Praying with the Heart

Fr. Jozo Zovko

PRAYING WITH THE HEART  -  Fr. Jozo Zovko, o.f.m.

  In the first days of the apparitions, we really competed with each other, seeing who could pray more rosaries each day. That was unhealthy competition. Although Our Lady was exhorting us to pray not that way, but with our hearts, we did not understand what it meant to pray with the heart. That night she said to us, "This evening, before you start praying, you should all forgive one another." We thought, "That's something simple, we do that in every Holy Mass!" But by no means was it easy; it was quite an effort. It meant that everyone who had built up hostilities within his heart had to give them to God immediately with love and joy. I explained what Our Lady's request meant and asked all the faithful if they understood.

Everyone said yes, but no one did anything. We felt as if we were in a desert, and we were even a little afraid. Moreover, Our Lady would not allow us to pray until we had personally reconciled with each other - until we had forgiven each other from our hearts. A silence came over us; it seemed to last forever. We suffered a desert-like anguish, and it grew later and later.

Everyone felt very depressed. A fight was raging within us. Finally I suggested, "Let's pray the rosary, that we may become able to forgive." So we began praying what we call "the Psalter," all three groups of the mysteries of the rosary. After about half an hour, a voice announced in the church, "Lord, I have forgiven. Please forgive me!" Everyone began crying and sobbing loudly. This prayer touched our hearts, and floodgates of tears were opened. We all had the desire to say, "We have forgiven. Please forgive us, too!" And everyone looked for a hand, any hand, to hold. With relieved hearts, we continued our prayer. After the prayer there was a true celebration of reconciliation throughout the whole village.

The morning that followed will go down in the history of Medjugorje. Overnight the people had torn down all the walls in their hearts, walls which had been separating them from one another. The next morning, everywhere in the village, people went to houses in which they had never set foot before because of one incident or another; many had even stopped greeting one another. Farmers can be petty, too. Hate and estrangement often had developed. But now, in their neighbor, they recognized their brother. In their neighbor they recognized Jesus. It occurred to them sadly why, for such a long time before, they had been unable to have such joy and beauty. And so I no longer have to ask anymore, "Do you want to forgive? Do you believe in God the Father?" We now carry out our baptismal promises day by day, everyone making an effort, even if only mentally: "I reject Satan... I believe in God..."

It was then that people saw the Croatian word "MIR", meaning "PEACE", in capital letters in the sky. I, too, witnessed this event. The letters moved as if animated, streaming towards us like a car's headlights. It felt like we were experiencing the end of the world. I cannot imagine anyone ever forgetting such a thing - not the letters, but the interior experience, I mean. It is engraved within our hearts, into our lives, and into our entire being, the meaning of "Medjugorje" - engraved within the new man, within children of God who love and forgive.


Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

Fr. Joe Whalen's Healing Prayer:

LORD, JESUS CHRIST, I AM DEEPLY SORRY FOR MY SINS. HAVE MERCY ON ME. In Your name, JESUS, I ask You for the grace to forgive myself. I ask your forgiveness for hurting others. I ask for the grace to forgive all those who have hurt me in this life, and especially the one person who has hurt me the most.

I renounce forever Satan, ALL the evil spirits and all their works. I give you my entire self Lord JESUS, now and forever, you are my Lord, God, SAVIOR AND REDEEMER. Please heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, mind and spirit for my greater service in Your Kingdom. Allow me to lead other souls to You through my good example. JESUS I trust in you!

come Lord JESUS, cover me with Your most precious blood, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit, I praise You, I thank You, I glorify Your name, JESUS. I love You JESUS WITH MY WHOLE HEART, SOUL, MIND, BODY AND MY WHOLE BEING. O' Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with Holy Raphael the Archangel and all the holy Angels and Saints, pray for us! Amen

John Barry said...

A beautiful post. Very moving.

Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

Fr. Jozo's Prayer to the Holy Spirit in Siroki Brijeg October 3, 2000

Come, O Most Holy Spirit, come to us today. We need your love, because we desire to go on the new way to return to the Father, to take the step to the Father. O Come, Holy Spirit, You who makes all things new. Today grant a miracle in us and through us. Change our hearts. Take from us our hearts of stone and give us a new heart, a heart that knows how to love, how to pray, how to forgive. A heart that knows how to embrace the cross and recognize the will of God and carry it to the end. Come, O Most Holy Spirit, You who are our peace, come fill us with peace. You who are love, fill us with love and blessing and salvation. We are not here accidentally. We have been called, that we may be able to recognize our call and our mission. We ask You to come O Most Holy Spirit, that our masks may melt away, that our true face may be revealed before You. Come, O Most Holy Spirit, may a miracle happen today: the beginning of our conversion, the beginning of our true devotion. Come, O Most Holy Spirit pour out Your grace and Your strength on Your Church and convert us. Sanctify us. Change us. Come, O Most Holy Spirit, we are the Church united together in prayer with the Mother. As the disciples at the very beginning, united together with Her in prayer for the gift of Your Spirit, for the gift of love, that we may be freed from selfishness and hatred, that we may be freed from every evil, and that we may start to love, that we may start to forgive and to pray, that we may start to fast. Come, O Most Holy Spirit. Come bless us. Come, change us. You who are prayer, come and anoint us with prayer that we may become the Church that believes in the power of prayer. Come, Most Holy Spirit, renew prayer in us, that we may become the renewers of family prayer. Come, O Most Holy Spirit, come heal us, come bless us, come convert us. O You who anoints with Your Peace, with Your Joy, with Your Love. Come anoint us.

In the last message O Blessed Mother, You say, that the one who prays, lives joy and peace and love. O Blessed Mother, here is the Church in prayer, here is the Church who desires to renew itself in prayer, firm in prayer, come to fall in love with prayer. O grant that these days may be the renewal of our prayer, of our faith through prayer, of our love through prayer, of a Christian life in prayer. Come, O Most Holy Spirit. Come, pour Yourself out upon us. The Church united together with the Mother is praying to you, You who make all things new. Grant that this Church may become new. It may become a Church of prayer, a holy Church, a sign amongst nations, your city on the hillside, your light on the way, Your Self. Come, O Most Holy Spirit. Come and pour Yourself out upon us. Our Father who art in Heaven....Hail Mary, full of grace...Mother and Queen of Peace - pray for us. Mother of the Church - pray for us. Mother and Queen of the family - pray for us. Consolation of the Sorrowful - pray for us, help of Christians - pray for us, help of the sick - pray for us, gate of heaven - pray for us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.