The title that I have chosen for this last post may not make sense to those unfamiliar with apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary, being the mother of all humanity, has been solicitous for our salvation since Jesus was crucified. In this last month of posting on this blog, I have tried to show how the Virgin Mary has appeared to some with messages urging us to draw closer to God for our own sake of salvation and the salvation of others. Today, it is no different. We have apparitions of the Virgin Mary occurring today and every day since June 24, 1981 to six children who have grown into adulthood and now middle age from east of Italy in what used to be Yugoslavia which is now in the modern day country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thirty-eight years of daily apparitions is a long time. Our Lady has told the visionaries that what she started at Fatima, she will complete through Medjugorje which is the Triumph of Her Immaculate Heart. In Fatima our Lady came under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary which is the second to last invocations in the prayer of the Litany of Loreto. In Medjugorje, she has called herself the Queen of Peace, the last invocation of the Holy Virgin in the Litany of Loreto. The apparitions and messages coming from Our Lady of Peace are under the control of the Vatican at this time. In 2017, the Vatican commission announced that they had approved as supernatural the first seven apparitions. There have been hundreds of books written about Medjugorje. One estimate puts the number of people visiting Medjugorje since June 24, 1981 as 40 million. Spiritual wonders, dramatic healings and miracles occur at Medjugorje so that pilgrims experience the peace and love of God and then carry their belief home to their communities to enrich the lives of everyone around them.
Our Lady has given thousands of messages and she repeatedly describes the times we are living in as ‘a time of grace.” She doesn’t tire of appealing to us to use this time of grace wisely. She first used the words “time of grace” in a message in 1989 and since then has used the terminology about 70 times in the messages. Our Lady mentioned time of grace a few times a year and has spoken of it with greater frequency (especially during this last year when She used it eight times in Her messages).
In the message of February 25, 2018 she explains clearly what her expectations are for us during this time of grace.
February 25, 2018
Dear children! In this time of grace I am calling all of you to open yourselves and to live the commandments which God has given you, that they may lead you through the Sacraments on the way of conversion. The world and worldly temptations are testing you, but you, little children, look at God’s creatures which He has given to you in beauty and humility and, little children, love God above everything and He will lead you on the way of salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call. ”
In other messages she says, “do not forget that you live in a time of grace…little children make good use of this time of grace and come closer to my heart so that I can lead you to my Son Jesus…Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you…In this time of grace, when God has permitted me to be with you, little children, I call you anew to conversion….”
With a little more insistence Our Lady said on October 25, 2006, “Dear children! Today the Lord permitted me to tell you again that you live in a time of grace. You are not conscious, little children, that God is giving you a great opportunity to convert and to live in peace and love. You are so blind and attached to earthly things and think of earthly life. God sent me to lead you toward eternal life. I, little children, am not tired, although I see that your hearts are heavy and tired for everything that is a grace and a gift. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Time of grace implies that there is a certain window of opportunity for us to turn to the Lord with all our hearts just as a flower opens to the warmth of the sun. Once our mortal body dies, we will face God and it will be too late to make changes. Now it is our time of grace to know, love, and serve God and in the process attract others to know, love, and serve God. As this beautiful love story between God and us manifests, peace will reign in our lives. This is what the Queen of Peace has been telling us.
Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil who was the seer for the Our Lady of America devotion tells in her diary how Saint Michael spoke of the time of grace on May 8, 1957. Saint Michael the Archangel said, “Write! I am Michael, Angel Captain of the Lord God of Hosts. I come to announce the coming of the kingdom, the kingdom of peace. The time is at hand. Repent, bestir yourselves, O sons of men, repent and make ready your hearts that the King may establish His Kingdom within you. Do not delay, or THE TIME OF GRACE will pass and with it the peace you seek.”
So it appears that the time of grace is tied to achieving a time of peace, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which may be why Our Lady has visited us for 38 years as the Queen of Peace. The message of August 25, 2015 was, “…The world is in a moment of trial, because it forgot and abandoned God. Therefore, you, little children, be those who seek and love God above all….”
In talks that the seer Mirjana has given, she has said “that Our Lady has been preparing us for something. I can tell you something the way I understand it. We live in this time that we live in, it is the way it is…we are waiting for the Triumph of Mother’s Heart.”
The Virgin Mary gave us a tantalizing ideal to work toward at Fatima when she said, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” Mirjana has told pilgrims, “… you have to know what our Lady said, what she started in Fatima she will accomplish in Medjugorje. She said ‘My Immaculate Heart will triumph’ ” Our Lady has talked about the triumph of her Immaculate Heart in several Medjugorje messages. Two are given:
Message September 25,1991 via Marija
“Dear children! Today in a special way I invite you all to prayer and renunciation. For now, as never before Satan wants to show the world his shameful face by which he wants to seduce as many people as possible onto the way of death and sin. Therefore, dear children, help my Immaculate Heart to triumph in the sinful world. I beseech all of you to offer prayers and sacrifices for my intentions so I can present them to God for what is most necessary. Forget your desires, dear children, and pray for what God desires, and not for what you desire. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
Message June 2, 2007 via Mirjana
“Dear children! Also in this difficult time God’s love sends me to you. My children, do not be afraid. I am with you. With complete trust give me your hearts, that I may help you recognize the signs of the time in which you live. I will help you to come to know the love of my Son. I will triumph through you. Thank you.
Comment from Mirjana: Our Lady blessed everyone present. Once again She reminded us to pray for priests and that a priest’s blessing is a blessing from Her Son, Jesus.
Our Lady of America to Sister Mildred Neuzil August 22, 1957 “My heart, my Immaculate Heart, is the channel through which the graces of the Sacred Heart are given to men.” In a different message on the eve of February 11, 1958 Our Lady of America said, “My Immaculate Heart will win in the end, and the Spirit of Christ will dwell in the hearts of men. Those in whom this Spirit is not found will be condemned to eternal hell-fire.” This message certainly explains the urgency of conversion during the time of grace.
The 5 essentials that Our Lady has asked us to do are 1. attend Mass on Sundays, Holy Days, and more often if possible 2. pray the rosary daily 3. read the Bible daily, 4. confess sins monthly, and 5. fast on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays. She has said that with these ‘5 stones’ we will defeat our ‘Goliath.’
What more can be said of these unprecedented apparitions and messages? Quite a lot! At the conclusion of her daily apparitions, the visionary, Mirjana, was given a heavenly scroll which is described as follows: Beige in color, the scroll is made of a material like parchment- not quite paper and not quite fabric, but something in between. The scroll can be unrolled to reveal 10 events, written in elegant, cursive script. There are no illustrations or decorations on the scroll. Each event is described in simple, clear words similar to how the Virgin Mary described them to Mirjana. The events are not numbered, but they appear in order, one after another, with the first secret at the top and the tenth at the bottom including the dates of when the event will take place. Along with the events, a date is also given. These events are known as secret. The visionaries know the events but they are not permitted to talk about them, except for the third event which they say will manifest as a sign on the hill where the Virgin Mary originally appeared to the children. Here is what Mirjana has said about the sign: “After the events contained in the first two secrets come to pass, Our Lady will leave a permanent sign on Apparition Hill where she first appeared. Everyone will be able to see that human hands could not have made it. People will be able to photograph and film the sign, but in order to truly comprehend it -to experience it with the heart- they will need to come to Medjugorje. Seeing it live, with the eyes, will be far more beautiful.
After the events take place as announced three days before each secret, it will be difficult for even the staunchest skeptics to doubt the existence of God and the authenticity of the apparitions.
So let’s go back to the title of this post: Medjugorje, the fulfillment of Fatima. Mirjana has said that Our Lady confirmed to her that the third part of the secret of Fatima is connected to the triumph of her heart. The image of the third part of the secret of Fatima was revealed by the Vatican in June 2000. Here it is in writing and after I will show an illustration of the image.
Then Sister Lucia was given the strength to write the Third Secret. Here is the letter of Sr. Lucia:
I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Now I will show you a photograph of a pilgrimage site in Medjugorje called Mount Krizevac.
Do you notice any similarities between the image of the Third part of the Secret of Fatima as shown to the three shepherd children on July 13, 1917 and this photograph of Krizevac which means “Mount of the Cross?” My speculation is that yes, Medjugorje will be the fulfillment of Fatima. It will involve persecution and martyrdom of priests and the faithful by secular authorities. For so many years, Our Lady has pleaded us to pray for the conversion of people who do not believe in God. She has said that ‘when we pray for unbelievers, we pray for ourselves and for our future.’ Let’s just imagine that the second secret will be the world-wide illumination of conscience when each of us will experience in our soul and mind the revelation of how we appear to God. For some, it will be a wonderful grace to see that we have been living according to the Will of God. For others who disregard God’s commandments and have little love in their hearts, this revelation will be frightening! After the shock of seeing their souls as God sees them, they may want to punish the messengers! Who are the messengers of the saving grace of God? First and foremost are the Pope, the priests, and religious. Then are the faithful Catholics and Christians who try to do the Holy Will of God by prayer, Sacraments, and following the ten Commandments. We are not to focus on the tough aspects of being a Christian, but on this Good Friday, we remember how our LORD gave up His life to redeem us from our sins. As Christians, we may be called to do the same. We must pray for the faith to walk closely with the LORD each day to fulfill our role as His followers.
This concludes my blog posts for the Holy Name blog. Thank you for reading and above all stay close to the LORD and may He bless you and all of us. Amen.