Father Jozo Zovko always compares the few basic messages of the Blessed Mother to powerful weapons against the enemy: “As little David won over the big Goliath with his sling-shot and five stones,” he explains. “In the same way we may defeat Evil by living the five main messages of Our Lady.”
These five stones are: Prayer Fasting Holy Bible Confession Holy Eucharist
MESSAGE OF MARCH 25, 2007
“In God you will find true peace through daily prayer.”
Fr. Jozo told a group of pilgrims, "Your family is a desert. It lacks water. You have human rights, you have jobs, many of you have money but you do not have the blessing of God. Why is there such pain in your families? Why is there no joy? When did this desert come? When you said that you had no time to pray, the light inside your families turned off!".
Visionary Jakov loved to play soccer with his friends. When he was still a child, Our Lady told him to never stop praying and to offer to God short words from the heart while walking to school or playing with his friends. The next day, Jakov was organizing a game among friends. Before he started playing, he remembered what Our Lady had told him the evening before but he didn't feel like praying. He was so eager to start the game! As a little compromise, Jakov recited a very quick Hail Mary in order not to sadden Our Lady. That day, when she appeared to him, she showed him a man in China who was dying. He was a very wicked, hard-hearted man, and he was heading right to Hell. But Our Lady said to Jakov that she was grateful for the prayer he offered before the game, even though it was a quick one because with it she could obtain a grace for this man: his heart had changed just before dying and he was saved thanks to little Jakov.
As a mom, Our Lady never ceases to tell and repeat to her children the things they need to have for the rest of their life. Our Lady calls us to pray with the heart, because God sees the heart.
November 25, 1987
“…Pray, because in prayer each one of you will be able to achieve complete love…”
July 25, 1997
“Only in this way will you comprehend that your life is empty without prayer. You will discover the meaning of your life when you discover God in prayer.”
March 28, 1985
“In prayer you shall perceive the greatest joy and the way out of every situation that has no exit.”
August 25, 1992
“I love you with my maternal love and I invite you to open yourselves completely to me so that, through each one of you, I can convert and save this world which is full of sin and bad things.”
March 25, 1988
“In a special way I call you: Pray, because only through prayer will you be able to overcome your will and discover the will of God even in the smallest things.”
June 12, 1986
“You, dear children, wish to obtain graces, but you are not praying. I am not able to help you because you do not want to get started.”
November 8, 1984
“If you only knew how great are the graces God is granting you, you would be praying without ceasing.”
MESSAGE OF JANUARY 25, 2001
“Little children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil.”
In every school we have fire extinguishers to put out fires, and in every home we have aspirin for headaches. Fasting is like a fire extinguisher or an aspirin. We can use it to fight against the evil that is developing within us, within our family, within our society and within the Church. Our Lady said, “Through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the laws of nature.” We don’t pay enough attention to this message! This means that disasters such as avalanches, earthquakes, and landslides can be avoided if someone in a threatened village would only fast.
Sr Emmanuel tells us that this message also applies to the natural laws of our body. She often relates the story of an American nurse. She was stuck in a very sinful life. She would go with any man that came across her path. Even though she was baptized, she had no faith. She went to Catechism as a child, but forgot everything. There was no God in her life. In the hospital where she worked there was a doctor who came to Medjugorje and converted radically. When he returned home, he started to live the messages with his heart. He recognized that the poor woman needed his help. He decided to fast for her conversion. He fasted four years on her behalf! One day, in deep despair, she decided to commit suicide. As a nurse, she knew exactly the quantity of pills it would take to ensure her death. She swallowed the pills and went to bed, expecting to die. But in the morning she awoke in perfect health. She felt no negative effects from the pills! It was as if she drank milk before going to bed. She was so shocked to still be alive and the thought immediately came to her, ‘Somebody wants me to live.’ She considered, ‘Maybe it’s God who wants me to live?’ So she reflected on God and wondered, ‘Why does God want me to live?’ And then she came to the point, ‘Maybe He loves me.’ She returned to work and felt compelled to tell this story to the doctor. Only then did the doctor realize the effect of his fasting. Through his fasting, he allowed God to work miracles in the nurse’s life. So he spoke to her about God. Before the incident, she would reject everything he said related to God. After this event her heart was open to hear about God’s mercy. She immediately understood that the doctor’s fasting had prevented the natural chemical laws of medicine from acting in her body. The doctor told her, “Go to Medjugorje.” She came to Medjugorje and Our Lady showed immense love for her and even appeared to her! She couldn’t believe that the Mother of God would manifest herself to such an impure person. The nurse fell deeply in love with Our Lady and went to confession. She confessed all of her sins and from that day forward changed her life. Now she is an apostle of Our Lady in America. She says, “I was born in Medjugorje.”
Fasting also prepares us to work for God and to accomplish His will. Think of Jesus in the Gospel, for example. Each scene in His life shows us the Father’s careful preparation of His Son for the Cross. His Baptism by John in the river Jordan marked the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Instead of attending to the people right away, where did He go? He was driven into the desert by the Spirit where He remained for forty days, fasting and living among wild beasts. At the end of this period Satan tempted Jesus three times, trying to compromise His obedience to the will of the Father. Jesus was prepared through fasting and could carry out the plan of God for His life. Everyone has been given a special mission to fast by Our Lady, even priests. I was graced to meet Fr. Zdenko, a holy Franciscan priest who lived in Siroki Brijeg, near Medjugorje. He slept on the floor and fasted regularly. Through his ascetic ways and unending love for God, he obtained many favors from the Lord. He not only had the gift of healing, but he could read peoples’ souls as well. In spite of his rustic ways, he became immensely popular, ministering to people from all over ex-Yugoslavia who came to visit him. If someone had a problem, they would need only his blessing to be better and sometimes healed. He was so well loved that when he passed away, thousands came to his funeral mass. One of my Croatian friends from Medjugorje, Ivica Dodig, told me the following story from her grandmother, who was a childhood friend of Fr. Zdenko. One day the Lord spoke to this humble priest and said, “Zdenko, would you accept to fast on bread and water for seven years?” He answered, “Yes.” He then fasted for seven years and on the last day of the seventh year the Lord spoke to him again, “Zdenko, would you accept to add an eighth year to your fast?” Again he said, “Yes.” Guess what the date was of the last day of the eighth year? June 24, 1981 - the date of the first apparition in Medjugorje! It’s needless to give any more explanations. Who knows how the great works of God are prepared? Only in heaven will we find out these secrets.
What was so special about this man? He prayed and fasted with all his heart, listening to God’s needs and working with Him! And see how many lives were saved! We too can do so much good through prayer and fasting! Our Mother warns us that peace is particularly threatened these days. She is asking us to renew fasting and prayer, and to realize that much of what will happen depends on our prayers. By teaching us to fast, Our Mother is giving us the key to God’s mercy and heart! This act of mercy enlarges our hearts. Not only will we be fasting for our child, our husband, our wife or our parish priest, but we will also be enlarging our heart to the dimensions of God’s heart. Fasting urges us to grow in humility and to forgive one another. Through prayer and fasting, the Lord strengthens His Divine Presence in us and His powerful Spirit reaches all those who are in need throughout the world. Fasting is like invisibly taking people who are walking in darkness by the hand and communicating light and joy to them. It helps them to bend down on their knees and say, “O Father, I thank you for the gift of life and for the joy of life that I have found again.” We’ll become the extended hands of God for the unbelievers who wander in darkness today.
What a great mercy fasting on bread and water is for those who cannot pray for themselves. Those souls who have preceded us beyond the veil and are now in Purgatory suffer immensely. Through Mary we understand that fasting is a very powerful instrument. Fasting, among other sacrifices, creates a beautiful link between the living and the dead. In 1983, when Mary spoke to the visionaries regarding the souls in Purgatory, she said, “These people are waiting for your prayers and your sacrifices”
Fasting is indeed a special door to God's power. It is way for us to be Freed and Healed. Fasting works miracles. But it has been forgotten in the West and the consequences of such a loss are disastrous! Doors in the Church and the world, that were closed before, thanks to the fasting of the faithful in the Church, have been opened to the enemy. Fasting, it seems, is the rejected message. Our Mother is pleading, “The best fast is on bread and water. Only through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the laws of nature. Not even works of charity can replace fasting. Those who are not able to fast can sometimes replace it with prayer, charity, and confession; but everyone, except the sick, has to fast.” (July 6, 1982)
August 14, 1984
“And to fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays…”
July 25, 1982
“For the cure of the sick... it is important to fast on bread and water.”
July 25, 1991
“I seek from you to renew fasting and prayer in your families.”
October 25, 2000
“I desire to renew prayer with you and to call you to fast. I desire to offer them to my Son Jesus for the coming of a new time – a time of spring.”
MESSAGE OF AUGUST 25, 1993
"Dear Children . . .Read the Sacred Scriptures, live them and pray, so that you can recognize the signs of these times. This period is a special time. That is why I am with you, to bring you close to my Heart, and to the Heart of my son Jesus. Dear Little Children, I desire that you be children of light and not of darkness."
In the land of Herzegovina, the communist regime cast a very disapproving eye on the presence of the Bible in families. For the Croatian believers, owning a Bible meant being in the possession of a treasure beyond price, but a hidden treasure! In actuality, the persecution was so severe that most families buried their Bible. One or more times a year, in great secrecy, they took the risk of taking it out of its hiding place and reading several passages from it with veneration. Sometimes, a person who knew how to read and write hurriedly copied several verses with which to nourish himself for long months.
One day, the authorities demanded that those who possessed Bibles bring them forward. Those who refused risked prison if they were discovered. The others were reduced to tears over their Bibles, which were burned in public places amidst the sounds of blasphemies screamed by militants. There remained for the circle of believers only the hearing of the Word during Sunday Mass, with – and this is what saved them! – those long homilies of the Franciscans, who knew how to distill this Living Word for the courageous who came to Mass. As for those who had the audacity to keep a Bible in spite of the interdiction, they saw in this treasure, hidden like the richest of riches, a personal link between their family and the things of God, a heavenly heritage which allowed them to endure in hope.
In 1981, when the apparitions began, the regime clamped down again, and this is when the Queen of Peace launched her bomb . . . " Dear Children, you have forgotten the Bible! Put the Bible in a visible place in your homes. Read several verses each day and put these verses into practice during your day. Let the people who come into your homes be able to see the Bible and read passages from it with you. In that way, you will be able to talk about God together . . "
We must admit: none of us "foreigners" understood the revolutionary importance of this message. We were ignorant of its context! Father Jozo Zovko, when speaking about the messages of Our Lady often repeats this message, noting that Our Lady repeated it to him five times. He said: “I have seen many mothers crying over the death of a child, but never have I seen a sorrow like that of the Gospa when she said: “You have forgotten the Bible !” Father Jozo added: “Let the father of the family read a passage from the Gospel each day to his children before dinner. When he has finished, let him close the Book and kiss it. Because when he kisses the Gospel, it is Jesus he kisses.”
Jesus is the Living Word. He is the Word through whom all was created. The Mother of God does not differentiate between Jesus and the Bible; she knows their identities. To forget the Bible is to cast Jesus aside, to scorn him. It is, also, to allow our consciences to soak in other words, which do not give us Divine life and which – too often – poison us. The person who absorbs the Word of Life enriches himself with "antibodies" which know how to reject the words of death fabricated by our false, media-driven gods in their encounter with the human soul. Money, perversion, will power, Satanism, disordered sex, violence . . . all these in various media placed prominently in our homes! All our visitors can see them or read them and talk about them with us! We have forgotten Jesus. We have forgotten the Bible!
Each of us knows that he has a body; he feels it, he touches it, it's a tangible reality; he cares for it and maintains it according to his own principles. Every person knows that he has a heart – a sensitive heart, especially when he suffers; it is real, although invisible. He attempts to satisfy this heart, but already those personal principles escape him in part. Each of us knows that he has a brain; he can reflect and compare his intellectual capacity with that of other brains. He attempts to enrich it with diverse knowledge in keeping with his own attractions or necessities. But the soul? Who really knows that he has a soul? Who feels his soul? Who perceives the hunger, the thirst, the needs and desires of his soul? Who realizes that these desires are infinitely more powerful, more vital than those of his body, of his intelligence, or of his heart? Why this insensibility, this rock-hard indifference, in a word, this ignorance?
Yes, there exists an immense, marvelous castle behind that heavy buffet in our concierge-like room, where, in spite of the television, our videos, and our social life, our romances and our distractions, in spite of our comfort and the fact of having "everything we need", there is something deep inside of us that is bored to death. And we prefer not to get too close to the edge of this boredom for fear of getting dizzy. . .
Here I have to sit down for five minutes, take my head in my hands, and bravely ask myself the real question: What do I want for my life? Because, what I decide to be today, is what I will be at the end of the journey and for eternity.
- Option 1: I stay as I am. I will live confined in my little tangible, fleeting world. I will try to take from it several flashes of happiness, and when time and aging have done their work and everything is taken from me, well . . . I don't want to know. I'll see it soon enough!
- Option 2: I sense that I am bigger than my little concrete and ephemeral world. I aspire to live an unfailing, eternal love; and, if I am capable of desiring it, it must exist. So I'm going to look for it, and I'm going to find it!
The Bible is my key for the second option, the life option: by way of the Bible, I am going to "explore God" and through that, at the same time, my own depths, my secret dimensions. I'm going to discover my friends (my enemies, also!) and know how much I am loved. I begin very humbly to wander through this mysterious Book, because I arrived at it like a sight-impaired, hearing-impaired, motor-impaired person. I explore my Bible by trial and error, I get blocked, I get discouraged sometimes, but here and there, yes, a word touches me, a word nourishes me, a new room in my secret house is illuminated! What beauty I discover! And I didn't know…I continue my exploration and I go from beauty to beauty. Then my soul finally begins to budge; it eats, it drinks, it absorbs its heavenly manna and unfolds in concert with its own harmony. My soul manifests itself to me. It exists, and it is my soul! What a revelation!
MESSAGE OF NOVEMBER 25, 1998
“…May holy Confession be the first act of conversion for you and then, dear children, decide for holiness. May your conversion and decision for holiness begin today and not tomorrow. Little children, I call you all to the way of salvation and I desire to show you the way to Heaven…”
The blessed Mother doesn't replace the priest, she acts as an assistant to the priest. Indeed, she prepares the hearts of her children so that they may make a good confession. In Medjugorje, some visiting priests are not quite sure that Our Lady is really coming. But when they spend time in the confessionals, hearing the deep conscience of the faithful, they are amazed to witness the grace given to them. They can touch Our Lady's work and many of them say that they are renewed in the grace of their priesthood!
As for the faithful, countless are the reports of inner and physical healings after a good confession: Cancer, depression, addictions of all kinds, anxieties and obsessions are just a few examples.As a mother, the Gospa teaches us how to live the Sacraments also through tangible and striking examples. Marija loves to tell this story, because it signaled a profound change for the entire village of Medjugorje. It was August 1981, a “hot” summer in every sense of the word – not only was the wind itself sultry, but the tempers of the Communist Militia were anything but cool!
There was no way to silence the visionaries, despite the formal order that they had received ordering them to say that they had seen nothing, that it was all a tissue of lies, and that from then on their lips were sealed. But the visionaries wouldn’t be silenced. And Vicka is the worst. Even though she was ordered to stay home and fade out of sight, she often went up on the roof of her house and shouted the latest messages of the Gospa in those decibels she is famous for- she didn’t need a loudspeaker. There is nothing in the world that could make Vicka shrink from the mission that the Gospa entrusted to her and the other five: “Tell the people...”
The militia men guarding her house were at their wits’ end. Some even converted when the voice of their Mother pierced the sometimes weak armor of their hearts. But these were quickly sent away to Zagreb or Sarajevo, or to prison. Since the visionaries refused to shut up, the militia decided to make the hill off limits to the people. They put ropes up at the foot of Podbrdo so that the crowds could no longer go up for the daily apparitions. But the Gospa was wise. She had foreseen the event play out and she reorganized her plan. “Tomorrow,” she told the visionaries, “I will appear to you in Gumno’s field. Tell the villagers to come with you.” “Today, all those who want to, can come and touch me,” she told the visionaries. “But how can they?” answered the children. “How can they touch you when they can’t even see you! We’re the only ones who can see you!”
“Bring them over to me yourselves, one by one, and that way they will be able to touch me.”
This was news! The visionaries were dumbfounded, but they did as she asked. The villagers were stupefied and overjoyed, and, guided by the visionaries, they put their hand on the Blessed Mother’s shoulder, on her head, her veil, her arms. Each person felt her actual presence, though they could neither see nor hear her. Some felt something warm when they touched her, others something cold, something like an electric current, but indefinable. The level of emotion was astronomic, unforgettable!
During this unbelievable scene the visionaries noticed that some dirty stains were beginning to appear on Mary’s robe. The spots became bigger and bigger, and soon the robe was really getting dirty. The Gospa’s face began to look sad. Something was wrong. It wasn’t normal that Our Lady was sad and her mantle was becoming dirty! The visionaries were noticeably more and more agitated at the sight. “Gospa! Your robe is all dirty!” “Those marks are the sins of the people who are touching me,” she answered humbly. Like all children, the visionaries were bossy. On top of that they are Croatian, and they are madly in love with their Queen. “Stop touching the Gospa!” they hollered at the villagers. “Stop it!”
Then the Blessed Mother told them of the necessity of everyone to go to Confession. “There is no one on earth who does not need to go to confession at least once a month,” she explained. A man cried out, “Let’s all go to confession to purify ourselves!” That evening an ocean of sinners flowed into the parish, a monstrous tidal wave of people! Poor Father Jozo was so shocked and overwhelmed that he had to call his colleagues from neighboring parishes to help hear all of the confessions of the people. That evening the compassion and mercy of heaven flowed like a river through the village. The meaningful act of the Gospa, in its surprising simplicity, had touched her children’s hearts more deeply than all the long speeches in the world. Since then, Medjugorje has never been short of sinners seeking forgiveness, and has rightly earned a new name for itself: Medjugorje - The Confessional of the World!
March 24, 1985 (Sunday)
“Today I wish to call you all to confession, even if you have confessed a few days ago. I wish that you all experience my feast day within yourselves. But you cannot experience it unless you abandon yourselves completely to God. Therefore, I am inviting you all to reconciliation with God!”
February 25, 2007
“…In confession, leave sin and decide for holiness. Do this out of love for Jesus, who redeemed you all with His blood, that you may be happy and in peace. Do not forget, little children: your freedom is your weakness, therefore follow my messages with seriousness…”
January 25, 1995
“…You cannot, little children, realize peace if your are not at peace with Jesus. Therefore, I invite you to confession so Jesus may be your truth and peace…”
MESSAGE OF 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. Thank you for having responded to my call."
In 1983, Our Lady told the visionaries that if they had to choose between seeing Her in an apparition or going to Mass, they should choose going to Mass!
Why? Our Lady doesn't come to Medjugorje for herself, rather to reveal Jesus her Son. “My children,” she says. “I wish that the Holy Mass be for you the gift of the day. Attend it, wish for it to begin. Jesus gives Himself to you during the Mass. Thus, look forward to that moment when you are cleansed…” (March 30, 1984) On January 8, 1984 she said, “My children, pray! I say it again, pray! I will say it to you again. Do not think that Jesus is going to manifest Himself again in the manger; friends, He is born again in your hearts.”
“Put Holy Mass at the center of your life. Holy Mass cannot be replaced, not even by a charitable deed. If you visit a sick or help an elderly person, go to Mass in order to receive charity from the Holy Spirit, then you'll give it to the poor.“ (Marija, speaking about the messages to pilgrims)
“You are not celebrating Mass as you ought to. If you knew, dear children, what graces and gifts you receive, you would go everyday and you would prepare yourselves at least an hour ahead. But, dear children, when you are at Mass, you are unaware!“ (Mirjana, 1985)
“If the circumstances allow you, I wish that you go to Mass everyday!“ (To the prayer group)
Holy Mass is the greatest privilege given to man in his life on earth (To the prayer group)
“It is the greatest prayer, it is the most sacred time of your life!“
“Go to church in order to have a personal encounter with God. Those who go only out of habit or to see their friends are unbelievers.“ (to Mirjana, 1982)
She also expressed her wish that each parish of the world have perpetual adoration. She said, “Fall in love with the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar! Adore Him, little children, in your parishes. In this way you will be united with the entire world“. (Sept. 25, 1995)
Adore my Son! I am always present when the faithful are adoring. Special graces are then received by them. (To the prayer group)
In Medjugorje, during Communist time, Mass was only celebrated in the early morning. When the Gospa came, she asked that a Mass be always celebrated in the evening and offered in a special way for peace. She gave some precise instructions: Every Mass should be preceded by a hymn to the Holy Spirit and should end with the prayer of the Magnificat or another hymn of thanksgiving. She also asked that the faithful remain in prayer at least 10 minutes after receiving Holy Communion. This is why in St. James Church, the priests are leading the traditional Franciscan prayer of the “Seven Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be“ before the final blessing.
She is saddened to see us come in Church at the last minute and leave it so fast after Mass. She said, “Dear children, if you would arrive in the church a little earlier to prepare your hearts for Jesus and stay longer after mass for a proper thanksgiving, you would allow God to work many more miracles in your life and there would be less sick among you!“
Gospa recommended that each Mass be followed with prayers for the sick and that, once a month, a special Mass be celebrated for the sick. She asked the Parish of Medjugorje to read each Thursday after evening Mass the gospel of Mathew 6:18. “You cannot serve two masters“, warning the faithful about the upcoming danger of money in the village. Other instructions from our Blessed Mother can be found in the messages books. Back home, some pastors have settled in their own parish the same evening program as in Medjugorje. Most of them experienced remarkable blessings and fruit, among which a beautiful increase of priestly vocations.