Thursday January 11, 2007
he community received a fax from our community members who are manning the Mission House in Medjugorje. In it, they told a beautiful story about a young seminarian they had met in the village. We wanted to share it with you, as it is a story full of hope, especially in how to view the crosses and sufferings that we all must carry in this time. We hope it gives you added strength and peace knowing there is a purpose behind all that God asks us to endure, as we are led deeper into the purifying fire of His love so to be formed into Apostles for Our Lady for the future evangelization of the world.
A Fax from the Caritas Mission House in Medjugorje on July 14, 2006
I wanted to share a beautiful story that was told to me recently. A seminarian from Australia is visiting Medjugorje and upon meeting him, his host asked him to tell me what has transpired in his life over the past year. The seminarian is supposed to be ordained a deacon in February 2007 and a priest a year after that. Last year, he was diagnosed with cancer. They started him on chemotherapy. His cancer spread and they increased the chemo. He said his body just couldn’t take it anymore, so the doctor told him that they were going to take him off chemo for a month to give his body a break, but they would then have to resume it after that, with much stronger doses.
The Catholic Cardinal from Sydney, Australia was excellent through all this. He is a good friend of Pope Benedict as well. The Cardinal decided to send this young man to Rome to give him a change of scenery. He was present during an audience with the Holy Father. He was in the front row and as the Holy Father slowly drove by, he yelled, “Holy Father, Sydney, Australia greets you.” He said the Holy Father’s face lit up when he heard Sydney because of the Cardinal there and it is where the next World Youth Day is going to be. He then asked the Holy Father to pray for him. He told him he has cancer and is awaiting ordination, but doesn’t know what his future holds. At that point, Pope Benedict put his hand on the driver’s shoulder and asked him to stop. He then turned back and began to talk to this young man. He told him great things are in store for him this coming year. He told him that Jesus will rise in his life – that this is just a purification that he is being asked of right now – that Jesus is especially purifying those who are being called to the priesthood to help prepare them for their future mission. Pope Benedict told him he was confident about his future. He then told this seminarian to go and throw himself at the tomb of Pope John Paul II and pray to him for a healing. Pope Benedict told him he would pray to Pope John Paul II as well for him.
So, for the next month, this young man spent at least an hour everyday at John Paul II’s tomb. Everyday he would read a paragraph from John Paul’s encyclical on suffering and meditate upon it while in prayer at his tomb. He went home, back to Australia, at the end of January. He went in for a day of tests and then went to talk to his doctor. He said he was feeling depressed, knowing what was going to be said and having to start chemo again. Well, before he even sat down, his doctor told him that all his test results show he is in complete remission with all his cancer. The doctor consulted with five other doctors to make sure. He said he had no explanation as his cancer was so advanced. The only reason they were doing chemo was to make him more comfortable. His doctor was Catholic, so the young seminarian told him the whole story. They are sending all documentation to the Vatican – though they have told them that they do not use cases of cancer remission in the cause of a canonization process!
So, now he is here in Medjugorje for a week of thanksgiving. He spent two days in Rome before coming here. Again, he was present during another audience with the Holy Father. As the Holy Father drove by, he yelled out to him again. Pope Benedict remembered him and was so joyous. After the seminarian told him that the was in remission, the Pope happily told him he (the Pope) would now have to change his prayers to John Paul II to ones of thanksgiving.
If what Pope Benedict said to the seminarian was true for him, it is also true for us who are walking this path with Our Lady. She, Herself, has called us to become Her Apostles on many occasions. To truly live apostleship, we must endure many different experiences, great suffering, and the testing of our faith. All of this teaches endurance and allows God to show Himself as provider of all our needs and conqueror of all our difficulties. We also have a good friend in John Paul II who is ready to intercede for all our intentions.
A last special note concerning John Paul II and Medjugorje:
On April 2, 2005, the day that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II died, during Ivan Dragicevic’s daily apparition, Pope John Paul II appeared with Our Lady to Ivan. The following is Ivan’s description of the apparition.
At Ivan’s apparition tonight, Ivan was recommending intentions to Our Lady when Pope John Paul II appeared on Her right. He was smiling, young, and very happy. All in white with a long gold cape. Our Lady turned, smiling, to look at the Pope and he was looking at Our Lady, smiling. Our Lady then said to Ivan:
Ivan spoke near Atlanta, Georgia a week later. He stated that he was the only visionary that had never seen the Holy Father in person, though it had always been a great desire of his. He said that it shows us how much Our Lady is a mother, because she knew this was a great desire of his heart for many years, and even though he was never able to see the Holy Father when he was alive, Our Lady brought him to Ivan during an apparition on the day he was born into Heaven. It was an incredible grace for him.
Where you are sitting now in history is what many have thought, while reading the Bible, of what did the people think who were near Jesus as He walked the Earth. Likewise, there will be people in the future who will, reading about this time, wonder when Our Lady was walking with us, what it was like to be alive with during these profound events. Go deeper into what Medjugorje is about. Do not delay embracing what is being offered to you.
In the love of Our Lady,