Luka Balvan | Zlatko Sudac | Frane Franic | Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo | Jakov Colo | Jozo Zovko | Ivan Dragicevic | Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic | Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti

LUKA BALVAN:
WITH MUSIC TO PRAYER

This time we have an interview with the most famous author of spiritual music in Croatia. Luka Balvan wrote more than 150 songs in the last 20 years, with many of those becoming traditional and performed by young people in Croatia and other countries. He recorded 20 albums, performed more than 1000 concerts around Europe, Canada, USA and Australia. With his songs Luka wishes to spread message of peace, love and hope to all people.

Since being a ten year old boy Luka started playing a guitar and continues doing so until this day. During his schooling he was actively engaged in music life of his church, school and birthplace Banja Luka. At request of his oldest sister, in 1986 he comes to Zagreb at professor Tomislav Ivancic at spiritual healing and realizes for the first time that the Lord can be celebrated with all instruments. In Banja Luka he performed with his band at hotels and restaurants, andwas detached from church music. When he saw the youth, the love for this kind of music was born and entered his life with a breeze.

- With arrival to school in Zagreb I started writing the real songs and then begins my spiritual growth, especially when accompanying professor Ivancic at spiritual seminars. At the end of the 80's there were prayer centers in Zagreb and people knew where to pray at specific days. I was at the prayer on Kaptol in 1989 where I met fr. Zvjezdan Linic for whom I am performing since those days.

* Do people understand and accept what you do?
- In the beginning people couldn't really understand me and I was questioning myslf what I was doing, but when you experience an encounter with God, songs come out of you and you can't stop. Songs helped me a great deal and I wasn't talking much but singing. I was putting my thoughts on paper and sang and sang and never stopped. My songs reached people's hearts. When I was in crysis and was thinking to stop with my work, I'd receive a letter or had a conversation that encouraged me to go on. In this way God was sending me signs via people and events and I continued working and will do so until there is God's will.

* How various testimonies on spiritual seminars affect you? Do you experience them emotionaly?
- That's a good question. Looking those people I see them as individuals who need to encounter God in their lives each on his or her own way. On the other hand, solutions shouldn't be sought after in religion only because that transforms to a sort of a fanaticism. Personal encounter with God and regular prayer, that's a process that takes years. Man sets up a harmony, a balance with himself and God. But emotions are always present and one can't be irreverent, myself included.

* How are you accepted in church circles, do priests approve that approach?
- Most of them are open to spiritual music, at least where I was, and that's excellent mix of preaching, singing ad music. St. Augustine said that spiritual music is a double prayer of heart, what late Fr. Slavko Barbaric, who I knew personally, was also known to emphasize. If you sing spiritualy it simply touches another heart. During my travelings I saw that song can do miracles, it can reach to people who were in church a long time ago and encourage them to go to the holly mass.

* Apparitions were differently viewed upon through the history. What is your opinion o apparitions, especially those in Medjugorje?
- Every personal prayer is an apparition. Man knows to repent for his sins and knows to open heart and soul and in those situations encounter of God and man happens. Each day in sincere prayer of heart comes God, Mary and angels. Heaven and earth merges and man personally feels the apparition. Personally I look at Medjugorje apparitions through the messages I read, openess of laity toward God, their cooperation in God's plan. To me, Medjugorje is large message for us laity. I believe we're called to cooperate with the Church, open to the world and carry the message of Gospel.

* You were at many pilgrimages around the world, including in Medjugorje.
- I visited Medjugorje more than 50 times with groups and we had a common program. Being a few days in Medjugorje one can separate from this world and dive in God's presence bathed in pleasant feeling. At first I was looking at outside things, outside the perish and considered it important, but lately that doesn't interest me.

* What uplifts you?
- When you come to sanctuary, and you haven't been in touch with sacramental way of life, the spirituality takes you away and unconsciously you start thinking of God and Our Lady. It surfaces from subconsciousness, which is very important, and I've read testimonies in "Glas mira" magazine about people experiencing such beautiful things and continue practicing them through prayer groups and gatherings. We need to thank God in every single moment. A priest once said: "Dear God, you gave me everything and I ask you for one more thing, and that is a thankful heart." We need to be thankful for blessings God gives us, but for troubles in life too, because this is also the way God is getting closer to man.

* Does it mean that God teaches people, directly or indirectly, but only the signs need to be recognized?
- Sure, but that level needs to be reached, we need to work on ourselves. There is a thing I intensively think about lately. I can sum it up in a definition: inside out. I want to say with that to change a person next to me, first I need to start changing. I wish to convey that message to "Glas mira" readers as well. We always need to change ourselves, let God change us, let us be in peace with God, ourselves and others.