Help for us to “Live the Fast” on
this Friday of the Third Week of Lent
We cannot live our fast without
prayer, or by forgetting that we are all important in fulfilling God’s plans –
for He chooses to need us.
This powerful Lenten homily about prayer,
fasting and conversion was given by Father Slavko Barbaric on April 26, 1986 in
May it be a grace for you, and may we not
forget to pray for one another and Our Lady’s intentions this day, as we read
and ponder Our Mother’s words:
In this message we have an example, “The elderly are especially important in the family.”
Guided by this message, I often ask myself and I ask you too, when did
you last tell some elderly person in the corner in our home, or in the
family: you are very important? Perhaps because we have never said this
they have lost every desire in life, and all joy in it. Many of them
have lived in the belief that someone is of value if they work, and
after retiring they lose the meaning of living, they lose joy, and they
feel of no importance.
Look at how Our Lady is educating us, how
she wants to open our eyes to each other’s needs. From my words, perhaps
from the words of a young person, depend the parent’s joy: and from the
words of a parent depend the children’s lives. So, you see how
important we are to each other, the life of another person can really
depend on me, on you. If we discover these values life will change and
perhaps we will have a new chance to discover and realize the nonsense
of our fights, our hate, our envy, of our being closed and looking just
for something for ourselves.
Our Lady said for the elderly people, “Urge them to pray.” These words must be understood in connection with the last words of this message. “Begin to change through prayer and you will know then what you need to do.”
Through this message, prayer is once again a way to discover that I am
important, that you are, that each one of us is. Through prayer, we can
discover what we must do.
In her last but one message, she said, “Dear children, I want to guide you completely.” Why say, I don’t know what to do? I am frightened. If Our Lady tells us seriously, “I want to guide you completely,” then we must give Her our hand. I am sure that by coming here this is what you want to do.
And now a few words for the young people. Our Lady is asking a lot from you. She said, “Let young people be an example to others by their lives and let them give witness to Jesus.”
you ask me how to give witness, I say, “Try.” How can you be an example
for Jesus? By testifying. Jesus has invited us to live a life full of
joy, of love for everyone, a life full of peace and a heart ready to
bring peace. Jesus has invited us all to forgive when we are offended
and not to be revenged; He has invited us to develop the gifts we have
been given by God, and this is particularly valid for young people.
have many possibilities of developing them. In the life of a young
person, all laziness, all letting one’s self go is really a sin against
the Holy Spirit. Our Lady has suggested two day’s fasting and prayer;
why? Not in order to annihilate us. If a trainer wants to get the young
people in his team ready, he doesn’t train them to reduce them to
nothing, but to prepare them in order to have a good team for the new
season. In the same way, Our Lady is asking certain things in order to
prepare you young people to be able to face up to life, not to make you
tired. We elderly can also be young on one condition, to be young in our
spirit and soul. Someone who wants to renew his life doesn’t lose hope
and even if difficulties come remains youthful.
What does Our
Lady want of us? She wants to help us to open our hearts to peace, be
ready to live the fullness of life; then it doesn’t matter how old we
We must be ready to open ourselves in prayer; as I open
myself when I am with a friend, so I open myself to God. If I don’t
spend time with someone, I will never open myself up; and it is the same
Now I beseech you all to begin to change yourselves
by prayer. I have already told you that Our Lady is asking for active
prayer; this means that she is inviting us to be changed. If we accept
the Word of God with our heart, then it will speak to us. The condition
required to accept it with a new heart is prayer. If you read the
messages you will realize that this is repeated in other words in every
But there is another important means available to us
and that is fasting. It is a specialty of Our Lady. All our cookery
recipes have become very complicated, but Our Lady has remained just as
two thousand years ago; She has not changed the recipes of her kitchen
which she is suggesting to us in our modern world where we have
everything available. She says: the ideal is bread and water. But the
stress is on bread.
When we come to Italy we find your
specialties and, when you come to Medjugorje, you find this specialty.
Why: Our Lady is not asking us for fasting because she is happy if we
are hungry. This is not so. This is the chance to live on bread and it
is an aspect, perhaps the first which we should discover, the
Eucharistic aspect of this fasting. By living on bread for two days a
week we will discover how important bread is and by discovering our
daily bread we will more easily be brought to realize our Eucharistic
bread. This will come to us step by step, slowly.
Fasting has its own value; it serves as a means, it serves us for our faith, for our prayer, for love and for reconciliation.
the Beatitudes Jesus said that those who are poor of heart before God
are blessed. He did not say blessed are those who do not have anything,
but those who are poor of heart. We can interpret this as meaning
blessed are all those who feel a need for God. This is what being poor
means, that is, open.
Today, the editors of … a local
magazine asked Vicka how Our Lady guides her, how she could describe
Our Lady: friend, mother, unapproachable being from above? Vicka
described her in the loveliest way, “Mary is Mother.”
they asked her, “What do you like most about this Mother?” She said, “Her
exceptional goodness and tenderness. She is a Mother who loves everyone
and wants us all to be saved, the whole of humanity.”
I tell you
this because we must understand that everything Our Lady offers us, she
offers to us as a mother who has understood and taken seriously the
words of Jesus, “Here is your son.” She has kept these words in her
heart. They are words which have moved Our Lady.
says, “She is asking a lot, it is not possible,” we must accept. Our
Lady loves us, and this is why she is inviting us, and I am sure that by
coming here you will have understood and accepted her voice and will
wish to continue.
I am inviting you. Our conversion will never be
finished. So, be patient with yourselves. Conversion means growing in
love, in peace, and in the spirit of prayer and penance.
us is able to say that they have already grown enough, cannot love any
more and cannot grow any further in faith?