The Family in the Messages of Our Lady Queen of Peace
Fra. Slavko Barbaric
1. Medjugorje is a school, in which Mary, the Queen of Peace, has been speaking, and thus teaching us for fifteen and a half years already. Through Maria Pavlovic Lunetti, She has given simple messages on every Thursday from March 1, 1984 to January 8, 1987. From January 25, 1987 up until the present, the message has been given on the 25th of every month. She does not tell us anything new, but, in a motherly way, full of understanding and love, of gentleness and patience, She clearly and decidedly reminds us of that which we, as Her children, as individuals, as families and as the entire Church are obliged to do.
She speaks simply and concretely, without theorizing or philosophizing, exactly as every Mother should. Mary, the Queen of Peace, is clear in what She is seeking and demanding of us. Her messages do not require exceptional explanations. They are understandable to everyone. There is no misunderstanding or lack of clarity in them.
On the one hand, Her messages have a deep link with the Biblical messages, while on the other, they show a deep link with our everyday reality. So as to more easily recognize this deep link of Our Ladys messages with the Biblical messages and our everyday life, it is enough to recall Her main message given on June 26, 1981: "Peace, peace and only peace." To this She added the prophetic words: "Pray and fast, because with prayer and fasting you can stop wars and natural disasters". Back in 1981, the reality of war for us Catholic Croatians was unthinkable. Yet, ten years later, in 1991, on the same date of the 26th of June, the first bombs fell announcing the terrible reality of the war which we neither desired nor expected and which we all hoped would not be of such proportions.
The main goal of the apparitions is 'peace' and it is continually woven like a golden thread through everything that Our Lady says and does. That is why She also spoke of the conditions for peace: prayer, fasting, faith, complete abandonment to God and remaining with Her on the road to holiness. She has also clearly spoken about the means to attain it: the prayer of the rosary, confession, reading of the Scriptures, attending Holy Mass and good works.
Individuals, families, groups, the entire Church and the whole world are equally invited and called by name. In the entire process of peace, Mary continually stresses the importance of the individual, the family and of the prayer group. Her way to peace is inductive. It all begins with the individual who changes and, in changing, creates new relationships in the family, in the society, in the Church and in the world. Everything begins with the personal conversion of an individual, which then first of all creates new relationships in the family before going further.
The visionaries tirelessly repeat that, first of all, peace must reign in our own hearts, then in the families and only then in the world. In this we see the indispensable and uncircumventable value and importance of the individual. Without the individual, the plans which God entrusted to Mary are unnattainable. The individual creates a new nucleus, a new family, and the new family creates a new Church and a new society. The new society, the new Church and the new family, renewed by the renewal of the individual, in turn, have their role in educating and making it easier for the individual to create his or her own identity.
The task of this presentation is to concentrate on what Mary is saying about families: what type of a family She desires; what She is recommending and what She is warning us all about as parents, as children and as the elderly. It also includes what values She asks us to live by and how we are to behave towards each other, towards God, towards prayer, the Holy Mass and the Holy Scripture.
2. In 27 messages, Our Lady mentions the family. Of those, 13 were given on Thursdays and the other 14 were given on the 25th of the month. What She has said can be presented either chronologically or thematically. I have decided for the latter.
God in the First Place
God is the foundation of everything, the fount of life and holiness, the Creator and the Sustainer of everything. He is peace and love. Without a personal contact with Him no one can have peace. He gives us everything we have and everything belongs to Him. In a devoted family, God is found in the first place and He must govern the life of the family. To decide for God and to put Him in first place means to do what Mary did and to live as the Holy family of Nazareth lived. In the message of December 25, 1991, Our Lady says, "Therefore, dear children, put God in the first place in your families so that He may give you peace and may protect you not only from war, but also in peace protect you from every satanic attack." Mary speaks clearly about satans continual and tireless activities both during a time of war and of peace. He does not tolerate anything good, "because Satan wants war, wants lack of peace, wants to destroy all which is good" (March 25, 1993). In that same message, She invites us to prayer three times "pray, pray, pray". This is the answer to the question of how we are to be close to Her motherly heart.
"I have come to tell you that God exists", was of one Her first messages, which the visionaries transmitted to the world. Later, in many messages, She invited both individuals and families to decide for God and to put Him in the first place.
That is how it was in completeness during Her entire life. She called Herself the handmaid of the Lord who fulfilled the will of God in everything. God was in the first place in Her thoughts, in Her words and in Her actions.
In the message of June 2, 1984, in which She asks us to pray a novena for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the families, She invites all of us to let our entire lives on this earth be a glorification of God. She tells us that God Himself will give us the necessary gifts for this to take place (June 2, 1984). St. Paul teaches us in the first letter to the Corinthians: "So whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do for one another do so for the glory of God" (1Cor 10:31).
Everything She tells us She does so in the name of God. Mary is a Prophet and the Queen of the Prophets. A prophet is one who speaks in the name of God. Therefore, the words of a prophet do not primarily pertain to future events, but to speaking in the name of God. For this reason, every mother and father is, foremost, a prophet who reveals the will of God, Gods love and mercy, Gods plans and the means through which these plans are realized to their children. To Her, God entrusted plans which can only be realized in cooperation with us: "You have helped me along by your prayers to realize my plans. Keep on praying that my plans be completely realized" (Sept. 27, 1984). She teaches us that everything needs to belong to God, and we can realize that through Her hands (Oct 25,1988).
It is when we put God in the first place, that we will have peace and can be secure from every satanic attack. When we have God, we will truly have everything, Without Him, we are miserable and lost, we do not even know whose side we are on. The decision for God and the placing of God in the first place will make our lives and all of our actions completely clear and orderly (December 25,1991).
The family and, in this case, the parents are those who transmit the experience of God to their children. When they put God in the first place, then there will be love between them, they will serve life and guide their children onto the right path. For this reason, Mary invites us to encourage the youngest to "prayer and that children go to Holy Mass" (March 7, 1985). Only in this way will the children learn that what their parents live. When children discover God, and He enters into their life also and takes the first place, they will remain on the way of peace, faith and love.
In the message of August 25, 1996, Our Lady invites parents to instruct their children because if they are not a model for them, they will fall into godlessness and that means into darkness, unrest and into death.
Mary did not forget the aged in the family either. They are important and need to be encouraged to pray and, by their exemplary lives, the young must become a help to everyone so that they may thus bear witness to Jesus (April 24, 1986). This type of relationship between the young and the old, and the importance of the aged in the family, one can discover only in one's encounter with God. In the rhythm of the contemporary world, both the children and the elderly are regarded as a bother and a hinderance to the enjoyment of life. In this type of a relationship, abortion, the murder of the young and the rejection of the elderly to the point of euthanasia, becomes justifiable. A change in this attitude can only be expected if everyone decides for God, who is the Creator of all and Who gives deep meaning to each life jeopardized by a materialistic attitude towards it. For this reason on March 25, 1995, Mary says that there is no peace only where there is no prayer, and that there is no love where there is no faith. Peace is born in the encounter with God, in the love and trust in Him and in the complete abandonment to Him. God gives peace, and peace is Gods gift (January 25,1996).
When God is in the first place in the families, then prayer has its proper place and time and this will make it possible to seek and to find the will of God (April 25, 1996).
Prayer in the family
The most frequent call directed to the families is for the family to pray. In the message of June 2, 1984, Our Lady invites us to pray the novena to the Holy Spirit, so that He may be poured out on the families and on the entire parish. This desire of Our Lady reminds us of Her own experience of praying with the apostles for nine days after Jesuss ascension. Jesus sent the Spirit, the Protector, just as He promised. The hearts of the apostles and Marys own heart were filled with strength and zeal with the coming of the Holy Spirit. It is through the descent of the Holy Spirit that the apostles became competent to witness what they had seen and heard. (Acts1:13-14 and 2:1-4). It is sufficient to recall the gifts of the Holy Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety and the fear of God - in order to understand why the family needs to pray together to the Holy Spirit, and why, now in particular, we need the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The family is, in itself, a community of faith and love, of hope and mutual respect, attentive to the needs of each other in a material, spiritual or psychological sense. Man is educated for the family and is formed in the family. Without the family, normal growth of man is unthinkable. Nowhere else as in the family, are the gifts of understanding, counsel, wisdom, knowledge, strength, piety and the fear of the Lord, as necessary. Everything can be in order only when the hearts are full of, and when they are constantly being filling with, the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
This message of Our Lady is an answer to all parents who are asking themselves what else they can do for their families which are in a crisis. To pray to the Holy Spirit means to invoke the same Spirit who gives life and creates life, who transforms emptiness and waste into the fullness and life (Genesis1:2). To pray to Him means to pray to the Holy Spirit whom Isaiah saw at work when the bones of the dead came to life (Ezek 37:1-14).
In as much as the Holy Spirit is at work in the family, is how much He will form individuals into new persons. That is the extent to which man will have the strength within him to overcome the darkness with the divine light, to tramsform the wasteland of the heart and soul into a richness of unity and love, and to supply for the lack of love with the eternal love, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. By the strength of that same Spirit, the wounds of the heart, inflicted by the lack of that same love, will be healed. In the message of March 28, 1985, Mary is thankful to all those who have started to pray in their families and to each person who has become active in this way, telling us that we have become dear to Her heart.
Praying the Rosary in the Family and Ttime Spent in Prayer
On Sept. 27, 1984, Our Lady saiys, "I request the families of the parish to pray the family rosary". The prayer of the rosary is, in itself, a uniting with Mary and Jesus in Their joys, Their sorrow and Their glory. In this union, the family grows with the Holy Family as its model. Each person, as an individual, every family and each community seeks their model and their ideal. As the rosary is prayed in the family, the adults praying with the children, the old with the young, the healthy with the sick, they have before them the exemplary lives of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. To live this concrete union as a family with them means to have a new daily inspiration for mutual love and respect for the children as well as the parents. This is how one learns to live joy, to carry the cross and the pain in the family and comes to experience the resurrection. In the message of November 1984, Our Lady tells us that a family needs to put prayer in the first place and must not permit work and everyday obligations to suffocate the spirit of prayer. In that same message, She invites us to a renewal of prayer because work had suffocated prayer completely.
Only when we come to know the situation in most of our families as far as prayer is concerned, do we understand why Our Lady stresses that prayer needs to be put in the first place. Is prayer not in the last place in the majority of the families, if it has not disappeared altogether? How many families pray only when all the daily obligations are finished, when everyone is exhausted and can barely do anything else other than watch TV? The true response is to begin the day by praying together, but most families believe this to be practically impossible. Because of late TV viewing, the morning time is lost in the family. A lost morning is often a lost day, and an unrealized encounter in the morning disables other encounters during the day. In accordance with the deepest nature of man and family unity, there would be nothing more natural and normal than morning and evening prayer together. In the message of August 25,1995, Mary invites the family to begin its day with prayer, and to finish with the evening prayer which needs to be a prayer of thanksgiving. Therefore, the content of the morning and evening prayer is clearly set. In the morning the family decides individually and communally for God and His holy will, decides to pray that in every man we may meet God and that in everything we do we fulfill His will. In the morning prayer, we need to consciously and thankfully accept the new day as a great gift and place ourselves at the disposition of God and mankind.
In the evening prayer, we must express our thankfulness. Everything that we do during the day has been made possible in its entirety by the love of God. We must give thanks in the evening. Thanksgiving means to acknowledge that it is God who gave us the gifts. By thanking God, man struggles against pride and against the danger of attributing to himself the credit for what he has done. For gratitude belongs to God and to the others. This means to recognize Gods work in our life and in the lives of our families and to be completely conscious that it is a gift. Thanksgiving is the deepest expression of trust and faith in God. Whoever gives thanks acknowledges that everything good comes from God. In the same way, whoever is thankful can truly repent, because he can easily understand that he gambled away Gods gifts and followed his own will rather than the will of God.
The family that prays together in the morning and spends the day in love, in peace, in mutual respect and in successful work, will progress spiritually. With this spiritual progress, it will be able to live out all of the values which adorn a family. In the same way, it is important that at the end of a day a family reflects together over the events of the day, thanks God for the good and repents for what was wrong and sinful and that the family members forgive one another for any offenses and misunderstandings. These are the conditions for peace in the family and for a peaceful sleep. Whoever in the family goes for his night's rest, and has not made peace and forgiven cannot rest because a wounded soul cannot find rest for itself if it has not first come to a reconciliation and an acceptance of others with love.
To renew family prayer means to renew the meeting with the heavenly Father who loves us immeasurably through His Son, Jesus Christ. Drawn by the love of Christ, the family will, be able to understand and accept even the heaviest of crosses and sicknesses through prayer (January 25,1992). The crosses and the sicknesses will then bring forth great peace and togetherness.
To speak with the Heavenly Father means as much and much more than to speak with the earthly father in a family. A family that lacks open communication among its members, loses the foundation and the basic expression of its togetherness. Our Lady again, calls to a renewal of prayer in the message of March 7, 1985.
In the December 6, 1984 message, Our Lady repeats Her invitation to family prayer, and She reproaches us for not having listened. In that same message, She reminds us that She does everything because it is God who sends Her and She speaks to us in His name. Whoever does not listen to Her call does not listen to God who sends Mary in His name.
The problem of the parish community not listening to Mary is repeated in the message of February 14, 1985. This causes sadness in Marys heart and a repeated invitation that the families listen and must pray in the family. The expression 'must is very rare in Our Ladys messages in Medjugorje. Looked at from the perspective of methodology and education, this expression does not hamper the response with love nor does it bring Mary's patience into question. Instead it explains Her great desire to help families live in a real contact with God.
Love in the Family
To love and to be loved is the fundamental and the deepest desire of every man. We do not even need to discuss how important love and acceptance are in the family school of life. Lack of love and acceptance in the family leave deep scars. It is not unheard of that even the newly-conceived child feels and knows if it is accepted with love or not. It is known from therapeutic practice, that deep fears, which can follow a person throughout his entire life, are often caused prior to birth, if the father and mother contemplated abortion.
For this reason, Our Lady's message of December 13, 1984 is clear in itself. First of all, we must begin to love in the family, then we can speak about love in the parish community, and only then about love of all mankind. With this message, Our Lady wants to prepare the parish community for the acceptance of pilgrims: "Only then will you be able to love and accept all who are coming over here"(December 13,1984). Once again, in a concrete and motherly way, Mary asks that the week in which She gave this message, be taken as a special time when we need to learn to love. This, in fact, was the week before Christmas, the feast of love and life.
The beginning of the exercise in love takes place at that moment when we decide to exercise love in our own family. In that same message, Mary reiterates the thought of St. Paul, that nothing can be accomplished without love. Love supersedes all laws and fulfills them and, yet, all laws in the world cannot supersede love. Everything is valueless without love and love gives an eternal value to everything (1Cor 13:1-13).
Before the fourth anniversary on June 6, 1985, Mary repeats Her invitation to love those in our own homes first and then we will be able to love all those who come. From a chronological perspective, we can easily say that Medjugorje became an international shrine at then end of 1984 and even more so in 1985. The circumstances of Medjugorje at that time were, on one side, the communist pressures and attempts to put a stop to everything and, on the other side, the very aggressive moves against Medjugorje from the Bishops ordinariat at Mostar. At the end of October of that year, the then Mons. Pavao Zanic, published his semi-official pamphlet about Medjugorje. Sometimes it seemed that the opposing forces of the world and the Church would succeed in suffocating the events of Medjugorje. However, it is clearly visible how Our Lady was guiding everything and was not concerned at all about these attacks, but warned and educated the parish community about love which conquers all. On Christmas day itself in 1991, amidst a terrible flare-up of the war in Croatia and the first signs of the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina, Mary once again cautions about love and peace. Love is a grace that we have to pray for, and Mary brings Jesus so that He may bless us all with the blessing of peace and love.
In the message of April 1993, Mary uses the image of nature, which awakens in springtime and is renewed, and invites us all to open to love just as nature awakens and opens to God the Creator. The hearts that open to love as nature opens will, first of all, show and prove their love in the family. Love will save the families from unrest and hatred and will give them back the spirit of prayer. Through this prayer, God will give us the strength to love one another. Mary knows how important it is for us to understand this invitation to love and that we become active in the awakening of love. For this reason, She repeats that She loves us all with Her Motherly love. Motherly love is the condition of life in general. This love is especially active and is a condition for the birth of a new life. Without this love, life cannot begin nor continue to exist.
The consciousness of Gods love, which brings about new life within us, and the consciousness of Marys motherly love are again conditions for every man to decide for love and for every wounded love to become whole and healed. God revealed Himself to us in Jesus Christ as immeasurable love, which accepts us unconditionally and which is the condition for every other love, especially in the family, because God has revealed Himself as Our Father.
Mary teaches us in the message of January 25, 1996, that love is the condition of peace in the family because he, who has no love, cannot live peace.
In the same message, Our Lady speaks of the link between love and forgiveness. We are weak. We sin and, in sinning, we imperil love. The love of someone who refuses to forgive is shallow and is conditioned by many different terms. Again, only he who loves can forgive. Only resigned prayer is left to us, so that we may be able to comprehend with our hearts and accept the invitation to love and forgiveness.
The Bible in the Family
The Sacred Scripture is the Word of God directed to mankind. An individual must read it and in this way, come to know God who reveals Himself, His will, His love, His mercy and His forgiveness. Mary desires that the Sacred Scripture be read in the family and that the family pray. Just as it is important for an individual to read the Sacred Scripture, in the same way, it is important for the family community to do so at all levels. He who reads the Sacred Scripture in the family and meditates on the Word of God will know how to pray and to witness, and a family that prays and meditates together will be a family united by the power of the Spirit of God.
The visionaries often repeat that we should read the Sacred Scripture at the beginning of the day, to take a word from it and meditate on it throughout the whole day.
In the message of August 25, 1996, Mary repeats that we should read and meditate on the Sacred Scripture, to pray and to live it. She desires that we put the Bible in a visible place in our family homes. In this way, practically speaking, the Bible, the Divine Word, would see us off when we leave for our daily work, calling us not to forget God and would be the first to greet us when we return home. If every member of the family looks at the Bible before leaving and sees it first of all upon his return, he will create a positive relationship with himself and others, towards his work, towards time and towards eternity.
This desire of Mary reminds us of that what each member of the people of God has done and that of what She too did. In the book of Deuteronomy (6:4-9), it is written, "Hear O Isreal! Yahweh is our God, Yahweh is one! Therefore love Yahweh with all your hearts and all your souls and all your strength! Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the door-posts of your houses and on your gates." This is the prayer that each member of God's chosen people prayed four times daily and in this way, as an individual and as a family, was inevitably in contact with the Word of God.
Let us recall the words of St. Jerome: "Whoever is ignorant of the Scripture is ignorant of Christ."
The Family is Called to Holiness and Consecration
All those who are immersed in the death of Jesus Christ in baptism have died to sin and are called to holiness. In the Creed, we confess to the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church", which is called to be holy and stainless. What pertains to the entire Church, a fortiori, pertains to all its members and families and a family is often referred to as a 'small church.'
Holiness is a call to a concrete life in love with God and our brethren. In itself it means first and foremost, the healing of our relationship with God and with others and a growth in love, faith and hope.
It is Marys desire that a family be the birthplace of holiness. The example of the holiness of the parents and the elderly will, in itself, be a school of holiness to the young. "I beseech you, by your own testimony help those who do not know how to live in holiness....but especiallly your own family"(July 25, 1986). Love and forgiveness, goodness and generosity, gentleness and resoluteness, the love of truth and moderation are an expression of and a school of love in the family. So that the family may reach holiness in accordance to the measure of Jesus and Mary, which is the measure of the Gospel, Mary calls us to individually, as a family and as a parish, consecrate ourselves to Her beloved Son, Jesus and to Her Immaculate heart, "...so that all belongs to God through my hands" (October 25, 1988). The latin expression for consecrate is 'con- sacrare', which directs us to the real meaning of the call to consecration. To consecrate means, to decide to take Mary and Jesus as the example, to be with them, to keep company with them, and to become like them in accordance with the logic of a national saying: "Tell me who you associate with, and Ill tell you who you are..". Whoever keeps company with Mary and Jesus in daily prayer, especially in the prayer of the Rosary, is in the best School of Holiness and will understand how he can live in joy and sorrow and the final glory in heaven.
Through consecration, a person consciously walks the way with Mary and Jesus and in this way overcomes that terrible loneliness which comes about through sin. He thus creates a new community of love and life and knows that he will conquer both sin and death.
The Destructive Plans of Satan
The Family must consecrate itself and in holiness defend itself against Satan and his destructive words. He sows the most dangerous seed of evil for the family - hatred and division. This is a cancerous wound, which kills the fundemental essence of human togetherness. On October 25, 1988, Our Lady says, "Satan is strong and, therefore, you little children by constant prayer, press tightly to my motherly heart". Mary is the woman in the Sacred Scripture who, with Her Child, conquers Satan (Gen 3:15 and Revelations12:1-6).
Bishop Milingo, a renowned exorcist, said in a conversation that Mary was the first exorcist. With Her Son, She will conquer Satan. Her Son is not only Jesus, but every one of us, and Her family is not only the family from Nazereth, but every family. Close to Her Motherly Heart, the individual and the family are protected from the works of destruction. In the message of January 25, 1994, once again She reveals Satan's works and intentions. "In this time Satan wants to create disorder in your hearts and in your families. Little children, do not give in. You must not permit that he leads you and your life." It is his wish, to exempt us from the power of Gods love and to govern with us, with our families, with our feelings and our decisions. There where he takes charge, only ruins remain. Mary, once again, shows Herself as the one who protects us with Her love and Her intercession before God. In so far as individuals and families do not accept Her help and protection, the door is opened to satan, who tempts so that in the smallest things, faith, hope and love are lost (March 25,1995).
Peace in the Family
Everything Mary said about families, all the advice She has given, all the motherly warnings, all invitations to abandonment to God and decisions for holiness, the invitations to love and forgiveness, lead to that main goal in accordance to which She has chosen Her name when She said: "I am the Queen of Peace."
Peace is the deepest yearning of every human heart. In whatever man does, be it good or bad, in some way, he seeks peace. When he kills another or takes his own life, he is seeking the way to peace just as he is when he gives his life for others. Peace is a Biblical value, which is realized only when the fullness of all good takes place: spiritual, psychological and physical.
In the end, peace is possible only where life is accepted, loved, respected and protected. That is why, once again, the family is either a place of peace, and thus, life or a place of destruction, and thus, of death. In the heart of Mary, - as the Queen of Peace and the new Eve, as the mother of all the living, - peace in the family is cherished.
For this reason, one of the main intentions of the prayer in the family is peace, which is especially threatened at this time. In addition to calling us to pray for peace, She invites us to fast. What will happen to the family and in the world depends in particular on prayer and fasting (July 25, 1991). At the time of the message of July 25, 1991, the storm of war had already flared up in Croatia. It is God who gives peace and defends from unrest and evil (December 25, 1992).
While God desires peace, because He is the fount of peace and through Mary invites us to fast and pray for peace, satan wants war, lack of peace, the destruction of all that is good in the heart, in the families and in the whole world (March 25,1993). Only with prayer can unrest and hatred be overcome and peace reign (April 25,1993).
In the Christmas message of 1994, Mary is the Mother who rejoices with us and prays with us for peace, for peace in our hearts, in our families, in our desires and in the whole world. She invokes the blessing of peace from the King of Peace, who alone can give peace. That is why we must finally come to understand that peace is Gods gift, which gives birth to love, as love does to peace (April 25,1996).
According to the visionaries, at the end of the apparition, Our Lady always says, "Go in peace, my angels!"
Visual Images About the Family
Just like Her Son, Mary uses images mainly from nature, so that She may more easily express what it is that She desires.
In the pre-Christmas message of December 20, 1984, She invites every family to bring a flower to Church and to place it beside the manger of the crib as an expression of abandonment to Jesus. In the message of May 1, 1996, She expresses Her desire for every family to become a harmonious flower, which She wishes to give to Jesus, and for every individual to be a petal of this flower in the realization of Gods plans. She gave this message at the beginning of May, a month full of flowers and of enchanting beauty in nature. In this image Mary expresses everything that She desires with our families and for family unity in general.
In April of 1993, She invites all of us to go into nature and to look at how nature is awakening so as to help us to open our hearts to God the Creator. Nature, which awakens from winter's sleep and awakens to a new life, is proof of the creative power of God and an inspiration to every heart and family, encouraging them to renewed hope and acceptance of life.
From the messages, it is clear to see where Mary is guiding the family and to what end She is educating it. Through Her protection and intercession, by the power of the spirit of God and the will of the Father, the family becomes a community of life, love and peace, a foretaste of heaven. It becomes the protection for the individual, and especially for children against a life without God.
Mary, the Mother of the family, and the Mother of the Church, cannot betray Her primary assignment, for by becoming the Mother of Jesus and the Mother of the Holy Family, She became the Mother of us all and the Mother of every family. Through Her intercession, God renews His 'small Church'. Wholehearted cooperation with Her gives birth to the ardently desired peace. Let it be so.
Fra. Slavko Barbaric
Fr. Slavko Barbaric was born in 1946 in Dragicina. At Visoko, Sarajevo and Schwaz (Austria), he studied Theology. He was ordained a priest in 1971. He received a doctorate in the area of religious pedagogy in 1982. From 1982 onwards he has been in Medjugorje. He has written many books and articles on spiritual matters. He works at the shrine. He has led numerous spiritual retreats and talks, and in many parts of the world he has held meetings on the theme of the happenings at Medjugorje.