Mary invited me into her home…
I still remember the first time I found a copy of Echo of Mary in the underground chapel of a Greek Orthodox church in my town. It was in 1997, in a little town in north-central Romania and I still hadn’t turned 17. I hungered for the living word and I needed to meet people who experience my same thirst; and this little publication was an immense gift. I immediately felt that Our Lady’s messages were nourishing me, freeing me, and immersing me in a Light which filled everything in me. Also the articles based on the witness of others and news within the Church gave me great joy for it made me understand that I wasn’t the only one to experience this intense desire for God, for holiness, and to surrender my own life totally to Him.
It made me see how I was part of a body, of the Body of Christ which tended with all its energy to the Father.
Therefore I wrote to the nun who translates the Echo from the Italian original (Sr. Anka, editor’s note) to ask if I could receive it regularly. She later also sent me a booklet containing the Medjugorje messages.
My sister and I began immediately to read them and to pray the complete Rosary every day, to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays, and to go to Mass as often as possible. We learnt to consecrate ourselves to Mary’s Immaculate Heart and to the Heart of Jesus with the prayers suggested by Our Lady through Jelena. At the beginning these prayers seemed much like any other prayer, but I soon learnt that through my consecration my life was being changed, even on a day-today dimension. It is a total offering, a surrender to God through which He guides our life, He brings it to accomplishment and He fills it with Himself. In short, it was a totally different Life!
Thus, through living the messages we felt the desire to go to Medjugorje and to encounter more profoundly Mary who had changed our lives and had united us in her love. But some time had to pass before this was realized. Our parents opposed, for various reasons: Medjugorje was in a war zone and the fighting had still not completely ceased; it was too far (a full day and a half away)… and then they didn’t understand our desire since they didn’t live the faith and never went to church; and there was one last obstacle: it required the money that a large family couldn’t easily find.
To their repeated refusals I would say to my sister – who I thought was more afflicted than me for not being able to go
– that we could continue to live Medjugorje at home, that our Medjugorje was there, on the altar when we went to Mass, that in the Eucharist there is everything: Jesus and Mary together with all of heaven.
I know that I earnestly felt that this was true; when I lived Mary’s message I felt her in my heart ever more present, and nothing could remove that joy from me, not even the fact that I could not go to see her at her house. And in fact, isn’t this what the Queen of Peace was teaching us? To live every day with her, to give Christ first place in our lives, to have Jesus as our greatest joy and our everything…
So I first came to Medjugorje in the year 2000, together with a group of young people. It was for the Youth Festival in the Jubilee year; and I felt immediately at home: the silence, the messages, the complete Rosary, the daily Liturgy, and adoration were all things I was already doing, but at Medjugorje I was able to live them more profoundly; I could dedicate myself to them entirely. Many sought signs, wanting to see Our Lady, and went from one visionary to the other; but I perceived Our Lady’s presence in the very air, and my desire to pray grew ever stronger: all I wanted to do was pray, pray, pray; to stay with Mary and to listen and imitate her.
Back home I joined a Medjugorje prayer group and together we went to Eucharistic adoration and prayed. I was in my third year of University studies; I had a lot to study and many were the possible openings for work, but I felt that my life was there -in prayer, and the total offering of self – just as our Blessed Mother had said at Medjugorje. I felt that it was there that I could give more to mankind: at adoration, in prayer and contemplation where I would encounter the living God, where my heart would be purified and where I could give the greatest love to the world. I felt how Mary was drawing me ever more closely to Christ. The words: “Thank you for responding to my call,” echoed in my heart, and I felt that I still had not fully responded to her call. I still had not given everything.
The following two years I returned to Medjugorje six times to ask for light and to understand how I could surrender everything into her hands. Each time it was Mary who took care of the money, the trip, the lodgings – at times in ways beyond comprehension and very surprisingly - all to get me there, in the place where Father God had sent her to remind His children how to find “the way of peace” and to help them journey along it, in “holiness and righteousness” towards the fullness of life. For she knew that if I had encountered and touched the infinite love of the Living God I would not have desired anything else on this earth but to surrender myself totally to Him and place myself at His service.
Today I am a consecrated religious in a contemplative community that I met at Medjugorje, and in the silence of prayer, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary Wholly Pure, I offer my life for the salvation of the world, that God’s plans for mankind may be fulfilled. I pray that every person may accept the call by the Queen of Peace which is one of prayer and conversion of heart and thereby discover God’s infinite goodness and wonderful beauty, and the immense joy of living in Him, for Him, with Him, as Him, with at our side an Immaculate Mother.