be with you also today. Dear children, these are the days in which the Father grants special graces to all who open their heart. I bless you and I desire that you too, dear children, become alive to the graces and place everything at God's disposal so that He may be glorified through you. My heart carefully follows your progress. Thank you for having responded to my call. (December 25, 1986).
This message does not refer to those who are in Medjugorje, or only to the visionaries. It is addressed to me, to you, to everybody.
Go home, blessed forever by the Forever Blessed, and build an altar on which you start to offer your crosses and pains, woes and troubles, hopes and joys, love and faith every day. Thus you will have your church, and your Krizevac, and your Podbrdo. Thus God will be with you, and Mary will carefully watch your steps.
Go in peace. Bear peace and blessing. Together with Mary give thanks to the Lord for the great things that He does within you.
• Adapted from “Pray With The Heart” by Fr Slavko Barbaric OFM
When you return home