For the month of December the following testimony was sent to The Medjugorje Web by Steve and Ana Shaw, who regularly send the messages of Our Lady via email. Some readers may find this strikes a chord in this time of Advent.
A Talk given by Ivan Dragicevic in Seattle, around 2000
Ivan is the oldest of the two boys who see Our Lady, and was born on May 25th, 1965 in Bijakovici. Our Lady has appeared to Ivan every day since June 24, 1981. Our Lady has so far confided nine secrets to Ivan. He is now married and resides about half the year in the parish of Medjugorje, and half the year in Boston. Ivan and his wife Laureen have four children.
Ivan’s Talk, Part 1:
I wish you all a very warm welcome, and I am so glad to be here with you today.
Our Lady opened the door of my heart. She pointed her finger to me. She asked me to follow her. At the beginning it was a shock for me. I could never believe that Our Lady could appear to me. I was 16 years old, a young man. I was a faith-filled person going to church. But did I know much about the apparitions of Our Lady? I must tell you the truth, I did not. Truthfully, to look at Our Lady every day is a great joy for me. It is a great joy for my family, but it’s a great responsibility, also. I know God has given me so much but I also know that God expects a lot of me. And, believe me, it is very difficult every day to see Our Lady, enjoy her, be happy with her, have joy with her, and then come back to this world. On the second day Our Lady came, she presented herself as Queen of Peace. She said,
My Dear Children, My Son is sending me to you so I can help you. Dear Children, peace must reign among God and people. The world today is in great danger and is threatening itself to be destroyed.
Our Lady comes from her Son, our King of Peace. Our Lady comes to show us the way, the path of how we can come to Her Son – how we can come to God. She wants to take our hands and guide us to peace, guide us to God. In one of her messages she says,
Dear Children, if there is no peace in the human heart, there cannot be peace in this world. That is why you must pray for peace.”
She comes to bring healing to our wounds. She wants to lift up this sinful world, calling this world to peace, to conversion, and to strong faith. In one of the messages she says,
Dear Children, I am with you and I want to help you so that peace reigns. But, dear children, I need you! Only with you can I make this peace happen. That’s why, decide for good and fight against evil and against sin!
There are many people in the world today speaking about some kinds of fears. There are many people today speaking about three days of darkness and about many punishments, and many times I hear people say that’s what Our Lady says in Medjugorje. Yet, I must tell you, no, Our Lady is not saying this, people are saying this. Our Lady is not coming to us to bring us fear. Our Lady comes as Mother of hope, Mother of light. She wants to bring this hope to the world that is so tired and so much in need. She wants to show us how to get out of this terrible situation we are in. She wants to teach us because she is the Mother, she is the teacher. She is here to remind us what’s good so we can come to hope and come to light.
It is very hard to describe to you the love that Our Lady has for each one of us, but I want to tell you that she puts each one of us in her maternal heart. For all of these years, the messages she has been giving to us she has given for the whole world. There is no special message for any special country. No special message for America or Croatia or any particular country. No. All of the messages are for the entire world and every message always begins, My Dear Children, because she is our Mother, because she loves us so, she needs us so, and we are all important to her. With Our Lady, no one is rejected. She calls us all the same – to end sin and to open our hearts to the peace that will bring us to God. The peace that God wants to give us and the peace that Our Lady is bringing to us these past years is a great gift to all of us. For that kind of gift of peace we must open ourselves each day and pray each day as individuals and as a community – especially today when so many crises are present in this world. There is crisis in the family, among the young people, the youth, and even in the Church. The biggest crisis today is the crisis of faith in God. People have gone astray from God because our families have gone astray from God. That is why Our Lady in Her messages says,
Dear Children, put God in first place in your life; then put your family in the second place.
Our Lady is not expecting us to know more of what someone else is doing, but She expects and likes us to open the door of our own heart and do what we are capable of doing. She is not teaching us to point our fingers to someone else and say what they are doing or not doing but she does ask us to pray for others.
Our conversion is a gift from God to us and it is a practice. This practice lasts a whole lifetime because we must convert. Every day we must change. In order for our conversion to be holy and to be more perfect, Our Lady calls us to prayer. In order to grow in sanctity, it is always necessary to pray. Our Lady is calling us to Holy Mass and for the Eucharist to be the centre of our life. She calls us to monthly confession. She calls us to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to honour the Cross. She asks us to frequently go to the Sacraments and she calls us to pray the rosary. She also asks us to read the Bible especially in the family with our children. In one of these messages she says, “My Dear Children, may your Bible be in a visible place.” Our Lady didn’t mean for us to put the Bible in a visible place to let the dust fall on it. She desires that the true words of the Gospel become a part of our everyday life so that the word of scripture becomes spiritual food for us on our way to holiness. Thousands and thousands of times Our Lady has repeated again and again: “Pray, Pray, Pray!” Believe me, even until today she is still not tired of calling us to prayer. She is a mother who never gets tired, a mother who is patient and a mother who is waiting on us. She is a mother who doesn’t allow herself to be tired.
She calls us all to prayer with the heart, not a prayer with lips or mechanical prayer. But of course she knows we are not perfect. To pray with the heart as Our Lady calls us to do is to pray with love, out of love. Her desire is that we desire prayer and that we pray with our whole being and that means to unite oneself to Jesus in prayer. Then prayer will become an encounter with Jesus, conversation with Jesus and real relaxation with him and become strength and joy. To Our Lady and to God, any prayer, any kind of prayer is dear to them as long as it comes from our heart. Prayer is the best flower that comes from our heart and it grows to bloom over and over again. Prayer is the heart of our soul and it’s the heart of our faith and it is the soul of our faith. Prayer is a school that we must all enter into and live. If we have not entered the school of prayer yet, let’s go tonight. Our first school should be to learn to pray in the family. And don’t forget there is no taking vacation in the school of prayer. Every day we must enter that school and every day we must learn.