John Paul Mary Testimony
ex. Paddy Kelly / Kelly Family
Full transcript of Paddy Kelly's live speech in Medjugorje, August 4th, 2008:
Hvalen Isus I Maria!
Hello to all the English speaking pilgrims from Ireland, from America, from Australia Liebe Grüße, grüß Gott, servus auf die Deutsch sprache Gebilder Buenos días todos los pelegrinos di todo de países lingua Española ...
Ok, let this begin with a prayer:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Do not be afraid, to be the saints of the new millennium, if you become what you are, you will set the whole world on fire!
I have come here to tell you a true story of a young man in whose heart these words tangled and in consequence changed his life. It was as if God himself were speaking to him through the mouth of Pope John Paul II at the World Youth Days in Rome in the year 2000.
I repeat: Do not be afraid, to be the saints of the new millennium, if you become what you are, you will set the whole world on fire!
The moment he heard these words, he took a choice in life, and decided to listen and to follow God's voice more closely. This young man's life, I have come here to speak about, was a member of a large family of 12 children a singing family, who had its great breakthrough in the show business in the middle of the 90's. Their fame reached most of western and eastern Europe and eventually extended over to China, South Africa, and began to invade America as well. He was at the heart of a music group, which sold 15 million records, receiving 48 gold and platinum discs and all sorts of other rewards. They would fill football stadiums at their concerts and the largest audience ever consisted of 250.000 people.Let us applaud Lidia for her translation, huh?
They shared the stage with the great artists and stars of the time and had a yearly turnover of up to 50-60 million dollars. Teenagers would plaster the walls of their rooms with their posters and they would receive up to 1000 fan letters per day. This young man wasn't able to walk down the street without being recognized and he always had a bodyguard with him, because fans and paparazzis would follow them, and so they would travel in private jet planes.
In 1998, his family moved into a great 17th century castle it was a palace with 240 000 square meter garden and its own helicopter landing place, there was 24-hour security watch with cameras, bodyguards, for there would be up to several hundred fans waiting for an autograph or a picture outside of the entrance gates and they also had a first class private cook and servants and gardeners, etc.
At 20 years old, this man had all the riches, fame and power most people dream of having. Until then, he had believed that his happiness, that the sense of his life consisted in making other people happy and the music with his family was a great means for that. Yet at the peak of his success, he not only began to realize, that he couldn't fully quench people's deepest thirst for love, but he himself was becoming, was beginning to become very empty inside. He already had some health problems and then his ideal of a happy love life broke down, when he separated with his girlfriend. This is when a personal identity crisis began and he fell into a deep depression.
He no longer knew who he really was and all his ideals and false securities just broke down. Nothing made sense anymore. No one, and none of the material goods in his life or even the music couldn't fully make him happy and this is when a deep search for the truth began. He started asking himself questions, like: "If all this doesn't make me happy, then what's the sense of life?" "Why do I exist?" "What's all this about?" and "who is behind this all?" If all the ideas of happiness the world has to offer can't fill this emptiness I’m experiencing then what or who can?
He was also searching for his true identity for he realized that he would confuse his artistic personality, the star that he was, and the image people had of him with his true self. And so he would ask "Who am I? Am I what I think I am? Am I what others think or say that I am? Or is there someone in me before and beyond what I have and what I can do?" And then came the question, "who can tell me who I am? Who has the true answers to my questions?"
Several months passed by and he noticed that he didn't really have any real friends. He was very lonely and fell into a deep anguish and his inner emptiness was so great that he preferred to die than to continue living in such a state this is when despair started to creep into his thoughts and suicide was presented as the only way out there was no sense to his existence anymore, he thought.
One night his sorrow was so bitter and his darkness so great that he bought into the temptation to end his spiritual suffering by taking his life. So he went up the top floor of a high building and opened the window and he got up on the window and stood their looking down for a moment, tempted to jump. And in the face of death, all of a sudden, life became so important he felt this inner voice, telling him: "Hold on! Hold on! Don't jump!" So he got back down from the window and cried bitterly in regret of such an attempt let us all kneel now for a moment of prayer in silence for all those who are tempted and for all those who have taken their life in such a way and also for the family and friends who suffer because of suicide.
God was there. God was there and gave him the spark of hope he needed. He started to read the Bible. Each day, he would read a few pages of the Gospels. But he was also interested what other religions had to say. So he bought the Koran and started questioning a Chinese man he knew about the Asian believes. And somehow, he felt at home with the Gospels because this person called Jesus struck him as someone alive and not just a historic figure or some legendary prophet of the past, but someone whose words and gestures spoke to him today.
He decided to look for help and not knowing who to trust he went to a psychotherapist, who helped drug addicts and disturbed children and people with depression and he started a weekly therapy, which lasted about a year and a half. He knew he wasn't mentally ill, but he wanted someone whom he could pay for the service of objective listening in order to get to the root of these problems.
Then one day, there was a special occasion, at which a bishop, along with 25 priests from the local parishes around the castle came for a visit during lunch. He found himself sitting next to a priest whom he was questioning about God, faith and prayer and he was surprised to see such peace and joy in these consecrated men, who from the worldly point of view had nothing, in difference to him who had everything. The conversation with this priest aroused his desire to go to confession. He had done some things in the past which he regretted and felt the urge to unload that burden so he took his phone number down called him a few days later and had his first confession since years.
It was a very simple experience with nothing extraordinary. But God was there. God's pardon through this priest set him free and opened a new beginning in his life. This was the first time he thought about becoming a priest because not only did the priest have something in him, which he didn't have, but also because of the liberating interior experience he felt after confession, which he could then bring to others as well.
A little later that year one evening while zapping through television channels he stopped, out of curiosity at a documentary on the Marian pilgrimage place called Lourdes in France. At first, he was skeptical about so called apparitions and miraculous healings because he thought that sort of thing was for poor grandmothers and naive people who would believe anything, but nothing for a young pop rock star which he thought himself to be. But somehow he felt drawn like a magnet, he wasn't handicapped or physically ill, but the suicidal thoughts have not completely vanished, and he was still searching for the answers to his questions. So he overcame his hesitation and he thought the least he would get out of going there would be a few days in a country where he wouldn't be recognized and wouldn't need a bodyguard and so he went to Lourdes. And to his surprise, there were not only grandmothers praying the rosary, but also young people, young people who liked rock music, and who were dressed cool, like him.
So he therefore joined the youth program, and one evening, there came a moment for prayer in silence, and during that moment, he felt this simple, deep peace in his heart. He was experiencing the discrete presence of someone else inside of him. Someone, who until now he had ignored. Wow, God is accessible, he thought. And this came through the Blessed Virgin Mary. He realized that Mary was not some Christian myth, or a goddess of which one could buy horrible plastic statues in the shops. No, she was a person. Someone one could come to know through prayer. A mother. And he felt that she was asking him to give life a second chance, that she would help him, and that he wasn't alone anymore.
You see, this young man came from a Catholic family and was baptized, but he didn't know one could actually get in touch with God and meet him personally. So that same evening he made an act of faith and decided to give life a new chance by no longer living according to his own ideas, but in seeking God's will in everything. He bought a rosary and began to pray a few beads each day. First 3 beads, then 10, and then a whole chaplet. What started out with 3 beads, after a few years, ended up being 3 chaplets per day. And when Pope John Paul II gave the 5 new luminous mysteries he even went up to 4 chaplets per day. He would begin his day one hour of prayer before breakfast.
And then prayed the other mysteries, after the morning prayer, throughout the day, while he was jogging or driving the car, instead of listening to the radio. You see, it was Mary who planted the seed in Lourdes, and now it was only a question of helping it grow through prayer. And he needed this quantity of prayer per day in order to build an interior self with God in the middle of the busy and noisy life of the show business. Certain members of his family were going through a similar conversion process, and so they would often pray together. He wasn't the only one to have realized that money and fame were not the answer to true happiness. In the summer of 2000, during the Youth Festival, he came to Medjugorje for the first time with two other brothers and sisters of his family. They were searching for help for a member of the family who was very sick and suffering they managed to meet father Jozo, whose words and council initiated a deep movement of conversion and an abundance of graces for the whole family in the months and years that followed.
Shortly after he went to the World Youth Days in Rome with the brothers of the community of St. John. This is when he heard pope John Paul II.'s words: "Do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium, if you become what you are, you will set the whole world on fire." He felt the urge to respond to God's invitation by doing some gesture, an act of faith in which he would place his life entirely into the hands of God, and let him do whatever he wants with it. And so he kneeled down and walked through Tor Vergata at St. Peter's Basilica on his knees, saying "Totus Tus", "I am all yours". Not knowing where this would lead him, but trusting in God. He then started visiting the brothers of the community of St. John in his quest for answers to the many questions that he still had, and for the new ones that were coming up. He would come to Medjugorje every year and at home, he began to go to mass 4 or 5 times a week. He would go to confession on a monthly basis, and continued to read the Bible every day and started fasting, too. But then he saw his need for a spiritual director. And after praying for 6 months, he finally found someone, who could help him discern God's will, and avoid the errors in spiritual life.
But he still had his doubts and difficulties with faith and since he had bought into the idea, that the church was old fashioned and outdated it took him a while to realize, that you have to be in the church in order to understand the church. Just like the over the 30 countries he had been to, which he could only understand their culture, if he lived there for a while. And he also began to see, that if you want to know what a Christian is, you need to look at the saints. Besides this, he now knew, that it was the church that was giving him access to the truth, and he wanted to know who Jesus really was. He wanted to know if he was truly the Son of God and be able to believe it, and not just tell himself so because the church says so. He never doubted in existence of God, but as it is written, that it is only by the Holy Spirit, that one can say that Jesus is Lord, and he had not had experience yet in a strong way. He thought that those who would speak to him of Jesus as if they knew him were either crazy fanatics, or saying the truth. And he sensed that it was true. But he needed the interior confirmation so one day, during a retreat of spiritual exercises, discerning his vocation, he received that grace. He had a very strong mystical grace one of those mornings when he was meditating on the mystery of the Holy Trinity. And when he was on his way back home, he started calling his brothers and sisters, and telling them over the phone: "Jesus is God, Jesus is God, Jesus is God."
I'll make it quick. He knew that it was true, He couldn't explain it, but he was living it. So then came the big question about his vocation. And having tasted this, this absolute love, this unconditional love, this Person who was the answer to his questions, he was drawn in an irresistible way to live more and more in union with Him well, time goes by fast here, I’ll be quick.
So one day, after coming to Medjugorje over and over again, here at the church, after mass, he felt the interior conviction that he had to give his life to God in a more radical way, so he said: "I had enough graces, I’m going to go for it." But he had his family and the music, he had a solo career, and he had met someone, someone whom he had fallen in love with, and she, he would speak to her about this. So one day she told him: "If you are happier with Him, then go." That’s when he saw that her love was pure, because she cared more about his happiness then hers. And so the offering, the sacrifice, was no longer his alone. But they were both offering their love for a greater love.
And so then came the terrible moment to say goodbye to his family, to her, to music, to everything he had, to have Jesus. He didn't really know what he was doing, but he knew it was the right thing to do. And so once again he made an act of faith, and stepped into the religious life. Tomorrow we will continue with the chapter, the new chapter that has opened, but now we shall sing a song to Our Lady in thanksgiving for all the wonders she has managed God to realize in his life.