In 1983, as we began to pray the Novena for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Jelena Vasilj – a girl who had the grace of inner locutions – came to the presbytery and said that Our Lady asked us to invoke the Holy Spirit before Mass. We believed her words and we did it. We thought that this request concerned only the time of the Novena, and at the end of the Novena, we stopped. On 2 January 1984, Jelena came again and brought this message:
“Why have you ceased to pray to the Holy Spirit? I asked you to pray all the time for the Spirit of God to descend upon all of you; therefore recommence with this prayer!” (Message given to Jelena Vasilj on 2 January 1984)
We did it. This is why we invoke the Holy Spirit every evening before Mass. In the messages that Our Lady gave to Marija Pavlović, she also invited us to pray to the Holy Spirit:
“Dear children! Tonight I want to tell you to pray in the days of this novena for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on your families and on your parish. Pray; you will not regret it. God will give you the gifts with which you will glorify Him until the end of your earthly life. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (2 June 1984)
The Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus and sent upon the Apostles and the whole Church. This is the Spirit who will renew the face of the earth. This is the Spirit who hovered over the waters and brought peace and order. This is the Spirit of God who brings back to life what is dead, who heals what is wounded, who warms what is cold, who gives His gifts in abundance to those who ask for them. In a very special way, this is the Spirit who can introduce us into the mystery of the eucharistic presence of Jesus. Without this Spirit, we can do nothing. It is recommended and good to invoke Him in all our needs, especially when we prepare ourselves for the encounter with Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of Mass.
OUR LADY’S APPARITION BEFORE MASS
According to the witness of the visionaries, Our Lady appears in the church about 20 minutes before the beginning of Holy Mass. Apparitions can occur at another time of the day when the visionaries are travelling, or on special occasions. For those who believe that Our Lady is appearing, the moment of her apparitions before Mass is very important in the context of their preparation for Holy Mass.
No apparitions bring new revelations or new truths. This is valid for Medjugorje, too. They only offer new incentives to live what we believe. Therefore, the basic message of Medjugorje and of other places of apparitions is that Mary, our Mother, is with us.
In different places and at different times, Our Lady presented herself under different names, but the most important fact is always her very presence. Pilgrims come to her shrines because they believe that she is present in a very special way. This is why they come to Medjugorje, too. They do not come here because someone is praying the Rosary or celebrating Holy Mass, or because they find hotels, but because they believe that Our Lady is present. All the rest is a natural consequence of her presence: a new spirit of prayer, confessions, conversions, healings, vocations, etc.
Our Lady’s desire and mission is to lead us to Jesus. The moment of her apparition before Mass can therefore be understood as a gift to the Church, as a special moment when she gathers the faithful together for Mass. Before leaving, she gives her blessing and then she goes in the light, accompanied by Christian symbols: the cross, the heart and the sun.
Mary was present at Cana in Galilee. She said, “Do whatever Jesus tells you!” and Jesus then worked His first miracle. She is our Mother and our teacher, she teaches and educates us. She knows that she is only the Servant of the Lord. She can invite us, but the Lord is the one who gives us graces and all that we need. Her simple, discreet, but so important presence has removed many obstacles in the souls of the members of other Christian denominations. There are more and more individuals, families and communities that accept her and let themselves be led to Jesus.
(Barbarić, Slavko. 2018. Celebrate Mass with the heart.)