March 10-12, 2000
volume 11, no. 50

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    "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns.

    This weekend Sister reminds all of the fruits of Medjugorje and the Blessed Virgin Mary's plea to pray and do penance in reparation. It is the very same message the Church advocates especially for Lent - to fast, sacrifice, attend Mass as often as possible, go to Confession and convert our hearts. It is not a new message, but one that Christ taught and we need to be good pupils. Sister relates that one of the visionaries Ivan Dragivec recently talked at a church near her and it reinforced the fact that Our Lady is imparting nothing new and, as Our Lord said in Matthew 7: 20, "Therefore, by their fruits, you will know them" and, despite those intent on destroying Mary's Oasis of Peace, Medjugorje has produced countless fruits as she points out in her column this weekend, Pray! Pray! Pray!.

    Her column provides effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at or you can reach her at Srmarylucy by e-mail.

        The visionary, Ivan, from Medjugorje was here in Omaha last night and spoke after Mass at a local church.

        I have seen and heard Ivan on a number of occasions. Many times I have heard his account of what happened in the early days of the apparitions in Medjugorje and many times I have heard him relate the essential messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje to us. I do not tire of these accounts. I learn something new each time. Perhaps, most of all, it is good for me (for us) to be repeatedly reminded. It is like a mother, who must tell her young children often to say "Thank you!" and "Please!" so that they will form good habits for life.

        Good teachers repeat. They say the same thing over and over in different ways. Our Lady never tires of telling us to change our lives, to come closer to God, to work for peace, to go to confession frequently, to pray much. These are all good teachings filled with motherly gentleness and goodness.

        Her messages are not filled with doom and gloom. This is a good sign, for God does not concentrate on the negative.

        I believe Our Lady is appearing in Medjugorje and has been doing so every day for the last 18 years. Why do I believe? Because Jesus said to look at the fruits and the fruits of Medjugorje are good. (Only the ill informed think otherwise.) Many people who go to Medjugorje experience real conversion. They go to confession after being away from that Sacrament for many years. People come home and form prayer groups which last; they read Scripture more; they pray the rosary more frequently.

        I have heard the comment that the devil can do that, also. INDEED NOT!!! Satan is God's archenemy and would NEVER want anyone to be in the state of grace for even a minute. He would be working against himself. Jesus said that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Satan is evil and would never yield good fruit. The statement that the devil can bring about conversions of people is a statement of ignorance.

        Recently, I heard someone say that people who believe in Medjugorje are trying to replace Fatima. I do not find this to be true, at all. People who truly love Our Lady want devotion to her to grow no matter what apparitions people tend to favor. Is it not the same Blessed Mother who has appeared at Lourdes, at Kibeho, at La Salette, at Fatima, at Akita, at Medjugorje? The love that God and Our Lady have for us cannot be narrowed to one apparition. God is not narrow-minded. His love is magnanimous. In the Old Testament, God did not speak to Moses only.

        Lent is a good time to take one of Our Lady's request VERY seriously. She has said on more than one occasion to "Pray! Pray! Pray!"

        Let us listen and carry out Our Lady's request NOW. Whether it is daily Mass, daily Rosary, special prayer devotions, many short prayers throughout the day, let us multiply our prayers. Prayer opens the gates of Heaven's treasures. Without prayer those gates remain closed to us.

        God bless you and let's pray more and more each day!

    Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

March 10-12, 2000
volume 11, no. 50

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