Daily Reflections
by Cathy

Our Birthdays are important!

The Altar at Surmanci, Divine Mercy Shrine
  (c)Mary TV 2017

October 6, 2017

Dear Family of Mary!

I think Our Lady really likes birthdays!  Why do I think that?  Well yesterday was my birthday.  I wanted to keep it quiet, as it was just my birthday, nothing special.  And October 5 is the Feast day for St. Faustina, which is far more important!!

But I think Our Lady likes birthdays!  We were able to go to English Mass at 10:00 am, and the homily was just full of joy over St. Faustina and Divine Mercy.  I was so elated, because as you all know, I love St. Faustina!  During that homily I silently asked Our Lady and St. Faustina if they could find a way for me to go to the Divine Mercy Shrine in  Surmanci, the tiny village just over the mountain from Medjugorje.  We don’t have a car, and it seemed that we would not be able to squeeze such a visit in.

Well, directly after Mass, Franjo offered to drive us to Surmanci for a quick visit, right then!  I was so grateful!  We drove through the countryside behind Medjugorje to Surmanci. It was during this ride that I found out that I am right, Our Lady does like birthdays.
Franjo, who has been a part of the Medjugorje phenomenon since the beginning, began to share as we drove.  It was mentioned that name days are often celebrated instead of birthdays, because the saint whose name you have is more important.  But Franjo said that Our Lady loves our birthdays.  He said it is true because she revealed to the visionaries the date of her actual birthday, and asked them to fast and pray before her birthday on August 5, so she could get the graces she wanted for us.  Then she told the visionaries that our birthday should be celebrated because it stands for our life, the day we were brought into life, breathing on our own and living.  She wants us to cherish our lives and celebrate them.  Our Birthday is the day we began to move towards eternity.
Here is how Our Lady’s real birthday was celebrated in Medjugorje:

Sunday, August 5, 1984

The celebration of the second millennium of Mary’s birthday was preceded by three days of fasting and continuous prayer. Seventy priests heard confessions without rest; there were a great number of conversions. “Never in my life have I cried with sorrow, as I have cried this evening with joy. Thank you!”

In anticipation of this day Our Lady had said: “The priest who will hear confession will have great joy on that day.” During these 3 days of fasting and continuous prayer the visionaries say the Blessed Virgin was: Very Joyful. Our Lady repeated: “I am very happy, continue, continue. Continue to pray and to fast.”

Her joy seemed to have reached a peak Sunday, August 5th. Like a flower when it blooms, and full of joy, Our Lady said: “Continue, continue, open your hearts, ask God and I will ask for you.”

I realized that I should allow my birthday to be celebrated too.  And from that moment Our Lady poured on the joy.
 As we neared Surmanci, we came around a hairpin turn, and there was a deep ravine in which Surmanci is nestled.

This river runs to Mostar, and Denis remembered once walking the whole way from Mostar in the night along this river.  But that’s another story!

We drove down to the little church, arriving at about 11:30 am.

As we entered, we heard singing in Polish.  There was a pilgrimage group from Poland, celebrating Holy Mass in honor of St. Faustina!  Not only had Our Lady arranged for me to go to Surmanci, but St. Faustina had also arranged for us to be included in Holy Mass at the Shrine, surrounded by her countrymen!

Together we received Jesus, and then we were able to venerate the First Class Relics of St. Faustina and John Paul II!!  What a blessing!

We were all filled with emotion at the graces we received at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Surmanci.  Both saints, St. Faustina and St. John Paull II, were very present there.  Very present!

We drove back to the Mary TV Tea House and were greeted by Rosie and several of our shipmates, with a birthday cake with rockets on it:

Ha, Ha!!  Rosie is such a great hostess!!
Well, after that we prayed live on Mary TV and then we found out we were invited to attend an apparition at Marija’s Magnificat Center.  Another birthday present, this time from Our Lady herself.  It was such a blessing to pray with everyone gathered there, and to welcome Our Lady when she came to Marija.  (I offered all our intentions to Our Lady when she came.  It was so beautiful!)
This is the spot where Marija kneels in prayer for the apparition.
I am overwhelmed with the gifts I have received this day.  The biggest gift is a deeper understanding of how beautiful and important each of our birthdays is.  Our lives are precious and important to God and to each other.  And our birthdays are really worth celebrating.  It is healing to know that we are each wanted by God, loved by Him, precious to Jesus and to Mary, and a gift to each other.  Our Lady can teach us so much in one day in Medjugorje!

Thank you for joining me in this pilgrimage!  And thank you all for your birthday greetings.  They bless me!

More to come, from Medjugorje!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

(c)Mary TV 2017


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Why He Is A Saint, the Life and Faith of Pope John Paul ll and the Case for Canonization, p. 168, by Msgr. Slawomir Oder, Postulator for his Cause of Sainthood

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