Thirty-seven years of apparitions! Who could have predicted that the world would be blessed by such grace. The apparitions, having continued for so many years, bears great witness to how much God loves each one of us. Our Lady continues to visit in order to reach every last soul and gently guide them back to a true faith in God. Jesus’ mercy mirrors the love and concern of the Shepherd in the Parable of the Lost Sheep as He never ceases to search for His lost children.
This year, Medjugorje hosted 260 priests and 60,000 pilgrims for the anniversary. With the Vatican appointment naming Archbishop Henryk Hoser as apostolic visitor to Medjugorje, the site has experienced an upsurge of interest. With the new ruling allowing parish priests to visit Medjugorje as priests and guide pilgrimages, we hope that this will also lead to more visits and thus more conversions. The ripple effect of just one pilgrim visiting Medjugorje and experiencing a conversion of heart is immeasurable. Pilgrims return home and begin to live the messages, pray for their families and many lives are transformed.
The next question is what have we learned for these 37 years of apparition? Primarily we have learned that God exists and He loves each one of us more than we will ever comprehend while we are still here on Earth. We should love God and one another unconditionally, and forgive without reserve. We are called to spend time in prayer, especially the holy rosary, together with our families if possible, and fast, twice weekly. We are recommended to go to confession once a month, go to holy mass as frequently as possible and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We are asked to place a bible in our homes and read from it each day. We need to consecrate ourselves to Jesus and our Blessed Mother and place ourselves into Our Lady’s hands as an offering to Jesus, pray to her and turn to her as an intercessor. None of these teachings are new. We have heard or read them all before, but perhaps having the apparitions of Medjugorje in our lives today fortifies these lessons in our hearts and encourages us to live them in our daily lives.
How much longer will the Mother of Jesus be allowed to appear and speak directly with us? As long as is necessary. God is in charge. It will end when it is time. In the meantime, we are to add to the grace by living the messages as best we can.