After climbing the mountains in the daytime, walking through the fields, listening to the visionaries, etc., pilgrims are strongly encouraged to attend the evening services at St. James Church. It is important to realize that Our Lady does not call people to come to Medjugorje just to “receive” graces, but She is in need of our “response” to Her invitation for prayer. It is at the evening services that Our Lady gathers the whole world together, represented by the pilgrims who have come from every corner of the earth, to pray in union for peace. In the Old Testament, recall the story when God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham begged God to relent and asked God the question that if he could find 10 righteous men, if God would change His mind and spare the cities. In a similar sense, Our Lady is doing this for our time, calling people from every corner of the earth to respond to Her requests in order to save mankind. Those gathered in Medjugorje each evening are the “ten” righteous men who are holding back the hand of God. Listen to the words of Our Lady:
July 30, 1987
For many, you may wonder how you could possibly pray so much in one day. You would not be alone in this thought. Even the visionaries had difficulty accepting the amount of time Our Lady expected them to be in prayer. Marija relays that one time She questioned Our Lady about how this was possible. At that time they already were praying three Rosaries a day, going to daily Mass, climbing the mountains often during the week, meeting with their prayer group, fasting twice a week—and any free time they had was taken up with pilgrims who were constantly at their houses. Marija asked Our Lady, how they could possibly fit more in their day? Our Lady answered that if you had a very dear friend come to visit you, you would want to spend all your time with this friend. You would never grow tired of being with him. Jesus is our best Friend. If He was present in our homes we would want to be with Him at all times, never to leave His presence. Marija then said that in the early years of the apparitions, all of the visionaries had fallen in love with Our Lady, but Our Lady wanted to lead them to fall in love with Jesus and to make Him their best Friend.
During the evening services, walk around the church grounds and study the Croatian people. Remind yourselves that they have been attending these services every evening for more than a quarter of a century. They came from working all day long in the hot sun of their fields where they had started their day very early. You will leave Medjugorje after a week and be replaced with the next group of pilgrims. They, however, remain, day after day, and year after year, fulfilling the will of God on behalf of the whole world. Even now, while you are still in your home, they offer their daily sacrifice of three to four hours of prayer every evening for you and your conversion. What a privilege to have the opportunity to pray beside them, joining our prayers to theirs during the days that we are in Medjugorje.