Witness by Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti - Given 24 March 2004 at Corpus Christi Basilica, Manchester

The talk, spoken in Italian, was translated into English by Marija’s husband, Paolo, and was recorded and transcribed by Phil Townend.

It is a great joy for me tonight to be here with you and give you my testimony.

We thought that we would start at six because thinking of the time of the apparition in Medjugorje, that is at quarter to seven. But we made a mistake because we forgot that we are an hour ahead of here in England. Our Lady had foreseen everything. And I think She wanted to say to all of us, Welcome!

And also through my testimony tonight I want to make each and every one of you fall in love with Our Lady.

When Our Lady first appeared to us, none of us could imagine that this could happen. We started this wonderful adventure on the Apparition Hill; this adventure that touched the heart of so many of you. We were amazed by this grace when it first happened that Our Lady appeared, and we thought: Why did She choose us, why just us?

We had many questions in our hearts, but we also started following all that Our Lady was asking of us. I remember the first days when we started praying with Our Lady, the Our Father's, Hail Mary's, and Glory Be's, and She would keep silent when the moment we prayed the Hail Mary, and She would start again with the Glory Be. We were wondering why Our Lady was not praying the Hail Mary? Then we realised that Our Lady couldn't pray to Herself. So we started praying and we recommended to many people who had begun to come. And we started praying together with Our Lady.

Our Lady said She had come as the Queen of Peace. She said because today what we miss is peace. So She has invited us to pray because true peace comes only through prayer. She has invited us to pray for peace in our hearts and in our families, saying that when we get peace in our hearts and in our families, then we can also pray for peace in the whole world.

She has started asking us to be instruments in Her hands – instruments of Her peace. Peace that comes through Our Lady from God. And we began feeling important, and we began to pray with more devotion. And Our Lady said pray the Rosary, which is My most preferred prayer. So we started and it was a bit difficult for us not being used to praying a long prayer, but we got used to that, because we started falling in love with Our Lady. And every time we said ‘Hail Mary’ it was saying to Our Lady ‘we love you’. In the same moment we were also thanksgiving Our Lady for Her presence among us. And many times we remained without words thinking how Our Lady had chosen us.

Then Our Lady asked us to put the Holy Bible in a visible place in our houses and to read it every day. She invited us to create prayer groups in our parishes. I remember once when Our Lady said to us, the members of the prayer group, that we should pray three hours every day. We protested and we said isn't this a bit too much? Because we are young and there are so many pilgrims coming to our houses, and we were almost every day speaking all day long about Our Lady and about God. Our Lady made a wonderful smile, and She said: When a dear friend of yours comes to your house, you don't think of how much time you spend with him, and you are happy that he can stay with you as long as possible. So Jesus must become your best friend. So we started praying and increasing prayer and prayer became joy for us.

Also today in Medjugorje we pray after Mass the Creed, and the seven Our Fathers, Hail Mary's and Glory Be's, as a thanksgiving to Our Lady, and this was the first prayer we started with her. Every time we kneel down we pray this prayer with great joy.

We also learned with Our Lady to fast because She said through prayer and fasting we can even keep wars far from us. These wars are not only in the world, and between the people, but also in out hearts and in our families; if we don't have prayer, we don't have God with us. So Our Lady began inviting us to fast. She said that the best way of fasting is on bread and water. For those who cannot fast if they are sick, they can offer their sickness, with love. Even a child can make his little renounces to candies or to TV, and the same we can do to things we attached to like cigarettes or TV or alcohol.

Now we are in Lent, and this is a special moment when we can start fasting. Our Lady said you cannot speak about fasting if you haven't tried yourself to fast. Today in the Church fasting has been forgotten, and Our Lady wants to help us to waken up again this practice. We know from the Bible, it's written that there are certain evil spirits that can be kept apart from us only through prayer and fasting.

Considering all the bad things we receive and we absorb by television, or by many things that modern life can offer us, I think that really we need to fast. Many times we need to fast with our eyes. Because our eyes can see a lot of impurity.

And Our Lady invites us to confession. I remember the first time Our Lady spoke to us about confession. It was a day that Our Lady said to us She would appear to us a second time in the evening. We prayed the Rosary and Our Lady appeared. The moment She appeared She said we could all get close to Her and touch Her. We said how is it possible, only the six of us can see you and nobody else can. Our Lady said take their hands and get them close to me. And so we did. And Our Lady allowed that everybody touched Her. Everybody felt something when they touched Our Lady. Some cold, or warm, or perfume of roses, or like an electric shock, and they all believed that Our Lady was really present.

That moment we could see that Our Lady's dress was becoming more and more dirty while people were touching Her. We asked Our Lady ‘Why is your dress so dirty?’ Our Lady said, ‘These are your sins’, and invited us to go to confession; to choose a priest as our own spiritual advisor who can make us understand more clearly what is sin and what is not sin.

From that moment, in my opinion, Medjugorje has become the most important place in the world for confession. Where people make a real encounter with God. So also through this experience, by touching Her, Our Lady showed us how important confession is.

Many people have started living conversion as Our Lady is asking. They live in holiness in their own life. Our Lady has invited to holiness first of all the Parish through Her messages on every Thursday, and through the messages given on the 25th of each month. She also wants to help us learn how to read the Holy Scriptures. She wants us to give time to prayer, in the simplicity of our everyday life. She wants little by little that our all our life can become prayer, also our work and our meeting people. She wants us to change our mentality. She has started to invite us to live in a very practical and concrete way, holiness. Particularly living Holy Mass at the centre of our life.

She invites us to create prayer groups, and groups for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I remember the times when we used to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament during the night, and we used to fall asleep at the time. We had no experience, but great good will. We used to say that we started deep meditation, because we actually fell asleep and we started snoring. But then we learned how to do for example by reading the Bible, by reading and singing songs from 3 to 4 when it is the hardest moment in the night, when you more easily fall asleep. And in the morning when the priest celebrated Holy Mass, we lived the most beautiful moment of our life. We had a lot of joy. This joy arrived from deciding freely to spend the whole night together with Jesus.

Many young people decide to spend their nights in discotheques, on their Saturday nights for example, but we decided to spend this time with Jesus. And we think we received much more joy than they do. And if I could go back in time and again have to decide which of the two, in going to the discotheque or going to be with Jesus for the whole night, I would choose again to be with Jesus.

Our Lady once said that we could celebrate Her birthday, and as a prayer group we ordered a big cake, and we brought it on top of Krizevac, the Mountain of the Cross, at half-past-eleven at night, when Our Lady said She would appear. You can imagine us carrying this cake, climbing the hill for this long forty-five minutes walk. But we did it with great joy. And in the moment of the apparition we sang Happy Birthday to Our Lady.

We had created this cake with many roses made of sugar, and even had the idea of taking one of these roses and to offer it to Our Lady. And Our Lady took this rose and She took it with Her. We said that it's impossible that Our Lady is bringing back to Paradise this rose. The following day, early in the morning we climbed the hill to see if we could see the rose anywhere. But the rose wasn't there, and we were full of joy in our hearts. We also ate the cake, it was very big, at the end of the apparition and at the end of all prayers, and I must say the cake was very very good, because at that moment we were tired and hungry, and we were joyful.

I remember when the police stopped us from climbing the hill. We asked Our Lady ‘What should we do?’ She said to us ‘Go to Church; there you will be protected’. And from that moment Our Lady told us to ask the priest to celebrate the Holy Mass. So now every evening Rosary starts at six, and at seven, Holy Mass. Before that there was no programme in the afternoon, but now there is Our Lady's programme, as She wanted it.

On the same Mountain of the Cross, where there is the big cement cross, Our Lady said that this was in God's plan. It was built a long time before the apparitions in 1933. Now all the pilgrims when they go on their pilgrimages climb this mountain at least once. And so at Medjugorje we can say that we have this frame with the hills, the Apparition Hill and the Hill of the Cross, around the Church, which is the centre where all the Liturgy is, the Mass, and the Adoration. So when people go there they feel they are invited to live this special atmosphere because you can almost feel and perceive the purpose of Our Lady.

We can see that Medjugorje has touched the hearts of people all over the world. Many prayer groups have started. We generally say that Medjugorje is not a ‘movement’ because people tend to say we belong to this or that movement. Our Lady actually allowed us how to fall in love with Her. And we did, we started living all that Our Lady asked us to. And finally, when She saw we had fallen in love with Her, She led us to Jesus, and She said, ‘I am not important’. So we have fallen in love with Jesus and Our Lady has said that the most important moment is the moment of holiness.

Although every day we were waiting with great joy for the moment of the apparition, we can see that people that go to Medjugorje, go back to their houses renewed and with a wish to renew their family life and their spiritual life. Many parishes, after people belonging to them, have come back from Medjugorje, have experienced becoming more active, because people when they go back from Medjugorje, witness not to belong to a particular group, but witness their belonging to Jesus Christ. So we feel the need to do more there where we are, because our own personal Church is very important. Not only as a building, but also particularly as a community, particularly nowadays when we feel these great threats caused by terrorism. Our Lady says that we can even stop wars with prayer and fasting. We believe so. And when we are all together, there are many of us.

I remember the Bishop of Split, a friend of Medjugorje, when war began in Croatia he said, ‘I invited all the people to fast and pray’. His city has been protected. They started Perpetual Adoration, 24 hours, in their Chapel. Many people were sick, prayed, and were healed. Jesus said that where two or three of you are joined in prayer in my name I am there with them. That is why God sent to us Our Lady, to tell us He loves us.

Once we asked Our Lady ‘Why are you so beautiful, you are so beautiful we cannot even try to describe this beauty to other people?’ Our Lady answered ‘I am beautiful because I love’. Now I want to leave you with these words, I wanted to give to prepare for Holy Mass remembering that Our Lady said that She wants the Holy Mass to become the centre of our life.

May God bless you all.

 


For God to live in your hearts, you must love.