The only event I did not want to attend in Medjugorje was the Seminar of prayer, fasting and silence. I accepted the invitation because two years ago, on the feast of Mary, Mother of God (1st January), at five minutes past midnight Our Lady changed my life and the life of my family. I had not lived a good life and I accepted this invitation because I trusted that Our Lady was inviting me for some reason.
The Virgin Mary needs you in her plans, the way you are
At the beginning I thought that I was being invited in order to stop smoking. I decided to quit – and I managed not to smoke for one full day, but after that I could not resist. On the next day I had a cigarette and then, full of remorse and disappointment, I prayed “Chotki” – Jesus’ prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” And praying, I approached the statue of the Risen Jesus and prayed to the Lord for forgiveness for not being able to resist. I felt a profound grief in my heart because I had ruined what I was invited to do by the Lord (to stop smoking) – but in fact, all of this was only my idea.
Suddenly, I felt a voice in my heart that there was more to it. And gradually I started to see the real reasons for which I had been invited to Medjugorje. When we were climbing Podbrdo hill, meditating on the second joyful mystery of the rosary, I heard these words which touched me a lot: “The Virgin Mary needs you in her plans, the way you are. The way you are.”
Before I went to Medjugorje I had been looking at some Christian websites and I was captured by the message of Our Lady in Fatima: The final confrontation between the Lord and Satan will be over the family and marriage. And I understood that Our Lady had changed my life, the life of my family, and that she wants to strengthen families. Not only my family, but all the families in the world.
Great things happened at the table with Jesus
In my life, somehow I always ran away from my family. I played football, I used to do shift work and when I came home my priority was not the family but football. I would quickly leave after lunch to go and play football. It was my escape. I would return home late in the night or in the morning, or I would go straight to work.
But two years ago the Virgin Mary changed this situation and I started to understand that my place is at table with my family. During one lecture we heard that the Lord Jesus often “solved things at the table”, he liked dining together so much. Great things happened at the table with Jesus. During this seminar I understood that my role is that of a father, who is to sit at the head of the table, to be a support for my wife and children.
My place is at the head of the table, from where I am to listen to my family members, set an example to them and call down the blessing of God upon them
I know that today many people leave the table and that’s why our families lose cohesion, that’s why marriages break-up. Here, at this seminar, I understood how important dining is, how it is blessed by the Lord, and how important is the person that makes food with love for me. I understood how important it is to talk to my wife and to my children at table – that we are blessed by the Lord. My place is at the head of the table, from where I am to listen to my family members, set an example to them and call down the blessing of God upon them, which is given through the Sacrament of Matrimony, which has a great power that we are not able to even imagine.
I want to encourage all husbands and wives. Let us gather together at table, at lunch, at Sunday lunch, or even during the week if work circumstances allow it. Doing so has great power for the building-up of our families, for solidarity between us and mainly for the future of our children.
Thank you, Lord God.