Our Lady of Medjugorje has appeared to six visionaries since 1981, telling us God exists, and that we need to return to a life of prayer. She has told them these will be her last apparitions on Earth.

This blog is here to help you live a the full, holy, and enriching life Our Lady says God wants us to live, by providing you with reviews of books related to the apparitions and messages.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Lady of Medjugorje's October 25th, 2011 Message for Us


"Dear children! I am looking at you and in your hearts I do not see joy. Today I desire to give you the joy of the Risen One, that He may lead you and embrace you with His love and tenderness. I love you and I am praying for your conversion without ceasing before my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Our Lady of Medjugorje's October 2nd Message for Us


"Dear children; Also today my motherly heart calls you to prayer, to your personal relationship with God the Father, to the joy of prayer in Him. God the Father is not far away from you and He is not unknown to you. He revealed Himself to you through my Son and gave you Life that is my Son. Therefore, my children, do not give into temptations that want to separate you from God the Father. Pray! Do not attempt to have families and societies without Him. Pray! Pray that your hearts may be flooded with the goodness which comes only from my Son, Who is sincere goodness. Only hearts filled with goodness can comprehend and accept God the Father. I will continue to lead you. In a special way I implore you not to judge your shepherds. My children, are you forgetting that God the Father called them? Pray! Thank you."
 
 
Mirjana, who received the message, added the following: "I have never said anything before, but are you aware, brothers and sisters, that the Mother of God was with us? Each of us should ask himself: "Are you worthy of this?" I am saying this because it is difficult for me to see Her (Our Lady) in pain, because each of us is seeking a miracle, but does not want to work a miracle in himself."


From Erik: This message, and Mirjana's follow-up, really prompted me to doing an examination of conscience on how I'm implementing what Mary is teaching me. What about you? 



Friday, September 2, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's September 2nd, 2011 Message




"Dear children; With all my heart and soul full of faith and love in the Heavenly Father, I gave my Son to you and am giving Him to you anew. My Son has brought you, the people of the entire world, to know the only true God and His love. He has led you on the way of truth and made you brothers and sisters. Therefore, my children, do not wander, do not close your heart before that truth, hope and love. Everything around you is passing and everything is falling apart, only the glory of God remains. Therefore, renounce everything that distances you from the Lord. Adore Him alone, because He is the only true God. I am with you and I will remain with you. I am especially praying for the shepherds that they may be worthy representatives of my Son and may lead you with love on the way of truth. Thank you."

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's August 25th, 2011 Message for Us

“Dear children! Today I call you to pray and fast for my intentions, because Satan wants to destroy my plan. Here I began with this parish and invited the entire world. Many have responded, but there is an enormous number of those who do not want to hear or accept my call. Therefore, you who have said ‘yes’, be strong and resolute. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Medjugorje Book Review - Dear Children by Vincent Murray

Continue reading or watch a one-minute review.

We've been blessed to have the alleged apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje for over 30 years now, and during that time she has given thousands of messages for us, instructing us on how to live as faithful followers of Christ.

Most of us are familiar with the main themes: prayer, fasting, and conversion. But Mary has also given us guidance on many other topics. There are, in fact, many themes she's brought up on several occasions. But unless you've cataloged all of the messages yourself, it would be very difficult to sift through all of the messages and determine what Our Lady advises on certain topics.

We now have a resource to help, thanks to author Vince Murray.

Dear Children, a work Murray first published in 2007 and which he updates annually, takes all of Mary's messages through the Medjugorje visionaries and organizes them by subject, from "Christmas" to "Confession" to her messages about "Television" and everything in between (there are over 100 chapters). The idea is to make it easy on us to digest all of what Mary is telling us, and also as a quick reference. 

For instance, I was interested in learning what Mary has said about Satan. I've read messages about this topic here and there, but I wanted to dig deeper, to understand how he works and what exactly Mary thinks about him. Vince made it so easy, as I flipped to a page in the book and all messages Mary had mentioned Satan in were grouped together, in one chapter. And there were several pages worth of messages on Satan alone, helping me to understand this is a topic Mary definitely wants us to be educated on thoroughly!

This book is, essentially a search engine about the messages, but without the typing. And when I browsed Google for "Mary's messages about Satan" nothing came up, so this is really the only way right now to get search results - by topic - on Our Lady of Medjugorje's messages.

Upon browsing through this book I immediately thought about my recent trip to Medjugorje (my first one), when the tour group my wife and I were in would discuss Mary's thoughts on different subjects. Even though most of us had been learning about Medjugorje for years, there were times when each of us didn't realize Mary had said this about a certain topic or that about another. This book will now make for a handy reference. I just hope Vince someday takes these topics and publishes them to a Web site, so they're easier for everyone to research. I think this would help him more-easily keep up to date on the latest messages, too, instead of having to republish the whole book each year.

I can't imagine how much work went into this, but in chatting with Vince I know it was a labor of love. He truly cares. And what I love about his foreword is he reminds us of the reality of these messages: if we believe what the Medjugorje "visionaries" have told us, these messages will come to an end at some point in their lives, and at that point the time remaining will be so short that many will not be able to convert. The time to adjust our lives and live what Our Lady is telling us is now, not later.

Vince has authorized me to sell this book on his behalf. Most of the proceeds will go toward helping him continue to update and print future editions, so in purchasing this you are a missionary of the messages yourself!

You can purchase Dear Children by Vince Murray from my Medjugorje Book Reviews Online Store:





Saturday, August 13, 2011

Medjugorje Day by Day: August 13th Reflection

Here is the August 13th reflection from one of my favorite Medjugorje-themed books: Medjugorje Day by Day, by Richard J. Beyer:

AUGUST 13

There are souls in purgatory

To the visionary Mirjana, regarding purgatory:
There are souls in purgatory who pray ardently to God, but for whom no relative or friend prays on earth. But God allows them to benefit from the prayers of other people (FY 1-10-83).

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And in Psalm 73, the author expresses confidence in God, both now and in the hereafter:
Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me with honor.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire
   other than you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
--Psalm 73:23-26

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Reflection: Through the dogma of the communion of saints, the church teaches that the living can actively help those who have died through prayer, sacrifice, and especially the Mass, "the greatest prayer," as Mary says elsewhere.

It is common practice to arrange for Masses to be offered for loved ones, often on the anniversary of their death, but any time is appropriate. Your parish secretary or priest can assist you in this; Mass intentions are normally announced in the church bulletin, unless you wish otherwise (it is customary, though not required, to give an offering).


Application: Today, pray for the souls in purgatory, especially the forgotten dead.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's August 2nd, 2011 Message for Us



"Dear children; Today I call you to be born anew in prayer and through the Holy Spirit, to become a new people with my Son; a people who knows that if they have lost God, they have lost themselves; a people who knows that, with God, despite all sufferings and trials, they are secure and saved. I call you to gather into God’s family and to be strengthened with the Father’s strength. As individuals, my children, you cannot stop the evil that wants to begin to rule in this world and to destroy it. But, according to God’s will, all together, with my Son, you can change everything and heal the world. I call you to pray with all your heart for your shepherds, because my Son chose them. Thank you."



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's July 25th, 2011 Message




“Dear children! May this time be for you a time of prayer and silence. Rest your body and spirit, may they be in God’s love. Permit me, little children, to lead you, open your hearts to the Holy Spirit so that all the good that is in you may blossom and bear fruit one hundred fold. Begin and end the day with prayer with the heart. Thank you for having responded to my call.”


- Message of Our Lady, through Marija, July 25, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Medjugorje Day by Day - July 17th Reflection

Here is the July 17th reflection from one of my favorite Medjugorje-themed books: Medjugorje Day by Day, by Richard J. Beyer:

JULY 17

Prevent Satan from entering

The Virgin speaks of Satan to Ivan's prayer group:
Dear children, again today your Mother wants to warn you that Satan, by every means possible, wants to ruin everything in you, but your prayers prevent him from succeeding. When you fill up all the empty space in your soul with prayer, you prevent Satan from entering. Pray, dear children, and your Mother will pray with you to defeat Satan.
May this be a time when all of us convey peace to others. And so please spread peace within your homes, in your families, in the streets, and everywhere (VPG 3-21-88).

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In strong, clear language, Paul identifies and warns the Ephesians of Satan and the powers of evil:
Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wile of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm (Eph 6:11-13).

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Reflection: Both St. Paul and Our Lady wish us to recognize the reality and danger of Satan and the demonic, that we might be prepared and armed to defeat him. This is of such consequence to Mary that she has given over twenty-five messages on Lucifer.

Obviously Satan is not to be taken lightly. The trouble is that he usually works undercover, subtly plying us with temptations and eroding our faith. He can also be overt and dramatic, as in some of the exorcisms that have occurred in Medjugorje, but this is rare behavior for him, for he does not like to show his face.

Our defense? Our Lady gives us five weapons: Prayer, fasting, scripture reading, monthly confession, and the Mass. She asks that we wear blessed objects, make use of holy water, and "to let the rosary in your hands be a sign to Satan that you belong to me."

Application: In prayer today, call to mind those temptations that bother you the most. See these as your weakest links, and place them before God in prayer each morning, asking for his protection again the Evil One.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Our Lady of Medjugorje's July 2nd, 2011 Message to Us



"Dear children; today I call you to a difficult and painful step for your unity with my Son. I call you to complete admission and confession of sins, to purification. An impure heart cannot be in my Son and with my Son. An impure heart cannot give the fruit of love and unity. An impure heart cannot do correct and just things; it is not an example of the beauty of God’s love to those who surround it and to those who have not come to know that love. You, my children, are gathering around me full of enthusiasm, desires and expectations, and I implore the Good Father to, through the Holy Spirit, put my Son – faith, into your purified hearts. My children, obey me, set out with me.
As Our Lady was leaving, to her left she showed darkness and to her right a Cross in golden light."



- Message from Our Lady to us, through Mirjana, July 2nd, 2011 -


Book Review - Medjugorje: The Message by Wayne Weible

Anyone who has read a lot about Medjugorje knows Wayne Weible. For those not yet familiar with him, he is arguably the best author of information about the reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in Medjugorje. That includes his first book - which has sold close to one million copies worldwide and is the top-selling book about the apparitions - Medjugorje: The Message.

Weible, in a humble and often humorous fashion, tells the story of how he, a devout Protestant - and part of a religion which does not recognize Mary's importance - , came to learn about the reported apparitions while preparing a Christmas column for one of three newspapers he owned at the time, and how Our Lady's messages soon became of central importance in his life. If you feel what is happening in Medjugorje has become important to you, you will connect with Weible while reading this book.

That's because Weible does a masterful job of relaying his emotional journey, from skepticism to believing a little, to believing a lot, to feeling like he might be crazy, to feeling like what is happening in Medjugorje is so important he needs to do something about spreading the messages himself. I laughed often while reading this book, because the parallels between how I've felt at times and how he's felt at times are just uncanny.

Do you feel like what is happening in Medjugorje has taken hold of you, and started to shape your life? Do you feel you speak about it, whether it's to a friend or a family member, and sense they think you're a little off your rocker? Do you think Our Lady of Medjugorje is giving us important messages, which we all should listen to? You'll truly appreciate this book and feel in good company, if you have not already read it.



I don't think I would recommend this book if you are just beginning to learn about the apparitions, or if you hold an air of skepticism about what is happening there. Weible definitely makes a pretty big jump from someone who is skeptical to a believer. He cites a few times when he actually feels he can hear Our Lady speaking to him, as if through locution, and directing his path. It would probably seem a little too much to believe, if you're just getting acquainted with what is happening in Medjugorje.

But if you, like myself, have felt that inner calling ... whether it's to learn more about Medjugorje or to spread the messages .... you'll get it. You'll understand where Weible is coming from. And you'll end this book understanding why you have that calling, and clarifying your own role in all of it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My 1st Pilgrimage to Medjugorje - Final Thoughts

So, I had this vision of each day of my first pilgrimage to Rome and Medjugorje wrapping up the night by spending a few minutes with the laptop and Internet, getting down my takeaways and feelings and sharing them with you. Due to a time limit of 30 minutes per session on what had to be a DSL line at the Hotel Michelangelo in Rome (nothing like taking Internet speeds back to the year 1999) and no Internet connection at our hotel in Medjugorje, it wasn't to be. But, hindsight being 20/20, it's clear to me now that was God's design. There is no doubt in my mind about that now.

I don't even know how to begin to describe this trip. I keep using the words "incredible" and "amazing", but it runs so much deeper than that. This was the best trip ever. That gets close to describing it, but to you I might as well have been on a Caribbean beach ... spiritually fulfilling? How about "It provided answers and miracles in my life where I didn't see the path". Yeah, that's better. No "vacation" will ever give you that, and that's the point I'm trying to get across.

I'll start with Rome.



First of all, it was awesome to be there. My wife and I have never been overseas together before, so this was a real treat for us. And, for me, it was great to be in a place steeped in so much history. I watch every History show about ancient Rome. Ancient Romans were so advanced in their technology. They were enlightened in their thinking. They designed with purpose and precision. They were tragically flawed, and give us much to learn about excess in our lives. It just fascinates me ... And when you mix that with incredible architecture and the fact that we're visiting the earthly seat of power for the Catholic faith, it was just awesome to soak in.

We did many things, include visit basillicas, the Vatican museum ... we went for the weekly Papal Audience and were within a couple of feet of Pope Benedict XVI. We ate gelato and sat at an outdoor cafe ... It was fun. And, standing in St. Peter's Square, which was built near where St. Peter was crucified, I just felt such reverence for Peter. I'm inspired by him, because he was the first, after Jesus. He had so much responsibility and so much to lose. But he kept the faith. And built the faith.

But, despite all of these great things we did (and there were so many more than I listed), and despite the fact our Rome trip included daily Mass, I think my wife would agree we didn't have a spiritual experience there. Boy, did that change.

After too many flights, lost baggage, and running through airports to get to connecting flights on the verge of leaving without us, as well as a 2.5 hour bus ride, we arrived in Medjugorje. I'm tearing up as I type this, just thinking about being there. I'll never forget it.



But that's not to say the first impression was a good one.

I've been reading so much about the simplicity of Medjugorje over the years, in books written in the 80s, 90s, and even early 2000s. But my wife and I were a little taken aback by the commercialism there now. Everywhere along the streets surrounding St. James Parish, the main church in Medjugorje, there are shops and stores and markets and restaurants. It was way more than I expected, and even a member of our group who had been there several times before, including as recently as two years, commented it's changing and is different than it used to be. And then there was the hotel room.

Staying in Medjugorje is an experience unlike any other, including the hotel. You see, Our Lady requested the villagers open their homes to pilgrims. As more pilgrims have come over the years, the families have converted their homes into hybrid homes / hotels. But they're still family-run, and they serve you meals and provide board. But it's truly no-frills. In fact, my wife and I had to sleep in separate beds. Oh, boy, was I scared.

You see, my wife was coming on this trip with me, but she had not read as much as I or learned about Medjugorje as much as I have over the years. She was doing this in great part to fulfill my personal desire to go. And I was so concerned this would be just too much for her. I was wrong.

I really want to get away from the first impression of Medjugorje, because those feelings soon melted away. Each day just got better and better. In fact, I'm going to stay away from taking you through a minute-by-minute replay of the trip. Because that's not how I remember Medjugorje, and I want to relay to you what I felt there. And that was pure, utter peace.

It is the best place on Earth. It is how God wants us to live. It is not technology and business, but quiet and slow-paced. It is reverence for the sacraments, and love of the sacraments, and wanting  to be closer to God. It is healing in every sense: mind, body, and spirit. It is with me now, in my heart. Have I mentioned anything about miracles, like spinning suns, apparitions or bleeding statues? No, and if you visit there you'll just get it. Those aren't the important things.

On this trip, my wife and I carried with us concerns, just like most of our fellow pilgrims. They're private to us, but they were things we knew we needed to fix, and didn't know how. And all I can say is we took away from this trip things that have deepened our relationship with each other and our relationship with God.

I could sit here and type out exactly what happened, but you wouldn't get it. In fact, you would be inclined to chalk it up to a coincidence, or just us being overzealous or looking for signs. I'm not criticizing you. It's just that God speaks to each of us differently. We know if our hearts when he is answering us, and it's too difficult to get anyone to understand. You've probably had those experiences yourself.

All I can tell you is my wife and I love each other more deeply, we've found solutions to the problems we brought with us to Medjugorje, and we understand more closely what God expects of us in our lives. And we were there only four days.

If you have an urge to go to Medjugorje, go. Find a way. Actually, pray for a way. God will pave the path.

Yeah, we saw something happen with the sun. We saw a bleeding statue. We were present, on Apparition Hill, during an apparition of Blessed Mary to Ivan, one of the visionaries. But my favorite moment had nothing to do with any of that, and occurred during our last full day in Medjugorje, as the seven of us in our tour group sat together at lunch.

We had not eaten together, all at the same time, once during our trip. And, as we were passing around the food, and unprompted, we started to go around the table, describing what was happening to us in Medjugorje ... And the tears started flowing.

One described how she had come to Medjugorje because she heard about it, but didn't know if she would feel anything. And she was sobbing uncontrollably, describing how in this short time she realized how much God loves her ... Another, who was relatively quiet during the trip, had no trouble finding the words to tell us what she felt in her heart during Eucharistic adoration, how she felt how much Jesus loved us in his sacrifice for us ... Another told us he felt a calling to go to confession, and, seemingly miraculously, a priest who had no reason to speak with him came out of nowhere, asked him if he could help him with anything, and told him where he might find a Korean priest (he felt he needed a Korean priest, as English was a little tougher for him and he wanted to do a good confession) ... My wife and I told of our story, at "The Castle", where we felt we received a direct answer from God (which involved blowing wind and a slamming door, as if to emphasize the point) on an important issue we discussed only a few minutes prior to arriving there ... And on and on it went ....

Do you see where I'm going with this?

There are many graces available at Medjugorje. If you go looking for miracles in the sky and apparitions of Our Lady, you might miss it. But we don't have to go to Medjugorje to experience them.

These graces are available here, at home. They're in our churches. They're the sacraments. All you have to do is open your heart to them, understand them, and you'll get it. That's the point of what is happening at Medjugorje ... Mary is coming to us with messages, but only to point us to the sacraments, and prayer with the heart.  If we return to prayer with the heart, the graces will flow from there.

And my wife, who came on this trip for me? I laugh just thinking about this, but she was on fire as soon as she came home. She's been talking about the trip with coworkers and family. I've seen tears when she talks about the trip and what it meant for us. It means more than she realizes to have her "get" the things I've been reading about all these years, and to be my side, helping me tell others about it.

Learn about Medjugorje! You'll find answers to everything.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's June 2nd Message to the World


"Dear children! My prayer today is for all of you who seek the grace of conversion. You knock on the door of my heart, but without hope and prayer, in sin, and without the Sacrament of Reconciliation with God. Leave sin and decide, little children, for holiness. Only in this way can I help you, hear your prayers and seek intercession before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call."


- Message from Our Lady to Mirjana, June 2nd, 2011





Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pilgrimage - Day 1

Hey, everyone.

So, today is actually my second day of this pilgrimage, but I didn't have luck with the Internet connection yesterday, so I'm going to work a day behind. Here are my thoughts, from Day 1:

1st Day: Rome

I’m writing this post suspicious of why I am not more tired than I am, especially since I’ve had a grand total of two hours of sleep since Saturday. So please excuse me if the grammar isn’t correct or I ramble in.

You know what? I won’t. Let’s keep it short. I need to go to sleep, otherwise I’m in trouble all day tomorrow.

Here are some random thoughts about the first day of this pilgrimage:

-  Landing in Rome, Italy was awesome. I could not – and still cannot – believe Kristen and I are in this world-famous city. Aside from all of the great Catholic sites we’ll visit I love history and especially love learning about ancient Rome.

-   It was hilarious to watch Kristen and I – who don’t know a lick of Italian – try to order lunch from a lunch bar. “Do you speak English?” we asked. “Only a little”, he replied. We then pointed at our lunch selections.  He came really close to picking out what we wanted. We ate it, anyway.

-  We celebrated a private Mass, with just our tour group, at a St. Mary’s located about three blocks from St. Peter’s. It was a good kickoff.

-  I’m typing this blog post at about 10 pm Rome time, sitting on a warm night, on a chair on our balcony at The Michelangelo. Oh, by the way, over the top of my computer screen is the lit-up St. Peter’s Basillica. Absolutely ridiculous. Pictures to follow in the coming days.

-  Though we’ll be visiting St. Peter’s Square soon, we had some free time today and walked over there. You can see lots of pictures and watch lots of videos about it, but it’s powerful to be there, especially with about a 60-foot tall picture of St. John Paul II. 

-  We checked off “get gelato” today. So good.

-  From my balcony, I’m listening to two guys talk to each other in Italian. There’s something just “authentic” about the Italian language. 

-  Sleeping on an international flight is nearly impossible. We’ve mastered flight and managed to make it as uncomfortable as possible.

-  We have no idea how to use an electric converter, and fried it the first day. Nothing like almost burning down your hotel room to get things kicked off.

-  The trip started off feeling a little weird. Kristen and I noticed no one whom we felt looked like us, either in age or attitude.

-  By the end of the night, that didn’t matter. We’re making great friends with these folks. I listened to three stories, at my table alone, of how they felt called to come to Medjugorje and had a hard time explaining it to their friends and family. We’re in good company. They confirmed what I feel: I’m on this trip for a reason.

Arrivaderci!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I'm About to Embark on My 1st Trip to Medjugorje

I just prayed the Rosary and, right after, felt inspired to write this blog post. It doesn't surprise me to get these moments of inspiration anymore. I've come to learn they're for a reason, just like how this whole "Medjugorje" business came to be important to me in the first place. I'm writing this the night before we set flight on our first pilgrimmage there.

For those who don't know my Medjugorje story (and everyone who comes to have Medjugorje be important to them has one), you can read it here. But I'm not writing this post to tell you the entire story all over again. I'm writing to tell you how I feel now.

I feel blessed.

I'm blessed to have a wife who supports my interest in all of this. Without her I think I would have considered myself a lunatic a long time ago. But she believed in why this was important to me. And while I've wanted to go to Medjugorje for close to 10 years, we're going now because she brought it up about a year ago. She knew I always wanted to go. And I didn't want us to go until she wanted to, and now we're going. And it just feels right to go.

And I feel blessed to have had the support of family. I know, deep down, it's not an accident I met my wife and that, only after I learned about what was happening at Medjugorje, did I find out members of her family have been there, which means I've had people to talk about this whole thing with (which means more than anyone will ever realize). And, because I've had people to talk about this with, I've been able to gain confidence in bringing it up with other members of my family. Everyone - and I mean everyone - in my family has just been 100% supportive of my interest in this .... I don't want to state "controversial" .... but .... different .... topic.

So thank you to all of you who have supported my interest in this. That support has meant more than anyone will ever know, because my interest in this stuff comes at a price, especially as a 30-something guy.

I'm an intense sports fan. I love the occasional craft beer. I love yardwork, home ownership, shooting hoops, going to the gym, a good steak. Guy stuff.

But, despite that, you tell people you pray the Rosary a few times per week and you're into apparitions of the Virgin Mary and you sometimes get some funny looks from friends and the guys at work. It doesn't stop my interest in it - it's just become too important to me - but I think you get the point. It's not something I bring up with many people. In fact, I'll be honest and say I skirted the question of "Why are you going to Bosnia?" with  most of my coworkers this week. I know I shouldn't, but it's not easy. I was concerned about them distancing themselves from me and losing that camaraderie of being in the trenches at work with them.

And the toughest part about all of this is that I feel compelled to bring it up with people. I feel a calling to do it. So I look for little opportunities, when it feels comfortable. But, man, it's a little weird sometimes. I can talk for hours about how the Boston Bruins were successful breaking down the 1-3-1 trap by the Tampa Bay Lightning (something that isn't really that important to me), but I sometimes struggle with words to talk about something (Medjugorje) that is central in my life. This blog is my outlet.

So a big "thank you" to everyone who has encouraged me to talk about this stuff, because I just need to get it out. It took me a while to figure out why this is so important to me. I've found comfort in reading many, many stories of others who have come to have this be so important to them, as well. And everyone states the same thing I feel myself: It's something that's just "there", inside of them. It's a calling. Remember Richard Dreyfus' character in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", and how he couldn't stop thinking about that mountain? That is a horrible example, and I don't think I'm going to be taken away on an alien spacecraft. :) But the point is he felt this calling he couldn't explain and had a hard time explaining to others. He just kept believing in it and kept searching for what the reason for this all-of-a-sudden important thing was. That's me, to the left, building my mountain out of mashed potatoes. :)

And that doesn't mean I think I'm some totally holy person, who was chosen to spread the messages because of how wonderful I am. I'm pretty tough on myself. I have tons to work on. I need to be better in many areas of my life. Which often led me to wonder if I was crazy with my interest in Medjugorje, because I didn't feel deserving of a calling to spread these messages of Our Lady to friends and family.

What I learned from the "visionaries" of Medjugorje, who feel the same way about themselves, by the way, and, thus, asked Our Lady "Why us?", is that God doesn't always choose the best people. He just chooses the people who will help Him get the job done.

....

I'm excited to go on this trip. This thing that has been very important to me, and I know - beyond the shadow of a doubt - is a calling to help others come to know about what is happening through Medjugorje, is coming to a head because I'm going on my first trip there.

I hope all of you come to understand what Our Lady is asking of us. There is a reason she has appeared for 30 years, and why many thousands of people, like myself, have felt this "calling" to learn and spread her messages. She said these are her last apparitions on Earth. She said things in this world are going to change before these visionaries pass, and drastically. This is a fulfillment of the promises she made to the children of Fatima. She said she is using this time God has granted her to appear to us and give us messages and bring us back to God because there are punishments coming to the world, because the world, as a whole, is very far from God. She says the world in shrouded in a "cloud of darkness" and that we need to pray, fast, and do acts of penance. She wants to bring as many of us back to God as possible now, because we need to, now. Not later. Now.

Sound dramatic? I think it does. But I also believe it. And if you question who these "visionaries", who are supposedly giving messages from Heaven, are, you should know each and every message they give is heavily scrutinized by the church. Not a single message, out of the thousands the visionaries have given, has ever been found to be contrary to scripture. They've undergone intense psychiatric and medical tests and have been found to be completely healthy, mentally and physically.

The thing is, none of us is being forced to return to God. Even Mary said to the visionaries she can't make us return to God, in a way which is pleasing to Him. It's our choice. We choose each and every action we make and word we speak.

My one hope for all is that we heed what is happening here. God expects more of this world than we give Him now. That is the message. There is too much materialism in society. We put too much of our love into "things". There is too much sin. Too much anger. Mary's first message to the visionaries was "I have come to tell the world God exists ..." She is trying to help us understand our life is eternal, and that our very, very short time on Earth is intended for preparing us to earn Heaven. What we do on Earth is important, but it's got to be with the end game in mind.

Ugh. I don't like preaching, especially 'cause I could point to 4,500,301 things I need to improve upon in my own life. It's not what I set out to do with this post.

I'll end with this: God loves us, and he wants us to love Him and everyone else in a way that pleases Him. Mary is coming to us now, to give us messages from God on how to live, because, as a whole, we've lost our way. And if we listen to her, and implement what she is asking, we will all be in great shape. Look within yourself. Are there areas you could improve upon? Instinct will tell you. And Mary will lead us home. That's her job, and why she's here with us now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's May 25th, 2011 Message



“Dear children! My prayer today is for all of you who seek the grace of conversion. You knock on the door of my heart, but without hope and prayer, in sin, and without the Sacrament of Reconciliation with God. Leave sin and decide, little children, for holiness. Only in this way can I help you, hear your prayers and seek intercession before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call.”



Monday, May 2, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's May 2nd Message



"Dear children; God the Father is sending me to show you the way of salvation, because He, my children, desires to save you and not to condemn you. That is why I, as a mother, am gathering you around me, because with my motherly love I desire to help you to be free of the dirtiness of the past and to begin to live anew and differently. I am calling you to resurrect in my Son. Along with confession of sins renounce everything that has distanced you from my Son and that has made your life empty and unsuccessful. Say 'yes' to the Father with the heart and set out on the way of salvation to which He is calling you through the Holy Spirit. Thank you. I am especially praying for the shepherds (priests), for God to help them to be alongside you with a fullness of heart."



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's April 25th Message to the World





“Dear children! As nature gives the most beautiful colors of the year, I also call you to witness with your life and to help others to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart, so that the flame of love for the Most High may sprout in their hearts. I am with you and I unceasingly pray for you that your life may be a reflection of Heaven here on earth. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Blog Feature - Ask Erik

I've spent several years learning about the reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary of Medjugorje, and have gathered a lot of information about the messages.

I've started a new page of this blog, titled "Ask Erik", which is your opportunity to ask questions about the apparitions or recommend a book, DVD, or CD you would like me to share with your fellow readers!

Just click the "Ask Erik" tab (see below for where) to submit your question. I will respond with a video post, within a few days.


The Passion of the Christ

My wife put out our copy of The Passion of the Christ, in preparation for Good Friday. It has become a tradition for me to watch it each Good Friday, and she'll be joining me this year, in watching it together for the first time since we saw it in a movie theater years ago.

For those who have never seen it or have not seen it in a while, I recommend purchasing a copy from Amazon.com and adding this to your library. I've found watching this on Good Friday to be a great way to set the tone for the weekend and remember what Jesus endured for me.

Erik Haan
Medjugorje Book Reviews

Sunday, April 3, 2011

DVD Recommendation: Gospa: The Miracle of Medjugorje

I am writing this blog post today to defend the Sheen (as in Charlie Sheen) family name.

Okay, I'm not. But I think it will at least balance out for the Sheens what Charlie is up to these days. At least for his father.

Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen's Dad, plays the lead role of Fr. Jozo Zovko in Gospa: The Miracle of Medjugorje (1995), a film by Jakov Sedlar. Zovko was the Medjugorje priest to whom the visionaries, in the apparitions' first days, confided and sought protection.

Now I truly didn't time the review of this film to coincide with Charlie Sheen's tour. It just happened to work out that way (my Sister-in-Law, Emily, gave me this DVD for Christmas and I just recently got around to watching it).

And I truly could not care any less about what Charlie has been doing recently, so I'm not actually writing this in response to anything he has said.

But I will state this: You will not see me recommend many dramatizations of what is happening in Medjugorje (Medjugorje dramatizations are typically low-budget and I can't get past the "cheese" factor). That means I think this is worth watching.

For those who don't know the entire story of Fr. Zovko's role in the apparitions, I won't give away too much, so you can watch this and appreciate what he endured. But the main context is that the claims of the children who said they were seeing the Virgin Mary quickly brought thousands of people to congregate in Medjugorje, at a time when the hamlet was part of Yugoslavia and under Communist rule. The atheist state government of the time didn't care for religion, but cared even less for large congregations of potential revolutionaries (any gathering which brought thousands together was deemed a threat).

If this story sounds familiar to you, it is because there was a similar situation when Our Lady appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. And the ramifications for those involved were similar, if not worse in Medjugorje.

Sheen does a nice job in this quick-moving film (1 hour, 45 minutes) of playing the priest who felt compelled to believe these children who were under attack from the government and much scrutiny by the area bishop. And he is not the only actor you will recognize.

Michael York (left) plays Zovko's legal representative when the state took Zovko to trial. Morgan Fairchild plays a nun who provides much support to Zovko as he struggles with what to do about six children claiming to see the Blessed Mother and a government which wants nothing less than his death for the crowds drawn to his parish.

This film is not  intended to provide more insight into the apparitions or explain their meaning. But I found it gripping, nonetheless.

So much attention (and rightfully so) is given to the visionaries and the messages from Heaven they carry. But Fr. Zovko faced some serious challenges and decisions in the apparitions' early days. I think this film does a great job of relaying that and I found that after watching it I was emboldened to continue my work of spreading the messages to my family and to you!

There are a couple of good reviews of the film at Amazon.com. You can read those and / or purchase a copy by clicking the image below:



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our Lady of Medjugorje's April 2nd, 2011 Message to Us

Our Lady of Medjugorje's April 2nd Message to us, via Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo:

"Dear children; With motherly love I desire to open the heart of each of you and to teach you personal unity with the Father. To accept this, you must comprehend that you are important to God and that He is calling you individually. You must comprehend that your prayer is a conversation of a child with the Father; that love is the way by which you must set out - love for God and for your neighbour. That is, my children, the love that has no boundaries, that is the love that emanates from truth and goes to the end. Follow me, my children, so that also others, in recognizing the truth and love in you, may follow you. Thank you."

Once again Our Lady called us to pray for our shepherds (priests) and said:  "They have a special place in my heart. They represent my Son."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Lady of Medjugorje's March 25th, 2011 Message to Us


“Dear children! In a special way today I desire to call you to conversion. As of today, may new life begin in your heart. Children, I desire to see your ‘yes’, and may your life be a joyful living of God’s will at every moment of your life. In a special way today, I bless you with my motherly blessing of peace, love and unity in my heart and in the heart of my Son Jesus. Thank you for having responded to my call.”



- Our Lady of Medjugorje to Marija, March 25th, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Medjugorje Day by Day - March 23rd Reflection

Here is the March 23rd reflection from one of my favorite Medjugorje-themed books: Medjugorje Day by Day, by Richard J. Beyer:

MARCH 23

Renounce those things
which are hurting you

During Lent of 1990 Our Lady spoke of attachments:
Dear children, I invite you to surrender to God. In this  season of Lent, I ask you to especially renounce those things to which you are attached but which are hurting you and your spiritual life. Therefore, little children, decide completely for God, and do not allow Satan into your life through those things that hurt both you and your spiritual life.
Little children, God is offering himself totally to you, but you can discover and recognize him only in prayer. Therefore, make a decision for prayer! (MM 2-25-90).

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St. Paul also warns of worldly attachments:
Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 3:17-20).

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Reflection: St. Paul criticizes the self-indulgent Christians of his day, for although they claim allegiance to Christ, they ignore his model of servanthood and sacrifice. THey seem to satisfy their own desires even before thinking about the needs of others; to their detriment, they are "set upon the things of this world."

Our Lady of Medjugorje points to the same danger: "I ask you to especially renounce," she says, "those things to which you are attached, but which are hurting you and your spiritual life."

Application: Today, take the time to identify those attachments or addictions that hurt you spiritually. They could include alcohol, drugs, shopping, television, status seeking, power games, manipulation of others, and materialism in many forms. After you identify your own harmful attachments, isolate one and consciously work on moderating or even eliminating it for one week. At the same time, pray to the Blessed Mother for the special grace you will need; she will generously provide it.

[Note from Erik: This is, bar-none, my favorite Medjugorje-related book. Each daily reflection takes no more than a couple of minutes to read and, therefore, provides an easy way to enrich your life and live the messages Our Lady has given to us for the past 30 years. You can read the cover and a few pages, and purchase your copy from Amazon by clicking the image to the left.]

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Medjugorje - Our Lady's March 18th, 2011 Annual Apparition to Mirjana

You're probably used to receiving the monthly message for us, from Our Lady of Medjugorje, as given through the visionary Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo. What you may not know is that in 1982, when Our Lady gave the last of her daily apparitions to Mirjana, she imparted upon her the last of 10 secrets and promised Mirjana she would appear to her March 18th of every year.

Here is this year's annual message:

"Dear children! I am with you in the name of the greatest Love, in the name of dear God, who has come close to you through my Son and has shown you real love. I desire to lead you on the way of God. I desire to teach you real love so that others may see it in you, that you may see it in others, that you may be a brother to them and that others may see a merciful brother in you. My children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. With motherly love, I will show you what I expect of each of you, what I expect of my apostles. Set out with me. Thank you." 

     

- Message from Our Lady to Mirjana, March 18, 2011

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Medjugorje Day by Day - March 6th Reflection

Here is the March 6th reflection of Medjugorje, Day by Day, by Richard J. Beyer:


MARCH 6

Be converted!

The season of Lent has always been a time repentance, conversion, and penance - a time for turning back to the Lord, renouncing sin, and beginning anew. This is the call of Our Lady today:

Be converted! It will be too late when the sign comes. Beforehand, several warnings will be given to the world. Have people hurry to be converted. I need your prayers and your penance.
My heart is burning with love for you. It suffices for you to be converted. To ask questions is unimportant. Be converted. Hurry to proclaim it. Tell everyone it is my wish, and that I do not cease repeating it. Be converted, be converted. It is not difficult for me to suffer for you. I beg you, be converted.
I will pray to my Son to spare you the punishment. Be converted without delay. You do not know the plans of God; you will not be able to know them. You will not know what God will send, nor what he will do. I ask you only to be converted. That is what I wish.
Be converted! Be ready for everything, but be converted. That is all I wish to say to you. Renounce everything else. All that is part of conversion. Good bye, and may peace be with you (LJM 4-25-83).

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Our Lady's message is echoed in the Acts of the Apostles:
In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus (Acts 3:18-20).

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Reflection: During this Lenten season, let us take the Blessed Mother seriously and seek conversion in renewed prayer, penance, and works of love. This will bring us great joy at Easter and a confirmation of the Gospa's words today: "My heart is burning with love for you."

Application: During Lent, set aside extra time for prayer and works of charity. Be active in the special Lenten devotions of your local parish. Go the extra mile for Our Lord and Our Lady.


 
 
 
 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Book Review - Hail, Holy Queen, by Scott Hahn



Why do you pray to Mary?

Ever wonder?

Have you gone through life as a Catholic and always done this, without thinking about why?

Have you ever engaged with someone who asked you why you pray to Mary and not Jesus / God directly? Have you not had the answers when they did so?

I actually experienced the latter recently. One of my wife's friends noticed a relatively large statuette of the Blessed Mother in our living room. She - a Christian but not a Catholic - asked why Mary was so important to our faith. I posed my usual "She is a saint" (understanding saints are available as intercessors for us before God), but when confronted with the friend's challenge that what we do is Mary worship, I was a little taken aback, mostly because I had no idea how to counter that.

While I've been devoted to the Blessed Mother for several years, and pray the rosary often, I asked myself why Mary was so revered above all other saints. I think I reasoned it was because she was Jesus' mom. Not exactly good scriptural background there, which my wife's friend was seeking.

Thankfully my wife, apparently with incredible intuition, had purchased for me several months before Hail, Holy Queen, by Scott Hahn, which I had not yet read but just finished. 

Hahn (no relation) :), a Catholic apologist, is great at challenging questions like the ones posed above. And in this book he nails it by giving sound evidence of how Mary - like Jesus - is important to us because she, like her Son, was foretold in the Old Testament.

You might be saying "Huh?"

That's okay, because there aren't any obvious foretellings of a powerful Savior mother in the Old Testament. But that's what makes Hahn's book so great.

His breakdown of The Bible reveals that just as Jesus is the new Adam, Mary is the new Eve. The mistakes Adam makes in Genesis, Jesus reverses. The mistakes Eve makes, Mary redeems.

While Adam brought death to humanity by eating of the apple in Eden, Jesus brings new life by dying on the cross. While Eve is seduced by the devil's temptations, Mary becomes the pure creature of God who conquers Satan.

But the parallels don't stop at the obvious Adam and Eve references.

Hahn reveals many New Testament passages about Mary (most notably in Revelation) which are paralleled by events throughout the Old Testament, even showing us Mary herself is the new Ark of the Covenant (Word of God). Considering Our Lady of Medjugorje has told us she is here to bring us messages from God, it makes perfect sense.

And Hahn shows us that during Jesus' time, the role of a queen mother was a powerful place in nobility. Queen mothers were not merely figureheads in kingdoms of the day, but instead sat at the right hand of their king sons, and yielded tremendous influence and power. He gives great examples of this.

Read this book to gain a sound foundation of why Mary is important to our faith and to more fully understand her role for God and us.

And it doesn't hurt you will have something to say to those who challenge your devotion to Our Blessed Mother. It's always good to know why something is so important to you, right?. I've found reading this book has even helped me pray my rosaries with more understanding of what I'm doing, confidence and conviction.

You can read the cover, table of contents, and a few pages of the book at Amazon.com by clicking the image of the book to the left (clicking the link does not put the book into a shopping cart). Used softcover copies are selling for as little as $6 and change at the time of this post, and the Kindle edition is $9.99.

Enjoy the book, share it with others, and comment on it afterward either here or my Facebook page!


Erik Haan
Medjugorje Book Reviews






Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Lady of Medjugorje's March 2nd, 2011 Message to Us


"Dear children; My motherly heart suffers tremendously as I look at my children who persistently put what is human before what is of God; at my children who, despite everything that surrounds them and despite all the signs that are sent to them, think that they can walk without my Son. They cannot! They are walking to eternal perdition. That is why I am gathering you, who are ready to open your heart to me, you who are ready to be apostles of my love, to help me; so that by living God's love you may be an example to those who do not know it. May fasting and prayer give you strength in that and I bless you with motherly blessing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Thank you."

Our Lady was very sad.

- Message from Our Lady to Mirjana, March 2nd, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Medjugorje Day by Day - February 27th Reflection

Many of you know by now Medjugorje Day By Day, by Richard J. Beyer, is one of my favorite books about the apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje.

Here is today's reflection:


FEBRUARY 27

Ask then, for all that you need

The following message was given to Marija while she was in America in November, 1988:
I invite you to pray and to give yourselves completely to God. I will give you strength and help you whenever you are in need; ask then, for all that you need, for I will interceded for you in God's presence (SM 11 - 23 - 88).

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While trusting Our Lady to give us all that we need, we will find at the same time that our trust in God will grow ever stronger:
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
     a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not foresaken those who
      seek you.

 - Psalm 9:9-10 
 
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Reflection: The Lord never forsakes those who seek and trust him; nor can Our Lady, who is forever faithful as her Son. Although loss or suffering may wound us deeply, our God is as close as a whispered prayer. We can trust him to heal us.
     This is the spirit of trust that John Cardinal Newman expressed in the following prayer:

God has created me to do some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission - I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
      I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it - if I do but keep his commandments.
     Whatever where I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what he is about. He may take away my friends, he may throw me among strangers, he may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me - still he knows what he is about. Therefore I will trust him.

Application: Simply reflect on Cardinal Newman's prayer once more today. You may wish to offer it especially in anxious or troubled times.