Thursday, January 9, 2014

Our Lady's Little Stone: The Eucharist

The large number of priests who concelebrate and attend Mass in Medjugorje, at the Evening Prayer Program at the back
altar of Saint Jame's Church

Our Lady's "little stone" of the "Eucharist" is a continuation on a series of posts on the spiritual weapons Our Lady has given us in Medjugorje. If you are relatively new to the apparitions at Medjugorje, Our Lady first appeared to six children in the summer of 1981, giving them messages for the world. These children became the six visionaries of Medjugorje: Mirjana Soldo, Ivanka Elez, Jakov Colo, Ivan Dragicevic, Vicka Mijatovic, and Marija Lunetti.

In the early days, the apparitions and messages were given on a daily basis, which continued until 1984, when Our Lady began to appear and give messages once a week on Thursday. In 1987, Our Lady began to give messages on the 25th of each month to Marija, which still continues to this day. Our Lady also gives messages on the second of each month to Mirjana, and asks for prayers for "unbelievers," those who have yet to know and receive God's love. Of the six, only three continue to receive daily appearances: Ivan, Marija and Vicka. Mirjana, Ivanka and Jakov no longer see Our Lady everyday, but at specific times of the year.

Our Lady's messages are so important and have received so much international attention, that today over 40 million pilgrims have gone to and become spiritually adopted by Medjugorje. The photo above captures just some of those pilgrims, the international youth at the Medjugorje Youth Festival.

There is so much peace and hope emanating from Medjugorje that it has clearly become the spiritual center of the world: where confessions are heard daily, where the entire Rosary is recited daily, where pilgrims arrive daily, where people find the answers to life questions, where conversions occur, where faith and hope is restored, where there are vocations to the priesthood and religious life, where there are all types of healing, where miracles occur everyday, all of which are just some of the fruits harvested in this spiritual orchard we affectionately refer to as Medjugorje.  

Perhaps one of the biggest attractions for pilgrims is to be present at Our Lady's apparition at the Blue Cross on the second of each month. The visionary who receives Our Lady is Mirjana Soldo, who not only needs a personal team of body guards to escort her to the Blue Cross, but is provided with a fenced-off pathway to allow her, and others granted permission to be near her at the Blue Cross, to ascend and wait for Our Lady.

Pilgrims typically prepare for Our Lady's arrival with songs and prayers, but all eyes are on Mirjana, and upon Our Lady's arrival when Mirjana becomes obviously engaged in the apparition, the entire area becomes immediately silent. After the apparition, Mirjana collects herself and dictates Our Lady's message to her friend and Miki, who then reads it to the pilgrims and later sends Her message to be translated and published for the international community. 

There are hundreds of messages that have been given over the years, but here is the core message that is of particular importance, the message regarding Our Lady's Little Stones:
Dear children, I invite you for your individual conversion. This time is for you! Without you God's plan cannot be realized. Dear children grow day by day closer to God through prayer. I give you the weapon against your Goliath. Here are your little stones:
  • Pray The Rosary With Your Heart - A daily recitation of the entire Rosary, that is, the Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries. 
  • Eucharist - Receive the Eucharist on Sunday and when possible, go to daily Mass.
  • Holy Bible - Read the Bible everyday 
  • Fasting - The best fast recommended by Our Lady is, "bread and water" and to be done on Wednesdays and Fridays, from midnight to midnight (the entire day) 
  • Monthly Confession 
When Our Lady's refers to "your Goliath" she is referring to Satan. The reference of "Goliath" is an analogy from the First Testament account of David's fight against Goliath (1 Samuel 17), when God gave David little stones to hurl at Goliath. David used the stones and was victorious over a much stronger and larger opponent. We are to do likewise with the little stones Our Lady has given us, against our opponent, Satan.

The general message of the Eucharist that Our Lady has given us, is that we are to go to Mass and receive the Eucharist every Sunday, and when possible on a daily basis. Our Lady has emphasized how important Mass is with Her communication to the visionaries, when Our Lady instructed them that, if they had a choice between seeing Her or going to Mass, they must choose Mass. Our Lady has reinforced the importance of the Mass by stating that the "Mass is the greatest prayer of God..." (1983)

The remainder of this post lists some of the specific messages from Our Lady regarding the Holy Mass:

  • Prepare and Give Thanks For Mass (October 1984): When you go to Mass, your trip from home to church should be a time of preparation for Mass. You should also receive Holy Communion with an open and pure heart, with purity of heart, and with openness. Do not leave the church without an appropriate act of thanksgiving.
  • Prepare For Mass (1985): You do not celebrate the Eucharist, as you should. If you would know what grace, and what gifts you receive, you would prepare yourselves for it each day, for an hour at least. You should go to confession once a month.  You should consecrate three days to reconciliation, each month: the first Friday of the month, followed by Saturday and Sunday.
  • Let Holy Mass Be Your Life (April 25, 1988): Dear Children! God wants to make you holy. Therefore, through me He is inviting you to complete surrender. Let holy mass be your life. Understand that the church is God's palace, the place in which I gather you and want to show you the way to God. Come and pray. Neither look at others nor slander them, but rather, let your life be a testimony on the way of holiness. Churches deserve respect and are set apart as holy because God, who became man, dwells in them day and night. Therefore, little children, believe and pray that the Father increase your faith, and then ask for whatever your need. I am with you and I rejoice because of your conversion and I am protecting you with my motherly mantle.
  • Live The Holy Mass (April 3, 1986): Dear children, I wish to call you to a living of the Holy Mass. There are many of you who have sensed the beauty of the Holy Mass, but there are also those who come unwillingly. I have chosen you, dear children, but Jesus gives you His graces in the Mass. Therefore, consciously live the Holy Mass and let your coming to it be a joyful one. Come to it with love and make the Mass your own.
  • Be Reverent At Mass (February 19, 1982): Listen attentively at Holy Mass. Be well mannered. Do not chat during Holy Mass.
  • Pray To The Holy Spirit Beforehand: The Blessed Virgin tells Jelena that the Mass should always be accompanied by prayers to the Holy Spirit. Before Mass it is necessary to pray to the Holy Spirit.
  • Don't Make Holy Mass A Habit (January 25, 1998): May Holy Mass, little children, not be a habit for you, but life. By living Holy Mass each day, you will feel the need for holiness and you will grow in holiness. I am close to you and intercede before God for each of you, so that He may give you strength to change your heart.
  • Don't Hurry To Leave The Church (February 4, 1984): There are...some soon as Mass had ended, they are in a hurry to leave the church. That is not good. That way they will never be able to give themselves completely (to me). It is not good for them to linger about the church. One must be pious and set a good example for others.
  • Unceasingly Adore The Most Blessed Sacrament Of The Altar (March 15, 1984):  Unceasingly adore the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I am always present when the faithful are adoring. Special graces are then being received.
  • Spend Time In Prayer And Adoration: Dear children!  I call you to work on your personal conversion. You are still far from meeting God in your heart. Therefore, spend all the more time in prayer and Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, for Him to change you and to put into your hearts a living faith and a desire for eternal life. Everything is passing, little children, only God is not passing. I am with you and I encourage you.

Let us embrace Our Lady's Eucharistic messages and allow the Mass to become the summit of our Catholic worship. In so doing, we not only become witnesses that we belong to Our Lady by living her messages, but by praying in front of the Eucharist (personal or group adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament), we encounter the true presence of Christ.

This is Christ's gift to humanity, and an opportunity to make daily contact with the wellspring of grace. (Saint John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 25).

Our Lady Queen of Peace, pray for us.

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