Friday 14 April 2023

The Way of the Cross with Jesus and Mary from Golgatha to the Resurrection - Fr. Slavko Barbaric O.F.M.

The Way of the Cross with Jesus and Mary from Golgatha to the Resurrection
Fr. Slavko Barbaric O.F.M.
ISBN 9780972744539
eISBN 9781452416137

I picked up this volume because one of the two books on Fasting by Father Slavko Barbaric was recommended in a community chat. I do not recall his name and did not read anything about this before giving it a read. I have mixed felling and write this review with a warning or two. I will state I enjoyed this version of the Stations of the Cross. I went to church early and prayed it before mass on the second Sunday of Lent. My warnings are as follows. 

1. The church has not made a clear statement on Medjugorje
2. Much of what I read while doing research for this review indicates that Father Barbaric often directly disobeyed the local Bishop and to this day they is conflict between the local bishop and the Franciscans at the shrine.
3. From what I have read both Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI had grave concerns about the apparitions. And it has even been indicated that Pope Francis is hesitant.

About 35ish years ago when the events at Medjugorje were kicking off I was in high school and university. At first I had a great passion for the site. That has waned over the years. I know many people who have been touched by this site and it has been instrumental in healings and conversions. When I look at a book on Marian Apparitions the first two I check are Medjugorje and Knock. And it often influences my decision to read the book. I know many who fully endorse Medjugorje and many who condemn it. With that being said. Each of the stations in this volume includes an extract from a purported message. There are also long reflections and sincere prayers. As such I was blessed by reading this volume, but am not sure I would use it again. 

The description of the book is:

"With this booklet, Father Slavko desires that you come closer to the suffering Savior and his suffering mother. Featuring the bronze sculpted artwork of Carmelo Puzzolo which lines the path up Mt. Krizevac, the images were sculpted with much love after Carmelos experience of Our Lady's presence in Medjugorje, which inspired him to make her image present in every station. To understand the artists idea more profoundly, in this booklet is his description of every station of the Cross."

The chapters in this volume are:

Introductory Prayer  
  First Station  
  Second Station  
  Third Station  
  Fourth Station  
  Fifth Station  
  Seventh Station  
  Eighth Station  
  Ninth Station  
  Tenth Station  
  Eleventh Station  
  Twelfth Station  
  Thirteenth Station  
  Fourteenth Station  
  Fifteenth Station  
  The Final Prayer  
The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary  
  Introductory Prayer  
  First Sorrow of Mary  
  Second Sorrow of Mary  
  Third Sorrow of Mary  
  Fourth Sorrow of Mary  
  Fifth Sorrow of Mary  
  Sixth Sorrow of Mary
  Seventh Sorrow of Mary

This volume was written to be prayed at the station on Krizevac, and is intended to be prayed communally. But Father states in the forward:

“We will help you enter into Jesus' and Our Lady's suffering, not only with Scripture and Our Lady's messages, but also with the Stations of the Cross, Jesus' Way of the Cross. The images were sculptured with much love by Carmelo Puzzolo. His experience of Our Lady's presence in Međugorje inspired him to make her image present in every station. In order for you to understand and discover the artist's idea more profoundly, we present in this booklet his description of every station of the cross. 

Therefore, if you are praying in front of each station on Krizevac, before your prayer, in silence, observe momentarily the people around you. 

If you are praying alone at home, for one moment have a mental image of family and friends. The pictures of the Stations of the Cross in the booklet will help you make the Way of the Cross. 

By handing this booklet over to you, I desire that you come closer to the suffering Savior and His suffering Mother, who helped Him to redeem the world.”

A sample station is:

Third Station 
The weight of the cross is terrible. After only a few steps, Jesus falls. He has already suffered so much. The unmerciful beatings have weakened Him. The road is steep and difficult. Jesus tries to push himself up with His elbows. It appears as if He wants to use this fall to rest a little, but He is being pulled by His robes to continue walking. Mary's suffering is more apparent. Her Son becomes the bridge between the Father and the people by the cross, He is carrying. 

From the Bible: Therefore I am content with the weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10) 
- We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you. 
- Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. 
Jesus, as I see you falling, I am aware that you are not completely on the ground. You remain in that position as a bridge, the bond between man and the Father, a bridge that will overcome all obstacles reconciling all who are divided, and healing all who are wounded. You are the High Priest, the builder of a new road, leading us to that union with the Father. Thank you for accepting the cross. Through it, you opened a new road for me. 

O Jesus, High Priest, I pray for all who follow you, answering your call. May they be like you, Jesus, ready to sacrifice everything, ready to be a victim for the salvation of mankind. 

Jesus, with Mary I pray for my parish priest, for all chaplains, for all priests, especially those who are tired and heavily burdened, those who are not faithful to you, those who have failed, and those leaving the priesthood. I also offer my prayers for Bishops and for the Pope, and for those who are prevented from spreading the "Good News", who are being persecuted because of your Name. May they know the joy of suffering in love with you. 

Give grace to your priests so that they may be able to raise in confessions all those who have fallen. May all priests be your image . . Amen. 

Jesus and Mary, here I also give you my life. All that I have and all that I am, I am uniting with you. I pray to you for love, that love with which you accepted pain. I desire to have it in my heart too. Give me love in my heart so that my heart will be devout, strong and not proud. 

Message: Dear Children! Today I am calling you to the love which is loyal and pleasing to God. Little children, love bears everything that is bitter and difficult for the sake of Jesus, who is love. Therefore, dear children, pray to God to come to your aid, not however according to your desires, but according to His love. Surrender yourselves to God so that He may heal you, console you and forgive everything inside you which is a hindrance on the way of love. In this way, God can mold your life and you will grow in love. Dear children, glorify God with the canticle of love so that God's love may be able to grow in you day by day to its fullness. Thank you for having responded to my call! (25 June 1988) 
- We thank you, O Mary, and we bless you. 
- Because by your sufferings you helped to redeem the world. 
O Mary, I cannot understand the immense pain you suffered because my heart does not love as your heart does. I cannot comprehend the depth of your love, how you desire to bring all people close to your motherly heart, and how it pained your soul to be so helpless and only witness the suffering of your Son. 
Have mercy on us, O Lord! 
Have mercy on us! 
O Mary, Mother of Sorrows, 
Intercede for us. 
Is there one who would not weep 
Whelmed in miseries so deep 
Christ's dear Mother to behold? 
Holy Mother, pierce me through, 
In my heart each wound renew, 
Of my Savior crucified.”

I hope that this gives you enough information to make an informed decision. I would rather err on the side of caution. I have returned my copy of this book. I have had the book Medjugorje Complete: The Definitive Account of the Visions and Visionaries by Donal Anthony Foley  for a few years now, I have been awaiting the promised release of the eBook, after my experience with this volume I know I must make the effort to read the copy I have. But I leave that up to you the reader. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan

For all other reviews of Stations of the Cross click here.

Books by Father Slavko Barbaric:
Celebrate Mass with Your Heart
Encounters and Experiences in Medjugorje. Book II
Fast With The Heart
Follow Me With Your Heart: A Spiritual, Liturgical, And Pastoral Guide For Pilgrims Visiting Medjugorje
Give Me Your Wounded Heart
In the School of Love
Pray the Rosary Every Day
Pray Together with a Joyful Heart
Pray With the Heart
Pray with the heart!: Medugorje Manual of Prayer

Books about Father Slavko Barbaric:
Live with the Heart, the life and works of Fr. Slavko Barbaric
Medjugorje and Father Slavko Barbaric

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