2/28/13

Worldwide Novena for the Election of the Next Holy Father


Worldwide Novena Opportunity for the Election of the Next Holy Father

 
(Written by Dr. Mark Miravalle, Professor of Theology and Mariology):

As the conclave for the next Holy Father soon approaches, it is the joyful responsibility of every Catholic to pray for the election process, to ensure the choice of the best possible successor to Pope Benedict XVI.
We must be on guard against all complacency which concludes, “The Holy Spirit elects the pope. I don’t need to pray for the conclave.”

When Pope Benedict was asked, “Does the Holy Spirit elect the next pope?” He responded:

I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote.
The Pope’s response underscores the imperative for the Catholic faithful to pray fervently with committed hearts to the Holy Spirit, that the conclave of cardinals elect the candidate most pleasing to God to become the next Vicar of Christ on earth. We, the faithful, must enter this historical papal election process by praying to the Holy Spirit that He will descend upon the conclave for the choice most pleasing to Jesus and most beneficial for the Church and for the world today.

Beginning March 1, 2013, the first day when the Chair of Peter will be vacant, I encourage you to join in this Worldwide Novena for the Election of the Next Holy Father. Please join Catholic brothers and sisters the world over in daily praying the Novena Prayer below (or any other prayer to the Holy Spirit that you may prefer) that the Holy Spirit may truly inspire the hearts of the cardinals of the conclave to choose the man that Jesus wants to guide the Church at this precise moment of human history. This Conclave Novena will end on the day the Church and the world hears the words, “Habemus Papam!” (“We have a Pope!”).

Conclave Novena Prayer:
 
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send down your Spirit over the conclave. Let the Holy Spirit inspire the hearts of the cardinals, that they may choose the man most pleasing to You, as Successor of Peter and Your Vicar on Earth. May Mary, Your Mother and Mother of the Church, be our Advocate. Amen.

Marija: Deciding to abdicate was a great gesture of Pope Benedict XVI

by Jakob Marschner

Deciding to abdicate was a great gesture of Pope Benedict XVI. For he was powerless, and so he will likely give more to the world through prayer and silence, says visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti. After a recent visit to Ireland, she tells the Virgin Mary invites the seers to visit certain places.

medjugorje visionary seer veggente marija pavlovic lunetti pope benedict xvi 16 powerless gesture resign abdicate
Marija during an apparition, October 2011

Translation clarification: seer meant Pope 'fatigued' when she said 'powerless'

Benedict XVI was powerless, and his decision to abdicate should be seen as a great gesture from a Pope who realized he can contribute better and more by other means than working, Medjugorje visionary Marija-Pavlovic-Lunetti told Radio Maria on February 25.

“For all of us, this is a big thing. On the other hand, for me it is a great gesture of the Pope, this gesture of withdrawing, because he was powerless. I think he will give us even more than with his work, through his prayer and silence, like he told us” Marija said.

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Marija’s conversation partner, Radio Maria director Fr. Livio Fanzaga, meeting Pope Benedict XVI in 2012

“Let us also pray for the new Pope, that the Lord will help illuminate him through the Holy Spirit, and that is a Pope who will guide us in this new time. Today humanity has much need of people like Pope. Let us pray that he is brave and strong, a true man of God, truly. The Holy Spirit will do so” the seer continued.

Mary asks for visits

Asked to tell about her recent visit to Ireland, Marija started out by telling that the Virgin Mary asks the Medjugorje visionaries to visit the specific places they go.

“Our Lady invites us to go here and there, to give our testimony” Marija said.

medjugorje-visionary-marija-pavlovic-lunetti-royal-dublin-society-ireland-talk-apparition-february-21-2013
Marija talking in Dublin on February 21. Photo: Una Williams

“The Church in Ireland is going through a very difficult time. Ireland is close to recognize gay marriage, abortion – all things that are against man and against God’s law, satanic things.”

“Once Ireland was a Catholic country. Unfortunately, a few years ago, there were problems with pedophile priests that have done great damage in Ireland. Many people have distanced themselves from the Church. Many priests left the Church because of this problem” the seer recounted.

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Royal Dublin Society where Marija spoke

“I think the Church in Ireland did not have the strength to react. So I hope, with my testimony, my trip to Ireland and especially with the presence of Our Lady, that Ireland gets a little more courage to go forward because without God we have no future, as Our Lady told us.”

Deliverance from evil takes prayer

Marija was on the phone to Radio Maria to transmit the message the Virgin Mary had given her breiefly before, and Radio Maria director Fr. Livio specifically asked her how she understood the message sentence “you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you”?

royal-dublin-society-ireland-medjugorje-visionary-seer-marija-pavlovic-lunetti-talk-public-apparition-february-21-2013-300x141
The Virgin Mary of Medjugorje on a statue that was common in the early days of the apparitions

“I think the Madonna meant that we often think of doing good, but in reality we are doing evil. That often the devil comes in a disguise of good, instead of evil. We are in the time of Lent, and we are invited to penance, fasting and prayer” Marija answered.

“I remember an event from many years ago. A possessed lady arrived during the prayer of the Rosary before the apparition. At one point (youngest visionary) Jakov began sprinkling holy water on himself” she continued.

“We started laughing and asked him: “What is happening?”. Jakov told us: “Some devil could also have come inside of me, because I have had many temptations not to pray.” He prayed to be delivered.”

“She turned her back on the side where Our Lady appeared. We prayed for her deliverance. We must pray for the Lord to deliver us from all that is not of God, that is not ours, that is of the devil” Marija told Radio Maria.

Gabriel Paulino transcribed and translated from Italian
Source of this article  http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/

2/27/13

Let’s Do Something Beautiful for God

 

Mass at St. James in Medjugorje
 


Let’s Do Something Beautiful for God
By June Klins
 
      One Sunday in January, one of our subscribers gave me an envelope that sounded like it had some loose change in it, which seemed odd to me.  When I opened the envelope I found a check made out to “The Spirit of Medjugorje” and another one made out to “The Spirit of Adoration.”  Also in the envelope was a note card with a quote from Mother Teresa that said, “Let’s do something beautiful for God,” along with $333.33 in cash. The note said, “June, it was laid on my heart to give you this exact amount of money ($333.33)…I trust it will be revealed to you why and how it is to be used.”
   Awesome as He is, God knows that I like a good mystery and that, as a retired math teacher, am very attuned to numbers. So, I took the envelope with me to the Adoration chapel for several days and prayed about it. It was not long before it came to me that the $333.33 was to be used to have Masses said for Our Lady’s intentions. This idea was inspired from a homily given by a priest at my parish the first week of January. Father said that his Marian order allows him to have one “free” Mass per month, and he always offers the Mass for Our Lady’s intentions. He then suggested that it would be a good New Year’s resolution for each of us to have a Mass said this year for Our Lady’s intentions. As I reflected on his words, and the fact that the number 3 can denote the Trinity –  Whom we meet in a very special way during Mass – it seemed like a good plan. Our Lady has asked for us to pray for Her intentions many times, and there is no higher form of prayer than the Mass. I left the chapel feeling excited about it. When I signed out, the clock read 11:11. Duplicate numbers jump out at me, and I wondered if this was a confirmation. On the way home, the temperature sign at a business near my home read 33 degrees. It seemed to be another confirmation.
   I continued to pray. Within a week, I received a check for $222 to help Fr. Fredrick in Uganda. I wondered if this odd amount could be another confirmation.
   Two days later, I went to visit my friend and took my bag of saints with me so she could pick her saint for the year (as described in the January issue). In the bag are over a hundred little slips of paper with the names of saints on them. When my friend asked me to mix up all the saints’ names, I felt something odd in the bag. I pulled out a little card which said, “Psalm 33:22” on it. I could not believe it! I had no idea where that came from or how it got in my bag of saints. I related to my friend about the $333.33, the $222 and the idea about the Masses, and she agreed this was another confirmation.
   The following day, I planned to request the Masses, and then it came to me that if I added the $222 to it, which was going to Fr. Fredrick anyway, that would make $555.33, which would allow for 111 Masses. I was really getting excited because 111 has been a significant number to me since January 11 (1/11), 1998. That was when my healing (of a strange condition that left me in chronic pain) began through Our Lady of Medjugorje. As I suspected, Fr. Fredrick was honored to be able to celebrate the 111 Masses for Our Lady’s intentions.
   Soon it came to me during Adoration to expand upon this idea and invite everyone to have Masses said for Our Lady’s intentions. There is no better gift that we could give to Our Lady. Perhaps we could present them to Her as a spiritual bouquet for the 33rd anniversary of the apparitions on June 25, 2014. Why the 33rd anniversary?  Besides the fact that the number 33 kept surfacing, the number 33 is often associated with Jesus because this is the number of years He spent on earth. Our Lady gave the Medjugorje locutionist, Jelena, the “Jesus Rosary” which is made up of 33 Our Father’s. (See below.) I can only imagine that if Our Lady had a favorite number it would be 33! It seems that the number 33 was significant to the village of Medjugorje also, since they constructed the Cross on Mt. Krizevac in 1933, to commemorate the 1900th anniversary of Jesus’ death on the Cross. And according to Draga Vidovic, author of Salvation of Mankind, there was a tradition in Medjugorje of offering 33 Holy Masses for the deceased immediately after funerals.
   On September 25, 1991, Our Lady said, “… dear children, help my Immaculate Heart to triumph in the sinful world. I beseech all of you to offer prayers and sacrifices for my intentions so I can present them to God for what is most necessary. Forget your desires, dear children, and pray for what God desires, and not for what you desire. Thank you for having responded to my call." 
      A friend of mine suggested that it would be nice to present Our Lady with a thousand Masses for the 33rd anniversary. I was aiming higher – if every person who ever went to Medjugorje and every person who follows Our Lady’s messages would have just one Mass said for Our Lady’s intentions, think of how many that would be! That would certainly help Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart to triumph as She said in the message above.
   Can you help to spread this idea? The Masses can be said wherever you want. Some local parishes are begging for Mass intentions. Or you can have the Masses said by a missionary priest. The stipend for Masses said by missionary priests is usually only $5. That helps them, Our Lady, and also ourselves, as we act in charity. It is a win-win-win situation.
   My thought is to keep a tally of the number of Masses offered for Our Lady’s intentions on our website ( http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/masses.htm ) and update it monthly as an encouragement and a reminder to continue to have the Masses said.  Of course, it is not necessary to do this because Our Lady will know, but if you want, you can contact me when you have a Mass offered for Our Lady’s intentions. The initial goal was for the 33rd anniversary, but why stop there?  We could continue this indefinitely…. 
   Let’s do something beautiful for God!
Editor’s note: To report Masses, email info@spiritofmedjugorje.org.                                                        
  "Dear children! With great joy in my heart I thank you for all the prayers that, in these days, you offered for my intentions. Know, little children, that you will not regret it, neither you nor your children. God will reward you with great graces and you will merit eternal life…” (message of the 25th anniversary, June 25, 2006).
Source of this article http://www.spiritofmedjugorje.org/

The Final Blessing, Pope Benedict's last general audience

2/26/13

Holy Spirit Come with Your Fire


Breathe into me, Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Move in me, Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Attract my heart, Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy. Protect me, Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy. St. Augustine

ASHAMED OF NOTHING -- BUT JESUS?

"We are shamefaced." -Daniel 9:7

I recently met a woman who had returned to the U.S.A. after serving twenty years as a foreign missionary. She was utterly shocked by the changes in American culture during her absence. Topics never mentioned in decent conversation were now flaunted publicly from billboards, movies, and prime-time TV. Political candidates who would never have been considered worthy of nomination when she left were now routinely being elected. She was dumbfounded at the absence of the sense of sin and shame.
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Daniel was a holy and righteous Jew, blamelessly observing the ordinances of the Lord (Dn 1:8; 6:11). Yet his Jewish people had been exiled "because of their treachery" toward God (Dn 9:7). Daniel humbly recognized his part, however small, in the sins of his nation, and was ashamed (Dn 9:7, 8) of the sins his nation and people had committed against the Lord.
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Too many people today are ashamed of nothing but Jesus (Mk 8:38) and His gospel (Rm 1:16). Jesus bluntly declares: "If anyone in this faithless and corrupt age is ashamed of Me and My doctrine, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes with the holy angels in His Father's glory" (Mk 8:38).
Repent! Be ashamed of sin and wickedness. Repent of being ashamed of Jesus. Like Daniel, pray for forgiveness for yourself, your nation, and your people.
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 Father, I will look to You so that I will not be shamefaced but rather radiant with joy (Ps 34:6).

The Joy of Fellowship

http://www.medjugorje.hr/en/news/joy-of-the-fellowship,4570.html

Around 4000 pilgrims will stay in Medjugorje from February 22 to 25, 2013. These are the pilgrims that will stay in Medjugorje for free - parishioners will provide accommodation and full board service for each one of them. This is one of the many actions that parishioners undertook in association with the Parish Office as a part of the new evangelisation and their own response to Holy Father’s invitation. This was the opportunity for pilgrims from East European countries such as: Hungary, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Albania, Serbia, Monte Negro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to come to Medjugorje for pilgrimage. All those pilgrims due to their low incomes and numerous families were never able to come to this place in the past. Medjugorje parishioners have once again shown that they have great hearts and have confirmed once again why Our Lady had chosen this parish in the special way.
Source  Medjugorje Official

2/25/13

Our Lady's Medjugorje message to Marija of Feburary 25, 2013

Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer.
Sin is pulling you towards worldly things and I have come to lead you towards holiness and the things of God, but you are struggling and spending your energies in the battle with the good and the evil that are in you.

Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray until prayer becomes a joy for you and your life will become a simple walk towards God.
Thank you for having responded to my call.

2/24/13

The Lord is calling me to “scale the mountain

Vatican City,
Here is the translation of Pope Benedict XVI's final Angelus address delivered on Sunday to thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square today

* * *
Dear brothers and sisters!

Thank you for your affection!

Today, the second Sunday of Lent, we have a particularly beautiful Gospel, that of the Lord’s transfiguration. The evangelist Luke especially emphasizes the fact that Jesus is transfigured while he prays: Jesus’ is a profound experience of relationship with the Father during a kind of spiritual retreat on a high mountain together with Peter, James, and John, the 3 disciples who are always present in the moments of the Master’s divine manifestations (Luke 5:10, 8:51, 9:28). The Lord, who a short time ago foretold his death and resurrection (Luke 9:22), offers to his disciples an anticipation of his glory. And in the transfiguration too, as in the baptism, the voice of the heavenly Father resounds: “This is my Son, the chosen one. Listen to him!” (Luke 9:35). The presence then of Moses and Elijah, who represent the Law and the Prophets of the Old Covenant, is of great significance: the whole history of covenant is ordered to him, the Christ, who accomplishes a new “exodus” (Luke 9:31), not toward the promised land as in the time of Moses, but toward heaven. Peter’s words: “Master, how good it is for us to be here” (Luke 9:33), represent the impossible attempt to freeze such a mystical experience. St. Augustine comments: “[Peter] … on the mountain … had Christ as the food of his soul. Why should he want to come down to return to toil and suffering while there he was full of sentiments of a holy love for God that inspired him thus to holy actions?” (Sermon 78,3: PL 38,491).
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Meditating on this passage of the Gospel, we can take from it a very important teaching. First of all, there is the primacy of prayer, without which all of the work of the apostolate and charity is reduced to activism. During Lent we learn to give the right amount of time to both personal and communal prayer, which gives breath to our spiritual life. Moreover, to pray is not to isolate oneself from the world and its contradictions, as Peter wished to do on Tabor. Prayer, rather, leads us back to the journey, to action. “The Christian life,” I wrote in my Message for this Lent, “consists in continuously scaling the mountain to meet God and then coming back down, bearing the love and strength drawn from him, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with God’s own love” (n. 3).
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Dear brothers and sisters, I hear this Word of God addressed to me in a special way during this moment of my life. Thank you! The Lord is calling me to “scale the mountain,” to dedicate myself still more to prayer and to meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church – on the contrary, if God asks this of me, it is to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so hitherto, but in a way that is more adapted to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she help us always to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and in active charity.
[Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted those present in different languages.

 In Italian he said:]

Dear brothers and sisters!
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Thank you! Let us thank the Lord for the little bit of sun that he has given us!
[In English he said:]
I offer a warm greeting to all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer, especially the Schola Cantorum of the London Oratory School. I thank everyone for the many expressions of gratitude, affection and closeness in prayer which I have received in these days. As we continue our Lenten journey towards Easter, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus the Redeemer, whose glory was revealed on the mount of the Transfiguration. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings!
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[Concluding in Italian, he said:]

Finally, I offer a cordial greeting to all of you Italian speakers. I know that many dioceses are present, representatives of parishes, associations, movements, institutions, as well as many young people, elderly and families. I thank you for the affection and for sharing, especially in prayer, this important moment for me and for the Church. I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good week. Thank you! We are always close in prayer. Thanks to all of you!
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]

2/23/13

Marija Promised The Irish Renewal

by Jakob Marschner

The Virgin Mary is building a new humanity, a new generation that prays to God, visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti told more than 2,000 people in Dublin, Ireland, on February 21. In the midst of a heated abortion debate, she pointed to the Rosary as the means to bring about a new, holy Ireland.


medjugorje visionary marija pavlovic lunetti royal dublin society ireland talk apparition february 21 2013
Marija talking in Dublin on February 21. Photo: Una Williams

Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti sought to strengthen the current Irish battle against abortion when she talked and had a public apparition in Dublin on Thursday. She further placed the Irish battle within a larger scheme.

“Our Lady is building a new humanity, a new generation that prays to God. That loves God and adores God. Make prayer groups in your family, be in a prayer group, and be a joy for God. Go to Holy Mass every day you can, how beautiful you will become. You will have a new Ireland, a holy Ireland. Take the Rosary. Pray, and The Holy Spirit will guide you in this new time” Marija said.

royal dublin society ireland medjugorje visionary seer marija pavlovic lunetti talk public apparition february 21 2013
The Royal Dublin Society was founded on June 25th 1731, exactly to the day 250 years before the first apparition in Medjugorje – “to promote and develop agriculture, arts, industry, and science in Ireland”. Its venues are regularly used for exhibitions, concerts, and sporting events

“Temptation will come, but The Holy Spirit will lead us to new life. But you must concentrate while praying. Today, Satan not only destroys our planet, but also our minds. We have become a civilization that takes, uses, and then throws things in the garbage can. Everything, even people. This is not the mentality of God.”

“Our Lady needs you to be a soldier of love. 31 years ago she began a revolution of love, and she will win” Marija concluded her talk.

virgin mary our lady gospa madonna medjugorje
“Our Lady began a revoultion of love 31 years ago, and she will win” Marija told the audience in Dublin

More than 2,000 attendees packed the Shelbourne Hall of the prestigious Royal Dublin Society. Many were standing at the back. People came from all corners of Ireland, and some had come over from England.

During respectful silence in the hall, Marija’s apparition was long and lasted more than 10 minutes. Priests on the altar had their heads bowed in prayer. Afterwards, Marija asked people to kneel down and pray in a special way for the Church, for Pope Benedict XVI, and for the new Pope.

Addressing the current Irish battle against legalizing abortion, a battle that continues with a Rosary rally in Dublin on Saturday, Marija cited the example of the world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli whose mother was advised to have an abortion, but refused, while pregnant with Andrea.

“She said ‘No, I am pro-life.’ Thank God for that because look what he has brought to the world. Every baby is a gift from God and is welcome” Marija said.

Louise Hall and Donna McAteer reported from Dublin
Source of this article   http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/

2/21/13

Esther Prayed to the Lord


LEAPING OVER THE EDGE

"My Lord, our King, You alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but You, for I am taking my life in my hand." -Esther C:14-15

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As Esther prayed to the Lord, she said that she was taking her life in her hand because she was about to go to the king without being invited. This act was punishable by death (Est 4:11, 16).

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Likewise, we are living and praying in a life-or-death situation. We are endangered by "the terror of the night," "the arrow that flies by day," "the pestilence that roams in darkness," and "the devastating plague at noon" (Ps 91:5-6). Our opponent, the devil, who is "the prince of death" (Heb 2:14), and his destroying angels (see Rv 9:11) are "prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Pt 5:8). Our guardian angels have done a fantastic job to protect us from repeated attempts on our lives.

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So pray as if your life depends on it, because it probably does. Fast and pray as if this Lent is your last one on earth. Fast and pray with utter trust in and abandonment to the Lord. We live and pray in the shadows of death (Ps 23:4, RSV-CE) but also on the threshold of entrance into the eternal life of heaven. Pray: "Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace" (Lk 2:29). "Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit" (Lk 23:46).


Father, "this is our accepted time, this is our salvation." May prayer and fasting be our hope. May penance be our vocation. (From the hymn This is Our Accepted Time.)

Powerful documentary from Catholic filmmaker on Medjugorje

New Film, 'The Triumph' Sells Out First Advanced Screening
Powerful documentary from Catholic filmmaker on Medjugorje draws buzz
Contact: Victor Pap, 617-212-1302
ADDISON, Ill., Feb. 20, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The inaugural advance screening of "The Triumph," a new documentary slated for release in theaters this spring, sold out its first showing at the Marcus Addison Cinema Theater with well over two weeks to go. The 90-minute documentary on the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje chronicles events that have taken place from the perspectives of pilgrims, priests and one of the visionaries with a depth and clarity never before seen on the big screen.
"We're humbled this first 'pre-event' surpassed our expectations so early on," said Sean Bloomfield, the film's director, whose work also includes If Only We Had Listened with Immaculée Ilibagiza. "The excitement we're feeling is a testament to the incredible power of the story and the hunger to learn what's really going on in this little-known, remote village in Eastern Europe."
Controversy surrounding the alleged apparitions of Our Blessed Mother is nothing new, but a documentary exploring the cultural phenomenon with interviews from those who are witnessing its effects first-hand is a journey that hasn't been made in earnest until now.

"We've come to rely on information that's based on hearsay and headlines and this film cuts through all of that," said Zaid Jazrawi, the film's producer and co-creator. "Our principal goal in bringing a film to theaters that explores this alleged phenomena is to offer a closer look at what seems to be the Ground Zero of mass conversions to the faith."

Since 1981, Medjugorje has received over 30 million visitors and remains the largest active confessional in the world. Because the apparitions allegedly continue to this day through a number of the visionaries, the Church has not authenticated the reported experiences. While the Magesterium would likely not promulgate a ruling until the purported apparitions cease, that hasn't had any effect on the growing number of 'informal' pilgrimages from across the Globe.

Funded partly through a crowd-funding campaign at www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-triumph, The Triumph's March 18 pre-release will be in select cities across the U.S. Visit www.thetriumph.org.

2/20/13

The word of the Lord came to Jonah


"The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time." -Jonah 3:1

God came to Jonah a second time (Jon 3:1), and a sinful city of 120,000 people repented (Jon 3:5; 4:11). Jesus came to Peter a second time (Jn 21:1ff), and soon three thousand people converted and were baptized (Acts 2:41).
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We are called to spread God's Word, and the Lord gives us a major role to play in distributing His Word. Certainly, developing and exercising our spiritual and natural gifts, our creativity at spreading the Word of God and permeating the culture with the Gospel are important. That's why God calls us and gifts us with the Holy Spirit. That's why we write this booklet! However, the biggest issue is not our abilities, but whether we will get off the couch and get to work.
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Notice the parable of the sower and the seed (Mk 4:3). Jesus doesn't mention whether the sower was emotionally distressed, bitter, happy, or skillful. The only thing Jesus says about the sower is that he "went out sowing" (Mk 4:3). That is, the sower got up that morning and put the seed out. God's Word has power of its own (Is 55:10-11; Heb 4:12). It grows and spreads of itself (Mk 4:27), not because of the merits of whoever sows it.
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"There is no chaining the word of God!" (2 Tm 2:9) So, Satan instead tries to persuade us to slip into some chains. If he can shackle us with chains of sin, addictions, compulsions, sloth, fear, apathy, etc., he's kept the Word of God from spreading as far as it otherwise would. Have you let God down? God lets you start a second time. Get out there and get out God's Word.
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 Lord Jesus, may I be generous in doing Your will and spreading Your Word.

2/18/13

Pope Benedict followed the Holy Spirit many times, even when he felt otherwise



As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI asked several times to resign from his post in the Vatican. And yet, when Pope John Paul II asked him to stay on, he did so.
So, Pope Benedict XVI was following the promptings of the Holy Spirit then, and he does so today in his decision to retire after years of faithful service as the Pope.
Let us pray that the College of Cardinals will also follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in choosing a successor.

2/17/13

LENT IN THE SPIRIT

LENT IN THE SPIRIT

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, then returned from the Jordan and was conducted by the Spirit into the desert for forty days." -Luke 4:1-2
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Lent is imitating Jesus' forty days in the desert. Jesus began His "Lent" filled with and led by the Holy Spirit. He also came out of the Lenten desert "in the power of the Spirit" (Lk 4:14). The Holy Spirit directed Jesus every step of the way through the "first Lent."
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Are we letting the Spirit direct us this Lent? Are we fasting, praying, giving alms, and evangelizing in the Spirit? The Spirit will call us to do things this Lent we'd never thought of before. If these things seem impossible, the Spirit will help us in our weakness (Rm 8:26). By the Spirit, we will be able to fast in some way for each of the forty days of Lent. By praying in the Spirit, we will pray this Lent on a new level, with greater perseverance and depth. With the faith and love of the Spirit, we will give alms so much that we will have to make sacrifices and simplify our lives. Finally, this Lent, we will not only resist temptations but also make a frontal attack on the gates of hell (Mt 16:18-19), as we win the world for Christ through Spirit-filled evangelization.
A Spirit-led Lent is different from the Lents to which many of us have been accustomed. A Spirit-filled Lent is like Jesus' Lent. Let us follow in His footsteps.

 "If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." -Rm 10:9

 Praise Jesus, eternal, risen, victorious High Priest, tempted and sinless! (Heb 4:15)

2/16/13

The Church Will Survive


The Church will survive - English Version

Painful Events

Sr. Emmanuel
Painful events have taken place in the last few days!
First, Pope Benedict's announcement, on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, that he will no longer function as the heir to the Chair of Peter. This very good pope prayed and suffered much before making this decision, and he knows why, in full freedom of conscience, he made it. We received the news in Medjugorje with deep emotion, and we kneel down to support him with our prayers in this difficult time. We also resolved to banish any fear from our hearts! In the face of events that shake and disturb us, Our Lady has always encouraged us not to be afraid, especially if, from a human point of view, we could have good reasons to fear. It is true that huge waves are rocking the boat of Peter: Everywhere Catholics are more and more persecuted; impious laws are being imposed by most governments around the world; and in spite of all of Heaven's interventions, the number of true believers is quite small compared to the huge tide of 'those who have not yet known the love of God' and those who do not want him.

We have now reached the hour of perseverance! In trial, the practice of joy and confidence will complete God's victory over the forces of evil. Of all the institutionsthatman has created, only one has survived throughout the centuries: the Church! In spite of us sinners! Why? Because Jesus is Her Head! And, for His Church, Jesus gave Peter a promise that is unique in history, "The gates of hell will not prevail against Her." (Mat. 16: 13-18)

Dear brothers and sisters, the Church has a future! So what are we afraid of? "If God is for us, who will be against us?" St Paul tells us. Our role is to find ourselves with Him and in Him, and not allow ourselves to be disconnected from His grace. Let us look into Don Bosco's prophetic dreams about the Church, particularly into the enlightening story of the boats and how Jesus gives the victory to those who walk with Him (See PS 2).

For a long time, Our Lady has been showing us the path to take. But it should be noted that lately she has spoken more to us of the future, about what she is going to do with us, as if she wants to prepare us for something. "I will be at your side". I will pray to the Heavenly Father so that the light of eternal truth and love illuminates you" (13.02.02) "I will fortify you". "I will fill you with my graces". "Through my love, I will protect you from the evil spirit". "I will be with you". "Through my presence, I will console you in difficult moments." (12.09.02). Let us simply be prepared by her. She counts on us more than ever!
 Children of Medjujorje Newsletter
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2/14/13

A LIMITED LENT?


"They are already repaid." -Matthew 6:2, 5, 16

When Jesus says that those who perform religious acts for human recognition are "repaid," He uses a Greek word which suggests commercial payment, that is, payment in full for a service rendered (Mt 6:2, 5, 16). As an example of this term, a plumber fixes your sink and gets the full payment, but only that amount of pay. Jesus says that those who give alms, pray, and fast to further their reputation are looking for the wages of applause. So they get their satisfaction: the repayment. They get nothing more.
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Jesus uses a different Greek word when He promises that when you keep your almsgiving, prayer, and fasting secret, your heavenly Father "will repay you" (Mt 6:4, 6, 18). This term means a reward of unspecified amount, determined only by the generosity of the Giver. The entire reward, if any, is up to the One Who is merciful and kind, gracious and unlimited in generosity (Ps 103:8; Ex 20:6; Mt 10:41-42; 2 Cor 9:10). He might give no reward whatsoever, or He might open "the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure" (Mal 3:10).
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Will the focus of your self-denials this Lent be simply to get the repayment of feasting at Easter, or to receive the lavish outpoured reward of God? (see Ti 3:6) This Lent, place no limits on what the Lord wishes to do in your life. Give Him free rein in directing your prayer, fasting, charity, and suffering. Let Him speak, love, forgive, and work through you. Let Him bless you superabundantly.


 Father, may I do everything for an audience of One:  You.

Mirjana Pleaded Prayer For The Pope

by Jakob Marschner
on Feb 14, 13

Pray for your priests, especially for our Holy Father. Especially him who needs your help very much in the times we are living now” Medjugorje visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo told a crowd in Trieste, Italy, on February 9. Two days later, Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication.

medjugorje visionary seer veggente mirjana dragicevic soldo testimony trieste italy italia february febbraio 9 2013 pleaded begged prayers pray pope benedict xvi 16
Mirjana in Trieste. Photo: Daniel Miot, guardacon.me

Medjugorje visionary Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo begged for prayers for Pope Benedict XVI, and said he was in special need at this time, only two days before the Pope announced his resignment.

“As your sister, and because I know everything that Our Lady is preparing us for, I beg you: Do love well. Do love your priests. Help them, pray for them, especially for our Holy Father. Especially him who needs your help very much in the times we are living now: Our help. Our prayers. Our love. Not judgments” Mirjana told about 2,000 people in Church of Saint Mary Major in Trieste, Italy, on February 9.

medjugorje seer visionary veggente mirjana dragicevic soldo talk testimony trieste italy february febbraio 9 2013 pope benedict xvi 16 needs need prayers pray
Mirjana in Trieste. Photo: Daniel Miot, guardacon.me

The visionary said the Pope is not the only one in need of prayers at this time:

“Pray, pray, also for us visionaries, so that we can do everything God wants from us, but in the right way, as it is quite easy to err” Mirjana further said during a Q and A session after her talk.

Marco Piagentini transcribed and translated from Italian



Testimony by Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo on February 9th 2013 in Trieste, Italy
Photography: Daniel Miot, guardacon.me
Source of Article   http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/

2/13/13

Pope Blessed Medjugorje From The Air


by Jakob Marschner
Feb: 12, 2013

Pope John Paul II expressed his wish to go to Medjugorje, but never made it there. Now a Polish priest tells the Pope actually saw Medjugorje even then: He told the priest that whenever he flew eastwards, he would ask the pilot to fly over Medjugorje so he could bless the village from the air.

pope john paul ii II blessed medjugorje air airplane fr adamus slawek
Pope John Paul II leaving an airplane – his chosen vehicle when he wanted to bless Medjugorje

Medjugorje never saw Pope John Paul II, but still then the Pope got to see Medjugorje. It took some creativity but also allowed him to see and bless the village on more than one occasion, the Polish priest Fr. Adamus Slawek told an Italian prayer group on October 19 last year.

According to the priest’s testimony, quoted by the Facebook page Per Maria – Medjugorje e Diakonia, the Pope blessed Medjugorje from the air whenever he got the opportunity to fly over the place. Fr. Slawek says that the Pope told him this personally, during a private lunch at the Vatican.

padre fr father adamus slawek pope john paul ii II 2 blessed medjugorje air airplane
Fr. Adamus Slawek

“I also go to Medjugorje, but do you know how I go there? When I am flying East, I always ask for the airplane to pass over Medjugorje. I see the Madonna there, from above, and bless Medjugorje” Pope John Paul II said, according to Fr. Adamus Slawek.

The priest further tells that, by the time of this lunch, he had not yet been to Medjugorje, but that the Pope strongly urged him to go there:

“Then he says: “Well, go! Because I cannot. It is true that, as the Pope, I could go, but it is only that the Church must be careful. When I was a Bishop and Padre Pio was alive, I went to see him even if the Church had not spoken, I went because I was more free” Fr. Adamus Slawek quotes the Pope from their meeting.

“Now I am on a pedestal, and everyone is look at me. This is why I have to be more cautious” Pope John Paul II added, according to the Polish priest.
Source of article   http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/

2/11/13

Dear Family of Mary



Pope Benedict XVI
We love you, Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI
Thank you!!!

J.M.J.
February 12, 2013
Dear Family of Mary!
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As we enter into Lent, we have been given stunning and sobering news. Pope Benedict XVI has announced he will be stepping down from the Chair of Peter. Here is his short and very clear statement, released on February 10:
DECLARATIO
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Dear Brothers,
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I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today's world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
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For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
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Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
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From the Vatican, 10 February 2013
BENEDICTUS PP XVI
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We accept our Holy Father's decision with heavy hearts and with a deep call to prayer, prayer for the Pope, and prayer for Holy Mother Church as she enters into this time of change. Our Lady spoke to us these words on January 25, 2013:
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"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."
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She was urging us to be as strong as "living stones" in our prayer and in our faith. Now is the time for us to be "living stones" for the Church, strong in prayer and strong in faith, steady and solid as rocks, so that our Church can manage this transition in peace and God's providence. Our job is to believe and pray with all our hearts for our beloved Benedict XVI and for his soon-to-be successor. Let's not put our rosaries down all day long. Let's pray constantly!
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Our Lady is with us, and intercedes before Jesus for each of us. With her help, and God's grace, all will be well.
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In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2013 http://www.marytv.tv/

Cardinal And Seer Open Cross Replica

by Jakob Marschner

Central America now has its own version of the Youth Festival in Medjugorje, and Danli, Honduras has a precise replica of the Cross on top of Cross Mountain. On February 7, the openings of both were witnessed by the local Cardinal as well as by Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic.

replica copy cross mountain medjugorje opened february 7 2013 danli honduras
More than twice as tall, but otherwise exactly like the Cross on top of Cross Mountain in Medjugorje: The Cross in Danli, Honduras

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras and Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic were both among the speakers when about 4,000 young Catholics from 12 countries opened the first annual Youth Festival in Danli, Honduras, that took place on February 7-9.

After the festival was officially opened, the participants attended the solemn inauguration of an exact replica of the Cross from Cross Mountain in Medjugorje which has been built on a mountain outside of Danli, the local newspaper El Heraldo reports.

copy replica saint st james church medjugorje danli honduras
Young people during the opening of the Youth Festival in Danli where a replica of St James Church in Medjugorje has also been built

The only difference from the Cross in Medjugorje is the size: 20 meters tall, the Honduran replica is more than twice as tall as the original.

From Medjugorje, parish vicar Fr. Danko Perutina also participated in opening the Youth Festival which he oversees in Medjugorje and has been instrumental in taking to Honduras.

Cardinal Maradiaga has been considered what the Italians call “papabile”, a possible future Pope, for a number of years.

cardinal oscar andres rodriguez maradiaga opening youth festival mladifest danli honduras february 7 2013
Cardinal Maradiaga addresses the Youth Festival

The Catholic Church in Honduras has actively supported the construction of the Cross replica. Like in Medjugorje, the prayer devotion of the Stations of the Cross is facilitated during the climb to the top.

Further financial aid for the construction of the Cross has come from the Universite of the Queen of Peace in Danli, named from the title the Virgin Mary is using for her apparitions in Medjugorje.
Source of this article   http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/

Daily Grace: A Random Act of Kindness

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2/9/13

Remembering Franciscan martyrs


 
The 68th Anniversary of Martyrdom of Herzegovinian Franciscans was commemorated in Siroki Brijeg from February 4 to February 7, 2013. At the same time it was opportunity for the 3rd Days of Franciscan Martyrs to be held. February 7 was commemorated for the first time as the “Day of Remembering Franciscan Martyrs and People.” On Sunday, February 10, we are commemorating Feast of Blessed Cardinal Stepinac and parish of Medjugorje will be remembering murdered Franciscans from Medjugorje parish. Holy Mass is going to be celebrated at 6 p.m. for all murdered Franciscans and victims of the First and Second World War, as well as victims from the recent Homeland war from Medjugorje parish. After Holy Mass there will be a lecture in the Hall of the Bl. John Paul II, and lecturers are Dr. Fr. Robert Jolic and Fr. Miljenko Mica Stojic. Themes of the lecture are going to be about history of those murdered in the parish of Medjugorje as well as about procedure of martyrdom that was initiated. http://www.medjugorje.hr/en/

The Thirty Franciscan Martyrs of Široki Brijeg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/__4ajqnDgwSI/Sp6GRWVhMXI/AAAAAAAAABs/_zJBM3vijUQ/s1600-h/SirokiBrijegChapel.jpg
Thousands of pilgrims visit the Franciscan Monastery in Široki Brijeg every year, about one hour distant from Međugorje. On 7th February 1945 the Communist soldiers arrived and said “God is dead, there is no God, there is no Pope, there is no Church, there is no need of you, you also go out in the world and work.”The communists forgot that the Franciscans were working, most of the Franciscans were teaching in the adjoining school. Some of the Franciscans were famous professors and had written books.
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 The communists asked them to remove their habits. The Franciscans refused. One angry soldier took the Crucifix and threw it on the floor. He said, “you can now choose either life or death.” Each of the Franciscans knelt down, embraced the Crucifix and said, “You are my God and my All.” The thirty Franciscans were taken out and slaughtered and their bodies burned in a nearby cave where their remains lay for many years. Today they are buried inside the Franciscan church. In our Gospel today Jesus said, “if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven.” The thirty Franciscan martyrs of Široki Brijeg are a powerful example of declaring oneself in the presence of others for Jesus. They lived something else Jesus also said in the Gospel, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell.”
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Witnessing to Jesus and following God’s way helps others who are lacking courage to follow Jesus. One of the soldiers in the firing squad at Široki Brijeg later said, “Since I was a child, in my family, I had always heard from my mother that God exists. To the contrary, Stalin, Lenin, Tito had always asserted and taught each one of us: there is no God. God does not exist! But when I stood in front of the martyrs of Široki Brijeg and I saw how those friars faced death, praying and blessing their persecutors, asking God forgive the faults of their executioners, it was then that I recalled to my mind the words of my mother and I thought that my mother was right: God exists!” That soldier converted and now he has a son a priest and a daughter a nun. As I said, witnessing to Jesus and following God’s way also helps others in the crowd who are lacking the courage to follow Jesus.

2/8/13

Our Lady's Apparition to Mirjana of Feb. 2, 2013


Latest Medjugorje Message, February 2, 2013 http://www.medjugorje.ws/en-mini/messages/130202s/minibrowser?css=messages-latest&type=latest&findmode=aa - Apparitions to Mirjana

Dear children; Love is bringing me to you – the love which I desire to teach you also – real love; the love which my Son showed you when He died on the Cross out of love for you; the love which is always ready to forgive and to ask for forgiveness. How great is your love? My Motherly heart is sorrowful as it searches for love in your hearts. You are not ready to submit your will to God’s will out of love. You cannot help me to have those who have not come to know God’s love to come to know it, because you do not have real love. Consecrate your hearts to me and I will lead you. I will teach you to forgive, to love your enemies and to live according to my Son. Do not be afraid for yourselves. In afflictions my Son does not forget those who love. I will be beside you. I will implore the Heavenly Father for the light of eternal truth and love to illuminate you. Pray for your shepherds so that through your fasting and prayer they can lead you in love. Thank you.

2/7/13

Marija--Stop Satan's Plans by Fasting

by Jakob Marschner
October 28, 2012

The Virgin Mary knows that Satan is studying the situation and is working on something – this is why she repeats her call to fasting in her recent message, visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti said upon receiving it. Marija laments lack of fasting discipline throughout the Medjugorje movement.

medjugorje visionary seer veggente marija pavlovic lunetti desio italy italia october ottobre 14 2012
Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti earlier in October. Photo: Daniel Miot, guardacon.me

Fasting on bread and water is paramount in offsetting plans that Satan is having at this time, Medjugorje visionary Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti told Radio Maria when sharing the message the Virgin Mary had given her earlier in the evening of October 25:

“Dear children! Today I call you to pray for my intentions. Renew fasting and prayer because Satan is cunning and attracts many hearts to sin and perdition. I call you, little children, to holiness and to live in grace. Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love for which you yearn. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

father padre livio fanzaga radio maria pope papa benedict benedetto xvi 16
The interviewer, Radio Maria director Fr. Livio Fanzaga, during a meeting with Pope Benedict 16 earlier this month

“Our Lady knows that Satan is studying the situation and is working on something, and Our Lord reminds us that certain devils can be forced away with prayer and fasting. During all these years Our Lady has called to fasting: after this message, and starting with me, I have to get better about it” Marija commented.

Fasting watered down

Sparing neither locals nor pilgrims, the seer went on to lament what she sees as a laxity in fasting throughout the Medjugorje movement:
“From the first days Our Lady began asking us to fast, and I would say it is what we do the least of nowadays, starting with us and going on to all the pilgrims” Marija said.

“[Late Medjugorje priest] Father Slavko began seminaries in his early years, and unfortunately fasting was not practiced as much as other aspects. We manage somehow, but I think this message was given at the proper time, and winter is coming where we find all sorts of excuses.”

father slavko barbaric medjugorje visionary seer veggente marija pavlovic lunetti 1994
Marija with the late Medjugorje priest Fr. Slavko Barbaric in 1994. His insistence on fasting is missing today, Marija said
“I remember that from the beginning until a few years ago “bread and water” meant bread and water. Sometimes [visionary] Vicka’s sister and I used to argue with Vicka: we might make some tea, and Vicka would say “no, just bread and water” Marija continued.
“We have become a bit wishy-washy without the biblical “yes yes, no no”, and some serious fasting would make us more decided and more saintly, too.”
Fast twice a week

medjugorje visionary seer veggente marija pavlovic lunetti apparition apparizione isola della scala verona october ottobre 13 2012
Marija during her apparition on October 13 in Isola della Scala outside of Verona, Italy. Photo: Daniel Miot, guardacon.me
“What is fasting exactly? More like turning down things than a fast?” Radio Maria director Fr. Livio Fanzaga next asked the visionary.

“She said bread and water.”


- Bread and water from midnight to midnight?
“Exactly.”

- Wednesday and Friday?
“Yes. At first, it was Friday and then Wednesday was added. Then for us a novena was asked for, so we would fast for nine days. We were good, at the risk of “blowing your own horn.” When you have the Spirit, your willpower comes through.”
“I think I will get better at it as Our Lady said pray and fast for my intentions. I ask from my heart, and I hope all you listeners will too because if she asks, it is for our own good” Marija replied.


Radio Maria director Fr. Livio Fanzaga
- In a message that she gave you in 2010, she said that Satan destroys you with what he offers, that is why it is important to know how to renounce?
“Yes, and going back to the example about tea: you start with tea, then it becomes a bit of fruit juice, then a little fruit, a few vegetables. A little at a time our “fasting menu” becomes large. If she says bread and water, it has a reason.”
- Yes, she said just a small crack is necessary.

The Feast of All Saints on November 1 is marked in the Virgin Mary’s messages, Fr. Livio Fanzaga has noted
“Through it Satan knows how to get through. Instead Our Lady says “be with me”. We want to be saintly with God.”

Feast of All SaintsWith the Feast of All Saints coming up on November 1, Fr. Livio Fanzaga next mentioned a pattern he thinks to have discovered in the Virgin Mary’s messages.

- I have noticed that almost every year when we get close to the Feast of All Saints, the invitation is repeated to be saintly, as it is this year. Our Lady wants us to be in the grace of God because this is the road to holiness.
“Yes, and she also just said “Adore my Son so that He may fill you with His peace and love”. We might be looking for it, but our road to holiness is to say “yes” to God daily, even in the little things. Put God in the first place, and the rest will be given to you. If you have God, you have everything” Marija replied.
- Then you can walk the path towards holiness even in your family life or work environment?
“Yes, that is exactly the way it is. Our Lady calls us to go forward decidedly towards God, towards fasting, towards grace and not sin, or things not of God.”
Antonio Miraldi transcribed and translated from Italian
Source of Article   http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/

Conceived Of The Holy Spirit, Born Of The Virgin Mary!

Conceived Of The Holy Spirit, Born Of The Virgin Mary!
The entire life of Our Lady from Her Immaculate Conception to Her glorious Assumption is a symbol of the whole life of the Church and of our own spiritual lives. The history of the Church begins in the womb of the Virgin. Mary and the Church are two, yet one single mother, two virgins, yet one. Each is virgin, each is mother. Both conceived of the same Holy Spirit, without human seed. Both bore to God the Father a Child unblemished. Both are the Mother of Christ, but neither can bring Him to birth without the other.
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The Church in the development of Her piety is guided by the Holy Ghost and devotion to Holy Mother the Church cannot possibly run counter to our devotion to the Mother of God. The whole mystery of the Church is inseparably bound up with the mystery of Mary. We need to learn to see Our Lady in the Church and the Church in Our Lady. Our Blessed Mother is the Bride of the Holy Spirit and the Church is the Bride of Christ. We must be spiritual men to comprehend the mystery of Mary in the Church. What is needed, today, is a return to the Heart of Mary, so that our love of the Church as our Mother may grow together with our love for the Mother of Jesus.
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God's first words of salvation spoken outside the locked gates of Paradise indicate a woman, "I will put enmities between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and Her seed; She will crush thy head and thou shalt lie in wait for Her heel." (Gen.3:15) The Lord hath spoken it. Satan is cast out of Heaven. The Mystery of the Immaculate Conception is not only a personal privilege granted to Mary who was to become the Mother of God but also, through it, Mary becomes a figure of the Church. The Church is, therefore, the Woman fulfilling both Eve and Mary; She is at war throughout history, and Hers is the victory at the end. The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God is, in the deepest sense, the consummation and the reality of our own personal salvation. The final battle is still to come, for the serpent lies in wait for the Woman's heel. Look well at the Woman in the sky clothed with the sun, crowned with twelve stars, and with the moon spread underneath Her feet; yes, it is indeed She, our Mother, it is indeed the Church. We can certainly say that the Woman of the Apocalypse is Mary, because She is the Mother of the Church, having given birth to the Head of the Church, and Herself being the Daughter of the Church, and the holiest of its members.
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'Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, for Thou alone hast destroyed all heresies in all the world!'
The virginity of the Church means that She preserves intact Her faith in Christ. Heresy means loss of that virginity; it is breaking off the betrothal to Christ. Early Christians said that the Church, like Mary, is ever virgin and can never fall into Eve's unfaithfulness. This is no more and no less than we say today with our doctrine of the Church's infallibility. Heresy is unchaste; it is adultery towards Christ. The Mystery of the perpetual virginity of Mary is dogma: A chaste womb shelters Christ in His physical and in His mystical Body.

Every time, we proclaim our belief in the Church, we are paying honor to Mary; and every witness of our love for Mary is a witness of our belief in the Church, for in Mary the Church became the Virgin Mother of God. What happened with Mary through the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, is daily renewed mystically within the Church. The Church is in labor and travail, until Christ is formed in us and born of us. Whoever has childlike devotion to Mary, has found entrance to the deepest mystery of the Church. Mary is, indeed, the Mother of Christ's members, that is, of ourselves. It is by Her love that men have been born in the Church. It is through the mystery of the marriage, both human and divine at the incarnation that our redemption began.
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The deep significance of the marriage at Cana and the wedding feast is critical to our understanding of both Mary and the Church. Humanity is being changed into the wine of the life of grace while Mary is there. She is the Mother of all who are sanctified by their faith in coming to God. Whatever errors be taught in the false services of infidels, come from a denial of the incarnation which begins with a refusal to honor God's holy Mother and which continues with a rejection to honor the virginity of the Church.
Where the Mother of Jesus is not, there can be no marriage! Jesus at Cana spoke of His hour 'which was to come,' the hour of His Death on the Cross, when His Blood was poured out for man's salvation.
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On Calvary, the Church was given to Mary, "Woman, behold thy Son!", and Mary was given to the Church, "Son, behold thy Mother!" Mary and the Church are one: The Woman at the foot of the Cross is the Woman of promise who would overcome Satan. Beneath the victorious Cross of the dying God stands the Woman who has won all of God's battles, the holy Ecclesia! How lovable She is, this Mother of ours! Let us offer thanks to the Father and to Christ, Our Brother, that we have the privilege to be the Children of Mary, Our Mother and of Holy Mother the Church. There can be no contradiction between a tender devotion to Mary and a deep love for the Church.
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The Church is Mary in the world. In this journey through everyday life to the Cross, we find a new aspect of the Mystery of Mary and the Church: the Mystery of Her inner strength amid ordinary life, unswerving faithfulness to Christ and powerful patience which enables Her to go with Christ to Calvary and share in the joy of His Resurrection. Mary's acceptance of the Incarnation was Her acceptance of death. She gave Her blood to Him, only that He might shed it for us. In Mary and in the Church, the destitute world becomes rich and starving mankind is fed lavishly. Love is the fruit of our Baptism. It is by the spindle of true love in our everyday tasks that we learn to meet Christ Crucified. Only on the Cross is found the true measure of our love.

Pentecost is the very pinnacle of our Redemption because the charity of God is poured into our hearts. Here, indeed, is fulfilled in all mankind what was begun in the Heart of the Virgin at the Incarnation. The Heart of Mary is the beginning of the story; in Her Heart was performed in secret, what now at Pentecost, is open to the gaze of all mankind. The Heart of Mary is the original upper room, where all redeemed mankind is gathered. Her Heart is the vessel filled by the Holy Spirit. In Her, we find all prophecies are fulfilled; in Her begins the life of heavenly glory! Everything has its beginning in the Heart of Mary and in Her womb. The Heart of the Mystery of the Virgin Mary and the virgin Church is the humble obedience of faith which opens itself in complete love and trust to the Holy Spirit Who overshadows Her. In the midst of Her Heart, Eternity entered Time!
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The Church's history on earth is already a heavenly Mystery: for She is always on the point of extinction. She is frequently persecuted and abides on the hill of Calvary. She is clothed with the sun in Her heavenly glory and, yet, upon earth is always in the pains of childbirth. And, so it is true of the Christian who is in travail until Christ is formed in him and born of him. This new birth can happen only by dying to himself each day, that he may receive the life of God's glory.
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The final history of the body of the Woman who gave birth to God is the Assumption, the fulfilling in advance of what is promised to the whole Mystical Body of Christ. The prince of this world, the devil, was already defeated by the Woman, when the Word of God became the Fruit of Her womb: "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy Word - THE ETERNAL FIAT!" The final glory of Mary is the final glory of the Church. When the Church celebrates the Assumption, She is celebrating Her own final glory. Jesus and Mary are preparing for us a new Paradise, which is the Church in all Her glory. Mary is always present within the Church in Her express title, "Mother of Grace". In Her painful pilgrimage here on earth and through Her painful history and purification by persecution, Holy Mother the Church must become like to Mary, who without blemish gave birth to Her Son. Only then, will the Church wash away every blemish in those She brings to birth through Baptism.

"We have, without hesitation, consecrated all mankind to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. May She, the most holy Mother of all the members of Christ, radiant now in body and soul in Heaven, and gloriously reigning with Her Son, earnestly implore of Him, that mighty streams of grace may ceaselessly flow from the majestic Head upon all the members of the Mystical Body." Pope Pius XII, 1943 - Mystici Corporis
AVE MARIA, GRATIA PLENA!