"Dear children! I am calling you to be with me in prayer in this time of grace when darkness is fighting against the light. Pray, little children, confess and begin a new life in grace. Decide for God and He will lead you towards holiness; and the cross will be a sign of victory and hope for you. Be proud that you are baptized and grateful in your heart that you are a part of God's plan. Thank you for having responded to my call. "
"Dear children, through the great love of the Heavenly Father I am beside you as your mother and you are beside me as my children, as apostles of my love whom I ceaselessly gather around me.
My children, you are those who, through prayer, need to completely surrender to my Son so that you may no longer live but my Son may live in you - so that all those who do not know my Son may see Him in you and come to desire to know Him.
Pray that in you they may see resolute humility and goodness, a readiness to serve others; that in you they may see that you live your vocation in the world with the heart, in communion with my Son; that in you they may see meekness, tenderness and love for my Son as well as for all brothers and sisters. Apostles of my love, you must pray much and cleanse your hearts so that you may be the first to walk on the way of my Son, that you may be the just who are united with the justice of my Son.
My children, as apostles of my love, you must be united in the communion which emanates from my Son, so that my children who do not know my Son may recognize the communion of love and may come to desire to walk on the way of life, the way of unity with my Son. Thank you."
Message to Mirjana on March 18, 2018:
Dear children! My earthly life was simple. I loved and I rejoiced in small things. I loved life - the gift from God - even though pain and sufferings pierced my heart. My children, I had the strength of faith and boundless trust in God's love. All those who have the strength of faith are stronger. Faith makes you live according to what is good and then the light of God's love always comes at the desired moment. That is the strength which sustains in pain and suffering. My children, pray for the strength of faith, trust in the Heavenly Father, and do not be afraid. Know that not a single creature who belongs to God will be lost but will live forever. Every pain has its end and then life in freedom begins there where all of my children come - where everything is returned. My children, your battle is difficult. It will be even more difficult, but you follow my example. Pray for the strength of faith; trust in the love of the Heavenly Father. I am with you. I am manifesting myself to you. I am encouraging you. With immeasurable motherly love I am caressing your souls. Thank you.
I Did Not Believe...
By Fr. Eugenio La Barbera
This testimony is part of a homily given at Medjugorje in
January 2008, by Fr. Eugenio La Barbera.
Every time I come to Medjugorje, I feel it is my duty to give my testimony about the way Our Lady called me to form a monastic community in Brazil. Now we have three monasteries in Brazil.
I did not believe in Medjugorje, and in May 1987, I was in a deep existential crisis when a priest, Don Valdemaro Boggiano Pico, a dear friend of mine, kind of forced me to come to Medjugorje. And so I came here with two friends of mine. They believed in these apparitions. I did not... not at all.
When we arrived in Medjugorje, it was raining, and there should have been an apparition to Ivan, but on that day they told us - we had just arrived and were still on the coach - that the apparition was only for Ivan's prayer group and so we were excluded. All the people on the coach became very sad because they could not be there. On the contrary, I became very happy and started making fun of everybody saying, "You see, you came here and Our Lady does not even want you!"
At that time there were no hotels, no shops, nothing. We were staying in the house of some local people. I remember that we had to keep the window closed because downstairs there were the stables and the smell rose up... and we kept the door open and the door was opening up on Krizevac.
At a certain point, one of my friends - we were lodged all in this same room - said to me, "Eugenio, shall we go and pray and make the Stations of the Cross?" I replied "What Stations of the Cross? It's raining, and in any case, Our Lady said that we cannot go up there because there is the prayer group up on the mountain. What are we going to do up there? Rest assured, Our Lady is not here!"
Later on, our hosts brought us a watery soup. I don't know what it was, and while we were eating my other friend said to me, "Look, Eugenio, there is a star on the cross on Krizevac; you see, that's the sign that you wanted; Our Lady is calling us." But like a good philosopher and with an iron logic, I replied, "Dear friend, a star does not indicate Our Lady's presence; there are so many stars in the sky!" He became offended and so I said, "All right, you want to go and make the Stations of the Cross, let's go!" Inside myself I was thinking, "Tonight I will make them die, I will preach for such a long time, each preaching longer than the last one!" And so I started.
Everybody was kneeling down - I was standing - and I
started to preach for quite a long time... "Your knees will
bleed tonight." But then, at a certain point, I realized that
my anorak [jacket] was dry; it was raining, and so I was
overcome by a terrible fear; I didn't know anything. Before, I
thought I knew theology, I thought I knew everything, and
now I was confronted with a phenomenon that I could not
control. So I started touching the soil and obviously it was
wet because it was raining, and so at a certain point I said
to my friends, "Well, let's go to the next Station." I touched
them. They were wet. I touched my anorak - it was dry!
I remember that it was a very quick Via Crucis [Way of the Cross], because I was scared, and when we arrived on Krizevac, from that one star many circles of stars were formed, and where we stood, it had stopped raining; but outside this circle it was still raining. I had no courage to say anything to them, and they did not say anything to me. So I said, "Well, let's pray silently."
I remember that on that night I unburdened all my bitterness to Our Lady: I told Her, "Look, I don't know if you exist, if you are appearing here, but I want to tell you something: first of all that I am not just a good priest, I am an excellent priest, because I say the Rosary, because I read my Breviary, because I listen to confessions." I told Her all the good things I was doing, but I did not tell Her my sins, only the good things! I said to Our Lady, "And what has been my reward? Listen, my father died of bone cancer, my brother's business partner is in jail, my brother is in jail and I am here... and in my community they think badly of me." What can I say? I gave vent to everything I had inside my heart, and I said, "Well, if you give everybody signs, you could give one to Fr. Eugenio, a sign of your presence."
The next day, this friend of mine, Don Valdemaro Boggiano Pico, who at the time was writing a book on Medjugorje, asked me to lead the Rosary on the Hill of Apparitions, so we went up the hill, we said the Rosary, and then I sat there. Once there were no plaques commemorating the mysteries of the Rosary, there was nothing, but the faithful would put small wooden crosses there as a sign of their faith. I was sitting there, thinking of nothing, just looking down the hill when, at a certain point, a man approached. This gentleman, that I did not know, very well dressed, with a tie, asked me, "Are you Fr. Eugenio La Barbera?" Name and surname!
Because we were in a communist country at that time in 1987, I thought he was a guard and that he had come to take me to jail, and so I said to myself, "At least my brother is in an Italian jail, I'll end up in a communist jail!" So I replied, "Yes, it's me."
"I have something to tell you," he replied, "regarding the questions that you asked Our Lady last night on Krizevac. Do you want to hear it?" And I realized that it is not only women who are curious, but men too, because I was curious to know. Even worse, I looked around me to see that nobody was listening and then I said to the man, "You can tell me." He said, "First of all, Our Lady wants you to know that you are a good priest, an excellent priest." (At that moment I felt so ashamed!) "Your father is in Paradise with your mother, and your brother will come out of prison very soon, but because you do not believe, Our Lady will give you a sign before you leave Medjugorje."
I remember that I ran away from that place, I did not even let him finish speaking, and I ran down the hill. There I met Don Valdemaro Boggiano Pico and I said to him, "I want to go to confession because I think I am going to die." And I made a General Confession of my whole life, and poor Don Valdemaro, he was telling me, "No, no, you did not believe and She wanted to give you a sign." "Yes, yes," I said, "look, I have had enough signs." And I told him about my dry anorak. "Listen, I believe you, I believe, but another sign and I will die of a heart attack. Therefore I believe, full stop."
A pilgrim group arrived from Emilia Romagna and did not have a priest, so I was asked to help them with the Stations of the Cross. I remember that I prepared myself well and when they arrived, we introduced ourselves and then we went to make the Stations of the Cross. At the Third Station, when Jesus falls for the first time, a young man between 18 and 20 years of age started to cry, and he cried so loud, so loud, and I could not speak because all the pilgrims were looking at him. On the other hand, I did not have the courage to tell him to stop because, I said to myself, it is possible that Our Lady could appear and I did not want Her to appear to me and so even that time the Via Crucis was very quick.
When we arrived on Krizevac, I stopped speaking and this young man stopped crying, and I became so exasperated because now he could have cried as much as he liked, and instead he had stopped! But this young man came near me and said, "Father, I am very sorry but something happened to me." "What happened? It's true that I am a good preacher, but not so good that you have to cry so much!" He said, "Look, I have seen all my sins, like in a film, and I cried and repented and more sins were coming up and I cried and repented and I could see more sins..."
As a priest, I was thinking, "How many sins has he got? From the Third to the Fifteenth Station!" Then he said, "When you stopped talking, I heard a very clear voice saying to me, ‘Your sins are forgiven, but you need the forgiveness of the Church. Go and confess your sins to Fr. Eugenio', and here I am, I want to go to Confession." And so I listened to his confession…
At a certain point, this young man rolled up his sleeves and his arms were all black. He was a drug addict. Then he took some vials that he had in his pocket and broke them on the mountain stones and so I said to him, "Listen, my young man, it is true that Our Lady blessed you. It is true that your sins are forgiven, but you are an addict. You inject yourself with this drug. You cannot stop from one moment to the next."
Third Station on Mt. Krizevac
Opening his arms, he said to me, "Fr. Eugenio, I have been
healed, I am that sign that Our Lady promised to give you
before you left Medjugorje..."
And from that year, I have always come to Medjugorje to thank Our Lady.
Years later, several years later, again here in Medjugorje, Our Lady called me through Vicka the visionary to form a religious community. I did not want to, and I was very rude with Vicka. With a certain irony I said to her, "Our Lady told you so? Don't tell me, tell Our Lady to which Swiss bank I should go to get the money!" A lot of money was needed to form a congregation, and I remember that Vicka, always smiling, didn't get offended. She said me, "Okay, I will ask Her." "Okay, ask Her!" I replied.
The next day, I was passing where Vicka used to give her talk - I don't know if she still does it - but she was speaking in front of her grandmother's house. I passed in front of her and she called me, "Our Lady said that the inheritance that you have received from your family is not yours; it belongs to God. So Our Lady said spend your inheritance and then She will help you." I wasn't totally convinced of this, because Medjugorje had not been recognized, and so I went to see the Pope [now St. John Paul II] and I explained to him, "Your Holiness, that's what happened, you know... I am a missionary, I live in Brazil, I have so many things to do..." (At that time I was the director of the Charismatic Renewal.)
The Pope said to me, "Okay, the fact that the apparitions have not been recognized yet does not mean that you cannot form a congregation." And so we went ahead, and today we are a monastery "sui juris", that is a monastery officially recognized by the Church, and I am the Abbot. And so let's thank the Lord because, you see, with so many signs, so many things... the Church tells us that when we search for Truth, then the Lord will make us realize that there is nothing that could prevent God's will to be realized in everything.
I remember that when the constitution was approved (naturally it was sent to the Congregation for Religious Orders) - I don't know why, but our constitution ended up on Cardinal Ratzinger's desk and he stamped it "Approved". I still remember that the chancellor of my diocese said to me: "Look, either Cardinal Ratzinger was drunk, and I don't think so, or he did not read it, because we are a Third World country - Brazil... or Our Lady closed both his eyes, because your community has been approved."
And so, with you, I praise the Lord. Let's thank the Lord! And I thank Our Lady who called me to this new mission. Today we have three monasteries in Brazil and we live a Benedictine-Marian spirituality, according to all Our Lady asked us to do and to put into practice. Amen.
The Medjugorje Message, UK, February 2008 issue
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