Thursday, December 3, 2009
MEDITATIONS BY FATHER SLAVKO BARBARIC
OPEN YOUR HEARTS TO MARY QUEEN OF PEACE - This grey book is the first of the four volumes of sermons and discourses given by Father Slavko Barbaric and former Medjugorje priest, Tomislav Vlasic, during 1984 - 1987 in Medjugorje, and contains talks given from Easter until December 1984. To me, it is a very precious book and the word 'priceless' would be most appropriate to describe it. I really enjoy reading all the chapters in it. In one of my articles last month entitled "Meditations by Former Medjugorje Priest, Tomislav Vlasic, I have quoted excerpts from Mr. Vlasic's sermons and discourses. Now, it's time to share Father Slavko's precious words from this wonderful book.
Father Slavko Barbaric is a very good preacher and we can never feel bored listening to him. But he will never come back to life and preach to us again. At least we should be contented that he left behind so many books for us so that we can "listen" to him in our hearts. Tonight I would like to share excerpts from Father Slavko Barbaric's sermons and discourses taken from this beautiful grey book of Medjugorje.
If we want peace we must pray and so prayer is only a means of finding peace once more, of meeting Our Lord. I am convinced Our Lady is not asking for so much prayer just to take up our time, but to lead us to Jesus, to Our Lord. This is an indirect invitation to read the Scriptures because the rosary is a meditative, biblical prayer and it is not possible to meditate the rosary well without knowing the Bible.
I have realised we do have the time but, as we often do not see the value of prayer, we say we have no time. Each person who smokes finds time for twenty, thirty or forty cigarettes a day. If we say, "I cannot find time for prayer," it would be better and more honest to say I do not see the value of prayer. This is an invitation from Our Mother, an invitation which must bring us peace. If we want peace. I believe we must find time for prayer. (Father Slavko Barbaric - Medjugorje, 15th September 1984)
When Our Lady tells us to, "Pray with your heart," this is one of the biggest problems - not a problem of knowledge because we know the message as the world has known it for two thousand years, but we have become like the deaf and blind, we no longer search for Our Lord. Our Lady wants Our Lord's Word to begin to speak to us. I will give you an example: in every Christian family there is a Cross. Many times what do we do in front of that Cross? We do not forgive others, we quarrel, we blaspheme... the Cross is the Word of forgiveness, love, sacrifice, eternal life. If it does not mean anything to us why do we have it? When we look at the cross new impulses should be born in us for our life with Our Lord and with others. (Father Slavko Barbaric - Medjugorje, 6th October 1984)
My coming here to Medjugorje, also yours and that of Father Tomislav, is part of Our Lady's plan. There is a great plan but we cannot see it all. For me, working here, only one thing is important now: to do everything I can today. I have learnt what it means to abandon oneself to God and to let oneself be guided because, many times, we have found ourselves in a situation without a solution but then realised that there was a solution, a new attitude to learn: abandonment to God. (Father Slavko Barbaric - Medjugorje, 17th October 1984)
It is very important for us to know that Our Lady asks us for the entire rosary every day (the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries). Without knowing the Bible we are not able to contemplate and meditate well. Our Lady asks for these mysteries, not just to make us recite one hundred and fifty Hail Mary's each day and then to say that we have finished! This is not the sense of the rosary. In a message, she said, "Pray with your hearts." This means that by contemplating the mysteries of Our Lady's life and those of her son, Jesus, we come closer to our redemption. For example, if we say, "Let us contemplate the second joyful mystery" we meditate on how Our Lady visited her cousin, Elizabeth. This does not mean just knowing that Mary visited Elizabeth, but Our Lady wants us to use her example to find a real stimulus for ourselves during contemplation: who is waiting for us today, who is waiting for our help, our time, our words, our consolation? We have contemplated well if we act according to our prayer, so prayer continues.
Reciting the rosary with our heart means for each mystery, searching and finding real stimulation for our daily lives. If you cannot forgive someone and find it difficult, why not meditate the fifth sorrowful mystery: Jesus forgives everyone. If we contemplate this mystery with our heart, we will find grace and be able to forgive and make peace: our conversion has begun when the Word makes us act. (Father Slavko Barbaric - Medjugorje, 8th December 1984)
The Cross is the most important Word Our Lord could tell us. What does the cross of illness or suffering mean? If we have not understood the cross, we will never understand anything of Christian life or of the life of Jesus. We have to pray a great deal in front of the Cross and meditate on it. We will not be spared our crosses and our suffering, but Our Lord will give us strength. Our Lady has come, as Jesus did, not to take away all the suffering of the world, but to show us how to live with it. As the Apostle says, "To those who love Our Lord, all our suffering will be worthwhile."
Our Lady wants to bring us to the Bible. She has said, "Read the Bible, put it in a prominent place in your families so that it will be a stimulus to you." We see the Cross and the Bible so often and can have a hundred Bibles in our homes, but if we do not look at them with our hearts they will not give us an impulse for reading and prayer; if we want them to do so, we must begin with our conversion. Conversion means letting ourselves be moved by the Cross and the Bible which is the Word given to us. Many times in our family life in front of the Cross we behave badly. If the Cross and the Bible do not mean anything to us anymore it means that our spiritual life is dead. (Father Slavko Barbaric - Medjugorje, 9th December 1984)
Fasting is something else. Fasting means "eating", not "not eating". Many people think that when we fast we do not eat anything. This is not so, we eat bread and Our Lady has asked for bread and water. People have asked me if it is possible to fast on tea rather than water. Of course. Why is Our Lady asking us to fast on bread? I believe there is a deeper reason. Our Lady is not asking us to go hungry, but to live a life of the poor. A poor person as Our Lady, is open to Our Lord and to mankind.
Practical atheism means: I do not need you. If we start to live one or two days like a poor person with just a piece of bread, little by little, a process of purification starts whereby I become detached from the material world and my egoism, and open myself to God and others. A person who is poor in spirit forgives easily. One who is proud, for example, tries to vindicate himself, whereas a person who is poor in spirit tries to make peace; a person who is poor in spirit can never say to Our Lord he does not need Him. A proud person, full of himself, can say to Our Lord that he does not need Him. (Father Slavko Barbaric - 29th December, 1984)
The Rosary, the Bible and the Cross, prayer and fasting, they are indispensable to our lives. Let us remember what Father Slavko said tonight and put his words into practice. Let us abandon ourselves totally to Our Saviour and have no fear for the future because He will take care of everything.