Medjugorje’s greatest miracle
The witness of Fr Jozo Zovko OFM, parish priest of Medjugorje when the people of the village reconciled with God and each other...
The man who didn’t believe in those first days is speaking to you. But now I believe – I very much believe. I would like to tell you why I didn’t believe and why I believe now. I would like to invite you and tell you why you should accept this and believe.
Six years, three months and twenty-one days ago, Our Lady decided to choose Medjugorje and to get in touch with the Church. We still haven’t recovered from what she did. The children who first saw her were nearly lost when they tried to tell people what they saw. Nobody believed them at first. Later on, however, it was a different picture. To the unfaithful people, Heaven was starting to talk through the apparitions and many miracles. The sun was turning into a shining mass that moved the crowds as if it would consume them. People were afraid.
Then the people started listening to the children with their hearts. The children didn’t say anything except that they saw Our Lady and she blessed them. And she also gave them instructions on a day-to-day basis. That’s how the first six days passed.
During that time, various miracles in nature invited people to come, and many said, “Let’s go, let’s see the miracles.” That kind of curiosity was closing my heart, so I said, “No, that’s not Our Lady.” But it is interesting that all the schoolchildren believed the visionaries. The children were the first to believe. And it is also interesting that nobody was envious of them.
I think back to those days when I didn’t believe. At that time I had many reasons for not believing, but now I can sum them up into one: I was too proud.
We cannot come to Medjugorje and say, “I want to pray for grace; I want to show Our Lady that I have plans to help her, and they should be approved.” Medjugorje is the place where Our Lady invites her children to be obedient, to obey like Jesus.
What does Our Lady want of us? When she came into the church (St James) she said “Convert.” I didn’t understand that, even though I thought I did. I thought, like all my parishioners, that Our Lady was finally inviting all who had stopped praying, to start again, that she was inviting drunkards to stop drinking, or those who were destroying family life and Church to stop doing that. The next three evenings I gave three sermons about these things. But nobody converted. Really and truly, nobody. Why? How come that I spoke and nobody heard?
She came with the message of the meaning of conversion, and she invited us to pray. We prayed for a whole afternoon. Our Lady said that we should pray the Rosary every day. The people seemed happy and joyful, and that day they decided not to go home, but to continue in prayer. They all felt that Our Lady was joyful because of our prayer.
That same day, after the Mass and during the prayer, Our Lady appeared in the church. She blessed the gathered people. She was full of joy. Then I said to the gathering, “You who believed were right! Our Lady is really here.” The people were glad my faith was awakened. We prayed all night and gave thanks. The people started spreading Our Lady’s messages to pray, and they intensified prayer in their homes.
But our prayer wasn’t always the prayer of love, Our Lady brought us a message saying, “Don’t pray with your lips; when you pray, pray with your heart.” I had trouble understanding that, and Our Lady spoke to me in my heart, and to the visionaries. She said:
“Today, before prayer, may everyone of you forgive your neighbour. Today may everyone find in his heart all of his enemies, and may he show them to the Father with joy. May he pray for them. Let him wish full joy and blessing upon them.”
I thought it was simple.
In the afternoon I told all the people what Our Lady had said and asked them if they understood me. And all of them said, “Yes.” “Can you do that?” I asked. Everyone was silent, and it was an uneasy situation, turning into endless desert. I was a little afraid, and I tried to enter that desert with my voice and said, “We will try now to pray for conversion, for the gift of forgiveness.”
There was silence for about twenty minutes. It was terribly long. We didn’t know where to go. Then the greatest miracle in Medjugorje that I know of happened. The church was crowded with people, and one man in the middle of the church shouted with a powerful voice: “Jesus, I have forgiven!” And he went on, crying bitterly.
Suddenly, that’s what everyone of us did. Can you imagine, thousands of people crying, and praying, “Jesus, I have forgiven, forgive me!” Everyone was looking for a hand to squeeze and to say, “Forgive me!” It went on for a long time, and we went on praying Rosaries after that. It was an unforgettable prayer.
Our Lady let us experience something that was absolutely new. We felt that a whole new space of prayer was in our hearts. We felt, as if from an immense well, from deep in our hearts, that prayer was pouring out into the world, giving love, joy and happiness. It was the great prayer.
After that we celebrated the Mass. It was truly a feast of love. We experienced something mystical, something wonderful, as if we were sitting at supper with Jesus. He was present with us on the altar – everyone felt that. The teachings of Medjugorje had begun.
• From a homily by Fr Jozo Zovko OFM, October 15, 1987
• source: In Testimony, Priestly Reflections on Medjugorje, (Riehle Foundation)
Fr Jozo Zovko OFM
Fr Jozo Zovko prays with pilgrims at Medjugorje