Category: News & Information

In Medjugorje, One Finds a “Peace” of Heaven

Christine Watkins with her son, Christian, in front of St. James Church in Medjugorje

 

Not once did I intend to travel half the circumference of the globe to Medjugorje, a small town in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the former Yugoslavia. I even poked fun at people who made return voyages to this distant place where the Blessed Mother was allegedly appearing in our lifetime. These repeat offenders and other past pilgrims seemed far too eager to send me overseas. At the Medjugorje conferences I attended, they would say to me with pleading eyes, “You should go!” They talked about a peace not of this world, reports of miracles, and handed out rosaries like Halloween candy. But why must I go? I wondered. I had no objection to the idea of Mary appearing in Medjugorje and giving messages. She had visited earth many times following her Assumption, and her current and repeated pleas from a mother’s heart, calling the world to prayer, fasting, receiving the Eucharist, reading the Bible and going to confession seemed sound enough. Her words could hardly benefit the designs of the devil; and were Medjugorje of human origin, its six visionaries, persecuted by the communists when the visions began in 1981, and hounded by pilgrims asking the same questions every day since, would have called it quits long ago. As one of the seers, Mirjana, put it:

“I also often asked myself: Why should I invent such a lie? If I were lying, this would make me an abnormal person. Even during communism, the doctors stated that we were normal. I had a nice life. I lived with my parents as the only child for nine years; they cherished me. Why would I want to turn my life upside down? Why bring turmoil, anxiety, agony and pain into my life – why? In my opinion, only an unstable person can do such a thing.”* (See previous post.)

Since I needed no convincing, I saw no reason to join a pilgrimage even once, much less multiple times, like those odd repeat-pilgrims who perhaps had an over-abundance of free time, too much money, or a fanatical streak? Couldn’t I just get in my car and cruise to St. Barnabas Church just five minutes away from my home? After all, the Eucharist was there.

Be careful what you make fun of. I have since traveled to Medjugorje five times.

Each trip was an unexpected calling full of untold graces, practically ducktaped together with frequent flyer miles and faith. My first pilgrimage with my husband saved my marriage. On my second trip, God asked me directly to write a book of Medjugorje conversion stories, now a bestseller for Ave Maria Press called, Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession. The third time, I providentially met two people whose stories ended up gracing the book. I organized the fourth trip and gathered a group of friends who received heavenly gifts. The fifth time, ABC television planned to interview me there, so I hopped on a plane again and experienced that peace I’d always heard about—a sweet ecstasy that satisfies every longing, every possible desire of the human heart.

The 14-ton, 12 meter-high cement cross atop Cross Mountain in Medjugorje

On those trips, I discovered that in Medjugorje, the miraculous is commonplace. The following are but some of the experiences of my family and friends alone: the miracle of the sun, where one can stare safely at it; the uncommon desire to pray for hours; the spontaneous healing from chronic, debilitating back pain; lightning striking earth in rainbow colors; a vertical light splitting the sky in two on a cloudless day, a fourteen-ton, twelve meter-high cement cross, free from all electricity, lit up and spinning like a top at the summit of Cross Mountain; a beating heart appearing in the host during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; the smell of roses where no roses or perfumes were present; atheists finding faith without foxholes; breast cancer healed; cures of debilitating depression and anxiety; golden clouds in the sky and a golden dust covering the earth. The millions of other people who have passed through Medjugorje would undoubtedly have more to share. . .

One never knows what will happen in Medjugorje, because Medjugorje is part Earth, part Heaven.  Even with the modern build up of hotels and religious knick knack stores at every turn to shelter and cater to the growing stream of pilgrims, Medjugorje captivated me. I didn’t know that a physical place on Earth could contain so much of heaven. Never before Medjugorje had I experienced such intense spiritual communion, such palpable belief, everywhere I looked. In Medjugorje, graces seemed to rain down in torrents, renewing parched souls with the living water Jesus offered to the woman at the well. I once heard a priest say, “Show me another place on earth besides Medjugorje where I can take teenagers for a week and they come home transformed, and I’ll take them there instead.”

The Mother of God has introduced herself in Medjugorje as the Queen of Peace, and she clearly desires to impart that peace to her children. The peace often granted to souls through Medjugorje is not that of a relaxing vacation, a human embrace, or a happy outcome. It is the peace of Philippians 4:7, which surpasses all human understanding and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. I remember standing in front of St. James Church in Medjugorje, doused in peace, and thinking that there must be something I should be concerned about, but my mind refused to worry.

One particular moment of peace stands tall in my memory above the rest. After eating dinner at a restaurant where I sat near a table seating the three-person crew from ABC television, I left to walk a short block to the area behind St. James where hundreds of people sat outside in the warm summer night air, facing the Blessed Sacrament—a large Host carefully placed in a stunning monstrance circled by golden rays. As I walked into the midst of the Real Presence of Jesus, a multitude of prayers, and sweet live music, I felt overcome with a deeply peaceful, tingling, ecstatic joy that filled my heart to capacity. When I sat down to pray, that capacity somehow grew. Giddy waves of peace carried my heart off to heaven while it somehow remained in my chest. Off to the left, the sky flashed with lightning, but without a sound, as if the Holy Spirit were delighting in showing himself off to his people—perhaps he was.

Suddenly I became the one acting like a crazed fanatic. I promptly stood up and ran back toward the restaurant. If only the ABC crew could experience this! Surely then their hearts would be touched, and they could share with the world what was truly happening here at this holy site.

I bounded back into the restaurant trying to calm myself down. Still gasping for breath, I approached the crew’s table and exclaimed, hardly making sense: “You might want to see this. You might want to film this. The peace—the lightning with no thunder–the music, the multitudes. It’s so beautiful. It’s warm. It’s adoration. It’s what we Catholics do. Then looking at them with pleading eyes, I said, “You should go!”

They looked at me with courteous amusement , and then I left. They never budged. They hadn’t finished their beers and saw no reason to disturb their comfortable dinner. Without interest or faith or the desire to change, even one block is too far to travel.

Miracles are simply neglected sideshows when the soul is left untouched. As Fr. Jozo Zovko, OFM, the pastor of St. James church when the apparitions began, once said:

Fr. Jozo Zovko

“In Medjugorje, the miracle is not so much in Our Lady’s apparitions or in the words she speaks to us, but in the pilgrim’s reply, who accepts to change his heart and life. That is the great miracle!

Take St Francis: the miracle was not that Jesus spoke to him, but in the fact that he gave up everything to become poor in everything.

In the Gospel we read of the rich young man who was called by Jesus. The miracle wasn’t that he saw Christ and heard his call; it would have been in his response, had he responded. But he preferred his riches to Jesus. That is a miracle which did not occur.

It is not a miracle for God to talk; it is normal. In Medjugorje it is the pilgrim who decides if a miracle will occur or not. All he has to do is to open his heart to respond to the call.”*

Medjugorje would mean nothing without the conversion of the human heart. My work gathering stories for the Full of Grace book introduced me to Medjugorje’s inner world, the world within each heart, as I wrote down some of the most amazing conversions I had ever heard: a former crack addict who experienced his own apparition of Mary in Medjugorje and is now completely free from his addiction; a lonely youth who found healing from abortion, depression, and anxiety; a Nobel Peace Prize who, with Mary’s help, rescues children living in the sewers of Colombia; a violent, homeless heroin addict, diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic who is now a happy, sane, kind-loving family man; a former stripper who has considered becoming a nun; and a former atheist, who was me, caught up in serious sin and miraculously saved from imminent death through Mary’s Intercession. The book and subsequent talks I’ve given around the country have introduced me to hundreds of Medjugorje conversion stories, more than the mind can run after.

Such graces have to come from heaven. They can’t possibly come from man. As I encountered testimony after testimony, I saw how each conversion, healing, or a prayer answered ministered so perfectly to the individual that only an all-knowing, all-loving, Almighty God could manage such feats. No human being could weave such tapestries of exquisite experience, could manipulate lives with such life-altering results and reach the heart where only God can speak. Like seashells, or grains of sand, or snowflakes, each story was intricately unique, beautiful, and perfect—so clearly created by an infinitely fertile imagination. If souls say yes to what Mary is asking, they become a holy expression of their true selves. And they find true peace.

“There is only one danger alone for Medjugorje – that people will pass it by!”**

–Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar,

regarded by Pope Benedict XVI

as one of the greatest theologians of our time

By Christine Watkins, MTS, LCSW

Catholic speaker and author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

* http://crownofstars.blogspot.com

** Entire quote from Medjugorje and the Church by Denis Nolan: “The theology of Medjugorje rings true. I am convinced of its truth. Everything concerning Medjugorje is authentic from a Catholic point of view. All that happens there is so evident, so convincing! . . . There is only one danger alone for Medjugorje – that people will pass it by!”– Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar

Three apparitions in one day on the 31st anniversary of Medjugorje

Today, Monday June 25, 2012, is the 31st Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje. The visionary Ivanka received her annual apparition early in the day, then Mirjana received her apparition for the world, and at 10 p.m., in the evening in Medjugorje Ivan experienced his apparition of the Blessed Mother.

On May 6, 1985, Our Lady confided to the visionary Ivanka the tenth secret, and the next day, May 7, 1985, Ivanka stopped receiving her daily apparitions. she would appear to her on June 25 every year, for the rest of her life. Ivanka was the first of the visionaries to see Our Lady on June 24, 1981, and it was she who pointed Our Lady out to Mirjana as they were walking by Podbrdo, now known as Apparition Hill. When Ivanka received the tenth secret, which Our Lady confided to her on May 6, 1985, Our Lady appeared one more day to Ivanka, and then her daily apparitions ceased. The following took place during Ivanka’s annual apparition of Our Lady, June 25, 2012:

Our Lady appeared to Ivanka at her home, surrounded by her family, and stayed with Ivanka for seven minutes. At the end of the apparition, Ivanka gave the following description:

“Our Lady spoke to me about the fifth secret, and at the end said: ‘I am giving you my Motherly blessing. Pray for peace, peace, peace.'”

Later, in the day, on June 25, 2012, Our Lady appeared to the Medjugorje visionary Marija, to give her monthly message to the world:

“Dear children! With great hope in the heart, also today I call you to prayer. If you pray, little children, you are with me and you are seeking the will of my Son and are living it. Be open and live prayer and, at every moment, may it be for you the savor and joy of your soul. I am with you and I intercede for all of you before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Ivan received his apparition the night of June 25th, amidst thousands of pilgrims. He said it was very difficult to describe this day–thirty-one years of memories, emotions, and experiences all mixed up together, and then Our Lady reminding him of many things at the beginning of her coming, and it is overwhelming for him to describe! So he did his best to describe to pilgrims the essence of her visit:

Our Lady came, very, very joyful and happy. She was accompanied by three angels. She greeted us with her motherly greeting, “Praised be Jesus, my dear children!” And then continued:

“Dear children! Today in great joy I desire to call you once again to live my messages. Dear children! I came to tell you God exists. I want to lead you to Him. Pray, dear children that your way may become the way of Jesus. Thank you, my dear children, for responding to my call.”

Ivan said that it is difficult to put into words the love that Our Lady shows for her children. When he watched Our Lady look from left to right over the crowd of people in his chapel, it looked as if she were crying, but the tears were tears of deep love. She extended her hands over the sick, especially, praying in her native language of Aramaic. She then prayed over all of the pilgrims present, especially the priests. Ivan recommended the pilgrims and their intentions to Our Lady and she prayed for their petitions and blessed their articles. Ivan had a time of private conversation with Our Lady during which they discussed their memories of the first days. Ivan felt Our Lady wanted people to be reminded of the first days of her apparitions in Medjugorje. Then she left in the sign of the cross saying, “Go in peace, my dear children.”

The day before, on June 24th, The Nativity of St. John the Baptist, Ivan had anticipated with great joy Our Lady’s apparition, celebrating thirty-one years of daily apparitions in Medjugorje.

In her message, Our Lady said:

Dear Children! Today anew, I invite you to decide for Jesus. Decide and go together with him towards the future. I am with you dear children because my Son has allowed me to stay together with you, because I want to guide you, teach you, raise you. I desire to lead you all to my Son. I want to lead you all to Heaven. Therefore, I invite you anew, decide for Him. Put Him in the first place in your lives. Dear Children, this world in which you live passes by. Therefore, decide, decide for peace, live peace. Decide for prayer. Pray, dear children, pray, pray.’ Thank you dear children for having responded to my call.  

 

Divine Mercy Sunday promises for your soul. Don’t miss out! It’s not too late!

Divine Mercy Sunday, perhaps God’s greatest gift of our time.

In the 1930’s Our Lord Jesus requested through Saint Faustina Kowalska that a Feast of Mercy be established and solemnly celebrated in His Church on the First Sunday after Easter every year. The Lord said that this feast would be the “last hope of salvation.”

On the 22nd of February, 1931, Jesus Christ revealed this vision of himself to the young Polish nun, Sister Faustina Kowalska. The image was painted and became a vessel to remind the world of God’s greatest attribute, His mercy.

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated the Sunday after Easter. The great promise of this day is the forgiveness of all sins and punishment due to sin for anyone who would go to Confession and receive Jesus in Holy Communion, on this very special Feast. According to Divine Mercy Productions, one may receive the Sacrament of Confession, also known as Reconciliation, twenty days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday.

In the year 2000, after many years of study by the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, officially established this Feast of Divine Mercy and named it Divine Mercy Sunday. He died on the very vigil day of this feast and was beatified on May 1, 2011, on that same feast!

Why would Jesus offer us something so great right now? Jesus told St. Faustina that she was to prepare the world for His Second Coming and that He would be pouring out His Mercy in great abundance as a very last hope of salvation, before He comes again as the Just Judge.

From the Diary of S. Faustina, 699, Jesus said: “On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”

In Saint Faustina’s diary, she recorded that Jesus also indicated that He Himself is there in the confessional. Jesus told her, “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.” (1602)

Jesus knew that people would really need to hear these words of re-assurance today, so He went on to say “Come with faith to the feet of My representative…and make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light.” (1725)

Many feel that their sins are unforgivable but, Jesus said, “Were a soul like a decaying corpse, so that from a human standpoint, there would be no hope of restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. In the Tribunal of Mercy (the great sacrament of Confession) …the greatest miracles take place and are incessantly repeated.” (1448) “Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy.” (1602)

“Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy!  You will call out in vain, but it will be too late.” (1448) “Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace.”  (1074) “There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy.” (1273)

By Christine Watkins, inspirational speaker and author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

Divine Mercy Sunday promises for your soul. Don’t miss out! It’s not too late!

Divine Mercy Sunday, perhaps God’s greatest gift of our time.

In the 1930’s Our Lord Jesus requested through Saint Faustina Kowalska that a Feast of Mercy be established and solemnly celebrated in His Church on the First Sunday after Easter every year. The Lord said that this feast would be the “last hope of salvation.”

On the 22nd of February, 1981, Jesus Christ revealed this vision of himself to the young Polish nun, Sister Faustina Kowalska. The image was painted and became a vessel to remind the world of God’s greatest attribute, His mercy.

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated the Sunday after Easter. The great promise of this day is the forgiveness of all sins and punishment due to sin for anyone who would go to Confession and receive Jesus in Holy Communion, on this very special Feast. According to Divine Mercy Productions, one may receive the Sacrament of Confession, also known as Reconciliation, twenty days before or after Divine Mercy Sunday.

In the year 2000, after many years of study by the Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II, officially established this Feast of Divine Mercy and named it Divine Mercy Sunday. He died on the very vigil day of this feast and was beatified on May 1, 2011, on that same feast!

Why would Jesus offer us something so great right now? Jesus told St. Faustina that she was to prepare the world for His Second Coming and that He would be pouring out His Mercy in great abundance as a very last hope of salvation, before He comes again as the Just Judge.

From the Diary of S. Faustina, 699, Jesus said: “On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.”

In Saint Faustina’s diary, she recorded that Jesus also indicated that He Himself is there in the confessional. Jesus told her, “When you approach the confessional, know this, that I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest, but I Myself act in your soul. Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy. Tell souls that from this fount of mercy souls draw graces solely with the vessel of trust. If their trust is great, there is no limit to My generosity.” (1602)

Jesus knew that people would really need to hear these words of re-assurance today, so He went on to say “Come with faith to the feet of My representative…and make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light.” (1725)

Many feel that their sins are unforgivable but, Jesus said, “Were a soul like a decaying corpse, so that from a human standpoint, there would be no hope of restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. In the Tribunal of Mercy (the great sacrament of Confession) …the greatest miracles take place and are incessantly repeated.” (1448) “Here the misery of the soul meets the God of mercy.” (1602)

“Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy!  You will call out in vain, but it will be too late.” (1448) “Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace.”  (1074) “There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy.” (1273)

By Christine Watkins, inspirational speaker and author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

The most important Medjugorje message


The most important message Mary of Medjugorje has ever given us is:

“Live my messages.”

“That’s all that really matters,” said a holy friend of mine, who lives and breathes Mary’s five main messages of daily prayer from the heart (especially the rosary), fasting on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays, frequent Bible reading, attendance at Mass, and monthly Confession. “People want to read about the latest Medjugorje news, figure out the future, learn what the visionaries are doing,” he continued, “and they can fool themselves into thinking that they’re following Our Lady’s messages.”

The question for all of us is, “Are we living the Medjugorje messages, or are we just reading about them?”

What is most important for our lives and for our future remains so simple, and yet so hard to do.

Our Lady is asking us to pray three hours a day, and on April 24, 1984, she said:
“. . . Pray as much as you can, pray however you can, but pray more always. Each of you could pray even four hours a day. But I know that many do not understand, because they think only of living for their work.”

To follow through with what Mary is asking takes a radical life change of career, priorities, hobbies, scheduling, of removing the television and extraneous activity from our lives–anything counterproductive to prayer. To pray that many hours of the day means to rearrange our days–to live in the world, much like a vowed religious.

In Medjugorje the church is packed–wall to wall–evening after evening, for three hours of consecutive prayer a day. Is this possible elsewhere in the world? Of course it is. But almost nowhere else have people grasped Mary’s messages with the heart, as they have in Medjugorje.

I thought of three hours of daily prayer as extravagant, until I heard that Pope John Paul II prayed at least that much each day. Three hours a day? With his schedule? So what was my excuse again?

The above message of April 24, 1984 even proved a shock for the Franciscan priest, Fr. Vlasic, who questioned Our Lady through the visionaries regarding her request, saying, “If we tell the people to pray for four hours, they will turn away.”

Our Lady answered: “Even you do not understand. It is hardly a sixth of your day.”

On November 20, 1988, she said, “May your life be prayer. May your work be offered as a prayer, and may everything that you do bring you towards me. . .”

Mary has told us that “prayer is the only way to save the human race,” (July 30, 1987), and she stresses, in repeated and varied ways, the serious of her coming and her requests.

I have come to call the world to conversion for the last time. Afterwards, I will not appear any more on this earth.” (May 2, 1982)

“. . .accept with seriousness and live the messages for your soul not to be sad when I will not be with you anymore . . . little children, read every day the messages I gave you and transform them into life. . .” (December 25, 1989)

Our Lady has told us we will not receive these messages forever. Perhaps they will cease very soon. We have only now to live them out.

 

By Christine Watkins, author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

Critical prayer alert for the world: Medjugorje commission will render final judgment this year, 2012

CRITICAL PRAYER ALERT. PLEASE PRAY AND FAST BETWEEN NOW AND THE MEDJUGORJE COMMISSION’S FINAL DECISION. WHETHER THE APPARITIONS IN MEDJUGORJE ARE ANNOUNCED AS AUTHENTIC OR NOT WILL CHANGE, FOR GOOD OR FOR ILL, THE COURSE OF OUR WORLD.

Later this year, the Vatican Commission that investigates the events of Medjugorje will end its work and report to the Pope, says Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, who is a member of the Commission himself. “Work is still going on, but we must be finished this year,” the highest ranking prelate of Bosnia and Hercegovina told a press conference on Tuesday.

Cardinal Vinko Puljic

Before the end of 2012, the excitement of millions of people worldwide will come to an end. The Vatican Commission on Medjugorje plans to have rendered its final report to Pope Benedict XVI, when the bells ring in 2013, Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo informed during a press conference on February 14.

“Later this year, we want to finish our work and give our opinion to the Pope, so that he can express his judgment. I cannot talk about what the Commission does because I am bound to secrecy. Our work is still going on. This year, however, we must finish it,” Cardinal Puljic informed according to ASCA, an Italian news agency.

If the Commission stays on the schedule laid out by Cardinal Puljic, it will have worked little less than three years when it renders its report to the Pope. Presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Commission was announced by the Vatican on March 17th, 2010.

News from wwwmedjugorjetoday.tv

Visionary Mirjana, who has received all ten Medjugorje secrets, says priests are the bridge to the coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

On October 3, 2011, a day after Mirjana received her once a month apparition, she shared with pilgrims the following words, translated immediately into spoken English, by pilgrim guide, Miki Musa:

If anyone is really privileged for Our Lady, we can speak about our priests, because she never said what they should do. She always talks about what we should do for them. They do not need you to judge and criticize them; they need your prayers and your love, because God will judge them as they were as priests, but God will judge you the way you treated your priests.

Our Lady says if you lose respect toward your priests, you will lose respect for your Church and for your God, as well. [In] the same way, during every second of the month apparition, she always says something about the importance of priests. For example, when she gives us her blessing, she says, “I am giving you my motherly blessing, but the greatest blessing you can receive on earth is the blessing that comes from your priests. When they bless you, it is my Son, Himself, blessing you.”

She also says, “Do not forget to pray for your shepherds. Their priestly hands are blessed by my Son.” That is why I am kindly asking of you, when you go back to your parishes, show to the others how we should respect our priests. If your priest is not doing [things] the way you think he should, do not judge him around. Take the rosary and pray to dear God for him. That would be the way to help him, and not to judge, because in this world that we live in, people judge and criticize so much, but there is so little love, and Our Lady desires that what we [all] may be seen through love and not to take into our own hands what only Our Heavenly Father, God, is supposed to do.

I’m sorry I cannot share with you more of what is supposed to happen [in the future], but I can tell you one thing. We have this time we are living in right now, and we have the time of the triumph of Our Lady’s heart. Between these two times, there is a bridge, and that bridge is our priests. That is why Our Lady insists so much that we pray for them, because that bridge needs to be strong enough for every one of us to cross it–because Our Lady said, “Alongside them [the priests], I will triumph,” which means that without priests, there is no triumph of Our Lady’s heart.

Just as in her message yesterday, Our Lady said not to judge our priests and not to forget that our Heavenly Father chose them. It is one thing for me to say what she said, but the expression of her face tells much more. I would say that she meant, “How do you dare to judge, because God is the one who is supposed to do it.” How can we take into our own hands what only God Himself is supposed to do? Because if God invited the priests, God will be the judge. Who are we to do it?

 

Transcribed by Jane Lee and Christine Watkins, author of Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

Mary of Medjugorje comes to save young man through apparition on the Internet!

I have heard many beautiful stories of Mary coming to a person and pulling them out of darkness in an instant, with her overwhelming embrace of love, and this is perhaps the most immediate conversion I’ve encountered. And, of all ways, it happened through the Internet!

The visionary Ivan and Cardinal Schönborn

Coming Home through the Intercession of Our Lady

Scurrying down the steps, I frantically found myself in search of my gym shoes, which I’d misplaced the night before. I was due at the gym in five minutes to meet friends for a Thursday evening workout. Yes, once again, I was running late. At that exact moment, my phone rang. It was my mother: “Did you get a chance to watch Ivan’s and Marija’s apparition yet?” she asked. Responding impatiently, I replied “No mom, I’m already late as it is. I’ll watch it when I get back.” Sitting down to tie my shoes, I suddenly stopped. Feeling drawn towards the webcast of the Medjugorje visionaries’ apparition, and guilty for being reluctant with my mother, I gave in. It was the evening of September the 23rd, 2010, and my life, as I knew it, was never going to be the same.

My senior picture at Bryan High School in Omaha, Nebraska, back in my "cool" days

Growing up I attended St. Bernadette Catholic grade school. Although tuition was expensive, the sacrifice my parents endured was worth the Catholic-based education my siblings and I received. Their sacrifice instilled in me a foundation I would newly discover later in life. When I was in grade school, we attended weekly Mass, including Sundays. After my eighth grade year, I decided to enroll in a public high school, solely for athletic reasons, and found myself going to Mass on Sundays only. And to be honest, the only reason I went is because my parents forced me and my twin brother to go; if I’d had it my way, I would have slept in until noon.

Life at this time was going as planned. I graduated from high school and entered my first year of college. College was exciting: new friends, new environment, living away from my parents. However, with this newly acquired freedom came the element of choice. I suddenly found myself choosing not to attend Mass. At this stage in my life, I became distant from God and the Catholic Church. I obtained a job working security at a downtown club and started traveling down a dead-end path. I found myself going home with various women whom I met at work. On several occasions, I ended up at strip-clubs until the early morning hours. With after-hour parties taking place weekly, there wasn’t a weekend when I was in bed sleeping before the sun came up. I would drive home intoxicated, past the church I used to attend, observing families arriving at morning Sunday Mass. The devil had me right where he wanted me, and I was only adding fuel to his fire. My life continued on this path for the next several years.

One evening my mother invited me to attend a speaking engagement at our local parish, where a man, having returned from the pilgrimage site of Medjugorje, gave a testimony of his recent trip to the small town located near Bosnia and Herzegovina. I reluctantly went, only because it would make my mother happy. As I sat there that night, I heard the man talk about a place where six visionaries were experiencing apparitions of Our Blessed Mother. I had no clue about Medjugorje, and to be completely honest, I didn’t care and wasn’t really paying attention. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

Myself and one of God's greatest gifts to me, my twin brother. We were born on December the 8th, the feast day of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception

Time passed until last September, 2010. As a gift, my mother gave me a book that left a great impression on me. The book was titled, Queen of the Cosmos: Interviews with the Visionaries of Medjugorje. I took the book to work where it sat on my desk for several weeks, collecting dust. One day while sitting at work, with an hour or so to spare, and nothing else to do, I did something that would forever impact the depths of my soul. I opened the book and began to read. In this book, the visionaries shared how they saw the Virgin Mary, as I’ve never heard Her described, comparing Her beauty to beyond our comprehension. As I continued to read, I began to fall completely in love with the lady whom they were describing. After reading the book in just two days, I knew nothing but understood everything. This young, pure, loving, vibrant woman was my Mother, and I was Her son. I developed a passion and curiosity for the apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje, and this marked the beginning of what I call my miraculous conversion through her intercession.

A week after I’d read the Queen of the Cosmos book, my mother informed me that an apparition would be streamed live through the internet to various parts of the globe; and not only this, but according to the visionary Ivan, special graces would be granted to those witnessing the broadcast of the apparition, no matter where they were located. Although I felt somewhat reluctant to take time to observe the apparition, I was extremely excited to see the visionaries Ivan and Marija communicate with the Mother of God.

The visionaries Marija and Ivan at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna for their September 23, 2010 apparition

The date was September 23, 2010, at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. As I sat witnessing this live event on the Internet, I felt someone surround me with her presence, as though she had entered the room. I quickly looked up, expecting to see someone standing there. I didn’t see anyone, yet the person’s presence was becoming more and more intense. I describe it as if someone were standing with their face inches from yours, but you’re unable see anyone. At that moment, I felt a love that was not of this world, a love more pure that anything I’ve ever experienced. I was so overcome with the love radiating from this person in the room with me that I began to cry. In my humanity, I couldn’t comprehend the love that was being bestowed upon me. I could feel it radiating off of me. I compare it to someone running a high fever, being able to physically feel the heat emanating from his body. And I knew exactly who was in the room with me. I yelled out, “Mary!” “Mary!” “Mary!” while crying uncontrollably. My heart expanded like fire, “Mary!” I exclaimed. “Mary, I love you!” “I love you, Mary!” This love became so intense I put my hands over my face and continued crying. I asked aloud, “What’s happening to me?” “What is happening?” and cried, “Mary!” “Mary!” “Mary!” in between sobs. Finally, unable to stop my tears, I yelled out, “Show me yourself!” “Let me see you, Mary!” “Mary, please. I know you’re here. Please allow me to see you with my eyes!”

That night of September 23rd, 2010, I was twenty-four years old, still very young, and with my whole life ahead of me. However, after feeling the love of Mary, I was truly ready to die. I never saw her with my eyes, but I felt her with my whole being. Knowing that I could never receive that same love from anything or anyone here on Earth, I was ready to leave this world and go with Our Blessed Mother. It was a love so indescribable that at one point I cried out, “Mary, I’m ready to go. Mother, if you want to, take me with you, I’m ready.” And I meant this from the depths of my soul.

Growing up Catholic, I had received the Sacrament of Reconciliation many times, confessing my sins, not out of sorrow, but due to the fear of hell. As I sat wondering if my tears were ever going to cease, I realized that for the first time in my life, I was truly sorry for everything I’d done. I mean I was truly sorry from the bottom of my heart. I managed to pick my head up, and with tears streaming down my face, for the first time, I looked to God and said, “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” And I truly meant it.

After experiencing this miraculous conversion, I did one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. I gave my yes to God; I gave Him complete control over my life. I figured I’d messed things up enough; and by turning the reigns over to Him, I couldn’t go wrong. Ever since giving God and Mother Mary my yes, I’ve been blessed with many gifts. Six months after my conversion, my mother and I flew to Sacramento, California, for a Medjugorje conference. To our surprise, the Medjugorje visionary, Marija, was present there. If you recall, Marija was one of the visionaries I observed at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. At the conference, I was able to meet and receive a hug from Marija: an incredible gift from God and Our Blessed Mother!

My Mother and I at the 2011 Sacramento Marian Conference. Here I was able to meet and be present with Medjugorje visionary, Marija Pavlovic, during her apparition with Our Blessed Mother.

My life hasn’t been the same since the evening of September 23, 2010. I have taken Our Lady’s messages to heart: fasting, praying the rosary, receiving the sacraments. I also recently joined a Bible study on campus. I have to laugh because growing up I was always extremely close to my mother. God saw that I was slipping away from Him and knew exactly what to do. He sent His Mother to bring Me back to Him. There isn’t a day or hour that goes by when I’m not thinking about Mary. I love her so much, and I’m so happy to have her as my Mother. I recently heard a man quote a wonderful phrase that I knew directly related to me. He said, “When my time comes. When I die and leave this world and am standing in front of Jesus at Heaven’s gates, Jesus will look at me and say, “Oh yes, My Mother has told Me all about you.” I’m so thankful for Our Lady’s intercession. She saved my life and healed my soul, bringing me closer to Her Son. I can’t help but feel excited, as I sit in anticipation, wondering where this new found love will lead me next.

Adam Holubar (Omaha, NE), edited by Christine Watkins

Read more stories, such as this, in the book, Full of Grace: Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.

Visionary Mirjana, asks Medjugorje critics, “Why should I invent such a lie?”

In the early days of the Medjugorje apparitions. The visionary Mirjana is pictured in the middle.

 

In a new book by Kresimir Sego, called A Conversation with the Visionaries, (Medjugorje, 2011), Mirjana shares her pain over those who believe she and the other five Medjugorje visionaries have fabricated a hoax of seeing the Virgin Mary. “I feel sorry for those who continue to think and feel this way, who continuously wonder whether or not this all is true, while Our Lady is stretching out her hand to lead us to salvation. Why do you waste time?” Mirjana asks.

“I also often asked myself: Why should I invent such a lie? If I were lying, this would make me an abnormal person. Even during communism, the doctors stated that we were normal. I had a nice life, I lived with my parents as the only child for nine years; they cherished me. Why would I want to turn my life upside down, why bring turmoil, anxiety, agony and pain into my life – why? In my opinion, only an unstable person can do such a thing.”

After Mirjana began having apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the small town of Medjugorje, in the former Yugoslavia, the Communist authorities left Mirjana little peace in attempting to have her break down:

Mirjana today with a young pilgrim

“Every day I was taken away by officers of the Republic Secretariat of Internal Affairs. They interrogated and questioned me. They demanded that I write and sign a statement that Fr. Jozo Zovko (parish priest in Medjugorje by the time of the first apparition, ed.) fabricated the whole event which took place in Medjugorje.”

Article excerpted from www.medjugorjetoday.tv. Read full article here:

http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/1642/mirjana-speaks-out-to-medjugorje-critics/