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Daily Life

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The following is an excerpt from the booklet “As Go God’s People, So Goes the World,” by A Friend of Medjugorje. It takes one through six days in the life of Caritas to give you a taste of what the richness of our daily life is like, rich not because of us but rather because the way is rich, the way of life Our Lady is teaching us.  The following was written in 1999.  Even such a short time ago, most mentalities could not grasp nor see what, prophetically he wrote, was coming, but now, in 2010, is coming into the heart, that the culture must move towards what he had written.

We begin our day at 5:00 a.m. in the Field come rain or shine, mosquitoes or heat, even in the cold, prayer is sweet. With prayer first the rest of the day is clearer and more filled with the presence of God. All those who come to Caritas, whether during a special prayer event or a private visit, are invited to join the Community during this special hour of prayer.

“…The future of a happy life will rest in small villages and towns, close to the soil for their subsistence: where God is acknowledged, where the whole community’s first obligations, fulfilled with joy, is to gather daily in prayer, where hard work is carried out with peace and children all around, where love reigns and Mary of Nazareth is held as Queen. For those who chose to live this, they will be the witnesses and teachers of those who will seek this life in the future. The Community of Caritas lives this in their daily lives. The following will show, by opening up a window into their daily lives, the fruit and the joy that can be produced when one chooses to put God and prayer first.

These pages were written over a six day span here within the Community of Caritas. What happens in our normal routine of a life structured upon the messages? The following description that these six days covered is typical of our life here in Community. We began each of the six mornings just as we do every day of the year. Except for the youth and mothers with small children, we all go to 5:00 a.m. prayer in the Field where Our Lady appeared to Marija in 1988.1 Rising at 4:30 a.m. in the morning, it is a joy to see flashlights coming from different directions on trails to come together as one light of prayer in the darkness, to pray for an hour that then gives way to light by 6:00 a.m. In the country, it is good for one’s salvation, despite the sometimes harshness our friend “nature” tests us with. It indeed has a strange personality of both friend and foe, lightning flashing all around, beating us with storms, for atonement of our sins turning its back on us when we turn ours on God, being cold to us when our sins have made us cold to God’s voice. Our morning prayer encourages us to frequent confession. Nature speaks and, in the silence of the darkness, we seek that light which the cross leads us, by way of the difficulty of going to 5:00 a.m. prayer every day, year after year. The “freezing” temperatures make us thankful for fire. The coolness of the “springs” (water) around us is a heartening thought in the midst of the fire of the summer heat. The fall speaks of reflection of life, death, and resurrection, and ushers us to the joy of rebirth at Christmas. Five o’clock in the morning prayer outside has taught us wisdom, which had we laid in bed, we would never have received, from night to daylight. Good versus evil; pleasantries of spring and fall versus the harshness of winter and summer, such a balance. So many lessons, so many joys, so many sorrows, so many sunrises. Every sunrise, through the twelve years (now 23 years as of 2010) of 5:00 a.m. prayer, is a lesson, a profound lesson of salvation.

September 25, 1998

“…Little children, you seek signs and messages and do not see that, with every morning sunrise, God calls you to convert and to return to the way of truth and salvation…”

The cattle try to join us for prayer sometimes! The grass is greener by Our Lady. Nature always speaks. No barricade should stop us from coming to Our Lady, not even electric fences, as the cows broke through!

From 6:00 to 7:00 a.m., we prepare to be in the “Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages” for our work to spread Our Lady’s messages. The children begin school at 7:00 a.m. Between 7:00 – 8:00 a.m., the whole community works, with the exception of mothers and children, in our shipping area, filling requests from over 130 countries for material, spiritual direction, Our Lady’s messages, etc. At 8:00 a.m., we again join in prayer, but this time some of the mothers come, and there are always several small children crawling and walking amongst the adults as they pray. As Marija says, the angels flutter around Our Lady’s head of twelve stars. The children remind us of these cherubs, always bringing a smile to us as they glide in and out, from one adult to the next. It is among our first joys of the day.

From there, we go to our duties concerning Our Lady’s mission, which keeps us very busy. It ranges from greeting visitors to taking phone calls for marriage or spiritual crisis, etc., to printing mailings, to setting up pilgrimages to Medjugorje, to researching and writing our publications, to preparing materials for shipment overseas to our Mission House in Medjugorje, to archiving our history, as well as the history of the apparitions, and a host of in-betweens. The Community itself has to be sustained, and we try to do that without or on minimal funds. So that means, on top of a full-time mission, that we have a full-time farming operation to support ourselves, ranging from milking, shop work, machinery, welding, to sheep. Since most of the adults are busy with the mission and books, the youth perform a lot of the farming joys, although all of us, in various degrees, are a part of it. At 10:00 a.m.2, the bells ring throughout the valley, calling us to Rosary. Whether Community members are in the mountains working, the fields cutting hay, St. Joseph’s shop doing carpentry work, the “Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages,” or in their homes, everything comes to a grinding halt as trails leading to the central spot in the Field where Our Lady appeared begins to appear with Community members and visitors resembling, from a distance, ants on various trails going back to their nest.

Newborn and a somewhat newborn beneath the statue of Our Lady presented to Her for a blessing. By doing so we are confident the calf will be an asset to the Community in making it stronger for spreading the messages. How? Cows grow up, eat grass, manufacture milk throughout the day, while we spend our time manufacturing the written word after having a glass of milk in the morning.

The sweetness of the daily sound of the bells throughout the valley is such a joy to hear for the children, especially those under nine (under twenty as of 2010). They have heard it their entire lives. However, it is not the case for a few who live near our site, who despise those sounds. Before that came to be, when our two thousand pound bell was hung, it was foretold that in the future there would be those who would be driven to madness by these daily sounds. The bell was inscribed with the following message:

The daily sound of this bell serves as a voice to the animals, trees, mountains, and most of all to man, that this valley is to serve the interests of God’s plan here, and for any man who resides or visits here to do otherwise will find no peace. For this valley was consecrated by Mary of Nazareth, Mother of Jesus, Queen of Angels, by Her appearance here as Queen of Peace, affording great portions of peace for every man who is in harmony with the plan She delivered here.

We never knew how prophetic, nor how much meanness and hatred would be leveled at us because of the daily sounds of these bells.

A life evolved around Our Lady is a life under formation from the Mother. Praying with Our Lady at night in the Field is always joyful and pleasant.

Our children, as all children, make everything a toy. Life, formation and memories are formed by simple events, a small herd of piglets meet a small herd of children, curious of each other. Both will be before Our Lady during Rosary when we consecrate the new piglets to help nourish the Community which helps Caritas nourish the masses with Our Lady’s messages.

But OH! For the kids, that first strike brings a smile, a joy in the heart. Whether the little ones are in their homes or outside or around the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Messages, they scramble in the joy of knowing all the little kids are about to come together for the first time of the day. During the six day span of this writing, one two-year-old was heard, upon hearing the bells, to yell the word, “Kids!” It signified to her the joy of kids joining together, surrounded by adults praying the Rosary. As other children outside of the Community play with toys, our children play with each other. We do not give them a lot of toys. Their best toy is each other, and their view of “kid” is something you play with, and play they do, with nothing but each other, adding only occasionally stick, rock, pine straw, leaves, and such. We see a joy and happiness that visitors repeatedly tell us move them toward believing in the path Our Lady has shown us. We have seen that most toys lead to boredom, but a stick can be everything from a horse to ride to whatever is imagined. It is simple and avoids arguments, since there are always plenty of sticks to be found. More peace is the result.

On the first day of this six day period, a twelve hour-old calf was laid at the spot of Our Lady’s apparitions to be consecrated. On the fourth day, two more baby calves lay before Our Lady at the Rosary, just four to eight hours old. The calves, of course, were smothered with love by all the children, and it is just one more day of being so close to nature that we were able to live intimately with God and His creation. The three calves, within only a couple of days, brought the memory of four weeks earlier, in the Field, where we consecrated “fifteen” ten hour-old piglets. Squealing, running in and out of as many children as they, was not only a joyful, but a funny scene, all under the watchful eyes of Our Lady as we prayed the Rosary in preparation for the moment of Her apparition time in Medjugorje. The Rosary, for the kids, is a positive experience in which they associate so many joys with prayer that, as they get older, they, themselves, on their own, begin to kneel with us and pray it. Our witness of always being there, scheduling errands and doctor’s appointments around Rosary time so as not to miss it, teaches them to do the same. These six days contained two days of full-blown rain, non-stop, which for the kids is another adventure, tramping happily through the puddles, streams that are formed, and mud! Most parents would never allow this freedom, mostly because it requires a lot of work for the parent to change shoes, clothes, etc. But we have learned, through prayer, to be patient and give them the joy that other kids can only dream of – that is when you see a puddle that is only one foot wide in a twelve foot wide dirt road, you go through the puddle!

The bells ring again at 3:00 p.m., and we join for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for all our Field Angels,3 their requests, and their loved ones who may be ill or who have left the Church. Afterwards, we pray over the out-going mail, and everyone goes back to their work. In the evening, each family prays together while the consecrated singles join together for evening prayer.

Prayer group: A life built upon the messages is a life built with memories. Beads of sweat, stories, funny mishaps, prayer, and a host of fond memories lay with these stacks of bales from a summer of harvesting.

Aside from two and a half to three hours of prayer a day, there are many more events of prayer or novenas both by the community as a whole and individually, with spiritual readings, and work many times after evening prayers. The whole Community often does special fifty-four day Rosary Novenas. As Lent begins, we will fast nine days on bread and water to purify our hearts. As our spiritual life has grown and our children with us, it has evolved that the youth join us for the 9 days, but the youth decide for themselves how many days, if any, they will fast. Several go two, three, or four days. Others go the entire nine days! It’s nothing for a five-year-old to fast with us, eating plenty of bread, with joy. This is typical of our life. It was Our Lady Herself who directly asked Marija in 1988 for a community to be established here, and we see She is forming a culture, a way to live, a witness to a way of life.”

1. Marija, one of the visionaries of Medjugorje, came to the United States and stayed with the Founder of Caritas of Birmingham and his family for 2½ months. Our Lady appeared to Marija every day and gave many beautiful messages. On November 24, 1988, Thanksgiving Day, Our Lady appeared to Marija out in a field. Our Lady gave the following message: “I invite you to live my messages. I am here to help you! I will intercede for you to God for all your intentions.”

2. During Daylight Savings Time, Rosary begins at 11:00 a.m. instead of 10:00 C.S.T.

3. Field Angels are prayer and financial supporters of the mission of Caritas of Birmingham.  Their monthly support is pooled together to produce material and spiritual projects to bring Our Lady's messages to many, resulting in thousands of conversions.  Field Angels partner with Caritas in this effort, and they become part of Caritas' missionaries of the messages efforts, holding it in esteem as one of the greatest things they do for Our Lady.   We pray for them and their loved ones daily, especailly those family members or friends who have left the Church.  We also pray for them on other special occasions as well as when they call or write with special requests and intentions.

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