An early apparition with Marija, Ivanka, Jakov, and Vicka
July 14, 2011
Dear Family of Mary!"Do not be afraid. I wish that you would be filled with joy and that joy could be seen on your face. I will protect Father Jozo." (August 17, 1981) Marija continued to share about the very early days of the apparitions. She shared her memory of Fr. Jozo's arrest, and the effect it had on the village. It must have been a great shock to the visionaries. They had been depending on Fr. Jozo for guidance and stability. But with Our Lady's help the children were able to not only continue in faith, they comforted the whole village. Marija continued: "This [the evening program of prayer and Holy Mass] became a joyful encounter with the Lord. Imagine after the encounter with Our Lady, with enthusiasm and joy in our hearts that was so great, how during this prayer we had such a thrill in our hearts! But because of this [the evening Mass], after a few days, the police started suspecting Fr. Jozo. And they made the accusation that he was the one who started all of this, that he created all of this. In that way they arrested him and took him to prison. "The day they arrested him we didn't know about it. And we came to church and they told us, 'We don't know if Fr. Jozo is alive or dead. We don't know where he is. He has just been taken.' And there were so many people - a forest of people - praying and singing together. They wanted to know, 'Where is our priest?' Because in the past on so many occasions many of our priests - even our Cardinal - were taken to prison, and then returned to us dead. Or when they were so wounded and so sick, ready to die, they would throw them out of jail, and tell them, 'Go, you are free,' and then they would die outside the prison, and the police would say, 'No we did not kill him. He died of natural causes.' We were afraid we would never see Fr. Jozo again. When Our Lady appeared we asked her, 'Where is Fr. Jozo? Is he alive?' And Our Lady told us: 'Be calm. Do not be afraid. I am with him.'
"In those days before Fr. Jozo had been arrested and taken away we would pray in the church and we would sing at the moment Our Lady would appear. And singing to Our Lady was especially forbidden, but we would sing it in our hearts. We would sing the song, 'Hail Holy Virgin, Queen of Croats,' because she is the Queen of the Croats. We were so thrilled that we could sing that hymn; that we were able to sing to her as our Queen, Queen of our people. In our hearts so many times, we were even prepared to die.
"And I remember one time when she appeared, we sang a hymn to Our Lady and Fr. Jozo actually sang with us to Our Lady, and he was actually looking right to where Our Lady was. It seemed to us as if he could see Our Lady as well. But he never told us that he could. He would only just smile every time after Our Lady came. When he ended up in prison I remember that one of the Franciscans showed me a shirt that Fr. Jozo was wearing when he was first put in prison. It was exactly that same shirt he wore when he had been arrested. It was all torn apart, in pieces, because they wanted to make him confess that he was the one who started this story about the apparitions. They wanted to force him to make up stories. But he remained in the prison and we were here alone. We no longer had our friend with us, who at the same time was our parish priest and we said, 'What shall we do? All of these people are expecting us to say something to them.' We realized there would be a revolution if we didn't
Image via Wikipedia
start speaking to the people.
"The priest decided to take little Jakov who was 10 years old (When he was behind the altar no one could see him!) and he asked Jakov to stand in front of the altar (He was so little.) and to tell the people not to be afraid, that Our Lady was with Fr. Jozo. And Jakov did that. He was so brave doing that! The people started praying even more after that. And they all believed. And they all continued to listen to Our Lady's words. Our Lady continued to guide us. She started giving us messages." (Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti. St. James Church, June 24, 2011)The graces of Medjugorje were born out of suffering. The visionaries suffered under the great pressure of their witness, constantly being watched and followed by the authorities and hounded by pilgrims. Fr. Jozo suffered in prison for not denying the apparitions and for protecting the children. The village suffered from the flood of visitors to their little hamlet and the political furor that ensued. But that suffering was the birth pangs of an amazing grace for our times. Millions of souls have been converted and saved through Medjugorje. Out of suffering comes great joy! And so Our Lady told the visionaries not to worry. She was with Fr. Jozo. She was with them. "Do not be afraid. I wish that you would be filled with joy and that joy could be seen on your face. I will protect Father Jozo." And she is with us, protecting us as well. Be filled with joy! In Jesus and Mary!
PS. You can watch Marija's witness on our webpage, www.marytv.tv It is in the video folder entitled "30th Anniversary Videos". Just scroll down in that window to "Marija, June 24, 2011"