The Sky was Opened!
On the evening of the 24th June 1981 at Bijakovici - a hamlet in the parish of Medjugorje - the sky was opened. No news. Yet extraordinary news. For Christian souls it was something familiar, yet it was also new. It brought new life: faith, hope and love were awoken, activating the divine life in persons.
This novelty for some became life, for others it was a stumbling block. Or rather, the living presence of Our Lady in our midst was for some joy, while others would have wanted to suppress it. As always, jubilation becomes inspiration and promotes the faith in God’s people - but when one doesn’t believe it creates fear in those “free-in-God-to-choose” people.
The Lord shows His face to His people, and this becomes a sign of contradiction. In this human vortex Mary comes as Mother of all, despite divisions and human reserve; she is, after all, Queen of Peace. As such she announces to every person the grandeur and nobleness of life in God. Despite the different responses to her call, she remains close to the people with her motherly love.
The people recognize Gospa
This is what happened. The six visionaries witness having seen the Queen of Peace and the people are immediately favourable. Drawn as though by a magnet, the people obey Our Lady and begin to journey on the way to God. The Lord, on His part, generously affirms the presence of his Mother with graces and signs. The people accept the reality of this special presence of Our Lady who came to settle in the parish of Medjugorje, and Medjugorje begins to spread out to the world.
It is impossible to mention the countless testimonies of parishioners. Nonetheless, I will point out some.
In August of 1981 I asked a man who had just come back from a vacation in Germany: “Ivan, what do you say: did Our Lady appear?” He responded with surprise: “Reverend, you don’t doubt, do you?” “I want to know what you think,” I told him, and he said: “How could one not believe after all these graces and signs?” I then asked: “What would you say if tomorrow the visionaries said they were lying?” and he responded: “I would say: now you are lying, because Our Lady did appear!”
God thus impressed in the receptive soul of the people a seal. Padre Jozo, as parish priest, walked behind the Virgin and with him the entire parish. It was an honour to be taken off to prison for a night-long interrogation. Joyful testimony lights up the face of a believer, and fear cast away by a soul generates unfailing faith!
The people did not remain on the threshold, but began to live the authentic life of the Church: confession, participation at Holy Mass, prayer and fasting became a reality. It was truly a pleasure to lead the liturgy. One of the events that I will never forget is the way the people participated at the prayer in the autumns of 1981 and 1982, when the work in the fields is less intense. The church was overflowing: two Rosaries, holy Mass and Eucharistic adoration, and no one in the church as much as moved! Silence! The entire parish was like a true and proper convent.
The people were drawn to God. All it took was the slightest sign to get the people to gather. To live for God was their life! No one had to force them.
The voice echoes
A parapsychologist from Slovenia, of whom I can’t recall the name, wrote down an experience of his in August 1981: “Yesterday I hid out on Podbrdo amongst the thorns. I couldn’t go to the site of the apparitions because the police were controlling me. It was about 9 pm. The birds were already quiet. One thing could be noticed: from all the houses rang out prayer and song. Life here is immersed in God. For one who studies this type of phenomenon, this is unique, unrepeatable. A particular dimension of life is manifested here.”
Like a radio station, each soul that received the announcement transmitted it to another. The news was for all mankind. It entered through the pores of the spiritual movements: adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reading of the Word of God and devotion to Our Lady became the basis for the reawakening of the people. The messages touched even non-believers; some converted; others - bound by their fear of God – reported the news but gave it a “hostile character.” The correct news, however, reached those who thirsted for God. Mankind was suddenly embraced by the divine news.
The way is opened
Today we are left with the secrets, the questions, the expectations. People’s interpretations have changed. Some wander in the desert and at times return to slavery, despite the novelty. But everyone awaits the promised signs!
The way opens up for men of good will. Faithful to God and with the courage of the Holy Spirit, they know how to access the secrets and promises: they are aware that you need to enter into participation of the mystery and find the Light. It will be late for those who wait for the visionaries or someone to tell them what to do: they will be blind though they have eyes!
To enter the Light demands total conversion that transforms us into sons and daughters of God created in His image. To be children of God is the aim of Our Lady who calls all mankind that it might enter the new heavens and new earth (cf. Rev 21:22). This is the REALITY in which the signs given by God that serve as orientation for the journey, disappear.History teaches that they who totally consecrate themselves, also those who radically live the Gospel are saints: a small remnant. Often they are reserved, unseen, persecuted, but God opens the way for them in a silent way. And, He opens the way – miraculously - for all the people, because it is called to enter the promised REALITY. There will be triumph and immense joy!
Courage, and journey onwards! Allow God to lead you, and follow Him. He who tries to close up divine revelations in narrow frames and human interests will remain in the desert or end up in slavery. He who surrenders himself to God will have life in God.
Life in God
One day while I was talking to a nun I asked her: “What do you ask God when you pray?” She replied: “Nothing! What could I ask for if I’ve already been given everything... God brought me back to life. I simply receive God’s gifts and hand them out. The rest is a waste of time. Our Lady’s behaviour with God is our model. What more could she have asked for?”
Such is life for one who walks with God. Such is life in the living God: despite life’s challenges he is rich in goods - he has everything and gives everything!
To witness means to transmit divine life. God continues to create, to redeem and to consecrate the soul that He finds willing. One who transmits the life of God pours into others living faith, hope and love. Light casts away darkness and opens up for mankind the way which offers a response to every question - so that mankind knows where it’s going.
“I desire showing myself to pilgrims on the face of each parishioner,” said the visionaries in Gospa’s name in 1981. May the new graces of 2006 make all the elected luminous, that they may be light to light the way for mankind enclosed in darkness.
There is much darkness in the world, but God’s Light is greater. It is the time for consciences to re-awaken; time for us to be bold, that our pride in the mission may show salvation to men. If we are authentic intercessors, as is the Queen of Peace, the open skies will be every day clearer, and the secrets will exist no longer because the Light clarifies every mystery!