July 29, 2015 A.D.
Our Lady of Medjugorje said on July 25, 2015:
True joy is found in God. However, many do not know what this looks like. When most people think of religion or spiritual things, they think of suffering, they think of losing, they think of things that are not popular or attractive or worthwhile. They think of things that would only bring joy to a person that does not “have a life.”
On the recent July 25, 2015 Radio WAVE program, a Friend of Medjugorje shared one of many moments of joy the Caritas Community has experienced. We share the story with you for your own joy. The following took place in August 2003:
Medjugorje visionary Marija’s family, the founder of Caritas and his family, and the majority of the Caritas community left for Florida. Because of all the small children, the usual six hour drive turned into an all-day drive. The plan had been to arrive with plenty of time to get settled before apparition time at 6:40 PM. What happened instead was that we were just nearing the place where we would be staying on the ocean, but had not arrived yet at the time we should be starting the Rosary. Though we had officially started our family retreat vacation, our founder wanted to make sure Our Lady was given a special time each day when we all gathered together for the Rosary and Her apparition. This would be more challenging to work out since our normal routine at Caritas would not be kept. On the drive down to Florida, there was some question as to what time the apparition would be. We would be in a different time zone from Alabama, which helped to cause some confusion. Would Our Lady appear at 6:40 PM Alabama time or Florida time?
When it became apparent that we wouldn’t be able to make it in time for the apparition to be in the home we would be staying in, our founder took a surprise course of action. When we were in sight of the water, he pulled over, stopped the car, jumped out and began running towards a large rock sea wall. Directly behind it was the beach and the water of the Gulf. Everyone in the caravan of cars followed his lead, parked their cars, and quickly scaled the rock wall to get to the water. They all arrived behind our founder, who had knelt in the sand, facing the sunset on the beach and began praying the Rosary. Rebel, our dog, was bounding towards the water, and gave everyone a show as he began jumping in and out of the waves. A great joy overtook us all as we took in our first view of the sea.
Because we were rushed to meet the time Our Lady would be appearing, we barely finished the Rosary. Just before Marija went into ecstasy, our founder leaned over to her and asked her to ask Our Lady exactly what time She desired the apparition to be each day so there would be no confusion, rushing, etc., so we could plan better when to start the Rosary. We could have never guessed Our Lady’s response to such a question. Marija told us that when She asked Our Lady this question, Our Lady smiled and said:
We were all stunned by this message. It was hard to believe Our Lady would actually do something like that for us. It brought great joy and awe to the community. Our founder said he could write a whole writing on this one message, this one action of Our Lady. And so, because we did not have any time constraint upon us, our founder could plan the apparitions each day at the most favorable time for the Community to receive Our Lady during our days of vacation.
Joy originates in God. To choose the path of God will bring true joy of the heart. Our Lady, knowing that our founder would do everything necessary to honor Her time of apparition, instead took off the time constraint, and allowed it to be of our own choosing.
Forward several years later. Hurricane Ivan struck the area where we had our special vacation with Our Lady and out of an entire row of beach-front houses, only one house was destroyed during the hurricane. It was the house the community had stayed in and where Our Lady’s apparitions had taken place. Not only that, but the special apparition spot where Our Lady gave the above message was also destroyed because the beach itself had disappeared. Nothing remained of it.
Several years later the founder of Caritas with some of the Caritas community returned to the same beach while working on a special project called Project WAVE.* They went for a walk near the place where the first apparition had occurred. When they reached the area where the road matched the spot where Our Lady had given the above message, they were shocked to find that though the beach had disappeared, God had marked the spot for them.
* Project WAVE was the project that a Friend of Medjugorje initiated to build Mej.com. After the launch and new refinements with Medjugorje.com on June 1, 2009, many Medjugorje sites changed their appearances, and offered similar features as what he originally offered. It has been beautiful to see so many people be inspired by what Our Lady inspired in him to do. Read more on Project WAVE here.