The State of Virginity

The State of Virginity
I should like you to be free of all worries. The unmarried man is busy with the Lord's affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord; but the married man is busy with this world's demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided. The virgin - indeed, any unmarried woman - is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has the cares of this world to absorb her and concerned with pleasing her husband. I am going into this with you for your own good. I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Saturday, November 28, 2009

MEDJUGORJE IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM

This is one of my favourite books. Bringing home this book with me is like bringing home Medjugorje with me. It is the most colourful book in Medjugorje with lots and lots of beautiful pictures. This book provides a fantastic overview and is a great resource for everything about Medjugorje. The chapters in this book include A short history about the first days in Medjugorje, Discussion of the messages of Medjugorje, The visionaries, Scientific testing done on the visionaries, Pilgrim activities in Medjugorje and much, much more. Tonight I would like to share excerpts from this wonderful book.

With this book, through pictures and words we wish to present this parish, in order to save from oblivion the events that have taken place before our eyes in the last twenty years - enabling people to pass their own judgement. At the same time, regardless of whether the judgement is positive or negative, the last twenty years invite us to remember times past with gratitude, to live the present time fervently and to be completely open to the future, which is what we have also been invited to do by the Pope in his previously-mentioned Apostolic Letter. (Medjugorje in the New Millennium, Father Ivan Sesar.)

It is our desire that the book you are holding in your hands may present to you, in pictures and in words, the twenty years of the walk of the faithful with Our Lady. May it also be an encouragement for more cognizant and Christian way of life. (Twenty Years of Medjugorje, Father Branko Rados.)

Our Lady knows very well the weaknesses of the parishioners and pilgrims She wants to work with in the salvation of the world. She is aware that supernatural strength is needed to achieve this goal. That is why with Her messages She directs and leads them toward the sources of that power. Prayer is in the first place. She recommends prayer fervently in almost all her messages. (Brief History of Our Lady's Apparitions in Medjugorje, Father Ljudevit Rupcic.)

We must truly give thanks to God for these years of abounding grace with a deep respect for Our Lady's striving here in Medjugorje to prepare us for the new milennium. Pope John Paul II, inspired with the same spirit, has called for the preparation of the whole Church for the third millennium of Christianity. (Go Out and Protect the Children, Father Jozo Zovko.)

The Bible is full of reports about visions and apparitions, and so is history of mysticism in the Church. Messages conveyed by the visionaries must be in accordance with the Biblical message. If we recall the main Medjugorje messages: peace, conversion, prayer, fasting and faith and on the pastoral level: prayer of the Rosary, reading of the Holy Bible, attending Holy Mass, confession and doing good works, we find that they do. (Phenomenology of the Medjugorje Apparitions, Father Slavko Barbaric.)

The effects of Our Lady's apparitions in today's world are difficult to evaluate. However, one thing is certain: what the shepherds of the Church often do not dare to mention, the Holy Spirit does through Mary's apparitions and Her messages to the world. The world of the little ones understands and accepts Mary's words. The faith and the experience of the Sacred Scripture again become present and alive. It is through Mary that God executes the renewal of the Church and the world. (The Pilgrim Movement in Medjugorje, Father Leonard Orec.)

To speak about Medjugorje today means to speak about God's act of renewing the world and the Church through the renewal of individuals who have become aware of their Christianity and their mission in the world. Through Mary's apparitions, prayers and many conversions, nations are healed. Our Croatian nation and also other local Churches are managing to arise from their lethargy, the apathy that ruled during communism, to once again consciously become a factor in history. Mary has appeared in Medjugorje as a sign that restores the whole fatigued Croatian people. Before the eyes of the world, She has restored to the Croatian people their authentic human and Catholic dignity. Mary, as protector of the inheritance, is an original sign of the authentic inculturation of the Gospel. (Medjugorje - An Encouragement for the Renewal of the Church and Society, Father Tomislav Pervan.)

Despite everything, a river of pilgrims to Medjugorje from all over the world does not cease. From day to day and from year to year it is growing. They feel as if Our Lady speaks directly to each of them in this place. They remain focused in prayer. Eucharistic celebrations, prayers and invocations, songs and information can be heard in several languages. In the Medjugorje Church the Rosary is prayed and Holy Mass is celebrated everyday. God's people approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Numerous Christians leave Medjugorje born anew, more peaceful, more satisfied and happier. Is this not a sign of God's presence and Mary's service in the history of salvation? (Jesus' Mother in the Service of the Work of Salvation, Father Petar Lubina.)

Places of prayer in Medjugorje in a mystical way become an 'altar' of the world upon which God wants to transform man into the body of His Church, into His living presence in the world. On a pilgrimage, through the Sacraments, the Word of God becomes the body of the Church. (From a Small Parish to a World Renowned Sanctuary, Father Svetozar Kraljevic.)

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