Our Lady has come to Medjugorje to call the world, each of us, one by one, to conversion. According to Collins American Dictionary, “Conversion is the act or process of changing something into a different state or form.” If Our Lady is calling you now, it is your time to come, to change. Our Lady knows conversion does not come easily. That is why she has been appearing in Medjugorje all these many years, to call us, to teach us, to reinforce us. She is giving us the means to change and, by at least 1989, Fr Jozo Zovko, OFM, pastor of St. James Church when the apparitions began, had identified five tools Our Lady gave to help – he called them the five stones of Medjugorje. These five stones, he told us, are reminiscent of the five smooth stones David gathered to help him slay Goliath as told in 1 Samuel:17. There, Goliath was a giant among giants from whom armed men hid in fear. The weapons Our Lady has given us are to aid us in our conversion, but our Goliaths are different today. They may be addictions, broken relationships, financial problems, physical or mental health issues, lack of hope, fear, loneliness, bitterness, confusion - so many things that keep us from the peace of God.
The five stones of Medjugorje help us address our personal Goliaths and in so doing join us with the thousand-fold army of pilgrims who have returned from this holy place united in spirit, united under Our Lady for Our Lord, united to slay the true Goliath that threatens the world and all of God’s magnificent creation. Although they are sometimes given in different order, the five stones of Medjugorje identified by Fr. Jozo are Prayer, Fasting, the Mass, the Bible and Confession.
Prayer: Of the five stones, Our Lady has spoken most frequently and urgently about prayer. Prayer is simply talking to and listening for God - the beginning of all good things. How can we be a friend of God if we don’t talk to Him? The Holy Rosary is a powerful prayer because with it we walk through the New Testament with Our Lady. “Dear children! Today I wish to call you to pray, pray, pray! In prayer you shall perceive the greatest joy and the way out of every situation that has no exit...” (March 28, 1985). “…Pray, and let the Rosary always be in your hands as a sign to Satan that you belong to me." (February 25, 1989).
Fasting: Before He started His public ministry, Our Lord fasted for 40 days. In Mark 9:29 Jesus tells the Apostles that certain evil spirits can only be removed by prayer and fasting. Fasting gives us clarity of mind, of intention. It strengthens self-discipline, offers sacrifice for ours and others’ sins and disposes us for the graces God wishes to bestow upon us. Our Lady has said: "The best fast is on bread and water. Through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the natural laws of nature. …" (July 21, 1982). She has asked us to particularly fast on Wednesdays, the day before the Last Supper and on Fridays, the day of Our Lord’s crucifixion.
The Mass: The elements of the Mass are 2000 years old. We don’t just live with stories of an ancient Christ Who lived long ago. We have direct contact with Him now, today, at Mass. This is our uniquely Catholic way to praise and thank God unlike any other way possible. We hear His words, we take Him into our bodies in such an intimate way that He can bless us and change us wholly. There is nothing like it in the world! It is God’s great gift to us. Our Lady says, "Dear children! God wants to make you holy. Therefore, through me He is inviting you to complete surrender. Let Holy Mass be your life. …” (April 25, 1988).
The Bible: The Bible is the story of God’s love for us, His longing for us throughout all of history, His willingness to sacrifice everything for our salvation. Every struggle we encounter has been lived before in the Bible. The Bible is our family history, our true DNA is there. Our future is foretold. The Bible is our guide book for eternal life. Our Lady has asked us to keep the Bible in a predominate place in our homes and to read it daily.
Confession: Confession is a critical step in restoring and improving our relationship with God. It unclogs the arteries of the soul and allows all the graces that God wants to give us to flow in. Confession is a healing sacrament in which Jesus Himself forgives us, using the hands and the words of the priest. It takes humility of heart to enter the confessional – humility is the first thing God asks of us. He will do the rest. Our Lady says, "Dear children! Open your heart to God’s mercy …The heavenly Father desires to deliver each of you from the slavery of sin. Therefore, little children, make good use of this time and through meeting with God 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. …” (February 25, 2007).
Fr. Jozo tells us to gather these “five stones” up, as if in a little pouch, and make them our own. Medjugorje is the place to start, to re-equip your lives for eternity, our final destination. These “stones” are the most important items to take home from your pilgrimage and the true treasure to help you live what you will receive from this miraculous land.