What follows is a special edition of Words of the Harvesters, the December ‘07 issue. We normally do not post a Words of the Harvesters on mej.com before we send it out in the mail, but because it speaks about Thanksgiving and Our Lady’s first apparitions here, we believe to read it in these days will have a greater impact and so we made an exception.
We will remember you in our prayers during this Thanksgiving Season, both in the Bedroom and the Field.
May You Have a Holy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day,
The Community of Caritas
WOH December 2007
The dawn comes in mist over the Hudson River. The day will be warm, not quite time for Indian summer. But long before dawn the bagpipers in their kilts begin their march toward ground zero. The music wails and drums beat. Awake, New York City, awake. Remember. Remember. Lights turn on, candles burn, windows open, flags wave, fists are raised, hands over hearts. Mile after mile from the five boroughs of the city the marchers head toward the sacred site.
By the time they reach ground zero, a huge crowd is assembled there. Thousands upon thousands fill the area. Some are relatives of people lost in the fall of the two towers. Most are not. “The families of the dead and the families of the living have joined,” the New York Times reports. As the ceremonies are about to start, some two hundred construction workers arrive—“Thickly muscled men.” A foreman leads them, holding up a large American flag. The men stand in silence.
In other parts of the United States, and in many countries around the globe, people remember. At the Pentagon outside of Washington. In the Pennsylvania countryside, where passengers brought down the plane intended to bring death to many more. In St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. In the little tenth-century church in the village of Bellagio in Italy. Mozart’s Requiem rolls around each of the worlds’ twenty-four time zones beginning at 8:46 a.m. local time, the moment when the first hijacked aircraft hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. Choirs in Canada, Brazil, Surinam, Haiti, and Honduras participate.
In Gettysburg, the evening brings crowds to what in the old days people called the Diamond. Now it is Lincoln Square. Farmers in overalls, policemen, volunteer firemen, field hands mostly from Mexico with feeble command of English, stylishly dressed office workers, businessmen, lawyers, doctors, nurses, families with children and grandparents, students from the College, the Seminary, professors. Candles in hand, they sing. On the curb before the Wills House, where Lincoln had stayed so long ago, his statue stands silently, the hand pointing to the room where he probably finished writing the Gettysburg Address.
Ceremonies are for “us the living,” as Lincoln said long ago. At home and around the world they help people remember and help them go on living. At ground zero the rituals would be unforgettable. The names of everyone who died there a year before would be read, a litany of two and a half hours, a “story” that “had no verbs or adjectives…one epic paragraph.”
When the reading starts, a gust of wind whips the dust out of the vast pit where the towers stood. The winds will continue to blow, and by the end everyone will have dust in their eyes and mouth. Sacred music underscores the silence of the multitudes. Ave Maria. Pealing bells interrupt the reading of the names at the moments when hate struck the first tower, then when the tower fell, and again when the second did, too. Two great historic documents are read: one, the Declaration of Independence, begins: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…” The mayor speaks of the martyrs, “they were us,” and the president in Washington adds that “they did not die in vain.”
People walk into the pit, seven stories deep, led by the relatives of the dead. One after another they descend into the depths and some linger there, picking up stones, leaving flowers, photos, whispered prayers and messages. A peace that passes all understanding fills the empty space. “When I first came,” one woman would recall the ground zero of the year before, “it was such a horrible pile. I thought they could never take it away. Now it looks so empty and clean. It is almost beautiful.” Nine-eleven, 2002. This too, will be an unforgettable day.
But this chapter has gotten ahead of itself telling the story of a day of commemoration, for many a day of searching for closure. Let’s step back and start at the beginning: A minute of silence commences the ceremonies. Then the governor of the state of New York breaks the stillness:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
The ceremony is beamed around the globe. People who listen understand. Americans are saying, this is who we are. (1)
On March 25, 1990 Our Lady said,
This is a foundation message and one that is often quoted in these writings. The first line of the above message reads:
Our Lady has said this many times over the years to us. We are not conscious of the graces we are being given. We are not conscious of Her presence in our lives. We are not conscious of our Christian vocation. When the visionaries began seeing Our Lady, they first understood that the apparitions were only for them. Our Lady was coming just for them. Through time, they began to realize that Our Lady wasn’t coming just for them, but for the whole village of Medjugorje. It wasn’t until years after the apparitions had begun that they finally realized that Our Lady was coming for the salvation of the whole world. How did they learn this? Revelation came to them, through the Holy Spirit, through prayer, to grant them insight into how big the plan of Medjugorje was. A villager from Medjugorje once told us that in their Croatian language, long before Our Lady began appearing in the apparitions, they used a certain expression to express excitement for a special event that may be coming up, such as a birthday, or Christmas or an anniversary. The expression they used was “I can’t wait until the 25th.” The expression had nothing to do with the actual date of the event, as of course, most of the time the events didn’t land on the “25th”. It was just a figure of speech; probably having its roots in some ancient custom that was long ago forgotten but more than likely originating from an anticipation of Christmas. Now all that is left is the saying or expression. “I can’t wait until the 25th” had no significant meaning for the villagers, even several years after the apparitions had begun, until the solemn fateful day of January 8, 1987, when Our Lady appeared to the visionaries and said:
Suddenly, this expression took on new meaning. There was “revelation” given to the villagers to help them understand something that they “were not conscious” of before. “God was sending them a message” that went beyond the words Our Lady spoke, but reached back even into their history to show that God’s plans in regards to Medjugorje could be found in the very fabric of their lives, traced back perhaps even centuries ago.
In the same way, when we are transported back to that first anniversary of September 11th, at Ground Zero in New York City, and we read the words Abraham Lincoln spoke on the battlefield of Gettysburg more than a century ago, we are given “revelation.” A message was being given to us from God. Were we conscious of it? Are we conscious of it now? As the names of those killed in the Twin Towers are read that day, the wind begins to blow.
“When the reading starts, a gust of wind whips the dust out of the vast pit where towers stood. The winds will continue to blow, and by the end everyone will have dust in their eyes and mouth. Sacred music underscores the silence of the multitudes. Ave Maria.” (2)
On February 15, 1984, Our Lady said:
March 25, 1990
Our Lady gives us “revelation” so that we will be led towards a “revolution,” a revolution that will change the direction of our lives.
March 25, 1990
In the first apparitions of Our Lady here, which took place from November 1988 to January 1989, Our Lady gave a private message, through the visionary Marija, to the one who had consecrated the home to Her. Our Lady expressed a desire to see a community begin that would be based on the living of Her messages. Prayers began being offered to Our Lady to manifest what She wanted, along with the promise to abandon himself to what would manifest. He knew the Holy Spirit would guide people to the community, since it was the Holy Virgin Mary who requested it. In March 1990, the first person to join, outside of the first family, left work, home and family to give her life to Our Lady’s mission. Just a week and a half after the first community member moved to Caritas, Our Lady gave the following message on the 25th of March, portions of which have already been quoted in this writing.
March 25, 1990
This message was striking for several reasons, but one in particular was the fact that it had been a nine-month journey to come to Caritas for this first community member. Her first visit had been in July 1989. Nine months later, a novena of months, the call had been heard and the decision made to “sacrifice your life for the salvation of the world.”
February 25, 1988
The culmination of nine months of discernment ended with Our Lady’s words on March 25th, 1990:
Our Lady was speaking of rebirth. At the time when the Community of Caritas was just “being born,” Our Lady was pointing back to the messages She had given here for the foundation She was building. When Marija first came to stay, and the apparitions began, almost immediately Our Lady started giving daily messages. This was very unexpected because not even in Medjugorje was Our Lady giving daily messages at the time. The daily communications had long since ceased. Along with the daily messages of Our Lady, God began giving signs of His presence through supernatural manifestations and especially, through tremendous conversions of the heart. On seven different occasions, Our Lady said to “pray for my intentions.” What were Her intentions? Was it that She desired to inspire a plan here that would help to bring renewal and rebirth to our homeland, to raise up a witness to the world so to bring revival to the land for which She is the Patroness.
At the time of those first apparitions, there were so many people coming and going, the events unfolded without having the opportunity for much reflection. It was only after Marija left, when reflection was possible, and little by little, the impact of Our Lady’s apparitions and Her messages began to take shape, making way for the community to begin. As the community grew and went through various experiences, revelation continued to open up our hearts and minds to God’s creative Providence. And now, even nearly 20 years after those first apparitions, “revelation” is still coming through the events, all the time bringing the community to a greater understanding of what Our Lady began here almost a quarter of a century ago. It is unequivocally tied to the rebirth of our nation. In his book, Americanism, David Gelernter states:
“Here is a basic question about America that ought to be on page one of every history book: What made the nation’s founders so sure they were on to something big? What made them so positive? Those first settlers and colonists, and the founding fathers, and all the generations that intervened before America did indeed emerge as a world power in the twentieth century: What made them so certain that America would become a light of the world, a shining city on a hill, a name fervently invoked by oppressed peoples all over the globe?
What made John Adams say in 1765 that ‘I always consider the settlement of America with reverence and wonder, as the opening of a grand scene and design in Providence’? What made Abraham Lincoln call America—in 1862, in the middle of a ruinous civil war—The last, best hope of earth’? We know of people who are certain of their destinies from childhood. But nations?
Many things made all these Americans and proto-Americans sure that they were on to something good. And to some extent they were merely guessing and hoping. But one thing above all made them true prophets: they read the Bible. Winthrop, Adams, Lincoln, and thousands of others found a good destiny in the Bible and made it their own. They read about Israel’s covenant with God and took it to heart: they were Israel. (“Wee are entered into Covenant with him for this worke,” wrote Winthrop about the Lord. “Wee shall finde that the God of Israell is among us.”) They read about God’s chosen people and took it to heart: they were God’s chosen people (or “almost chosen,” as Lincoln put it). The Bible as they interpreted it told them what they could be and would be.” (3)
In Medjugorje, Our Lady clearly has shown that we have forgotten the Bible. Even though most Christian households probably have at least one in their possession, most of those Bibles sit collecting dust on a bookshelf or end table, completely unused. It’s why Our Lady spoke these words to Fr. Jozo in the early days of the apparitions. He relayed that he has never seen a mother so sad as the Mother of God when She talked about the Bible.
It’s why Our Lady has repeatedly said to put the Bible in a visible place in your home so that it will be a reminder to read and live the words that inspire you within it.
January 25, 2006
April 25, 2005
August 25, 1996
Our Lady wants us to be reading the Bible because She wants to recreate us, rebirth us into the image and likeness of Her Son. The messages of Our Lady are to bring us back to God’s Word, the Bible. Marija has said that Our Lady’s messages are a preamble to the Bible so that today’s man can understand the Bible as man has always understood it throughout the ages. God is His Word. We cannot know Him without knowing the Word. In coming to know the Word of God, we are shown the joy and purpose of life. We are then shaped by that Word and that Word creates the life we were meant to live. We, as individuals, families and even nations, can be renewed, recreated and rebirthed.
“Scripture begins with God creating the world, but these verses don’t tell you that the Bible has itself created worlds. Wherever you stand on the spectrum from devout to atheist, you must acknowledge that the Bible has been a creative force without parallel in human history.” (4)
America is rooted in this knowledge. The Puritans, who first came and settled in New England, by allowing the Living Word of God to saturate their lives, understood themselves to be a “new chosen people.” They took the Word of God and made it their own. And they came to understand that God desired to make of them a “covenant people.”
“Perry Miller, the eminent historian of Puritanism, wrote in 1953 that ‘the conception of a covenant was to certain English Puritans, above all to those who populated New England, the master idea of the age.’ Historians rarely commit themselves to such sweeping, imposing declarations—but when they do, we should listen. The Hebrew word brith—as in the organization B’nai B’rith, or the Jewish circumcision ceremony called a bris—became covenant in English, foedus in Latin. The Latin word gave birth to federal and federalism, words that became vital to American history.
Individuals could enter into a covenant with God, but whole communities could too. New England’s Puritan settlements saw themselves as ‘covenant communities’, bound as one to God. If they were faithful to the covenant and God’s will, He would bless them. Otherwise He would punish them.” (5)
“We the People” of our once great nation need to capture this “master idea” for our time. Is this why, when Our Lady, the Queen of Peace of Medjugorje, first visited our homeland, She appeared out in the Field on Thanksgiving Day, a day She chose to appear in the Field for the first time, because She wanted to draw us back to the ideals that formed and shaped our nation from the beginning? Many Americans do not realize that the Puritan “worldview” did not remain only in the New England states, but eventually spread throughout all the colonies, even to the southern ones. In 1776, at the point when Americans chose to break from England and become their own nation, “roughly three-quarters of American citizens and 85 percent of American churches were Puritan.” (6) The American mentalities, the American character, the American creed were all molded and shaped by the worldview of the Puritans, which was a Biblical worldview, in which they saw themselves as a “new chosen people” who were led by God to a “new promised land” in which God established His covenant with them.
“John Winthrop wrote in 1630 that the Lord was ‘jealous of our love and obedience, just as He told the people of Israel, ‘You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you for your transgressions.’” (Amos 3:2). This highly significant verse is cited constantly in Jewish literature to explain the idea of a ‘chosen people.’ Quoting from memory, Winthrop omitted an important word; the verse actually reads “I will punish you for all your transgressions.” Every single one. That is the price of being blessed or “chosen.”…The prophet Amos delivered this message from God to God’s own chosen people. Today, Winthrop implies, Amos would have delivered it to us, the Puritans of the New World. We are the ones who are uniquely, intimately close to God. We American Puritans are God’s new chosen people. Therefore, Winthrop concludes, we Puritan colonists will be held to the uniquely high standard that originated in God’s relationship to Israel” (7)
“Israelites had special obligations to God, and vice versa. In return for God’s blessing, His promise to make Israel a great nation and allow it to settle in the promised land, Israel was required to follow God’s commandments—above all to be holy and ‘choose life.’ Puritans likewise recognized a special obligation to choose life and be holy. They too believed themselves to be a chosen people. ‘We are entered into Covenant with the Lord for this work,’ John Winthrop wrote; ‘we shall find that the God of Israel is among us.’ (8)
Our Lady gave similar words to us.
If we choose life and holiness, if we choose to live the Commandments of God, then God will come into covenant with us and make of us a great nation, a city on a hill that will bless all nations of the earth. One of our Puritan fathers, Jonathan Winthrop, wrote in 1630, “Wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are upon us.” (9)
“Their sense of obligation and nearness to God helped keep them going in hard times, and it made their tiny settlements seem hugely important…” (10)
William Bradford, one of the leaders of the pilgrims who were on the Mayflower, wrote in his chronicles:
“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things out of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand; so the light here kindled hath shown unto many, yea, in some sort, to our whole nation.” (11)
What of Our Lady’s words that reveal the same prophecy that out of “small beginnings” greater things will be produced for the purpose of the salvation of the entire world.
January 25, 1987
June 25, 2007
Just as Medjugorje did not come to be just for the sake of the visionaries or the village of Medjugorje, but rather for the whole world, America was not just founded for the sake of America, but also for the sake of the whole world. Just as Russia, whose godless leaders were committed to spreading communism’s evil errors of death, fear and oppression across the world, as foretold by Our Lady in 1917 when She appeared in Fatima, America’s calling, as seen by the fathers of our nation, was to spread the Judeo-Christian principles of life, liberty, and peace throughout the world. How could the little fledgling group of pilgrims back in the 1600’s have foreseen America’s great destiny? Again, it was through reading the Sacred Scriptures and believing in the Living Word of God for a new Promised Land, and a new chosen people. Abraham Lincoln, who was inspired by Puritanism, foresaw the same destiny for America. When Lincoln was headed to Washington to begin his presidency, he made several revealing statements of his strong attachment to the Declaration of Independence. He said that America’s founding “held out a great promise to all the people of the world for all time to come.” Its Declaration of Independence gave “liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope to the world for all future time.” It “gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance.” (12)
From the 1600’s, when the Puritans first came to the New World, to 1776 when the founding father’s placed their names on the Declaration of Independence which birthed the nation of America, to the 1860’s when the Civil War broke out and thrust this nation into a fight for its very existence…one can easily see the roots of our nation were firmly planted in Sacred Scripture. Historians have long noted that many of the most famous speeches in America read as if they had come straight from the Bible. Of all the U.S. presidents, none knew the Bible like Abraham Lincoln. He studied it constantly, and quoted it often. He was said to have known the entire Bible by heart. (p. 130)
Because many of these documents were inspired and even have within their text Biblical philosophies and statements, they remain living documents, because they were inspired by the Living Word of God. This means that they can speak to men of every generation who are longing for hope to overcome the oppression of their own day. Look once again at the words of the Gettysburg Address and imagine being present at Ground Zero when Lincoln’s words were read on that first anniversary of 911. Are these words not “living” words, as much as they were when they were first uttered back in 1863? Speaking of the Gettysburg Address in the book, The Gettysburg Gospel, author Gabor Boritt stated that:
“In the Bible, Lincoln had read many a time in the Book of Proverbs: ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ He was providing a vision ‘for us, the living,’ not the dead.” (13)
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is considered one of the most important documents of our nation’s history. It is said that George Washington taught the world who America is, but that Abraham Lincoln taught Americans who we are, and the Gettysburg Address more than any other American sacred text gives the definition.
“A generation had to pass before his ‘few appropriate remarks’ grew into the Gettysburg Address. Out of the sacred space (the battlefield at Gettysburg) the sacred text would grow. Late in the century, Americans would rediscover Lincoln’s remarks in their own right, call them by the name we still know, begin to turn the text into a revered document, and find the meaning of their country there. In the twenty-first century, Americans are still saying this is who we are.” (14)
The battle of Gettysburg proved to be the defining battle of who would eventually win the war. When a plan was devised to preserve the battleground at Gettysburg as a national cemetery, President Lincoln was invited to attend. He prepared his speech ahead of time, but after walking through the killing fields, before the ceremonies began, he was deeply moved and he made an addition to his already prepared speech—not before he gave the speech, but as he spoke it to the thousands present. What he added were the words “under God.” (15)
“…that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom…”
Almost 100 years later, the words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance partly inspired by the Gettysburg Address—the defining document of our nation together with the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln’s last act that he signed in Congress before his death was to have “In God We Trust” inscribed upon all our national currency. (16) This was the vision that Abraham Lincoln wanted to pass on to America, not only in this generation, but for all generations to come. Even amidst the destruction of the most horrific war within our nation, he believed in a rebirth for our nation, a rebirth that would happen “under God.” It was not only apparent in the last sentence of his speech, but also in the first when he began with “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty…”
“…much of what Lincoln said carried the rhythms of the Bible. This was the music of the ancient Hebrew and Greek turned into King James’ English. This was the language he was raised on. ‘Four score and seven years ago.’ Psalm 90: “The days of our years are three score years and ten,’ one of the best known sentences of the Book. ‘Brought forth’ is not only the biblical way to announce a birth, including that of Mary’s ‘first born son,’ but the phrase that describes the Israelites being ‘brought forth’ from slavery in Egypt.
Birth, sacrificial death, rebirth. A born-again nation. At a less than conscious level, Lincoln weaved together the biblical story and the American story: ‘Fathers.’ ‘Conceive.’ ‘Perish.’ ‘Consecrate.’ ‘Hallow.’ ‘Devotion.’ The devout in the cemetery heard Lincoln speak an intimately familiar beloved language. His words pointing to rebirth went even deeper than the Christian message, if that was possible…” (17)
“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.”
“Once again, a new birth. The American Religion was created by three successive ‘new births’: the Puritans arrived in the New World; America won her independence; (and) America rededicated herself to her own ideals (as a result of the Civil War)…Each of these three monumental events in world history illuminates the same biblical text: Let my people go.” (18)
Is the Gettysburg Address not then a living, breathing document that is meant to speak to us, even in our age? In a time in which America’s existence is threatened like no other time in history, along with the principles upon which we were founded, can’t we find hope in Lincoln’s words spoken during one of the darkest nights of American history?
One other very significant action that Lincoln is responsible for is that he established in this nation the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving Day every year on the 3rd Thursday of the month of November. In fact, the first “annual” Thanksgiving Day was celebrated just one week after Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address during the dedication of the national cemetery in Gettysburg in 1863. It was Lincoln’s desire that our nation look back upon the example and witness of the Puritans who were among the first to make settlements on American soil, and then follow in their example by giving God thanksgiving for the rich blessings He continually pours upon our nation. There can be no doubt that it was by Divine Providence that God knit these two events in our nation’s history together, the Gettysburg Address and Thanksgiving Day. For Abraham Lincoln knew that it was not possible for this nation to have a rebirth of freedom, unless we became once again a nation “under God”. Through Lincoln’s action, America was provided a day of reflection every year to ponder the covenant that God made with this new promised land of America, because America has the tendency to forget. In Lincoln’s own words, from his March 30, 1863, Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day:
“…whereas, it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord…
And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” (19)
If America deserved these severe words from Lincoln over 100 years ago, then certainly we can say America has lost her way again, through the same means.
March 25, 1990
We have broken the covenant of God through breaking His Commandments, not acknowledging our sin and by allowing our Christian light to become so dim as to be overcome by the darkness. We are no longer the city shining on a hill. Is there then no hope for us? It’s a wonder how God doesn’t just allow everything that is currently oppressing our nation just to swallow us up. Who can deny that we deserve it?
So why doesn’t He? Perhaps because America is still, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, the last, best hope of mankind. And so though we do not deserve His mercy, He sends it to us in the form of His Mother. Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II reminded his flock that if a religious order finds itself floundering, they must go back to their roots, go back to their beginnings, and retrace the path that their founder walked to find renewal, rebirth. The same can be true for nations as well. But our nation’s rebirth is so vital for the rebirth of all nations of the earth, that God sent His Mother to help us retrace our passage.
As stated previously, when Marija first came here to stay, back in 1988, Our Lady began giving messages everyday. She did this for the first 2 ½ weeks that Marija was here, up until the time Marija went back to Medjugorje for a week to be with her parents. Immediately upon returning to the Bedroom, Our Lady began, once again to give messages. And then the messages stopped for roughly a month after Marija’s operation. The apparitions continued, but without daily messages. Marija felt, the first week or two, it was for her recovery. But then, she soon realized, and strongly believed that it was for the mother who though being nine months pregnant was still serving the hundreds of people each day gathered in and around her home. She finally gave birth just after Christmas. Though there continued to be many people who gathered in the house each day for the apparitions, Our Lady would appear to Marija during Holy Mass and the crowds were therefore somewhat more manageable, giving a necessary respite for the mother and her infant son. Meanwhile, the crowds congregated in the Field by the thousands and much of the activity shifted to the Field, until the daily messages resumed. Exactly one month from the time of Marija’s surgery, however, Our Lady appeared on January 15, 1989, and announced that She again would be giving messages.
January 15, 1989
It was clear that Our Lady had come to give messages. She had things to say. And She continued to give messages up until the last day of Marija’s visit. The only day Our Lady didn’t give a message, outside of the recovery period after Marija’s surgery, was the first day She appeared. The date was November 19, 1988. In all these years of history at Caritas, we never knew that there was significance to Our Lady’s silence on this day, or that the day itself was significant. But Our Lady gave a “revelation” because we had not been “conscious” of its significance. The time to know it, however, is now. November 19, 1988 was the 125th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address when Abraham Lincoln first spoke those words in the dedication of Gettysburg’s National Cemetery. This speech, that heralded our nation’s rebirth, was being honored across our nation on the very day that Our Lady had Her first apparition in the Bedroom. Less than a week later, Our Lady requested that the apparition take place in the Field the following day…the day being Thanksgiving Day…the 125th anniversary of the official recognition of Thanksgiving Day in our nation as initiated by Abraham Lincoln. The Gettysburg Address and Thanksgiving Day brought together again by Divine Providence.
Was Our Lady silent on November 19th because She wanted the words of Abraham Lincoln to be the backdrop of not only Her visit, but for all the words She would speak to us thereafter? Lincoln was calling for “a new birth of freedom” for our nation. Isn’t this what Our Lady is calling for as well? Didn’t She point us back to our beginnings through appearing in the Field on the day of Her choice, which was Thanksgiving Day? Make no mistake, we are now “engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” When we read that “we are met on a great battlefield of that war” and that “we have come to dedicate a portion of that field,” is this Field that Our Lady has appeared upon, not a great battlefield—where a great spiritual battle is taking place? We learned long ago, in another ‘revelation’ that one meaning of the word “Alabama” is “the resting place.” “We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who gave their lives that that nation might live.”
“But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground…” And who are we to dedicate, to consecrate, to hallow the ground upon which Our Lady Herself has sanctified? No, we cannot consecrate this ground, for it was the Queen of Peace, as the Patroness of the United States, in Her first apparitions on the soil of the United States of America who hallowed this ground on behalf of the dreams of our fathers, “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here,” “for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.”
What then is the purpose for the messages that She gave following Lincoln’s immortal words? To lay the foundation for Her children to be able to do as our Father Abraham bid us to do long ago.
“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advance. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
These words inspire us today to carry the torch of freedom for our generation, but we can look to the future and know they will continue to inspire future generations who will look back and gain strength to continue to live the messages of Our Lady so to pass them on to their future posterity. Can there be any doubt of what Our Lady was sent here to do? She has come to re-establish the covenant of God with His people, His people of this nation and of nations around the world. We have before us the decision to decide for life and holiness or death and destruction.
March 25, 1996
Our Lady has come to remind us who we are as a people so that we can find the strength to change our lives.
May 25, 1990
Do we not see beauty in the lives of our Puritan fathers that settled our homeland, our founding fathers who established our nation, the life of Americans through time? A people who have always given themselves to God in a special way? The message continues on:
Though we have broken the covenant with God, He has not withheld His blessing from us, but continues to bless us, call us, urge us through the ‘signs of the times’ to change the direction of our life and our nation.
Leaving behind Thanksgiving Day, Christmas is now approaching, and we are about to enter into the solemn time of Advent. May it be a time of deep reflection for us in contemplating the “birth” of Jesus. Jesus came to bring us new life, peace, hope and joy. Jesus’ birth brought the world into a new time. We know that Our Lady is leading us into a new time, a time of peace. We cannot forget Her promises to us, even when the darkness grows darker, because Her time of victory is coming.
December 25, 1999
At the end of the Civil War, on the night of Lincoln’s last public address, just days before his death, a prophecy was literally fulfilled.
“…April 11, 1865—there was a remarkable scene in Washington: all government buildings were lit up, including the brand-new dome atop Capital Hill (an amazing achievement in the pre-electric era). For a brief few moments the city’s residents saw a powerful prophecy literally fulfilled. Wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are upon us. Winthrop had referred to the famous verse in Matthew (5:14): ‘Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.’ America was indeed a shining city on a hill.” (20)
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a union officer who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. The experience was a defining moment in his life, one that haunted him, one that he could never quite escape from. He often visited Gettysburg, perhaps to lay to rest his ghosts. On one special anniversary, he spoke the following words upon that “great field.” The words capture what it meant to give “the last full measure of devotion” in order “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.” Why did so many good, brave men have to die? Because true freedom has always and will always demand such a cost, but when that cost is paid, freedom becomes dearer to the generations that follow. These words are “living” and “immortal” words. Though they were first uttered over the blood soaked fields of Gettysburg, when we first heard them, they resonated deeply within us for our own beloved Field, where reverent men and women come from afar, Our Lady’s Field, the ground of the vision place, for our time. Not only for our time, but for all future generations, who know us not, to come
“In great deeds something abides. On great fields, something stays. Forms change and pass, bodies disappear but spirits linger to consecrate ground for the vision place of the soul. And reverent men and women from afar and generations that know us not and that we know not of, shall come here to ponder and to dream and the power of the vision shall pass into their souls.” (21)
This community has formed a covenant with Our Lady. We have promised to live our lives rooted in Her messages, as a people. We are raising our children in this way, and now a new generation has answered that call to be Her witnesses and to carry forth Her plans of peace into a new time, for a new era. As William Bradford said:
“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things out of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand; so the light here kindled hath shown unto many, yea, in some sort, to our whole nation.” (22)
May Our Lady lead us back into God’s embrace that we, as a nation, may fulfill our destiny to be that city on a hill once again.
On Behalf of Caritas of Birmingham
Operated by the Community of Caritas
P.S. One last “revelation” is that the Battle of Gettysburg took place on July 1-3, 1863. Though there were three horrific days of battle, the battle had ended by the fourth day, which of course happened to be July 4th, Independence Day. It seemed like a miracle to many people:
“…and that a Living God had shown His mercy to America. The turning point of the war had come; victory and peace were in sight. But then, as the war went on and the end still seemed just out of reach, the memory of that Fourth of July could not be allowed to fade. Its treasure had to be kept alive to give strength to the people to continue to shoulder the burden of war.” (23)
We cannot anticipate what battles lie ahead of our nation, but the “coincidence” of the dates of the battle of Gettysburg matching the dates of Our Lady’s return next summer, July 1-5, 2008 was certainly guided by Our Lady’s hand, in light of the revelation She granted to us through this Words of the Harvesters. Will we look back on that July 4th with Our Lady in order to have the strength “to shoulder the burden of war” in our own time? As you gather with your families this Thanksgiving, speak to them about attending these special apparitions next year. Print out a copy of this writing and encourage them to get involved in what Our Lady is doing during this time. Already some hotels have sold out for the event, so don’t wait to make reservations. For more information click here to go the announcement of Marija’s coming.
1. Gabor Boritt, The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows, Simon and Schuster, 2006, p. 204
2. Ibid., p. 205
3. David Gelernter, Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, Doubleday, 2007, p. 23-24
4. Ibid., p. 21
5. Ibid., p. 48
6. Ibid., p. 54
7. Ibid., p. 63
8. Ibid., p. 65
9. Ibid., p. 39
10. Ibid., p. 68
11. Ibid., p. 69
12. Ibid., p.
13. Gabor Boritt, The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows, Simon and Schuster, 2006, p. 122
14. Ibid., p. 161
15. Ibid., p. 94 & 120
16. William J. Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, FAME Publishing, 1994, p. 392
17. Gabor Boritt, The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows, Simon and Schuster, 2006, p. 120
18. David Gelernter, Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, Doubleday, 2007, p. 124-125
19. William J. Federer, America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, FAME Publishing, 1994, p. 283-284
20. David Gelernter, Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, Doubleday, 2007, p. 127
21. Frank Wildhorn, Gregory Boyd and Jack Murphy, The Civil War: The Complete Work, Bronx Flash Music/Scaramanga Music/WB Music Corp./Cherry River Music/Songs of DreamWorks, 1998
22. David Gelernter, Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion, Doubleday, 2007, p. 69
23. Gabor Boritt, The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows, Simon and Schuster, 2006, p. 99