June 18, 2014 A.D.
As we approach the 33rd anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions here in Medjugorje, reflecting on the events of those beginning days helps us to better understand all that Our Lady is doing here. The following is Ivanka’s description of what happened on June 24, 1981:
“In 1981 my family lived in Mostar and Mirjana’s family live in Sarajevo. When school would finish we would come to Medjugorje for summer vacations. It is a tradition in our country that on Feast Days and Sundays, no one works in the fields or does any hard labor.* On June 24, 1981 the Feast of St. John the Baptist, we were not working, but at home. That afternoon, Mirjana and I were outside the village and we were waiting for our friends to meet us. We were talking about what had been going on with us during the past year. We got bored, so we began to go back home. To this day I do not know what prompted me to look at that hill. When I looked up at the hill I was able to see the Mother of God. I said, ‘Mirjana look, look up there, Our Lady!’ Mirjana did not want to look and she told me not to say things like that. I became quiet and we started walking further toward the houses. We saw Milka who was out gathering the sheep. I don’t know what she saw on my face but she wanted to know what had happened to me. She thought something was wrong with me. As we were going back I told Milka what I had seen and when we came to the same spot both Milka and Mirjana saw what I saw, Our Lady.
“Our Lady was perhaps 400-600 meters from us. She was beckoning us with Her hand to come closer to Her. We were filled with every kind of emotion; prayer, tears, joy laughter excitement, but fear prevailed and we did not dare to go any closer.
“In the meantime Vicka came and saw that something very strange was happening to us. We told her to come and hurry because we were able to see Our Lady. She took her shoes off and ran away toward the houses. On the way she met up with two boys named Ivan. One of them is the visionary Ivan. They came to us and they also could see Our Lady. We were still afraid to approach Our Lady. I am not sure how much time we spent there but when we left a couple of us entered one of the houses and told them what had happened to us. We were crying and scared, but they got mad at us and told us not to speak that way. They told us that it was impossible for us to see Our Lady. They even threw apples at us and told us to go home. They told us to speak to no one else about this.
“When I got home I told my brother, sister, and granny all that I had seen. My brother and sister were mocking me and every word that I said they laughed. My Granny told me it was impossible and that was just someone minding the sheep on the hill. That was the longest night in my whole life. All during the night I kept questioning what I had seen and kept wondering if I were crazy. Deep within myself I knew I had seen the Mother of God.”
For the followers of Our Lady, we many times share in Ivanka's sentiments of not being believed or even ridiculed by others, even church-goers because of our belief in Our Lady's presence at Medjugorje and in the living of Her messages. Often, we might feel alone in our belief, but Our Lady is building up communities of people all over the world who will be sharing the common life and missionary efforts of Her messages. Those who have read They Fired the First Shot 2012, by A Friend of Medjugorje are seeing this plan become a reality. For more see TheyFiredtheFirstShot.com.
In the Love of Our Lady,
Caritas of Birmingham
Operated by the Community of Caritas
*For more on what Our Lady revealed about Sunday's and the living of this commandment, download or listen to Look What Happened While You Were Sleeping, available as a free download here.