Perhaps the definitive apparition of St. Mary in our times will prove to be at Medjugorje, in war torn Bosnia-Herzegovina (formerly a part of Yugoslavia). I have known many whose lives were transformed by Christ upon making the pilgrimage to that precious little town. It has been my great honor to have witnessed, along with about five others, the phenomena so common over there: while looking at the sun, a silver communion wafer disk appears in the center of it and you can gaze upon it without any irritation to the eyes. There are still times when I have this happening and I understand that it is St. Mary's way of calling the world to Christ by this marvelous representation of the wafer which represents His body at the Lord's Supper.
I am now going to print the story of this place from a source other than myself. It will be greatly edited and I ask your indulgence but space is precious in writing this devotional book for you, my loved ones:
Medjugorje and St. Mary
Since 1981, in a small village in former Yugoslavia named Medjugorje, the Blessed Virgin Mary has been appearing and giving messages to the world. She tells us that God has sent Her to our world and, these years She is spending with us are a time of Grace granted by God. In Her own words She tells us, I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullness and peace, you must return to God"
Our Lady continues to give messages to six young people from the village of Medjugorje: Ivan, Jakov, Marija, Mirjana, Vicka, and Ivanka. These six young people (referred to as "visionaries") have had apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981.
[The author speaks here of ten messages given to the seers]
The ninth and tenth secrets are grave matters. They are a chastisement for the sins of the world. The punishment is inevitable because we can not expect the conversion of the entire world. The chastisement can be lessened by prayers and penance, but it can not be suppressed entirely. An evil which threatened the world according to the seventh secret, had been eliminated through prayer and fasting. For that reason the Blessed Virgin continues to ask for prayer and fasting. The invitation to prayer and penance is destined to ward off evil and war and above all to save souls. Our Lady says: "You have forgotten that with prayer and fasting you can ward off wars, suspend natural laws."
Since the apparitions began in 1981, millions of people of all faiths, from all over the world, have visited Medjugorje and have left spiritually strengthened and renewed. Many bring back stories of miracles in the form of healings, supernatural visual events, and conversions back to God. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones, to investigate with an open mind and heart the messages which are given to us by Our Lady of Medjugorje. I invite you to read these messages and decide for yourself how this messenger from Heaven will affect your life and that of your family.
I don't think that anyone could argue, regardless of religious orientation, that today's world is in a state of crisis. All one has to do is read the newspaper or watch television to be see how eroded the morals of our world have become. It is shocking to see and hear of the examples of inhumanity, cruelty, violence, abuse, drugs, war, crime, etc., etc. Much of the world has strayed far from a life centered around God and family. The answers which we need to redirect our life can be found by reading and living Our Lady's messages and the Scriptures.
"You are ready to commit sin, and to put yourselves in the hands of Satan
without reflecting." (May 25, 1987)
"Do not allow Satan to gain control of your hearts, so you would be an
image of Satan and not of me." (January 30, 1986)
"Children, darkness reigns over the whole world. People are attracted by
many things and they forget about the more important."
"Light won't reign in the world until people accept Jesus, until they
live His words, which is the Word of the Gospel."
"Dear children, this is the reason for my presence among you for such a
long time: to lead you on the path of Jesus. I want to save you and,
through you, to save the whole world. Many people now live without
faith; some don't even want to hear about Jesus, but they still want
peace and satisfaction! Children, here is the reason why I need your
prayer: prayer is the only way to save the human race." (July 30, 1987)
We must realize that Satan is real. He uses us for his own end and
purposes. His main purpose is destruction. Destruction of love, peace,
faith, family, and life. Our Lady gives us five weapons that we may use
against Satan. They are:
"Do not allow Satan to gain control of your hearts, so you would be an image of Satan and not of me." (January 30, 1986)
"Children, darkness reigns over the whole world. People are attracted by many things and they forget about the more important."
"Light won't reign in the world until people accept Jesus, until they live His words, which is the Word of the Gospel."
"Dear children, this is the reason for my presence among you for such a long time: to lead you on the path of Jesus. I want to save you and, through you, to save the whole world. Many people now live without faith; some don't even want to hear about Jesus, but they still want peace and satisfaction! Children, here is the reason why I need your prayer: prayer is the only way to save the human race." (July 30, 1987)
We must realize that Satan is real. He uses us for his own end and purposes. His main purpose is destruction. Destruction of love, peace, faith, family, and life. Our Lady gives us five weapons that we may use against Satan. They are:
Reading the Bible
Confessing your sins to God
The ninth and tenth secrets are serious. They concern chastisement for the sins of the world. Punishment is inevitable, for we cannot expect the whole world to be converted. The punishment can be diminished by prayer and penance, but it cannot be eliminated. Mirjana says that one of the evils that threatened the world, the one contained in the seventh secret, has been averted, thanks to prayer and fasting. That is why the Blessed Virgin continues to encourage prayer and fasting:
"You have forgotten that through prayer and fasting you can avert war and suspend the laws of nature."
"After the first admonition, the others will follow in a rather short time. Thus, people will have some time for conversion."
"That interval will be a period of grace and conversion. After the visible sign appears, those who are still alive will have little time for conversion. For that reason, the Blessed Virgin invites us to urgent conversion and reconciliation."
"The invitation to prayer and penance is meant to avert evil and war, but most of all to save souls."
In addition to this basic message, Mirjana related an apparition she had in 1982, which we believe sheds some light on some aspects of Church history. She spoke of an apparition in which Satan appeared to her disguised as the Blessed Virgin. Satan asked Mirjana to renounce the Madonna and follow him. That way she could be happy in love and in life. He said that following the Virgin, on the contrary, would only lead to suffering. Mirjana rejected him, and immediately the Virgin arrived and Satan disappeared. Then the Blessed Virgin gave her the following message in substance:
"Excuse me for this, but you must realize that Satan exists. One day he appeared before the throne of God and asked permission to submit the Church to a period of trial. God gave him permission to try the Church for one century. This century is under the power of the devil; but when the secrets confided to you come to pass, his power will be destroyed. Even now he is beginning to lose his power and has become aggressive. He is destroying marriages, creating divisions among priests and is responsible for obsessions and murder. You must protect yourselves against these things through fasting and prayer, especially community prayer. Carry blessed objects with you. Put them in your house, and restore the use of holy water."
According to certain Catholic experts who have studied these apparitions, this message of Mirjana may shed light on the vision Pope Leo XIII had. According to them, it was after having had an apocalyptic vision of the future of the Church that Leo XIII introduced the prayer to Saint Michael which priests used to recite after Mass up to the time of the Second Vatican Council. These experts say that the century of trials foreseen by Leo XIII is about to end. [Of course only God knows when the great tribulations will befall the world and "experts" have very often been wrong in such things.]
I refer you to chapter Lady Chapel VIII concerning the weeping vision of St. Mary near La Salette, France prior to the catastrophes that hit that nation in the mid-19th century.
I believe that icons and statues have been known to weep because Heaven cries out against this fallen and sinful world. That saints and angels must cry over how we men hurt and offend their beloved God often occurs to me. We have not been taught, as were our Christian ancestors, how Holy God is and how horribly offensive is our sinning in His sight. We have been raised in a generation whose preachers have feared displeasing their congregations with preaching upon God's wrath and indignation even though Jesus spent most of His ministry warning us about the reality of Hell and the horribleness of sin. Whatever would send Him to the cross and to suffer as He did is horrible beyond our imaginations -- but what it was that sent Him we know full well, our sins. As the churches apostatize more and more and seek money instead of the salvation of our souls we will hear less and less of the truth of God's holiness.
Cathy and I saw the famous weeping icon of St. Nicholas when we were in Tarpon Springs, Florida (that delightful and picturesque little Greek fishing village transplanted upon our American shores). The icon was crying at that time and we should recall that Heaven surely wept for the wars in southeast Asia, the racial violence in the land at the time, and the horrific genocide of the Cambodian people that was going on under the tyrannical rule of that anti-Christ look-alike, Pol Pot.
At the time that I saw the weeping icon of St. Mary with the Christ child at Belle Vernon the world was not aware of why Heaven was crying. These were the days when genocide was being committed in both Yugoslavia and Rwanda and we were shocked beyond words when our news media finally told us of the atrocities. The vows of our dear Jewish friends after their holocaust in Europe, "Never again!", were broken by these other lands within a few decades of Hitler's madness. Soon afterwards we were involved in the Gulf War and the world has gone quite mad ever since with genocide and persecution of Christians on an unbelievable scale. There are approximately 400 Christians martyred somewhere in this world every day according to human rights sources.
Yes, Heaven weeps for what is coming upon this poor old world. Scripture does not speak lightly when it says that men's hearts will fail them for what is coming upon the earth. St. Mary's visitations to us are trying to warn us, Repent and be converted by Christ -- take your baptisms very, very seriously and live in faith that Jesus has saved you and follow Him as closely as you possibly can, by God's grace.
Maria, gratia plena,
Maria, gratia plena,
Benedicta tue in mulieribus,
benedictus fructus ventris,
Ora pro nobis pecca to ribus,
Ora, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc, et in hora
moritis, in horamortis nostrae,
in hora mortis,
in hora mortis nostra.
Maria, gratia plena,
Maria, gratia plena.
Dominus, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
benedictus fructus ventris,
bentris tui, Jesus.
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