Friday, January 30, 2015

Why the Blue Cross is blue

In three days time, we look forward to Our Lady’s apparition to Mirjana – and any message – which usually takes place on the second day of each month at the Blue Cross located at the base of the mount known as Podbrdo or Apparition Hill.

There are in fact two blue crosses – an upper and lower. The upper blue cross is the original location; the lower blue cross was erected not too many years ago to accommodate Ivan’s prayer group. It is at the lower blue cross where Our Lady appears to Mirjana.

Pilgrims vouch for the power of prayer and peaceful atmosphere to be found at the Blue Cross. Countless apparitions and healings have taken place there over the long history of the Medjugorje phenomenon. My own conversion happened there during my first visit to Medjugorje.

There are varied accounts as to the origins of the Blue Cross and why it has become such a powerful place of prayer, but this explanation by an unnamed member of Ivan’s prayer group is probably the most reliable

• Many pilgrims may not have the correct information concerning the Blue Cross. Many think that the Blue Cross was the site of the first apparition of Our Lady in Medjugorje. Many also think that the visionaries had apparitions at Blue Cross after they had been prohibited from having apparitions on the first place of the Apparition Hill. The correct information is as follows: The first apparition at the site of the Blue Cross occurred on 27 July 1982.

A prayer group was regularly meeting at the first place of the apparitions, but soon the police discovered this. On the evening of July 27, we were walking to the site of the first place of apparitions when suddenly Ivan the visionary knelt down. This place where Ivan knelt became the site of today's Blue Cross. That same evening, Our Lady told Ivan not to proceed to the first place of the apparitions, as the ‘blue angels’ (the communist police) were waiting for them. Our Lady, on several occasions, stopped the prayer group at the Blue Cross, as they were on their way to the first way of apparitions. We travelled the back way to the first place of apparitions because we thought that only we knew that way – not even the police knew of that back way.

In 1982, a member of the prayer group was building his house 200 metres below the Blue Cross. Today, this house is the closest to the Cenacolo Community. He wanted to mark the meeting place of the prayer group with a simple cross. From the framework of the house he was building, he and Ivan built a 3ft high cross. In order to protect this cross from the elements, Ivan found some paint that he had at home. He only had blue paint, that is why the Cross is blue!

After a while, pilgrims started to gather there. They lit candles, and one day, the cross caught fire. One Italian pilgrim asked Marija the visionary if he could take home this wooden cross and replace it with an identical metal cross. This request was approved. He took a sample of the paint from the wooden cross, and in a laboratory, the contents of the blue paint was discovered and duplicated to paint the new metallic Blue Cross that is there to this day. This Italian pilgrim landscaped the Blue Cross area with the rock formations that you see today. He kept the original Blue Cross at his house in Italy, so that people could pray there. One day, I met this Italian pilgrim, and I jokingly asked him what happened to my Blue Cross. He was taken by surprise, thinking that we wanted it back. Of course, I had no intention of taking it back. Let the people pray!

There have been many, many apparitions at the Blue Cross. It is the most suitable outdoor place in Medjugorje for pilgrims who are sick, old or not physically able to climb Cross Mountain or Apparition Hill, because of its close proximity to the road and it is easily climbed. It is an ideal meeting place for the prayer group when there are not so many pilgrims, especially in winter. Even today, apparitions occur at Blue Cross when Ivan returns from America. For years now, however, the prayer group have met in a location in the vicinity of Blue Cross, as pilgrims overflow the area hours before any apparitions begin. (where the second blue cross is erected)

The Blue Cross was a secret meeting place for the prayer group for only a short time. People soon discovered its meeting location because at night, our joyful singing could be heard from far and wide. The communist police tried many times to capture the group of ‘fanatics that walk on the mountains’, but they never succeeded, because Our Lady always protected us. She was always suddenly stopping us to warn us of the police. This also happened twice when we went to Cross Mountain. Today the prayer group meets at a secret place, where we do not sing. Even if somebody hears us, they do not disturb us.

• Up until 2008 Mirjana Dragicevic would receive her apparitions at the Cencolo Community close to her home in Bijakovici, but following instructions from Mostar bishop Ratko Peric, this location became off-limits for “private apparitions”. From then until now Mirjana has generally received her apparitions at the Blue Cross, except when she is travelling or heavy rain makes it dangerous for pilgrims to be on Podbrdo.

At the time of the bishop’s instruction, opponents of Medjugorje began surmising that the bishop was at last “clamping down” on the Medjugorje phenomenon and that it would not be long before other restrictions were enforced by the bishop. However, what the bishop had not revealed at the time was that the Cenacolo Community was about to receive a new decree of recognition as an International Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right, and as an officially recognised community of the Church it would not be prudent to “host” private apparitions attended by the public.

How God works in mysterious ways. Since the switch to the Blue Cross five years ago ALL pilgrims now have access to the hill and many thousands attend the apparition each month, far more than ever able to access the facility at the Cenacolo Community!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Take two tablets...

Moses descended Mt Sinai carrying two tablets of stone on which were written the law and commandments God had given him for the people.

Sometimes pilgrims at Medjugorje descend Mt Podbrdo and Mt Krzevac with stones from the mountains which serve as reminders of what has been revealed to them and sometimes a life-changing experience on the hills.

The two hills are an integral part of the prayer programme at Medjugorje and the parish authorities take great care to protect the areas from disturbance and worldly influences.

In recent years notice boards displaying a list of tablet-shaped graphics have appeared at the base of the hills outlining the ‘do’s and dont’s for pilgrims praying on the hills – a kind of 10 commandments before ascending the mountains! (see modified photo above)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Is Medjugorje on the threshold of a new era?

A quick glance through the Pope’s busy schedule from now until Easter doesn’t appear to leave any room for matters Medjugorje, or hint at any possible announcement as to the outcome of the Medjugorje Commission.

The bishops of Bosnia Herzegovina are scheduled for their ad limina visit to Rome sometime this year. The previous two ad liminas fell in January of 1999 and February 2006 and there was some speculation that the latest visit could fall in the first quarter of this year and may coincide with an announcement by the Holy See on the Medjugorje phenomenon, and even confirmation of a visit by Pope Francis to Bosnia Herzegovina.

If that does happen, then it’s looking very likely it won’t be until after Easter.

Pope Francis is also scheduled to visit Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay in July, the US in September, and possibly the Central African Republic and Uganda late in 2015. France is also on the list of the Holy Father’s pastoral visits for 2015.

As optimistic as some B+H politicians are in hoping for Pope Francis to visit their country this year, it seems unlikely that this will happen during 2015.

So what room is left in the calendar for setting five days aside to meet with the B+H bishops in Rome? Part of April, May and June, perhaps?

In the meantime, Our Lady continues her visitations, and reminds us that this is a time in which our heavenly Father grants special graces to all who open their hearts and place everything at his disposal.

Dear children! Today also I give thanks to the Lord for all that he is doing for me, especially for this gift that I am able to be with you also today. Dear children, these are the days in which the Father grants special graces to all who open their hearts. I bless you and I desire that you too, dear children, become alive to the graces and place everything at God’s disposal so that he may be glorified through you. My heart carefully follows your progress. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, December 25, 1986

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Willing to listen...

…everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Matthew 7 : 24

It can be very difficult to teach a person if they refuse to listen – stubbornness can close not only ears but also hearts.

Jesus commands us to listen to him, just as he does of the people he meets in the Gospels. His authority to command people to listen to him is given by his Father in heaven, “This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.” (Luke 9 : 35)

It is the will of God that we listen to all that Jesus proclaims – not just in the Gospels but in those moments and times when he speaks to our heart.

He asks us to listen so that we may be taught. “Listen and understand.” (Matthew 15 : 10)

Jesus often teaches in ways that are difficult for some to understand, but he insists, “Listen to another parable.” (Matthew 21 : 33)

Another time he says, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand.” (Mark 7 :14)

And many did listen and come to understand the word of God.
(Luke 5 : 1-11)

Jesus also says, “Take care how you hear.” (Luke 8 : 18). Just listening is not enough. How we listen is important in our understanding of teaching.

And then there is the wonderful story of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to him speak, much to the dismay of her sister Martha who is overworked in the kitchen. Jesus reminds Martha that Mary has chosen the better part. He stresses the importance of listening and learning. (Luke 10 : 38-42)

When he tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus also outlines the consequences of what can happen when we refuse to listen. (Luke 16 : 19-31)

John’s Gospel (3 : 29) speaks of the joy the friend of the bridegroom receives when he listens: “The bride is only for the bridegroom; and yet the bridegroom’s friend, who stands there and listens, is glad when he hears the bridegrooms voice.”

In the same Gospel (John 6 : 45), Jesus says, “It is written in the prophets; They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father and learn from it, is to come to me.”

Finally, Jesus crystalizes his command to listen with these words: “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow.” (John 10 : 27)

Like her Son, Our Lady often entreats us to listen to what she is saying in her messages.

• I am your Mother and I have come on earth to teach you to listen out of love... • I want you, dear children, to listen to me and to live my messages... • I desire to lead you, but you do not wish to listen to my messages... • Today I am calling you to listen to the messages and then you will be able to live everything which God tells me to convey to you... • I call you, little children, to listen to me and to live the messages that I am giving you... • Dear little children, listen and live what I tell you because it is important for you when I shall not be with you any longer that you remember my words and all that I told you... • Listen to my messages with the heart... • Listen to me and permit me to lead you to this in a motherly way...

The first duty of love is to listen.Paul Tillich

Monday, January 26, 2015

Our daily paths...

Everyday we are faced with a choice of paths to take, in thoughts and deeds. The day itself is a path along our earthly journey.

I pray I don’t lose my way too often and that when I do I can quickly make it back on the right track.

A good question to ask oneself is: “Where is this path leading me to?” Will it lead to misery or ruin, disappointment and despair, or to the path of peace which Our Lady invites me to take?

The responsorial psalm for last Sunday’s Mass was a welcome reminder of making a straight way for the Lord. (see above image)

But I know this doesn’t always happen. There are always detours.

Thankfully the Lord and Our Lady are with us and on hand to remind us which path to take, should we choose to listen.

I invite you to decide for God and he will protect you and show you what you should do and which path to take. April 25, 1992

You know that I love you and am coming here out of love so I could show you the path to peace and salvation for your souls.
February 25, 1988

I invite you to change your life because you have taken a path of misery, a path of ruin.
March 25, 1992

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January message to Marija Pavlovic

Dear children! Also today I call you: live your vocation in prayer.

Now, as never before, Satan wants to suffocate man and his soul by his contagious wind of hatred and unrest.

In many hearts there is no joy because there is no God or prayer.

Hatred and war are growing from day to day.

I am calling you, little children, begin anew, with enthusiasm, the walk of holiness and love; since I have come among you because of this.

Together let us be love and forgiveness for all those who know and want to love only with a human love and not with that immeasurable love of God to which God calls you.

Little children, may hope in a better tomorrow always be in your heart.

Thank you for having responded to my call.

Marija cancels visit to South America

The Medjugorje seer Marija Pavlovic has cancelled her visit to South America that was scheduled to get underway this coming week, with stops in Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Notice of the cancellation was issued by Oriol Vives on behalf of the Medjugorje Foundation Centre, organisers of the seer’s visit, stating it was “due to personal reasons”.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Called to be apostles...

Jesus went up into the hills and summoned those he wanted. So they came to him and he appointed twelve; they were to be his companions and to be sent out to preach, with power to cast out devils. Mark 3 : 13-15

Dear children! Today I thank you for every sacrifice that you have offered for my intentions. I call you, little children, to be my apostles of peace and love in your families and in the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit may enlighten and lead you on the way of holiness. I am with you and bless you all with my motherly blessing.Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, June 25, 2005

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ANAK-TNK street children met Pope Francis

Great numbers

Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lakeside, and great crowds from Galilee followed him. From Judaea, Jerusalem, Idumaea, Transjordania and the region of Tyre and Sidon, great numbers who had heard of all he was a doing came to him.
Mark 3 : 7-8

Dear children! Today I am happy to see you in such great numbers, that you have responded and have come to live my messages. I invite you, little children, to be my joyful carriers of peace in this troubled world. Pray for peace so that as soon as possible a time of peace, which my heart waits impatiently for, may reign. I am near to you, little children, and intercede for every one of you before the Most High. I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.
Medjugorje message, June 25, 1995