As I said, I was 16 years old at the time, I was a child. I turned to my friend and ask, "What is she [Vicka]talking about, what is she saying Our Lady?" And I said, "Forget about her, she's nuts, let's go watch the second half of the game!" But she was so persistent and she was calling us to go with her. And I said to my friend, "Something strange is happening with her because that is not the Vicka I know." And so we were slowly walking with her, and as we watched how she was behaving and saw how she was shaking, we didn't feel so great anymore either. We came to that place and we saw the other two young girls, Ivanka and Mirjana. They were kneeling, turned in the direction of the hill and looking at something. As we came close to the hill, Vicka turned in the direction of the hill and pointing said, "Look up there." I looked three times, and I saw the most beautiful image of Our Lady, in normal size, and as soon as I saw it, I immediately ran home. I don't think anyone could have caught up with me. I came home, and I didn't say anything to anyone, not to my parents, nor to my brothers. I locked myself in my bedroom. And I think if I had had 100 keys and locks, I would have put them all on the door!
This was quite a reaction! Ivan had no idea what was happening and he stayed locked in his room all night.
But the next say was different. Ivan continues:
And on that second day, a lot of people began to gather from all over the place. They were with us all day and protected us as much as possible from the police and from the authorities. And somewhere around three o'clock that afternoon, those people who had spent that day with us said to us, "Let us go with you to that place where you saw Our Lady last night. Maybe Our Lady left something, some kind of a sign to convince is that she was here."
And so spontaneously, together with the people we slowly climbed the hill. And before we got to that place, maybe about 20 meters away, Our Lady was already waiting for us. She was holding Baby Jesus in her arms. She was floating on a cloud. She had a crown of stars. She was smiling and she was motioning with her hand for us to come closer.
Never in my life will I ever forget that day. I think I am going to live 5 years less after that day. In that moment I could no longer go either forwards or backwards. My legs buckled underneath me. But in one moment, not with my strength, I ran over those bushes and shrubs, it was like we were floating. We didn't feel any kind of pain. We went closer to her. We came close to her. In her left hand she was holding Jesus. She took her right hand, and she was placing it on our heads, and she began to speak her first words. "Dear children, I am with you. I am your Mother. Do not be afraid of anything. I will protect you. I will help you. I will guide you." But it was difficult to calm down and come to our senses.
One of the girls from among us, who was most relaxed, asked her, "Who are you and what is your name?" And she responded, "I am the Queen of Peace. And I have come, my dear children because God has sent me. My dear children, peace, peace, and only peace. There must be peace, my dear children. Peace must reign between God and man and between people. My dear children, this world and this humanity is finding itself in a great danger. There is a threat that it will destroy itself." Those were the first words, that was the first message that Our Lady gave through us to the world. On that second day we recognized in her our Mother, and to this day there are still three of us who see Our Lady. (From a talk given by Ivan on January 31, 2013 in Kalamazoo Michigan)
Though this story may be familiar, it is important that we remember it today. This was the moment when Our Lady set up camp with her children in Medjugorje. She was sent by the Father to be with her children on a daily basis and has stayed with us for 35 years!! What a miracle, what a blessing!
Just as Ivan has his memories of Our Lady's coming in his life, so do we all have memories of Our Lady's presence in our lives. We all have a list of memories in which Our Lady plays an important part, i.e. the day we first heard of Medjugorje, the day we first believed in her presence, the moment we understood that we needed to convert, our choice to go to confession through Our Lady's call, the first time we adored Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, our first pilgrimage to Medjugorje...the list can go on. These memories are for us the way to discover and track God's graces in our lives. They help us to give thanks to God for His mercy, to really see what He has done to save us personally. These memories are like the stories in the Old Testament are for the Jewish people. They tell our salvation history. And for each of us, our salvation history has been impacted by Our Lady's coming in Medjugorje. So these memories can help us to give thanks to God and to Our Lady, to enter into the anniversary with great joy!
Today might be a good day to take some time and reflect on our lives in terms of Mary of Medjugorje, and how she has blessed us personally. We might make a short list of the things we see she has done for us that have changed our lives for the better. And we can then give thanks!!
The Rosary is just such a list, but it is the list of the things Mary and Jesus have done for us on a grand scale to save us! Of course these are our main memories of our salvation, but our unique and individual encounters with Our Lady are important as well, and make the saving love of God more evident. (Catherine Nolan www.MaryTV.tv)