Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Blog diary dates...


Next postings...

January 25, 2017
February 25, 2017
March 18, 2017


Pilgrimages and other updates HERE

Balthasar’s Bouquet


This edited article by Fr Richard Foley SJ first appeared in the 1988 winter edition of the Medjugorje Messenger.

• Cardinal-designate Urs von Balthasar died suddenly, aged 82 on June 26, 1988 – just two days before he was due to receive the red hat from Pope John Paul II, who had long been one of his warmest admirers.

“Medjugorje’s theology rings true. I am convinced of its truth. And everything about Medjugorje is authentic, in a Catholic sense. What’s happening there is so evident, so convincing.”

Bouquets seldom come more glowing than this one presented to the extraordinary little (Yugoslav) “world village” by the world-famous Swiss theologian.

Von Balthasar was a tall, gaunt man who wore his 80- plus years extremely lightly. What had long established him as a giant figure in the world of theology and culture was his profound learning combined with a wide vision. Also he had a unique gift for marrying up modernity with tradition. It came as no surprise when, in 1984, the Holy Father (whose favourite theologian Balthasar was) award him the prestigious “Paul VI prize” for theology.

Cardinal du Lubac hailed Balthasar as the most cultured mind of our generation. Not only as a theologian but as a friend, he was on close terms with the likes of Cardinal Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI). And it was another theological giant – Karl Rahner – who referred to what he called the “breathtaking versatility” of Balthasar’s writings.

His views on Medjugorje were expressed in sundry articles and private letters (including one to myself). And he developed these views in the course of a long interview he gave me in London.

To begin with, the Swiss theologian emphasised our liberty and right to go to Medjugorje on private pilgrimage. Pending the Church’s formal acceptance of Medjugorje, pilgrimages organised at an official level have rightly bee vetoed by the Yugoslav bishops as presumptuous and pre-emptive of the (expected) go-ahead.

Balthasar told me that he, too, had come across any number of people, including priests and even prelates, who dismiss Medjugorje as anything from irrelevant to impossible, yet have not taken a really hard look at the evidence. And he agreed with my verdict on theological liberals: they are illiberal enough to question the Mother of God’s freedom to appear where, when, and to whom she likes, and over as long a period of time as she likes.

Yet the ordinary faithful, he pointed out, see divine realities instantly and uncomplicatedly. This is thanks to their instinct for Heaven-sent truths; we refer to it technically as sensus fidelium. Not for nothing did Our Lord tell us that his Heavenly Father is wont to reveal things to plain, ordinary folk that blinkered wiseacres (some with theological degrees) miss by a mile.

For Balthasar, the clinching proof of Medjugorje’s genuineness is in the quantity and quality of its fruits. By going there on pilgrimage, or simply through such contacts as books, videos etc, countless thousands have received rich graces. These graces pertain to things like peace of mind, a deepening faith, the desire to pray more, courage to fast once or twice a week on bread and water (or hot drinks), the resolution to frequent the Sacraments regularly.

Incidentally, Balthasar noted how pastorally wise and opportune is Our Lady of Medjugorje’s recommendation of frequent confession as the very instrument to sanctify and renew the contemporary Church.

Given that the “fullness of faith” is a recurrent Balthasarian theme, it is not difficult to see why he accepted Medjugorje so wholeheartedly. For its message is thoroughly, uncompromising orthodox. And it nourishes within us respect for the Church’s divine authority. Nor could this be otherwise, seeing that the message comes from her whom Balthasar has styled “the mother and model of the Church, the immaculate Church; the heart and centre of the Communion of Saints.”

Another Balthasarian concept finds in Medjugorje a fresh and exciting expression. It is what he terms Theoramatik – “the drama of love being played out between God and the world.”

Looking at Medjugorje in the light of Balthasar’s concept, we can say that the God of love has transformed it into a theatre of holiness in which his Mother – leading lady in the divine drama – is teaching multitudes of people and helping them to make her message the very guiding star of their pilgrimage of faith, their lifelong adventure into the grace of God and the God of grace.

Closely linked with divine drama in Balthasar’s theological system is the communication of truth. And there’s certainly an abundance of this commodity to be found in Medjugorje. Its messages coincides and dovetails to a remarkable degree with what John the Baptist proclaimed in the Judaean dessert. In fact, the general Medjugorje message virtually amounts to the Gospel according to the Gospa (Croatian name for Our Lady).

Finally, Medjugorje’s message is shot with divine beauty – another key idea in Balthasar’s thinking. To apply it to Medjugorje, we canny say that beauty is abundantly manifest in that little favoured corner of Yugoslavia. It is in the hills, the fields, the stars that look down, the soft winds that blow across the plains. It is in the faces and hearts of those gracious people who live there. It is in the faith and prayer of the pilgrim throngs. It is in the vast Eucharistic assemblies and the haunting Slav hymns. It is in the patient lines of penitents seeking absolution. It is in the myriad of Aves that rise day and night.

Medjugorje’s beauty is, above all, in the glorified humanity and maternal love of Mary. The perfume of her holiness is everywhere. Her presence it is that permeates Medjugorje with “God’s better beauty – grace.”

Fr Richard Foley SJ

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Solemnity of the Mother of God

And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. (Luke 2 :20)

I was reminded by this statement from today’s Gospel reading of the time my wife first went to Medjugorje. It was in 1997. She had travelled there with a friend. I preferred to stay at home.

I met her at the airport on her return. She didn’t ask after the children or how things had been while she was away. Instead, her first words to me were: “Don’t ever tell me there isn’t a God!”

Like the shepherds in the Gospel reading, she had journeyed to meet with the Lord and had been blessed big-time, returning to glorify and praise God for all she had heard, seen, and experienced.


As for me, I pondered all that my wife had said in my heart, and three years later went to Medjugorje. It was exactly as I had been told.

Dear children! I want you to understand that I am your Mother, that I want to help you and call you to prayer. Only by prayer can you understand and accept my messages and practice them in your life. Read Sacred Scripture, live it, and pray to understand the signs of the times. This is a special time, therefore, I am with you to draw you close to my heart and the heart of my Son, Jesus. Dear little children, I want you to be children of the light and not of the darkness. Therefore, live what I am telling you. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, August 25, 1993

Friday, December 30, 2016

Resurrecting St Eligius


I’m currently studying the iconography of another Early Netherlandish painting known as “A Goldsmith in his Shop” by Petrus Christus. At one time it was accepted that the goldsmith depicted St Eligius but recent research has suggested otherwise.

However, my findings lead me to conclude that St Eligius does figure in the painting – as well as St Joan of Arc, the French heroine, a cardinal, a king, and a Greek god!

More details at Resurrecting St Eligius

Sunday, December 25, 2016

December Medjugorje message to Marija


Dear children! With great joy, today I am carrying my Son Jesus to you, for him to give you his peace. Open your hearts, little children, and be joyful that you can receive it.

Heaven is with you and is fighting for peace in your hearts, in the families and in the world; and you, little children, help with your prayers for it to be so.

I bless you with my Son Jesus and call you not to lose hope; and for your gaze and heart to always be directed towards Heaven and eternity.

In this way, you will be open to God and to his plans.

Thank you for having responded to my call.


December 25, 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Countdown to Christmas


Above is a section from The Census At Bethlehem painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1566. It shows Mary arriving at Bethlehem riding on a donkey. Even this small selection presents much to mediate on.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

St Lucy’s Day


Dear children! Today the Lord permitted me to tell you again that you live in a time of grace.

You are not conscious, little children, that God is giving you a great opportunity to convert and to live in peace and love.

You are so blind and attached to earthly things and think of earthly life.

God sent me to lead you toward eternal life.

I, little children, am not tired, although I see that your hearts are heavy and tired for everything that is a grace and a gift.

Thank you for having responded to my call.


Medjugorje message, October 25, 2006

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Bishop sets record straight on Medjugorje event


Italian bishop Fausto Tardelli has rejected claims that he approved of a recent Medjugorje prayer meeting in his Pistoia diocese.

The prayer meeting had been organsised by the The Sons of Mary in association with Medjugorje promoter Paolo Brosio and his charity Olympics of the Heart which is endeavouring to build a medical facility in Medjugorje.

Brosio had also expressed his appreciation of the bishop on his Facebook page, for giving “a positive opinion” to what the former TV presenter considered “an important prayer meeting”.

Within days after the event, however, Monsignor Tardelli issued a blunt denial to Brosio’s claim, saying he had not been properly informed nor permission asked, and on the information he had received had explicitly expressed some reservations.

The note issued by the Diocese concludes: “As long as the Church has not ruled definitively, [permission] is not granted in any parish church of the Diocese to spread the so-called messages of Our Lady, put statues or images depicting the so-called Madonna of Medjugorje, pray with formulas that call to it, arrange meetings with witnesses or alleged visionaries. They are however allowed pilgrimages, but in private – therefore not as a parish.”

Friday, December 02, 2016

Mirjana’s messages... trend continues


Monthly messages to Mirjana continue to expand.

Why?


2016... 12 messages averaging 240 words
2015... 12 messages averaging 220 words
2014... 12 messages averaging 217 words
2013... 12 messages averaging 204 words
2012... 12 messages averaging 162 words
2011... 12 messages averaging 144 words
2010... 12 messages averaging 89 words
2009... 9 messages averaging 85 words

Friday, November 25, 2016

Medjugorje message, November 25, 2016


Dear children! Also today, I am calling you to return to prayer.

In this time of grace, God has permitted me to lead you towards holiness and a simple life – that in little things you discover God the Creator; that you fall in love with him; and that your life be a thanksgiving to the Most High for everything he is giving you.

Little children, in love, may your life be a gift for others and God will bless you; but you, witness without interest – out of love for God.

I am with you and intercede before my Son for all of you.

Thank you for having responded to my call.


Medjugorje message, November 25, 2016

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Priests at the service of Medjugorje pilgrims

With his Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera published last weekend it is clear that Pope Francis has nixed any doubts about the legitimacy of pilgrimages to Medjugorje and priests travelling there to assist with administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Medjugorje has long been referred to as the “Confessional of the World” because of its renown as a “place of prayer and reconciliation”.

In his new Apostolic Letter issued at the end of the Extaordinary Jubilee Year, Pope Francis said:

“The Sacrament of Reconciliation must regain its central place in the Christian life. This requires priests capable of putting their lives at the service of the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18), in such a way that, while no sincerely repentant sinner is prevented from drawing near to the love of the Father who awaits his return, everyone is afforded the opportunity of experiencing the liberating power of forgiveness.”

Seven years ago, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, a member of the nine-man Council of Cardinals that serves to advise Pope Francis, said about Medjugorje:

“There are certainly strongholds of Confession today. I think particularly of Medjugorje. I dare speak of that because for 28 years it has become one of the greatest strongholds of Confession. Thousands and thousands of people go to Confession!”

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Presentation of Mary


Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.
• source: americancatholic.org

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King


Thou shalt know him when he comes
Not by any din of drums
Nor by the vantage of his airs
Nor by anything he wears
Neither by his crown
Nor his gown
For his presence known shall be
by the holy harmony
that his coming makes in thee.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Four simple questions...

Today, and every other day, I ask myself four simple questions.

1. In what way have I experienced or shared a joy today, be it only briefly?

2. In what way have I experienced or shared a moment of clarity and understanding?

3. In what way have I experienced or shared a sorrow or regret in my heart?

4. In what way have I marvelled at something special I witnessed or heard of?

Asking these four questions of oneself leads to understanding and accepting that every day is an opportunity to share and experience the wonderful graces of life’s mysteries associated with the Rosary… Joy, Light, Sorrow, and Glory.

Try asking these four questions for the next seven days and experience the difference this simple meditation makes in your life.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Cardinal Müller speaks on Medjugorje...

In an exclusive interview published on Monday in the Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller was questioned about Medjugorje:

“Medjugorje has become a global pilgrimage destination, but, at the same time, since its inception, has become a place of controversy in our local Church. What is the position of the Holy See, and you as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? Are the apparitions of supernatural character, and what is the fate of Medjugorje in the future?” 

The Cardinal responded: “When it comes to Medjugorje, we have to wait for an explanation and the decision of the highest authority of the universal Church. On the question of the supernatural character of the Medjugorje events, mature Catholic devotion and filial love for the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, does not depend on phenomena such as apparitions or messages. The real foundations of the Catholic faith with regard to Mary will always be her virginity and divine motherhood, her Immaculate Conception and Assumption as it emerges from reading the documents: Vatican II Lumen Gentium, chapter VIII, and the 1974 Apostolic Exhortation, Marialis Cultus, of Paul VI.”

New website... The Medjugorje Witness

I set up a new website recently:
THE MEDJUGORJE WITNESS

Its purpose is threefold:
(1) To publish Our Lady’s monthly messages to the world given through the Medjugorje seer Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti.
(2) To publish the testimonies and experiences of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje.
(3) To announce details of pilgrimages to Medjugorje.

However, there are other features as well which I shall continue to add to. Click or tap the image below – www.themedjugorjewitness.org


Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Listening to the call...


By listening, I place myself in a position to listen to others, those who have no voice, who are marginalised; listening to those who are close to me, who often become frustrated because of my ‘deafness’; listening to the Word of God with open ears and heart; listening through prayer and fasting. It is only by listening that I am able to respond. This is why Our Lady always says at the end of her messages: “Thank you for responding to my call.” If I listen, I will respond. If I don’t listen, then there will be little or no response – and then I shall find myself walking into brick walls because with deafness comes blindness.

Not listening has its consequences. What happens when a husband and wife fail to listen to each other, or when parents fail to listen to their children, or children fail to listen to parents? And then there are the times we complain about the state of the world or our circumstances. Is nobody listening? Can’t anyone do something? It can be very frustrating when no-one wants to listen to us. There are even moments when we wrongly conclude that God and Our Lady are not listening.

But what I have come to understand is that not listening is the first sign of a closed heart. Our Lady says that we do not know how to love because we do not know how to listen to her words with love. She says she has come to earth to teach us to listen out of love, to listen and to live her messages.

“May your heart be prepared to listen to, and live, everything which the Holy Spirit has in his plans for each of you.”

Monday, November 07, 2016

Eight years on...


I wrote this piece eight years ago. Have hearts changed? Has mine?

• Over the next couple of days the American people will choose a new president, a new leader to steer their country through its current difficulties for the next four years. Much will be expected of the man [or woman] chosen by the electorate. The outcome will also be of significant importance to the rest of the world. Both candidates have expressed the need for important changes to be made to meet the needs of the people, and the “Change We Need!” slogan of Barack Obama, has been very much to the forefront throughout the long campaign.

Our Lady, in her Medjugorje messages, has also been conducting a long-running campaign for change – for 27 years. She also recognises the difficulties that we find ourselves in and presents a solution for our needs. She too wants to lead us to a better future. She also makes promises, that if we listen and respond to her messages, then she will lead us to a place in our life where we can live in peace.

But just as in the U.S. election where the candidate requires a “yes” from the voter, so also does Our Lady need our mandate, our ‘yes’. If we decide for Our Lady and her plan of salvation then she promises to lead us. As to where and how, allow Our Lady to voice some of her manifesto:

• I desire to lead you, but you do not wish to listen to my messages...
• I wish to lead you further in love...
• I wish to lead you daily more and more in prayer...
• I desire to lead you on the way of holiness...
• I want to lead you all along the way of conversion...
• I am here, dear children, to help you and to lead you to heaven...
• Be of just and innocent heart that I may lead you to your Father...
• I wish to renew you and lead you with my heart to the heart of Jesus...
• Listen to me and permit me to lead you to this in a motherly way...
• Give your hand to me, your mother, and permit me to lead you...
• I come to you today to lead you on the way of humility and meekness...
• I will be with you and will lead you...
• I am with you, to lead you towards what your heart yearns for...
• I desire to lead you to the joy of your life...
• With my love I will teach you simplicity of life and richness of mercy and I will lead you to my Son...

Allowing Our Blessed Mother to lead us will bring change, a continual conversion of our heart – ‘change we need’.

• Today I call you to give me your heart so I can change it to be like mine...
• Pray with your whole heart and day by day to change your life...
• God blesses you day after day and desires a change of your life...
• I invite you to change your life because you have taken a path of misery, a path of ruin...
• I call you to begin to change your life from the beginning and that you decide for conversion not with words but with your life...
• Little children, in the silence of the heart, remain with Jesus, so that He may change and transform you with His love...
• Conversion will be easy for all who desire to accept it...
• Dear children, I am calling you individually to conversion...

And just as the politicians point out the dangers of following the wrong leader, so does Our Lady warn us about the danger of making the wrong choice:

• You should not allow him (satan) to lead you and your life...
• These days Satan wants to frustrate my plans. Pray that his plan not be realised...
• Satan wants to work still more fiercely to take away your joy from each one of you...

• Dear children, do not allow Satan to get control of your hearts...

• Satan is strong and wants to destroy and deceive you in many ways...

• Pray, because Satan wants to destroy my plans of peace...

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

What does Our Lady say about Purgatory?


We all want to believe that our deceased friends and loved ones are now happy and at peace with God in Heaven, and yet the Catholic Church teaches in its Catechism that: All who die in God’s friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. (1030)

So what exactly is this place or state of purification which the Church calls Purgatory? And are we all destined to go there, or is there any hope of a direct route into Heaven?

Although Our Lady speaks little about Purgatory in her 35 years of giving messages at Medjugorje, she does confirm its reality and also that it is not necessarily a place that we are all destined for. She also stresses the importance of prayer for the purification of souls in Purgatory. In 1982 she responded to a question concerning Purgatory: There are many souls in Purgatory. There are also persons who have been consecrated to God – some priests, some religious. Pray for their intentions, at least the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be, seven times each, and the Creed. I recommend it to you. There is a large number of souls who have been in Purgatory a long time because no one prays for them. July 21, 1982

A few days later Our Lady stressed the importance of the Sacraments in bypassing Purgatory. Responding to question about a person being bad all one’s life and asking forgiveness, she said: Whoever has done very much evil during his life can go straight to Heaven if he confesses, is sorry for what he has done, and receives Communion at the end of his life. July 24, 1982

Only once in all of Our Lady’s weekly and monthly messages does she request prayers for the souls in Purgatory. Dear children, today I wish to call you to pray daily for the souls in Purgatory. For every soul, prayer and grace is necessary to reach God and the love of God. By doing this, dear children, you obtain new intercessors who will help you in life to realise that all earthly things are not important for you, that only Heaven is that for which it is necessary to strive. Therefore, dear children, pray without ceasing that you may be able to help yourselves and the others to whom your prayers will bring joy. Thank you for having responded to my call. November 6, 1986

So from these few messages alone we can gather certain facts about Purgatory.
1. Purgatory exists.
2. Many souls go there – even priests!
3. A sense of time exists.
4. Souls in Purgatory are in need of our prayers.
5. Our prayers create joy for souls in Purgatory.
6. We can bypass Purgatory through receiving the Sacraments.
7. By praying for the souls in Purgatory we receive new intercessors.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween... NO MASKS IN HEAVEN


God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. Genesis 1 : 27

I am your Mother, little children, and I do not want satan to deceive you for he wants to lead you the wrong way, but he cannot if you do not permit him. Therefore, little children, renew prayer in your hearts, and then you will understand my call and my desire to help you. part message, July 25, 1993

One of the wonders of a pilgrimage to Medjugorje is to discover how quickly we discard the many masks we choose to don in life and hide behind. For first-timers this process may take a few days to happen; but most returning pilgrims seldom have need to masquerade anymore. Their hearts have already been exposed on previous visits having received the revealing light of knowledge that they are truly loved by God. They are not ashamed to be naked in front of each other. Everything is as God intended. What need is there for masks in heaven?

Hearts of all conditions, shapes and sizes are clearly visible and on display in Medjugorje, and even more prominently the hearts hiding their nakedness behind revealing fig-leaf masks.

First-time pilgrims arrive in Medjugorje for a number of different reasons. Often these reasons serve as a mask to disguise the real need to discover and meet with God in our lives. Whatever the pretence, whatever the colour and pattern of the mask, God does not disappoint. Rather, he surprises! We discover him in the most unexpected ways and places, especially in Medjugorje.

Of course there are places to hide in Medjugorje but God calls out: “Where are you” (as if he didn’t know already, but is asking only for us to acknowledge him and respond to his call). In Medjugorje, we find ourselves responding to God’s call big-time! We learn there is no longer a need to hide and be fearful because when God’s call comes, it is a loving call, not a call of condemnation or threat. It is the call of the Father. The Loving Father reveals himself to us. He does not allow the world to place him behind a mask, to disguise or hide him, to distort him in a way that the serpent desires to present. Our Father is a God of revelation. He is with us. He refuses to hide from his children. Seek and you shall find.

I experience a great and simple pleasure each time I visit Medjugorje. I always make a point of trying to be late for breakfast on the first morning. That way, when I leave my room to head down the tiled staircase, I can hear the wonderful and joyous sound of chattering and excited voices echoing from the breakfast room up the stairwell. And when I enter the dining room it’s like entering a classroom of young, happy children. There isn’t the silence broken only by scraping knives and forks on plates as one would hear in a normal hotel breakfast room. Already the masks are beginning to be discarded. Hearts are opening up to each other, and as the week progresses the communal sharing, excitement and joy at meal times continues, even after the most tiring of days.

I wore a mask, many in fact, for about four days on my first pilgrimage. On the fifth day I even used the cover of darkness as a mask. In fact, at the time of tears I was so grateful that no one could see me weeping that night at the Blue Cross. How naive I was to believe that darkness would protect me from others knowing that God had entered my life in such a special way at that moment, or even thinking that God shut shop when darkness descended. Such was my ignorance at that time, still trying to hide. There was no longer to be a hiding place for me. From the moment I was conscious of the wonderful gift of God’s love and understanding which immediately flowed into my heart and soul after the tearful awareness of my sinful nature, I have seldom felt the need to want to hide or mask myself anymore, certainly not to hide from God who knows me better than I know myself and daily teaches and reveals to me more about his never-ending love.

Now I know and accept that I cannot “hide” any more. I searched for the love of God for much of my life but without really knowing what I was searching for. I thank God for the souls and witnesses that led me to Medjugorje, a grace-filled garden where God walks and reveals himself to all who masquerade.


Jesus replied, “You may go and give that fox this message: Learn that today and tomorrow I cast out devils and on the third day attain my end.” Luke 13 : 32