The Spirit of Medjugorje

Medjugorje Message May 25, 2017

"Dear children! The Most High has permitted me to call you anew to conversion. Little children, open your hearts to the grace to which you are all called. Be witnesses of peace and love in this peaceless world. Your life here on earth is passing. Pray that through prayer you may yearn for Heaven and the things of Heaven and your hearts will see everything differently. You are not alone; I am with you and intercede before my Son Jesus for you. Thank you for having responded to my call. "

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Medjugorje Message May 02, 2017

"Dear children, I am calling you to pray, not to ask for but to offer sacrifice - sacrificing yourselves. I am calling you to reveal the truth and merciful love. I am praying to my Son for you, for your faith which is all the more diminishing in your hearts. I am imploring Him to help you with the divine spirit, as I also desire to help you with my motherly spirit. My children, you must be better. Only those who are pure, humble and filled with love sustain the world - they are saving themselves and the world. My children, my Son is the heart of the world. He should be loved and prayed to, and not always betrayed anew. Therefore, you, apostles of my love, spread the faith in the hearts of people by your example, your prayer and merciful love. I am beside you, I will help you. Pray for your shepherds to have all the more light, so as to be able to illuminate all those who live in darkness. Thank you. "

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Featured article from May's Spirit of Medjugorje

God's Language of Love

By Dianne Yochim

     Recently someone gave me several audiotapes from Medjugorje conferences held in the U.S. in the 1990s. Even though I had attended a couple of the conferences, I found it inspiring to listen once again to the stories of the various speakers. Some knew nothing about Medjugorje before they went, some didn't believe in the apparitions, and some were leading lives far from God. Nevertheless, through the intercession of Our Lady of Medjugorje, God had miraculously changed their lives forever. And now they were able to share their stories with hundreds of people at these conferences. Amazing!
     One priest's experience particularly touched me. He unabashedly admitted he didn't want to go to Medjugorje. He refused to watch videos people had given him. He even burned a stack of Wayne Weible's newsletters he was supposed to hand out to his parishioners. But when some of his teenagers came back from Medjugorje, they wanted to go into the church after school and pray the Rosary. They also were sharing the message of Medjugorje with other teens. This disturbed him so much that he decided he needed to learn about this "cult" that was brainwashing his teenagers in faraway Yugoslavia. So he went.
     The first evening his group attended a Croatian Mass. He went as a lay person, not as a priest. And since he didn't know Croatian, he sat outside the church on a bench, reading a book by Thomas Merton. He could hear the readings for the Mass as they were being piped outside on loudspeakers. He could also hear the priest when he began his homily. He found him to be so dynamic and sincere that he closed his book and began to listen to the Croatian homily. As he listened, he realized he was understanding every word of the entire length of the homily. He kept saying to himself, "This can't be happening." And then he realized this was what happened at Pentecost. With the gift of tongues, Peter spoke in Aramaic, and people from all different countries understood what he was saying in their own languages. Then it dawned on the priest what Medjugorje was about – people from all over the world coming to understand God's language of love.
     This priest's story brought back memories of a similar experience I had in 1984 in Fatima, Portugal. My husband had surprised me with a trip there for our 10th anniversary. We went with Fr. Luke Zimmer, who had given missions at our parish church. We spent 12 days at the shrine in Fatima where Our Lady had appeared in 1917 to three small shepherd children: Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta. She appeared on the 13th day of each month from May through October [except in August when it was on the 19th] requesting them to pray the Rosary and offer sacrifices to end the war (World War I) and for the conversion of sinners. These small children fulfilled Our Lady's requests to a heroic degree. In fact, on March 23, 2017, Pope Francis approved the final miracle needed to canonize Francisco and Jacinta.
     Millions of pilgrims come each year to pray at the Fatima shrine. On the 13th of each month, people from a different region in Portugal come to thank Our Lady for appearing in their country. But on May 13, people from the whole country of Portugal come, to honor Our Lady. Some walk 100 miles or more with just the clothes on their backs and carrying the food they will eat. As they enter Fatima, some fall to their knees and walk the rest of the way on their knees. The Army sets up huge tents for them, and some sleep in the open fields. My husband and I witnessed this.

Basilica in Fatima

Basilica in Fatima

     On May 13, 1984, a three-hour Mass was celebrated outside the Basilica. We found ourselves in the middle of a million people packed into the square. An elderly Portuguese couple standing behind us offered us their folding stools to sit on. Thinking of the many miles they must have traveled, we declined, but a friend who spoke Portuguese said we would insult them if we didn't accept their offer. It was an honor for them to share their seats with Americans. Humbly we thanked them and sat down. I will always remember their gracious smiles.
     At Communion time, I wondered if there would be enough Sacred Hosts for that many people. There was! In later years, I came to learn that all year the Portuguese bring sacks of grain to the shrine that they have grown themselves to be made into hosts just for this special Mass! After Communion, I joined in the songs of thanksgiving. To my amazement, I realized I was singing the tune and the words in Portuguese. How could this be coming out of my mouth when I didn't know the language or the songs? It seemed impossible, but it was happening. I felt such a love and oneness with those people! A million people and all were one in song and Spirit.
     The next morning, I related all this to Fr. Luke. He told me that's what it is to be one in the Mystical Body of Christ. In God's eyes, we are all one in Christ – and not just with those at Mass, but with all the saints, the angels, the souls in Purgatory, the Church on earth, the entire body of Christ and family of God. No wonder the Mass is the most powerful prayer!
     In 1990, my husband and I and our two children went on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. While there, I was impressed again by the people coming together as one, to honor Our Lady. They were from different countries, speaking different languages. Nevertheless, they were one Body in Christ as they came to pray together as the children of the Mother of God and to be in Her holy presence. This was evident at the Masses, during the Rosaries, and on Mt. Podbrdo [Apparition Hill] and Mt. Krizevac [Cross Mountain].
     I personally experienced this oneness with a complete stranger the day our pilgrim group climbed Mt. Krizevac. The mountain was steep. The climb was slow and arduous. The path was filled with large and small sharp rocks. One had to be careful not to slip and fall. I was having a bad day. I was not experiencing the peace and joy that everyone else seemed to have. I was hot, tired from not sleeping the night before, and frustrated. I couldn't seem to pray at all; I just couldn't get past the words, "Hail Mary." And yet, I heard several pilgrims saying, "I wish I could pray this easily back home." When we got to the top of the mountain, I had had it. My husband asked me if I wanted to say the family Rosary. I snapped at him, "No!" My son said he had already said several Rosaries that day. Really??? And I couldn't even say one Hail Mary! I finally sat down on a rock alone and cried. Eventually I decided to forget myself and talk to God about it. What did He want? My answer was "Penance." I felt He wanted me to take off my shoes and socks and walk down the mountain barefoot as a penance. My husband thought it was too dangerous. But I didn't think twice about it; I just knew I had to do it if it was what God wanted.

Rocks on Mt. Krizevac

Rocks on Mt. Krizevac

     The group of pilgrims went ahead down the mountain. I had to pick my way much more slowly because it seemed even more treacherous going down than it had been going up. I got about halfway down and I didn't think I could go any farther. Out of nowhere, a young woman appeared who was making her way slowly, wearing only socks on her feet. She sat down on a rock opposite me. She didn't speak English, but we communicated with each other by using our hands and by facial expressions. She confirmed that it was easier to go up the mountain in your bare feet or socks, but to come down was much more difficult. I wondered how often she had done it. I was ready to put my shoes on, but she persuaded me not to. She took my hand and started helping me descend once again. When I would stop, she would encourage me to continue on. We made it to the bottom of the mountain together. We smiled at one another and hugged. Then she walked away. I never knew her name or where she was from, but it didn't matter. She spoke God's language of love by her kindness to me. I knew I'd never see her again, but in the time we spent climbing down the mountain we were one in heart and Spirit
     Thinking back on these experiences, I can only marvel at the power and goodness of God in bringing together people from all over the world to understand His language of love. May we all continue to strive ever more earnestly to be one in mind and heart and Spirit as we respond to Our Lady's call. For we are one Body in Christ. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us. Our Lady of Medjugorje, pray for us.
     Editor's note: Dianne lives in Erie, PA and is a faithful member of our mailing crew.

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