To see Gospa is to see Paradise

“The afternoon of 24 June 1981, my friend Ivanka and I were the first to see Our Lady on the hill, but previous to that I had never heard of Marian apparitions on the earth. I thought that Our Lady was in heaven and that our only contact with her was through prayer.”

• This is the beginning of the profound story that Medjugorje visionary, Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo, has been experiencing for over 20 years since the Blessed Virgin chose her to be a witness of her love and presence amid mankind. In an interview to Glas Mira, of which the following is an extract, Mirjana recounts the story and tells of her feelings.

THE BEGINNING
When Ivanka told me that Our Lady was on Podbrdo I didn’t even look because I didn’t believe it possible. I retorted: ‘Sure, she hasn’t got anything better to do than come to me and you!’ Then I started on my way back down, but something told me to go back to Ivanka. She was in the same spot as before and said to me: ‘Look, please!’ When I turned I saw a woman dressed in silver, with a child in her arms. I can’t explain how I felt; there was a mixture of happiness and fear. I didn’t know if I was dead or alive, or just terrorised. All I could do was look. It was then that first Ivan, then Vicka reached us.

Back home I immediately told my grandmother that I saw Our Lady, but she was naturally sceptical: ‘Pray the rosary and leave Our Lady in her place in heaven!,’ she told me. I couldn’t sleep that night, and only the rosary helped me remain calm. The next day I felt that I had to go back; the others were there too. It was the 25th. When we saw the Blessed Virgin we went up to Her for the first time; and that is how our daily apparitions began.

JOY OF THE FIRST ENCOUNTER
We had no doubts; that lady was the Virgin Mary… because when you see Our Lady, you see paradise! Not only do you see Her, but you feel Her presence inside your heart. You feel that your mother is with you. It was like living in another world; I didn’t care if the others believed us or not. I lived in expectation of the next encounter. Why should I have lied? Besides, being a visionary then wasn’t at all pleasant!

During all these years Our Lady has remained the same, but the beauty she radiates is beyond description. A few seconds before she arrives I experience a sensation of love and beauty so intense that my heart feels as though it will burst. But I have never felt that I am better than others for the fact that I see Our Lady. She does not have favourite children; we are all the same for her. This is what she has taught me. She chose me to transmit her messages.

I have never asked anything for myself, not even when there was something I desired. I knew that she would have responded to me just as she responds to everyone else: go down on your knees, pray, fast, and you will obtain it.

THE MISSION
Each of us visionaries has a specific mission. When I received the tenth secret, the daily apparitions ceased. However, I do receive the ‘official’ visit of Our Lady on the 18th March. That is my birthday, but it is not for this reason that Our Lady chose that day. The reason for this choice will be understood with time (I often joke that on that day Our Lady doesn’t even wish me a happy birthday!).

Apart from that, Our Lady also appears to me on the 2nd of each month. On that day, together with her, I carry out my mission of praying for non-believers. The terrible things that happen in the world are the consequences of this unbelief. Praying for them means to pray for our own future.

The Blessed Virgin has often said that those who enter into communion with her can change non-believers (even though Our Lady doesn’t use this term, but: ‘those who haven’t yet known God’s love’). This can be done not only through prayer, but also with our example.

Our Lady desires that we speak with our lives so that others can see God in us. I have often seen Our Lady sad, sorrowful for these children who haven’t yet known the Father’s love. She truly is our Mother, and as such she would like all her children to find happiness in their lives.
It is up to us to pray for these intentions of hers; but first we need to feel love for our brothers and sisters who are far from the faith, without criticising. This way we will be praying for ourselves as well, and we will dry the tears which Mary weeps for her faraway children.

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