Recollections of the early days of Medjugorje apparitions by Kathleen Martin
Date: December 8, 2006 , Originally published February 1, 2003
Author: Sr. Emmanuel
Category: Testimonies , Spiritual Life
Content of the article
Early days of Medjugorje apparitions - Part 3
Kathleen Martin continues sharing with us the crumbs she gathered from the table of the prayer group that Our Lady formed and lead in Medjugorje:
Our Lady taught each person in the prayer group how to pray with our whole being: She taught us that we have to be united in our whole selves when we pray. We have to pray with everything we have. We need to pray with all of our memory and we have to let our memory function. We have to let our imagination function during prayer. We have to develop our desire, and use our intelligence, and use our body to express our prayer.
It wasn't easy. To be whole in prayer takes dedication. Sometimes we get tired of praying and we become divided inside. If there's a part of us that's tired we will sit this way and then we'll sit another way, we won't be able to have the body give 100%. If we don't discipline our memory it will wander off here and there remembering this and that. We won't then be using the memory 100% for our prayers or for the mystery we are meditating on. During prayer we need to use our imagination to picture that we're with Jesus and Mary. In fact we are! Our prayer is being listened to by the Father! We need to exercise all of our faculties so that little by little we become one within ourselves.
If there is another person in the room (in the prayer group) that has become whole, undivided in their prayer along with you, then there's two! Jesus has promised where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there. Jesus will come to those who are praying in this integrated way! Our Lady says that when we pray the most important thing is to have Jesus come. We want Jesus to come to our prayer because otherwise we won't change. Jesus doesn't know how to do anything else but to heal us, to fill us up, to change us. If you're distracted, if you're tired, but you're with people who pray with their entire being, Jesus will arrive, and you will be healed, you'll be free to pray. You won't be bogged down by your problems or worries. No, having Jesus there, he attracts you completely! Our Lady says it's very important when we get together that the aim of the group is to be whole in themselves.
Our Lady spent one day teaching the prayer group how to pray the Our Father. Through Jelena she told us, "Okay begin the prayer. 'Our Father who art in Heaven'." Then Our Lady would stop us and she would say something like this: well, Denis, you know you were thinking of something else, and you didn't use your imagination, and your will wasn't too strong about praying. To another she would say: you remembered something that happened yesterday. And she corrected the prayer group, one at a time.
Then she would tell them to do it again. For 8 hours all they said was "Our Father who art in Heaven"! They never got beyond that. Finally at the end of 8 hours they prayed it once and everyone was united in themselves and united among themselves, and she said, "Okay, that's it. From now on pray like that!"
We're dissipated, we're fragmented, and we can't be fragmented. The Lord gave us the commandment: Hear, O Israel, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your body. This is what Our Lady is talking about. You see, we've lost the capacity to be one in ouselves. And so this is the root of all our problems. We don't know how to be one in in body, mind, soul, and spirit. And that's the problem. We see so much divorce. It's because those entering marriage weren't one in themselves when they said "Yes." Perhaps the person said "Yes" to marriage with only part of himself while the rest of his person remained silent. Then all of a sudden he finds himself later saying "No" to the marriage, and it's a strong "No", maybe 95% of their personality saying "No" because 5% only said "Yes." We didn't know this about ourselves until Our Lady began to teach us little by little to become one in ourselves so that we could totally say "Yes" to the Lord. And it wasn't just a one time thing. Our Lady worked on the young people everyday to become whole in themselves.
Our Lady taught us how to be united as a prayer group: This is part of the work that should be done when there is a group that wants to walk a path together. You have to be whole in yourself. And then you have to make a decision to walk together as a group. That's a difficult decision to make because it means giving time to each other, it means giving time to the Lord.
Once we are whole then we are called to be in communion. We are called to be in communion to give witness to the communion between God and us. And if you read the Acts of the Apostles they speak about how much the first Christians loved each other and what an impact they made on the thoughts and the minds of the people around them. The people would say: "Look how much they love each other." Well, we don't hear that much anymore about any group. We're not making an impact as Christians. We don't know what real love is. We don't know what a communion of hearts means. And Our Lady wants a communion of heart.
Living there, I was attracted by the love in the prayer group. That's what gave me the courage to leave everything. I saw there was something there to take, something there to learn, something there to fulfill me, so my former life lost its value. And it remains so. I'm not attracted by things anymore, not because things aren't useful. I can use everything, but I won't spend my life looking to have it. If I have nothing I am just as fulfilled. I'm not looking for anything to fulfill me, in that sense. Our Lady is trying to get us to the point where we can live heaven among ourselves. That's God's will. So everything else is not God's will. In this group we had such deep experiences that sometimes we couldn't contain the joy. I'm not a runner. But I used to run all the time just because I didn't know what to do with all the life going on inside of me. It was joy! And it was so great! We call that time in Medjugorje the Golden Age, the joyful mysteries, because it was given freely. And we were full of it all the time.
I remember my life with Marija. We rarely slept. If I saw Marija get up three quarters of an hour or an hour earlier than the two or three hours we were sleeping, I always wanted to know why. And one morning she was getting up at 4:30 so I said, "Marija, where are you going?" She was getting her shoes on and it wasn't her day for confession on the mountain in the morning. And I said, "where are you going?" She said, "Oh, so and so [a member of the prayer group] is not feeling good. I have to go see what's wrong." And I said, "But she didn't call." Because I answered all the phone calls, and the girl had been with us the day before, she wasn't sick. "No, no, she hasn't slept, she needs us, we have to go." At that moment someone was knocking on the window and it was two other members of the group. They said, "Marija, are you awake?" She said, "Yes, I'm getting ready, I'll be there in a minute." And so I said, "Well, how did they know?" And she wouldn't answer me, as if she didn't want to say anything. And so finally I said, "Come on, Marija, tell me how you know. I know you didn't get any information from the outside." And she said, "Well, love knows everything." And so there in the middle of the night were these young people that knew that one in the prayer group wasn't feeling so well, though she was fine the day before, and they were going to meet her, so she wouldn't be alone in whatever she was going through. And I said, "This is what I want, Lord, this is what I want! This is the way you want it - this I want!!!"
Our Lady gave them ways of growing like this. She'd say, "Okay, this week I would like you to be united five times a day." Now they couldn't get together five times a day. But she wanted them to stop whatever they were doing and to pray a Hail Mary or some other little prayer together at the same moment but in their own places. And so she was teaching them how to be one outside of being in the room. Well, when that communion grows then you are really one.
You see there are fruits. Our Lady said that this prayer group that the young people experienced - this school - will one day be a model for every prayer group, for every community in the future!