Our Lady's main messages are prayer, conversion, fasting, penance, and peace. Our Lady recommends us to pray every day, all three parts of the rosary -- joyful, sorowful, and glorious mysteries. She is also asking us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays on bread and water. But the most important thing that she is asking from us is to have firm faith. When Our Lady asks us to pray, she doesn't mean that she wants us to pronounce the words mechanically. On the contrary, she wants us, from day to day, to open up our hearts so that prayer could become a real joy for all of us.
Last Thursday, 01/10/02, Sister Emmanuel and Denis Nolan went to see Vicka. Here are some of the things they talked about. (It is amazing how Vicka reflects deep doctrinal truths about personal freedom and responsiblity in such a natural way, having never studied.)
Ivan Dragicevic, one of the six visionaries of Medjugorje, spoke in Seattle, Washington, on the evening of October 29, 1997. Ivan's presentation was held in the Shoreline Center Auditorium and was preceded by his daily apparition which took place at 6:40 p.m. in the presence of everyone in the auditorium.
The following is Ivan's entire presentation, which was tape recorded and transcribed by Linda Rogers and printed in the November 1997 Children of Mary Center for Peace newsletter:
Our Lady opened the door of my heart. She pointed her finger to me. She asked me to follow her. At the beginning it was a shock for me. I could never believe that our Lady could appear to me. I was 16 years old, a young man. I was a faith-filled person going to church. But did I know much about the apparitions of our Lady? I must tell you the truth, I did not. Truthfully, to look at our Lady every day is a great joy for me. It is a great joy for my family, but it's a great responsibility, also. I know God has given me so much but I also know that God expects a lot of me. And, believe me, it is very difficult every day to see our Lady, enjoy her, be happy with her, have joy with her, and then come back to this world. On the second day our Lady came, she presented herself as Queen of Peace. She said, "My Dear Children, My Son is sending me to you so I can help you. Dear Children, peace must reign among God and people. The world today is in great danger and is threatening itself to be destroyed."
Our Lady comes from her Son, our King of Peace. Our Lady comes to show us the way, the path of how we can come to her Son - how we can come to God. She wants to take our hands and guide us to peace, guide us to God. In one of her messages she says, "Dear Children, if there is no peace in the human heart, there cannot be peace in this world. That is why you must pray for peace." She comes to bring healing to our wounds. She wants to lift up this sinful world, calling this world to peace, to conversion, and to strong faith. In one of the messages she says: "Dear Children, I am with you and I want to help you so that peace reigns. But, dear children, I need you! Only with you can I make this peace happen. That's why, decide for good and fight against evil and against sin!"
There are many people in the world today speaking about some kinds of fears. There are many people today speaking about three days of darkness and about many punishments, and many times I hear people say that's what our Lady says in Medjugorje. Yet, I must tell you, no, our Lady is not saying this, people are saying this. Our Lady is not coming to us to bring us fear. Our Lady comes as Mother of hope, Mother of light. She wants to bring this hope to the world that is so tired and so much in need. She wants to show us how to get out of this terrible situation we are in. She wants to teach us because she is the Mother, she is the teacher. She is here to remind us what's good so we can come to hope and come to light.
It is very hard to describe to you the love that our Lady has for each one of us, but I want to tell you that she puts each one of us in her maternal heart. For all of these 15 years, the messages she has been giving to us she has given for the whole world. There is no special message for any special country. No special message for America or Croatia or any particular country. No. All of the messages are for the entire world and every message always begins, "My Dear Children" because she is our Mother, because she loves us so, she needs us so, and we are all important to her. With our Lady, no one is rejected. She calls us all the same - to end sin and to open our hearts to the peace that will bring us to God. The peace that God wants to give us and the peace that our Lady is bringing to us this past 15 years is a great gift to all of us. For that kind of gift of peace we must open ourselves each day and pray each day as individuals and as a community - especially today when so many crises are present in this world. There is crisis in the family, among the young people, the youth, and even in the Church. The biggest crisis today is the crisis of faith in God. People have gone astray from God because our families have gone astray from God. That is why our Lady in her messages says, "Dear Children, put God in first place in your life; then put your family in the second place." Our Lady is not expecting us to know more of what someone else is doing, but she expects and likes us to open the door of our own heart and do what we are capable of doing. She is not teaching us to point our fingers to someone else and say what they are doing or not doing but she does ask us to pray for others.
Our conversion is a gift from God to us and it is a practice. This practice lasts a whole lifetime because we must convert. Every day we must change. In order for our conversion to be holy and to be more perfect, our Lady calls us to prayer. In order to grow in sanctity, it is always necessary to pray. Our Lady is calling us to Holy Mass and for the Eucharist to be the center of our life. She calls us to monthly confession. She calls us to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to honor the Cross. She asks us to frequently go to the Sacraments and she calls us to pray the rosary. She also asks us to read the Bible especially in the family with our children. In one of these messages she says, "My Dear Children, may your Bible be in a visible place." Our Lady didn't mean for us to put the Bible in a visible place to let the dust fall on it. She desires that the true words of the Gospel become a part of our everyday life so that the word of scripture becomes spiritual food for us on our way to holiness.
Thousands and thousands of times our Lady has repeated again and again: "Pray, Pray, Pray!" Believe me, even until today she is still not tired of calling us to prayer. She is a mother who never gets tired, a mother who is patient and a mother who is waiting on us. She is a mother who doesn't allow herself to be tired. She calls us all to prayer with the heart not a prayer with lips or mechanical prayer. But of course she knows we are not perfect. To pray with the heart as our Lady calls us to do is to pray with love, out of love. Her desire is that we desire prayer and that we pray with our whole being and that means to unite oneself to Jesus in prayer. Then prayer will become an encounter with Jesus, conversation with Jesus and real relaxation with him and become strength and joy. To our Lady and to God, any prayer, any kind of prayer is dear to them as long as it comes from our heart. Prayer is the best flower that comes from our heart and it grows to bloom over and over again. Prayer is the heart of our soul and it's the heart of our faith and it is the soul of our faith. Prayer is a school that we must all enter into and live. If we have not entered the school of prayer yet, let's go tonight. Our first school should be to learn to pray in the family. And don't forget there is no taking vacation in the school of prayer. Every day we must enter that school and every day we must learn.
People are asking, "How is our Lady teaching us to pray better?" Our Lady says very simply, "Dear Children, if you want to pray better then you must pray more!" Praying more is a personal decision and to pray better is always a grace given to those who pray. Many families and parents today say, "Oh, we don't have time to pray. We don't have time for children. I have no time to do anything with my husband." We have a problem with time. There always seems to be a problem with the hours of the day. Believe me, time is not the problem! The problem is love! Because if a person loves something or likes something they always find time for it. But when someone doesn't like something or it is not something he enjoys, he never finds time for it. I believe there is the problem of television. If there is something you wanted to see you would find time to watch that program, because that's the way it is! I know that is what you think about. If you go to the store to buy something for yourself, you go once, then you go twice. You take time to make sure you want to purchase something and you do that because you want to and it is never difficult because you find time for it. What about time for God? Time for the Sacraments? This is a long story - so when we go home, let this be something we must think about seriously. Where does God come in my life? In my family? How much time do I give to Him? Let's bring back prayer in our families and let's bring back joy, peace, and happiness to those prayers. Prayer will bring back joy and happiness in our family with our children and all around us. We must decide to have time around our dinner table and be with our family where we can show our love and joy in our world and with God. If we desire this, then the world will be spiritually healed. Prayer must be present if we want our families to be healed spiritually. We must bring prayer to them.
Our Lady is also calling us to fast. She is asking us to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays on bread and water. Our Lady says that those who are sick who cannot fast on bread and water can give up something else that is dear to them for fasting. Many people say and they think that fasting is just losing something, but fasting is actually a great gain, because when we strengthen our faith we strengthen our spirit. I can give an example or illustrate the fact with the grain of wheat from the Gospel. We first take the grain of wheat and throw it into the soil and it becomes lost in the soil in order to bear much fruit.
God asks very little from us but he gives back to us a hundredfold. Our Lady comes to wake us up in faith and strengthens us in faith. In one of her messages she says, "Dear Children, if you are strong, the Church will be strong. If you are weak, the Church will be weak, because you are each a little Church. A lot of Christians and a lot of Catholics who claim they are both have left the prayer life. They are already spiritually dead. Today there are so many people who are in a spiritual coma and then just once in a while they open their spiritual eyes - maybe at Christmas or Easter or holidays. This is why our Lady is constantly calling us to prayer. Our Lady is coming to give us her hand, to pick us up, to guide us. She always calls the priests in simplicity, that is, to speak to us in a very simple way so that we can understand what kind of life we must live. She calls the priests to preach the living word from the Gospel.
Our Lady still continues to appear daily to four of us. Vicka, Jacov, Marija and I still have daily apparitions. I would like to describe to you tonight's apparition at which you were all present. I will try to do my best that I have. For every apparition or encounter we have with our Lady, we always prepare ourselves by praying the rosary. You saw when it was about 20 minutes to seven I came forth and I started to pray. When I stopped praying that is when our Lady came. When she comes, a light comes and then after the light, she comes. When our Lady came tonight she was joyous. She greeted us all at the beginning, "Praise be Jesus! My Dear Children!" Then our Lady prayed over all of us with extended hands. She blessed us all. Then I recommended to our Lady all of you, all of your families, and all those petitions that you hold in your hearts, and especially those that are sick. Then together with our Lady I prayed the Our Father and Glory Be. Our Lady also had a conversation with me that was private and was just between us. Our Lady then left with the sign of a lit up cross, saying, "Go in peace, my dear children." There was no special message tonight. This is all I can tell you about the apparition. But three days ago on October 25 our Lady gave her message to the world which is for everyone.
I see our Lady just like I see you and I speak to her freely like I speak to you. I am telling you the truth when I say that I am much more relaxed speaking to her than to you. I can also touch our Lady. The beauty of our Lady is really difficult to describe with the simple words that we possess, but I can describe how she looks. She has a gray dress, white veil, blue eyes, and rosy cheeks and black hair. She stands on a cloud and has a crown of stars above her head.
I hope that we will respond to our Lady's call and live her message and that we will be coworkers to make a new world of peace. So let us accept her messages - her messages of peace, her messages of prayer and conversion, strong faith and love. Let us start tonight by deciding ourselves that we are going to change ourselves and be better people.
Questions and Answers Following Ivan's Talk
Q: When our Lady appears, how old is she?
A: Our Lady has spoken to Vicka and given her the whole life story and some day that will be released, but if you would ask me my opinion of how old our Lady looks, I would say about 24 or 25.
Q: Was Medjugorje affected by the war?
A: The war that was from '91 to '95 has not touched Medjugorje in any way. It has not touched Medjugorje and we can attribute that to the hand of God.
Q: Through the years our Lady has appeared, is she happy with the progress that people are making or is she sad?
A: When we look at the whole world, and what has happened, our Lady is happy with the spiritual conversion, with spiritual renewal in this world, but of course there is so much more to come and she is asking for more.
Q: Does she speak to you at all about the other apparitions throughout the world where she is appearing?
A: Our Lady has never spoken to me anything about it. Many people have asked these kinds of questions and I can't really answer in my position about them. I am not competent about this so we must leave it to the Church and let the Church make the judgments.
Q: Have you been told when the story of her life will be published?
A: I can't really speak about that because our Lady has not told me anything about it and it has to do with Vicka. I would also like for that to come into my hands as soon as possible. Although I do know some of the dates because she has told me, I would like to have a complete book, too.
Q: When she appears, why would she not allow all of us to see her?
A: If it was up to me, I would love that. In the 16 years I have always questioned why not to everybody? I would love for everybody to see her. There is two reasons for this. One of them is that I would not have to talk to you and the second is I would have a lot of private time.
Q: Do all of you see Mary the same way coming on a cloud and do you all see her the same way?
Q: Has Jesus ever appeared with Mary?
A: The 2nd day of the apparition in 1981 our Lady did come with the baby Jesus in her hands, and every Christmas she comes with the baby Jesus.
Q: What can you tell us about heaven, hell, and purgatory?
A: I can't talk about all three because I only saw heaven. I know that you are waiting for me to describe heaven but I'm not really capable of describing heaven because the beauty of heaven is indescribable. I always like to say it like this: If we go, when we go, we will see the best what it is.
Q: When you receive all 10 secrets or when our Lady stops appearing, will the school of prayer be finished?
A: No. Do you know when the school of prayer will end? It is when we die. Our conversion ends when we die. We are in the process our whole lifetime of converting and learning how to pray and these are gifts that we must pray for.
Q: Why does she not appear to the other children (visionaries)?
A: Two of them have received all 10 secrets and they see our Lady once a year. One on the anniversary and one of them in March. That's all I can say about that. Maybe the two girls could say more because I'm sure that our Lady has spoken to them about something.
Q: How many secrets have been revealed?
A: Four of us who still have apparitions have only nine secrets and the other two have 10.
Q: Is it true that when our Lady stops appearing in Medjugorje she will no longer appear again on earth?
A: In this way, no. In this kind of apparition, no.
Q: Does Mary give Ivan specific instructions for his life and for his family's life?
A: Yes. I know you would like to know so much more but I'm not going to tell you everything so you'll come back another time, right? (laughing)
Q: What do you know about the sign that everyone will see throughout the world? Does just Vicka know that or do you? Do you know when or does Vicka?
A: Yes. Everybody will be able to see. Yes. I know when and I know what.
Q: Should we be afraid?
A: I'm not afraid. Don't fear. Don't fear. This past 15 years our Lady has been guiding us to the year 2000, to the millenium. I would suggest that together with her we prepare ourselves and that is why she is guiding us. We need to pray together with her about this plan that will happen that she knows and we need to pray with her for that to become reality.
Q: Does St. Joseph ever appear with her?
Q: Of the nine secrets, how many have been revealed to the world?
A: Not even one. They are secrets. The secrets will be revealed when the time comes to reveal them and the time has not come.
Q: Has Vicka said anything about the final Marian Dogma that will be proclaimed by the Church?
A: I can't speak anything about that because our Lady hasn't spoken to me about it and you have priests here in the audience that are more competent to give you the answers.
Q: How do you respond to people who are preoccupied with the three days of darkness?
A: As I said already at the beginning, that is not coming from our Lady to us and so I don't know where it is coming from, but as I also said, if we believe that our Lady is with us, what would we fear? Why would we fear?
Q: Is there any connection with the 1917 secrets in Fatima and Medjugorje?
A: I don't know about the Fatima secrets.
Q: Did our Lady ever say anything about why she is appearing for so long?
A: I don't know why she is coming for so long. I can only say to you that I am her instrument. An instrument that she speaks through. It is like a direct transmission from our Lady to me to the world. But if you ask me, if I'm tired of it? No, I am not.
Q: Is there any reason given for the secrets and is mention made of any timetable?
A: I believe so - that there is reason why she gave it to us. The secrets our Lady gave are tied with the world, with the Church and one day will be revealed, and it's also other things involved in those secrets.
Q: If she never mentioned about three days of darkness, does she mention about any chastisements or WWIII or anything like that?
I know you must probably have another thousand questions, but I will change these questions with something much better. Let us decide to pray more and I guarantee that if you pray more, you will have no questions!
Fr, Jozo Zovko and the Eucharist
Father Jozo Zovko, the charismatic priest from Medjugorje who recently toured the Untied States had these wonderful comments concerning the Holy Eucharist while in Portland, Oregon. We cannot publish enough to emphasize the importance of making the Eucharist known as the centerpiece of faith as espoused by Our Lady at Medjugorje. Hear the words of priest whom Our Lady has said is already a saint.