A reflection on Mary’s call at Medjugorje to live God’s Graces
  by Fr. Al Winshman, S.J., Director

     Marian Renewal Ministry
     319 Concord Rd
     Weston MA 02493-1310
     Tel:  781-788-6839
     Web:  www.MarianRenewal.com



“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27)  “Of all visible creatures only man is able to know and love his Creator.  ... He alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life.  It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity.” (CCC 356)  “He is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer Him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.” (CCC 357)  “The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ.” (CCC 374)  Our first parents “were constituted in an original state of holiness and justice.  This grace of original holiness was to share in ... divine life.” (CCC 375)


Over the past twenty years our Blessed Mother, who is still coming to us daily at Medjugorje, has repeatedly called us to live this present time of grace that God is giving to us.  Our Holy Father John Paul II also has been calling us to these days of grace leading up to the Jubilee Year and now as we enter into the third millennium.  Webster’s Dictionary defines “grace” as “unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification,” and “a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.”  In her messages on the twenty-fifth of each month, which began in January 1987, Mary has spoken of “grace” in thirty-seven monthly messages, often in the context of “this time of grace.”  We know that when God in His tremendous love sends us our Lady, or any other messenger from heaven, it is to call us back to the original state of holiness and justice in which He created us to share in His divine life.  Let us then be attentive to understanding and living God’s call through Mary so that we may share more fully in God’s own life of love for which we were created.  Mary tells us that if we truly knew God’s love we would weep for joy.




From her earliest monthly messages, our Mother Mary has invited us to the grace of holiness.  “Dear children, today I am inviting all of you, without exception, to the way of holiness in your life.  God gave you the grace, the gift of holiness.  Pray that you may, more and more, comprehend it; and in that way, you will be able, by your life, to bear witness for God.” [9/88]  Prayer of the heart is the only way in which we come to know God’s loving plan for each one of us.  “You know, dear children, that God is granting special graces in prayer.  Therefore, dear children, seek and pray, in order that you may be able to understand all that I am giving you in this place.  ...  Without prayer you can not comprehend all that God is planning through each one of you.  And so pray!” [4/88]  Mary wants to draw us ever closer to God, but she can not if we do not want it.  “I am inviting you, dear children to convert fully to God.  God can give you everything that you seek from Him. ...  When you are far from God, you can not receive graces because you do not seek them with a firm faith.” [1/88]




God chose to came to us through Blessed Mary in the Incarnation.  Therefore in His plan He invites us to return to Him through Mary, our advocate and mediatrix of all His graces.  “Dear children, seek from God the graces which He is giving you through me.  I am ready to intercede with God for all you seek so your holiness may be complete.  Therefore, dear children, do not forget to seek, because God has permitted me to obtain graces for you.” [8/87]  She is also the coredemptrix and offers our crosses with her Son’s.  “Today I invite you to offer your crosses and suffering for my intentions.  Little children, I am your mother and I wish to help you by seeking for you the grace from God.  ...  Pray that you may understand that suffering can become joy and the cross the way of joy.” [9/96]  The Gospa calls us to receive and accept our crosses and all graces with gratitude.  “I call all of you, little children, to give thanks to God here with me for the graces which He gives to you through me.  ...  I desire for my Jesus’ and your heart to become one heart of love and peace.  ...  I am with you and I lead you all on the way of love.” [7/99]




[1]  Mary’s Presence Leads Us to the Grace of Holiness


What a grace in our times for God to send our Mother Mary to appear every day now for twenty years at Medjugorje and elsewhere.  Mary comes to encourage us to respond to her messages and to remind us that our response entails conversion from sin.  “Dear children, today I want to thank you for your presence in this place where I give special graces.  I call upon each one of you to start living the life that God wants from you, and to start doing good deeds of love and generosity.  ...  I want each one of you to live the new life without murdering everything God creates in you and gives you.” [3/87]  On the eighth anniversary of her apparitions she told us that her presence at Medjugorje is a time of grace for everyone and that this grace is obtained by living her messages.  “Dear children, today I call you to live the messages which I have been giving you during the past eight years.  This is a time of graces and I desire that the grace of God be greater for every single one of you.” [6/89]  Again on the tenth anniversary she said, “Dear children, today on this great day which you have given to me, I desire to bless all of you and to say: these days while I am with you are days of grace.  I desire to teach you and to help you walk on the path of holiness.  ...  If you pray, God will help you to discover the true reason for my coming.  Therefore, little children, pray and read the Sacred Scriptures so that through my coming you discover the message in Sacred Scripture for you.  Thank you for having responded to my call.” [6/91]


[2]  Mary’s Presence Leads Us to the Grace of Prayer


Key to living these times of grace, actually every day, is to come to know God and respond to Him in prayer and through His word in the Scriptures.  “Dear children, do not forget: this is a time of grace.  That is why, pray, pray, pray!” [10/99]  We truly come to know God’s love when we can forgive and seek peace with those who war against us, hurt us and cause us problems.  “These days are the days when you need to decide for God, for peace and for good.  May every hatred and jealousy disappear from your life and your thoughts, and may there only dwell love for God and for your neighbor.  Thus, only thus, shall you be able to discern the signs of this time.  I am with you, and I guide you into a new time, a time which God gives you as grace, so that you may get to know Him more.” [1/93]  And God will show us the way, if we only trust Him and carry His love and His word in our hearts and minds.  “Little children, you do not know how to live in the grace of God, that is why I call you all anew, to carry the word of God in your heart and in thoughts.  Little children, place the Sacred Scripture in a visible place in your family, and read and live it.  Teach your children, because if you are not an example to them, children depart into godlessness.” [8/96]


[3]  Mary’s Presence Leads Us to the Grace of Suffering


For our daily living, especially in times of temptation, problems and suffering the Gospa tells us that her presence with us is indeed a great grace.  “I am with you, and every day I bless you with my motherly blessing, so that the Lord may bestow you with the abundance of His grace for your daily life.  Thank God for the gift of my being with you, because I am telling you this is a great grace.” [7/92]  When the Bosnian war was raging around Medjugorje our Lady told us that our suffering is hers also and directed us to live these days of grace in prayer and fasting.  “Only by prayer and fasting can war be stopped.  ...  Medjugorje is a sign to all of you and a call to pray and live the days of grace that God is giving you.  Therefore, dear children, accept the call to prayer with seriousness.  I am with you and your suffering is also mine.” [4/92]  She is always here to help us in difficult times.  We only need to call upon her.  “From day to day, I am closer and closer to you although you are not conscious of it and do not want to admit that you are connected to me in prayer only a little bit.  When temptations and problems arise, you say, ‘O God, O Mother, where are you?’  And I only wait for you to give me your ‘Yes’ so that I pass it on to Jesus and that He may bestow you with the graces.” [5/92]


[4]  Mary’s Presence Leads Us to the Grace of Vocation


Although we may not comprehend it now, Our Lady tells us that her messages and our witnessing by our lives are God’s gift and grace.  God sent her to show us the way of salvation and joy.  “God gives me this time as a gift to you, so that I may instruct and lead you on the path of salvation.  Dear children, now you do not comprehend this grace, but soon a time will come when you will lament for these messages.  That is why, little children, live all of the words that I have given you through this time of grace and renew prayer, until prayer becomes a joy for you.  ...  Through the rosary open your heart to me and I am able to help you.” [8/97]  God has sent Mary to show us the way to fulfill our vocations.  “I led and am leading you through this time of grace, that you may become conscious of your Christian vocation.  Holy martyrs died witnessing: I am a Christian and love God over everything.”  You too are called, she continues, “to be joyfully extended hands toward those who do not believe, and that through the example of your life, they may receive faith and love for God.” [11/97]


[5]  Mary’s Presence Leads Us to the Grace of Conversion


Throughout these twenty years our Mother’s most important message to us has continued to be our conversion.  This is the grace for us of her presence with us.  “Dear children, it is a grace that I am with you.  Therefore, accept and live my messages for your good.  I love you and, therefore, I am with you to teach you and to guide you to a new life of renunciation and conversion.  Only in this way shall you discover God and everything which is far from you now.  Therefore, little children, pray.” [11/92]  “I am with you and I intercede before God for each of you so that your heart receives the gift of conversion.  Only in this way, little children, will you comprehend the importance of grace in these times and God will become nearer to you.” [4/98]  Jesus is our conversion.  Mary says, “I invite you through prayer to be with Jesus ... in the silence of the heart remain with Jesus so that He may change and transform you with His love.  This, little children, is a time of grace for you.  Make good use of it for your personal conversion, because when you have God, you have everything.” [7/98]




At the beginning of Advent the Gospa showed us the way to open our hearts and lives to her Son, Jesus.  “Today again I invite you to pray, so that through prayer, fasting and small sacrifices you may prepare yourselves for the coming of Jesus.  May this time, little children, be a time of grace for you.  Use every moment and do good, for only in this way will you feel the birth of Jesus in your hearts.  If with your life, you give an example and become a sign of God’s love, joy will prevail in the hearts of men.” [11/96]  “In this time of grace, may the cross be a sign-post of love and unity for you through which true peace comes.  That is why, little children, pray especially at this time that little Jesus, the Creator of peace, may be born in your hearts.” [11/99]


Our Blessed Mother in God’s loving plan conceived the Word made flesh and brought Jesus into the world.  In a Christmas message she told us of our need for Jesus and that she is again bringing Him to us.  “Today in a special way I bring the little Jesus to you that He may bless you with His blessing of peace and love.  Dear children, do not forget that this is the grace which many people neither understand nor accept.” [12/91]  A few years later she said, “Jesus is the King of Peace and only He can give you the peace that you seek.  I am with you and I present you to Jesus in a special way, now in this new time in which one should decide for Him.  This time is the time of grace.” [12/95]  “This is the time of grace.  ...  Through your ‘yes’ for peace and your decision for God, a new possibility for peace is opened.  ...  Therefore, put little newborn Jesus in the first place in your life and He will lead you on the way of salvation.” [12/99]




Entering upon Lent our Mother Mary calls us again to prayer of the heart in this special season of grace.  “Throughout this season of grace, I desire each of you to be united with Jesus; but without unceasing prayer, you cannot experience the beauty and greatness of the grace which God is offering you.  Therefore, little children, at all times fill your heart with even the smallest prayers.” [2/89]  Before Holy Week, she said, “Again today I invite you to live the passion of Jesus in prayer, and in union with Him.  Decide to give more time to God who gave you these days of grace.” [3/91]


The special grace of Lent, Mary reminds us, has always been an invitation to a deeper conversion.  “Dear children, today I invite you to conversion.  This is the most important message that I have given you here.  ...  I invite you, little children, to live the messages that I have given you over these years.  This time is a time of grace.  Especially now, when the Church also is inviting you to prayer and conversion.” [2/96]  “In a special way, I call you to renunciation in this time of grace.  Little children, meditate on and live, through your little sacrifices, the passion and death of Jesus for each of you.  Only if you come closer to Jesus will you comprehend the immeasurable love He has for each of you.  Through prayer and your renunciation you will become more open to the gift of faith and love towards the Church and the people who are around you.” [2/98]


Making it even clearer our Mother gave us wake up calls in Lent.  “Dear children, wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you.  Use this time and seek the grace of healing of your heart from God, so that you may see God and man with the heart.” [2/00]  This time of grace is a time to open our hearts to God’s love in prayer.  “This is a time of grace.  I am with you and I intercede for each one of you before God, for your heart to open to God and to God's love.  Little children, pray without ceasing, until prayer becomes a joy for you.” [3/00]  “This is a time of grace.  That is why pray, pray, pray until you comprehend God's love for each of you.” [2/01]  Mary shows great patience in again telling us how to use God’s great gift of grace.  “Little children, you live in a time in which God gives great graces but you do not know how to make good use of them.  You are concerned about everything else, but the least for the soul and spiritual life.  Awaken from the tired sleep of your soul and say yes to God with all your strength.  Decide for conversion and holiness. I am with you, little children, and I call you to perfection of your soul and of everything you do.” [3/01]




Pentecost is another special season of grace.  Our Mother Mary invites us to allow the Holy Spirit to transform us.  “This is a time of grace and so, again, I call you to decide for God the Creator.  Allow Him to transform and change you.  May your heart be prepared to listen to and live everything which the Holy Spirit has in His plan for each of you.” [5/98]  We are to invite the Holy Spirit to dwell within us with His gifts.  “I rejoice with you and in this time of grace I call you to spiritual renewal.  Pray, little children, that the Holy Spirit may come to dwell in you in fullness, so that you may be able to witness in joy to all those who are far from faith.  Especially, little children, pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that in the spirit of love, every day and in each situation, you may be closer to your fellow-man; and that in wisdom and love you may overcome every difficulty.  I am with you and I intercede for each of you before Jesus.  Thank you for having responded to my call.” [5/00]


In our holy Mother’s most recent message of grace at Pentecost she continues to call us, her little children, to prayer of the heart and to give witness by our conversion to others who are far from the faith.  “Dear children!  At this time of grace, I call you to prayer.  Little children, you work much but without God's blessing.  Bless and seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to lead you at this time so that you may comprehend and live in the grace of this time.  Convert, little children, and kneel in the silence of your hearts.  Put God in the center of your being so that, in that way, you can witness in joy the beauty that God continually gives in your life.” [5/01]





On June 25, 2001, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of our Blessed Mother’s daily apparitions at Medjugorje and throughout the world wherever the visionaries were at the time of apparition.  Let us then conclude with our Mother Mary’s beautiful message of grace as she again blessed us with her motherly blessing on this 20th Anniversary. “Dear children!   I am with you and I bless you all with my motherly blessing.  Especially today when God gives you abundant graces, pray and seek God through me.  God gives you great graces, that is why, little children, make good use of this time of grace and come closer to my heart so that I can lead you to my Son Jesus.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”



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