Friday, October 21, 2016

I want you to believe that Our Lady loves you...

This is the testimony of Fr Leon Pereira OP, given at Medjugorje, August 29, 2016.

I first heard about Medjugorje in 1983, it was in a book about extraordinary things – paranormal things. So in between a chapter on UFOs and poltergeists there was a chapter on Medjugorje. I was brought up in Singapore, and for Confirmation classes we had to write an essay. I chose to write about Medjugorje, only I couldn’t pronounce it so I called it Citluk – Our Lady of Citluk.

I credit Medjugorje with bringing me back to the Catholic faith. When I was 17 I fell in with a group of Evangelicals. I came to Medjugorje first in 1991. In Singapore we still had National Service. We had to do two and a half years, and I was in the Infantry. I came here when I was in the army, and I had broken my spine in two places during military training. It took me 14 months to recuperate.

I came here with my mother and a group from Singapore in 1991. At the beginning, even before we got off the coach they were all looking at the miracle of the sun. I refused to look because I thought, “This is putting the Lord to the test, and ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” Was I smug or righteous? I think I was righteous – now I’m smug! I did all the right things you are meant to do on Medjugorje: pray in the church; pray on Podbrodo, the Apparition Hill; pray on Krizevac, Cross Mountain; and I spent some time in Adoration. I did not look for signs and wonders. I admit now, the miracle of the sun, I see it all the time, so much so that I have stopped looking.

I tell pilgrims, “do not go looking for signs and wonders. A sign has to point to something. If you see a sign, “Killarney,” it means, “This way to Killarney.” If you see the miracle of the sun and it looks like a host, it could be saying, “Go to Mass and stop looking at the sun.” If the links of your Rosary turn gold it could be saying, “Pray the Rosary until you wear out the metal links, or, the Rosary is worth more than gold.”

On the second to last day my friend, Kevin, who was a year younger than me wanted to go up Krizevac early in the morning to take photos of the sunrise, so we had to leave at 4.00 in the morning. From a long distance away we saw a round orange/gold light on the mountain. We were saying the Rosary as we walked along and after a while the light disappeared and then it re-appeared. At the kink in the road the light came back with a vengeance. It was bigger and brighter and we were so close that we could see what it was. It stunned us into silence.

For years we did not talk about it, except to each other. So when we were home, back in Singapore, I was on the phone to Kevin and I said, “Do you remember that morning?” He said, “How could I forget it?” So I said, “You take a piece of paper and write down what you thought you saw and I will do the same.” In that way we would not influence one another. We both described the same thing: the light was in the shape of a young girl. She had a veil on her head which went straight down. She had narrow but square shoulders, because I remember looking at her and thinking, “Oh, you work out.” She wore a simple dress and all this was bathed in this gold light and was very bright and gleaming.

Watching her, what she communicated to you was an immense love, a very personal, direct love. She looked at me as if I were the only person in the whole universe, and she loves me powerfully. It was overwhelming. I think at that time I would not have known who I was or where I came from, or anything. I just knew that I was looking at the most beautiful young girl I had ever seen. She looked about 16. She did not look like any picture or statue of Our Lady, a young girl, I can’t emphasise that enough. I would never describe her as a woman.

We made the decision to climb Krizevac and somewhere about the Stations 10-12 we looked down at Podbrodo and she was there, with her hands in the Immaculate Conception position. At the top of Krizevac there was a couple from Florida, in their 60s. They had seen nothing. We did not tell them what we had seen, apart from very vaguely saying that there was a light. We did not want to tell a soul what we had seen because it was so personal.

We came down the mountain and went to the church where the Croatian Mass had just finished and the church was empty. Kevin went around taking photos. I went to the statue of Our Lady, thinking and praying – thinking I’d lost my mind. The children of Fatima see Our Lady, St. Bernadette sees Our Lady, but not people like me. I thought, “I can never tell anyone. What does it all mean?” I was very disturbed by it.

That is when the second part happened. I can swear on the Gospel that I saw a young girl made of orange/gold light, standing on the mountain. The second part I can’t swear to because it was a voice in my head. St. Teresa of Avila said that voices in your head come from God, the devil or your imagination. Then there is schizophrenia!

It was a beautiful voice, a woman’s voice. She said, “You are happy because you have seen me.” I said, “Yes, I am very happy.” I was a bit shy and said, “Who are you?” She said, “I am your mother, and I want you to tell everyone you meet that I am their mother and that I love them.” Everything she said in this conversation was instantaneous, but she also made you feel the accompanying feelings. I would not call it possessiveness. The conversation is very difficult to describe. When she said, “I am their mother,” she made me understand that as though she had given birth physically to each one of you. It was as if she said, “This one is mine, this one is mine, this one is mine…” very much a strong claim. And when she said, “And that I love them, she crushed me with this love to show me how – it was like a banana slipping out of its skin. It was like being outside myself in joy, literally being ecstatic. It was the same powerful love, very, very powerful. She loves every single one of you like you are her only child, and there is no one else, and she is looking just at you. I don’t know how she does it, it is very overwhelming. I was in tears, seeing her and listening to her.

I was thinking, “I need to see her again, how can I arrange to see her again?” So I said to her, “Blessed Mother, I would very much like to die now, please.” She said, “Would you not like to live a bit longer to help me?” I knew she meant anything from nine days to 90 years and I was thinking, “Oh dear, how boring. I don’t want to hang around and waste time, I want to go with her now because she is so beautiful.” Now, I don’t think she was giving me a choice, but I thought she was, and I said, “All right then, but you had better make it worth my while.” I wasn’t being cheeky, I was just disappointed I couldn’t die there and then. She laughed, but that was the only time she let me say what I wanted to, after that she controlled the conversation.

Then she said, “You will forget much of what I am telling you.” I said, “No, this is the best day of my life, I am not going to forget a single thing.” And as soon as the conversation finished I promptly forgot. There is a big chunk in the middle I can’t remember. I have a feeling about what it concerns. It is like when you have had a general anaesthetic – there is part of your life missing and you just can’t remember it. Then she said, “Do not begin to imagine that you deserve to see me. God gives grace as he chooses.” She said. “The day will come when you will regret ever seeing me.” I said, “How can you say that, Blessed Mother? This is the best day of my life.” She said, “The day will come when you will deny ever having seen me.” I thought of St. Peter and I didn’t protest, I was too happy talking to her. When I think about it, I saw Our Lady and she talked to me and she told me how rubbish I am – that I didn’t deserve to see her and that I was going to be rubbish in the future.

All that came true because within five years I was at Medical School in England and I remember saying to her very clearly, “I wish I had never seen you.” It is very complicated but I thought I had let her down. Later a lot of people made fun of Medjugorje and called it “Megaforgery.” I used to do that as well and I used to laugh. A priest I knew used to look at the messages of Our Lady and I would go to his room and mock him. “What has she said now, ‘pray, pray, pray? Thank you for your response to my call?’” He used to say, “You’re terrible, Leon, Our Lady will get you.” And now he thinks it is hilarious: that I’m here doing this. (Fr Leon is based at Medjugorje as a pastor to english-speaking pilgrims).

There is a reason that all this has happened as well. It happened through my fault: I regretted it and I denied it. It is all freely chosen by me through my free will. But I think my life is like a living parable of what is going to happen in the whole Church. I don’t remember her words about that, there is this confusion that I felt. If someone had asked me, “Did you see Our Lady?” I would have said, “Yes.” If he then said, “Why are you mocking Medjugorje?” I would say, “I don’t know, I don’t understand why I am doing that.” I have a strong feeling that the whole Church is going to do this very soon, somehow forget, somehow get confused. When I say the whole Church I mean most of the Church, but I don’t remember what Our Lady said as such. She never talked to me about the future. She didn’t tell me to be a priest, she never talked about vocations.

I told her all my problems at that time which were quite significant. It was one of the worst periods of my life because I had broken my spine, but that was nothing compared to the emotional pain I was going through. My sister had run away from home, everyone was fighting, no one in my family spoke to me for a long period. So I told her all my problems and she ignored me. After all this she told me to give my life to Jesus; to pray with a firm faith and to surrender my life to Jesus. At the time it felt like a slap in the face. I thought, “Why are you ignoring me?” But I could not object, she was controlling the conversation at this stage. I can see now that when she answered me she told me what I needed to do to do the right thing: to give my heart to Jesus, to pray with a firm faith and to surrender my life to Jesus.

So those of you who have come to Medjugorje to pray for some special need and you come to me for some wisdom, I have no wisdom to give you except what Our Lady has given me – if it’s good enough for me it’s good enough for you: “Give your heart to Jesus, pray with a firm faith and surrender your life to Jesus.” That is what she told me. She told me that I must not go looking for her, that I would not see her again, except she would come for me when I died. There are a few other things that she said that I don’t think are relevant.

So that’s what happened. After that I kept quiet about it for years. I did not tell a soul until more recently. Those of you who are more observant will realise that I am actually being obedient to Our Lady. She said, “Tell everyone you meet that I am their mother and that I love them.”

Honestly, I don’t care if you don’t believe me. I try to imagine if I were sitting in your seat there was this little brown priest on the stage telling me this story about Medjugorje, about seeing Our Lady, would I think he was mad? I don’t care if you don’t believe me, I really don’t care, but what I want you to believe is that Our Lady loves you and she looks at you like you are the only child in the universe, and that she loves you so powerfully, so deeply. I want you to believe that at least. You don’t have to believe the rest of it, it’s not important.

Having seen Our Lady just once has had two side effects: first, everything in life in life is a bit boring. The most exciting things in life are boring and it is a bit difficult sometimes. The second one is that it has left me without a fear of death. When people tell me they have cancer and have only a few months to live, I say all the right things to them, but inside me I’m always thinking, “Oh you lucky thing, you are going to see her.” Then I try to imagine it from their perspective – it must be terrifying. But I still think, “No, you lucky thing, you are going to see her and she is so beautiful.” Why would you not want to go? I would go now if given the choice. She is so beautiful.

transcription by Angela Callan

5th Sorrowful Mystery... The Crucifixion

Dear children! Also today I call all of you for your hearts to blaze with more ardent love for the Crucified, and do not forget that, out of love for you, he gave his life so that you may be saved. Little children, meditate and pray that your heart may be open to God’s love. Thank you for having responded to my call. Medjugorje message, September 25, 1984

Thursday, October 20, 2016

4th Sorrowful Mystery... The Carrying of the Cross

By means of the cross God is glorified through every person. part Medjugorje message, November 29, 1984

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

3rd Sorrowful Mystery... The Crowning of Thorns

Dear children! In this time of grace I call you to take the cross of my beloved Son Jesus in your hands and to meditate on his passion and death. May your suffering be united in his suffering and love will win, because he who is love gave himself out of love to save each of you. Pray, pray, pray until love and peace begin to reign in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, June 25, 1988

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2nd Sorrowful Mystery... The Scourging at the Pillar

Dear children! Again today I invite you to live the passion of Jesus in prayer, and in union with him. Decide to give more time to God who gave you these days of grace. Therefore, dear children, pray and in a special way renew the love for Jesus for in your hearts. I am with you and I accompany you with my blessing any my prayers. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, June 25, 1988

Monday, October 17, 2016

Marija in Lebanon

From Sr Emmanuel’s latest newsletter... “Last week, October 8th to 13th, the visionary Marija Pavlovic went to Lebanon on a private visit, but also on a mission. Her Lebanese friends acquired a piece of land to build the City ‘To You, Mary’. Through Marija they wanted the Blessed Mother to bless and consecrate the place that is intended for Her, in Ghazir, the village of Blessed Father Jacques Haddad. Before and after each apparition, the people present took advantage of the occasion to consecrate themselves to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, as well as their families, their country, and especially the project of the future City of Mary. Many graces were received. Our Blessed Mother visited, touched and consoled many hearts, according to witnesses. Marija prayed for the City, that will be a place of prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, consecration, listening and continuing formation open to all, for Lebanon and Syria. Marija said that she felt an urgent need to go to this region that has been suffering for years. She listened to the sufferings of the Syrians from the local prayer group and the Lebanese. She is happy to have fulfilled that mission and she hopes to go back.”
More from Sr Emmanuel’s website

1st Sorrowful Mystery... The Agony in the Garden

Dear children! I am calling you to that love which is loyal and pleasing to God. Little children, love bears everything bitter and difficult for the sake of Jesus who is love. Therefore, dear children, pray that God come to your aid, not however according to your desire, but according to his love. Surrender yourself to God so that he may hear you, console you and forgive everything inside you which is a hindrance on the way of love. In this way God can move your life, and you will grow in love. Dear children, glorify God with a hymn of love so that God's love may be able to grow in you day by day to its fullness. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, June 25, 1988

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The book of the blind...

The Rosary is the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the Rosary is beyond description.

All the idle moments of one’s life can be sanctified, thanks to the Rosary. As we walk the streets, we pray with the Rosary hidden in our hand or in our pocket; driving an automobile, the little knobs under most steering wheels can serve as counters for the decades. While waiting to be served at a lunchroom, or waiting for a train, or in a store; or while playing dummy at bridge; or when conversation or a lecture lags — all these moments can be sanctified and made to serve inner peace, thanks to a prayer that enables one to pray at all times and under all circumstances.

Fulton Sheen, The World’s First Love, 1952

Friday, October 14, 2016

5th Mystery of Light... Institution of the Eucharist

Dear children! Do the same as I do! Come, share love and with your own example give my Son to everyone.

Medjugorje message, March 2, 2005

Thursday, October 13, 2016

4th Mystery of Light... The Transfiguration

Dear children! Today I am calling on you to decide whether or not you wish to live the messages which I am giving you. I wish you to be active in living and spreading the messages. Especially, dear children, I wish that you all be the reflection of Jesus, which will enlighten this unfaithful world walking in darkness. I wish all of you to be the light for everyone and that you give witness in the light. Dear children, you are not called to the darkness, but you are called to the light. Therefore, live the light with your own life. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, June 5, 1986

When the sun ‘danced’ at Fatima

In Fatima, on October 13, 1917, up to 70,000 people gathered in expectation of a special sign that Our Lady would provide as proof of her apparitions there:

“The Lady appeared... as the blessed mother was leaving she opened her hands, and from them rays of light extended in the direction of the sun. Gradually the sun grew pale, appeared as a silver disk at which all could gaze directly, without shielding their eyes. Rays of multicolored light shot out from the sun in every direction; red, blue, pink, green, and every colour of the spectrum. Then the sun began to spin madly on its axis and appeared like a giant wheel of fire. The sun began to dance wildly. Suddenly the sun seemed to be torn loose from its orbit. It hurtled closer and closer to earth, and looked like it was going to plummet to the earth. The people were terrified and there arose cries of repentance and appeals for mercy. Many thought it was the end of the world. Then, just as suddenly, the sun stopped plummeting downwards, and in the same swirling motion it began to climb upward until it resumed its place in the sky. The rain-soaked clothes of the people were immediately dry. This was an event reported by several newspapers of the day...”

I experienced a similar spectacle on my second trip to Medjugorje in May 2001, when the sun seemed to come falling towards the earth. It also moved in a way, from right to left and towards me, as if making a sign of the cross, before settling in its original place and then pulsating many colours. I cannot find words to express my feelings at the time. 

But in many visits to Medjugorje I had never encountered the more prevalent spinning sun, until my pilgrimage in May 2005. Of course, there was wonder and some excitement on my part – not so much at seeing the sun spin, but because I slowly began to understand and realise that God communicates to individual hearts through this phenomenon.

I was taking photographs near to where the Risen Christ sculpture stands when the excitement of three women gazing into the sun, prompted me to turn and look upwards. The light was dazzling and I was forced to look away and focus on the faces of the women instead – one in particular, who was wide-eyed and continued staring towards the evening sun. I moved and stood beside her, and still I could not look up and face the sun with my eyes open. And I wondered how she could see and I could not when we were standing right next to each other!

I began to take close-up pictures of her face and witnessed a range of emotions through the lens of the camera, from wonderful surprise to tears of joy, and then questioning amazement. And I turned my head again, and still could not look towards the blinding sun. What kind of God can do these things – give such a gift to one and not another?

A little later I started to walk back along the footpath towards St James’ church, and almost casually, turned to give God another chance to let me in on the spectacle. He did! And like many before me, I thought I could record it all on camera. How wrong I was. Although I could view the spinning sun through the lens, I wasn’t able to capture what I was seeing on the digital camera. It was puzzling, but then I realised a valuable lesson. God wasn’t communicating to my camera. It wasn’t a gift for some man-made, carefully-crafted equipment, but a gift for what God had created and valued more than anything – my heart.

He was revealing himself, as he always does, in a knowing way – just as he had with the woman earlier. Heart was speaking to heart and for many pilgrims in Medjugorje this experience is a major first step to conversion, confession and heartfelt peace.

Someone once wrote: “You know very well when the Lord speaks, he touches.” How true this is!

This image is an attempt to photograph the ‘spinning sun’ phenomenon often seen at Medjugorje. The photo was taken in the late afternoon of September 19, 2006, from the home of Nancy and Patrick Latta. 

To the left of the frame can be seen the concrete Cross on top of Mt Krizevac. This was included intentionally so as to locate the phenomenon. What is unusual about the image is that the sun seems to break through the contour of the mountain as if descending. It appears to be forward of the mountain ridge. It’s size, allowing for flare, is also disproportionate. The sun was ‘spinning’ at the time – intensely. The camera lens was a Canon 300m 2.8. The photo has not been modified or enhanced other than to add the black border to assist definition.

• But what does Our Lady say about such signs and wonders? In her messages, she clearly states that there is a purpose for this heavenly phenomena; that it is a gift given by God to awaken and strengthen faith. So evidently, these wonders cannot be dismissed as of no importance, or not a miracle in itself, however great or small.

All these signs are designed to strengthen your faith until I leave you the visible and permanent sign... October 22, 1981.
It is God who gives them... It is necessary to awaken the faith... It is a gift from God... Spring 1982

• Our Lady makes reference to Fatima in one of her Medjugorje messages.

Dear Children! Today also I invite you to prayer, now as never before when my plan has begun to be realised. Satan is strong and wants to sweep away plans of peace and joy and make you think that my Son is not strong in his decisions. Therefore, I call all of you, dear children to pray and fast still more firmly. I invite you to renunciation for nine days so that with your help everything I wanted to realise through the secrets I began in Fatima may be fulfilled. I call you, dear children, to grasp the importance of my coming and the seriousness of the situation. I want to save all souls and present them to God. Therefore, let us pray that everything I have begun be fully realised. Thank you for having responded to my call. August 25, 1991 

“Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ's proclamation: the Father's love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel.”
The Message of Fatima – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Handwritten Note Reveals Pope’s Experience

According to his own testimony, the Pope who declared the dogma of the Assumption saw the “miracle of the sun” four times.

This information is confirmed by a handwritten, unpublished note from Pope Pius XII, which is part of the Pius XII: The Man and the Pontificate display. The display opened in the Vatican to the public today and will run through until January 6.

A commissioner of the display and a Vatican reporter for the Italian daily Il Giornale, Andrea Tornielli, explained to ZENIT that the note was found in the Pacelli family archives. It describes the “miracle of the sun,” an episode that until today had only been affirmed by the indirect testimony of Cardinal Federico Tedeschini (1873-1959), who recounted in a homily that the Holy Father had seen the miracle.

Pius XII wrote, “I have seen the ‘miracle of the sun,’ this is the pure truth.”

The miracle of the sun is most known as the episode that occurred in Fatima, Portugal, on October 13, 1917. According to the Fatima visionaries, Mary had said there would be a miracle that day so that people would come to believe. Thousands had gathered at the site of the visions, and the sun “danced,” reportedly drying instantaneously the rain-soaked land and spectators.

Pius XII’s note says that he saw the miracle in the year he was to proclaim the dogma of the Assumption, 1950, while he walked in the Vatican Gardens. He said he saw the phenomenon various times, considering it a confirmation of his plan to declare the dogma.

The papal note says that at 4.00pm on October 30, 1950, during his “habitual walk in the Vatican Gardens, reading and studying,” having arrived to the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, “toward the top of the hill […] I was awestruck by a phenomenon that before now I had never seen.”

“The sun, which was still quite high, looked like a pale, opaque sphere, entirely surrounded by a luminous circle,” he recounted. And one could look at the sun, “without the slightest bother. There was a very light little cloud in front of it.”

The Holy Father’s note goes on to describe “the opaque sphere” that “moved outward slightly, either spinning, or moving from left to right and vice versa. But within the sphere, you could see marked movements with total clarity and without interruption."

Pius XII said he saw the same phenomenon “the 31st of October and November 1, the day of the definition of the dogma of the Assumption, and then again November 8, and after that, no more.”

The Pope acknowledged that on other days at about the same hour, he tried to see if the phenomenon would be repeated, “but in vain – I couldn't fix my gaze [on the sun] for even an instant; my eyes would be dazzled.”

Pius XII spoke about the incident with a few cardinals and close collaborators, such that Sister Pascalina Lehnert, the nun in charge of the papal apartments, declared that “Pius XII was very convinced of the reality of the extraordinary phenomenon, which he had seen on four occasions.”

As Pope, in 1940, Pius XII approved the Fatima apparitions, and in 1942, consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

As well, Pius XII often spoke with Sister Lucia, the visionary of Fatima, and he asked her to transcribe the messages she received from the Virgin. He thus became the first Pope to know the “third secret of Fatima,” which Pope John Paul II would later make public.

• Italian pilgrims held in fascination by the ‘spinning sun’ phenomenon at Medjugorje

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

3rd Mystery of Light... Proclaiming God’s Kingdom

Dear children! I desire to share my joy with you. In my Immaculate Heart I feel that there are many of those who have drawn closer to me and are, in a special way, carrying the victory of my Immaculate Heart in their hearts by praying and converting. I desire to thank you and to inspire you to work even more for God and his kingdom with love and the power of the Holy Spirit. I am with you and I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, August 25, 2000

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

2nd Mystery of Light... The Wedding at Cana

Dear children! Today, little children, I invite you, through prayer, to be with Jesus, so that through a personal experience of prayer you may be able to discover the beauty of God’s creatures. You cannot speak or witness about prayer, if you do not pray. That is why, little children, in the silence of the heart, remain with Jesus, so that he may change and transform you with his love. This, little children, is a time of grace for you. Make good use of it for your personal conversion, because when you have God, you have everything. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, July 25, 2009

Monday, October 10, 2016

1st Mystery of Light... The Baptism of Jesus

Dear children! In this time, I call you all to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit upon every baptised creature, so that the Holy Spirit may renew you all and lead you on the way of witnessing your faith – you and all those who are far from God and his love. I am with you and intercede for you before the Most High. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, May 25, 2009

Saturday, October 08, 2016

A spark of faith?

It’s happened again! Yesterday morning, on the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, lightning struck the dome of St Peter’s basilica in Rome.

Lightning previously struck the dome on February 11, 2013, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes and the day on which the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI was announced.

On the morning of the day Our Lady first appeared in Medjugorje, June 24, 1981, and feast day of the Nativity of John the Baptist, lightning struck and set fire to the community centre that housed the post office.


Luke’s Gospel reading for yesterday (11: 15-26, 27th week in Ordinary Time, Year 2, Friday) spoke of people asking Jesus for a sign from heaven. He responded by saying “…if it is through the finger of God that I cast out devils, then know that the kingdom of God has overtaken you.”

Michelangelo’s fresco painting in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel shows the finger of God giving life to Adam. Could it be the lightning strike is a sign that gives life and power to the Church, a sign of the Holy Spirit – “it is the Spirit who gives life” (John 6 : 33).

In his homily on Thursday Pope Francis referred to the Holy Spirit as “the great gift of the Father – the power that allows the Church to go forth courageously even to the ends of the earth.”

Yesterday also marked the start of a three-day Marian event in Rome as part of the Jubilee of Mercy.

And is not Mary a missionary of Mercy – and always accompanied by the Holy Spirit?

Today, Pope Francis Tweeted this message:

Joyful Mysteries of uncertainty

Donald Rumsfeld, the former United States Secretary of Defence, once said: “As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

None of us, it seems, have all the answers – not even Donald Rumsfeld. But for all the unknowns and uncertainties in life, we can also be assured of, through God’s goodness, the certitudes of joy. Sometimes the two feelings go hand in hand. Uncertainties can raise questions, even when we experience joy in our heart. The Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary illustrate this truth. Each occasion of joy, each bead, is threaded and tied with a question of uncertainty.

In the mystery of the Annunciation, the news that she is chosen to be the Mother of God prompts Mary to ask with uncertainty: “But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?”

Her cousin Elizabeth, overjoyed and excited by Mary’s visitation also raises a question: “Why should I be so honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?”

And surely there is uncertainty for Mary and Joseph as they make their way to Bethlehem to register for the census, aware that the birth of Jesus is imminent. No hospitals in those days, not even room in a warm guest-house.

Then the time arrives for Joseph and Mary to fulfil the law and present Jesus in the Temple – a joyful occasion, notably for Simeon who has waited so long to set eyes on the Saviour of the world. But for Mary and Joseph, they can only stand and wonder at the things Simeon is saying about Jesus, especially when he speaks to Mary of a sword that will pierce her heart.

Life’s unknowns for Mary and Joseph manifest again in the final joyful mystery when Jesus goes missing. It’s a joy to discover that he is safe in the Temple. But this joy is mixed with uncertainty when Mary asks her Son, “My child, why have you done this to us?” And even when Jesus explains, his parents fail to understand his answer. The question of uncertainty remains.

Each joyful mystery is a journey, each bead a stop on the journey, a station, an incident – an episode in our life. And we know there is a degree of uncertainty with any journey we undertake.

The journey for Mary begins with the arrival of the Angel Gabriel. Pregnant, she sets out on a long journey from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea, some 70 miles away. Three months later Mary returns to Nazareth. Almost six months pass before Joseph and Mary are on the move again, this time to Bethlehem. From Bethlehem it’s just a short passage to Jerusalem for the Presentation; and then follows the long journey into Egypt before the Holy Family eventually move back to Nazareth.

St Luke tells us that Mary and Joseph would journey to Jerusalem every year for the Passover. On one occasion on their way back to Nazareth, they discover that Jesus is missing from the caravan. And so yet another journey, another step of uncertainty, is undertaken to search for the twelve-year-old.

The journeys for Jesus and Mary continue with the Mysteries of Light, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries.

In her messages from Medjugorje, Our Lady often refers to the journey with Jesus as the path – of perfection, of peace, of love, of salvation, the path towards eternal life.

It is impossible to share in this journey and its joys and illuminations, its sorrows and glories, without confronting uncertainty and the unknown. There is no easy by-pass to Heaven, just the certainty of faith knowing that Jesus has prepared a place for each of us that desire to make the journey and follow him.

I desire that through you the whole world may get to know the God of joy. By your life bear witness for God’s joy. Do not be anxious or worried. God himself will help you and show you the way. part message, May 25, 1998

Friday, October 07, 2016

5th Joyful Mystery... Finding Jesus in the Temple

Dear children! I call you to prayer, to have an encounter with God in prayer. God gives himself to you, but he wants you to answer in your own freedom to his invitation. That is why little children during the day, find yourself a special time when you could pray in peace and humility, and have this meeting with God the creator. I am with you and I intercede for you in front of God, so watch in vigil, so that every encounter in prayer be the joy of your contact with God. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, November 25, 1988

Thursday, October 06, 2016

4th Joyful Mystery... The Presentation of Jesus

Dear children! With joy in the heart I love you all and call you to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart so I can draw you still closer to my Son Jesus, and that he can give you his peace and love, which are nourishment for each one of you. Open yourselves, little children, to prayer – open yourselves to my love. I am your mother and cannot leave you alone in wandering and sin. You are called, little children, to be my children, my beloved children, so I can present you all to my Son. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugorje message, June 25, 2013

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

3rd Joyful Mystery... The Nativity of Jesus

Dear children! Today, on the day of love and peace, with Jesus in my arms, I call you to prayer for peace. Little children, without God and prayer you cannot have peace. Therefore, little children, open your heart so that the King of Peace may be born in your heart. Only in this way, you can witness and carry God's peace to this peaceless world. I am with you and bless you with my motherly blessing.

Medjugorje message to Jakov, December 25, 2002

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

2nd Joyful Mystery... The Visitation

Dear children! Today I invite you to peace. I have come here as the Queen of Peace and I desire to enrich you with my motherly peace. Dear children, I love you and I desire to bring all of you to the peace which only God gives and which enriches every heart. I invite you to become carriers and witnesses of my peace to this unpeaceful world. Let peace reign in the whole world which is without peace and longs for peace. I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Medjugore message, July 25, 1990