We met on her birthday. She was serene, smiling, available. Also on that special day she did not want to miss her appointment with the pilgrims who wait for her at the blue stairs to hear her tell of her encounters with Our Lady.
Q. Vicka, Our Lady has been visiting this land for 23 years and she has given us so much. Some pilgrims, however, limit themselves to “asking” and they don’t always “hear” Mary asking: “What will you give me?” What do you think?
VICKA: Man is in constant research of something. If we ask Mary, our Mother, for true, sincere love she is always willing to give it to us. And in exchange she expects something from us. I think that today in particular we live in a time of great graces, in which man is called not only to ask but also to give thanks and to donate. We are not yet aware of how much joy there is in donating. If I sacrifice myself for the Gospa (because she has asked me) without seeking anything for myself, and I ask for something for others, I feel a special joy in my heart and I see that Our Lady is happy. Mary rejoices when we give and when we receive. Man must pray, and through prayer, offer himself. The rest will be given him when the time is right.
Q. Generally, though, when man suffers he seeks a way out or a remedy.
VICKA: Our Lady has explained many times that when God gives us a cross (sickness, suffering, etc.) it ought to be accepted as a great gift. He knows why it has been given us and when He will remove ‘why me?’ She says that if we begin to thank and pray by saying: ‘Lord, thank you for this gift. If you have something else to give me I am ready to accept it; but I beg You to give me the strength to carry my cross with patience and love…’ that if we do this we will receive peace. Our Lady stresses that we can’t even imagine how much value our suffering has in the eyes of God!
It is very important to pray for all those who have trouble accepting the cross. They need our prayers, and with our life and example we can do much.
Q. What about moral and spiritual sufferings which aren’t easy to manage? What have you learnt from Our Lady over these years?
VICKA: Personally, I am very happy because I feel immense joy within me, and much peace, partly because I desire being happy, but mostly because Our Lady’s love makes me so. Mary asks us to be simple, humble and modest. I try with all my heart to offer to others what Our Lady gives to me.
Q. When you witness and say how Our Lady took you to see paradise, you mention a type of “passage.” I think that if we offer ourselves and desire going beyond suffering, the passage is present also within our souls. Is it so?
VICKA: Of course! Our Lady said that paradise is lived already on this earth, and that it simply continues with our death. But that “passage” is very important, for if I live out paradise here and I feel it in my heart, I will be ready to die at any moment without asking God why. He wants us to be ready every day, though none of us know when our time will be. So the “great passage” is nothing else but our readiness. Some put up resistance and fight against the idea of death. That is why God offers us another chance through suffering: to give us the time and the grace to come out winners in this inner battle.
Q. At times, though, fear prevails.
VICKA: Yes, but fear doesn’t come from God. Once Our Lady said that if we have joy, love, satisfaction in our hearts, these feelings come from God. But if we feel restless, unsatisfied, hatred, and tension, we must understand that these feelings come from somewhere else. It is for this that we must discern, and as soon as we feel restless in our minds, hearts and souls, we have to throw it out immediately. The best weapon to drive it out is with Rosary beads in our hands, and prayer with the heart.
Q. You speak of the Rosary, but there are various ways of praying…
VICKA: Sure, but Our Lady recommends the holy Rosary, and if she says this, it must mean that it is pleasing (to God). Nonetheless, any prayer is good when it comes from the heart.
Q. Can you speak to us of silence?
VICKA: That’s not easy because I’m hardly ever silent! Not because I don’t like it; I think it is very good. In silence man can question his conscience, he can collect himself to listen to God. But my mission is to meet people and everyone expects a word from me. I ask for silence when I ask people to be quiet while I pray for their problems and difficulties. This moment lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. These days man doesn’t have much time to stop and pray in silence, so that’s why I offer them this opportunity so that each can reflect and look into himself. Then, with time, his conscience will bear fruit. People say they feel well during this moment as if they could experience paradise, and it makes them happy.
Q. But I think at times that when these moments of “eternity” are over people begin talking loud again and are distracted and lose the grace they received in prayer…
VICKA: Sadly, yes. Our Lady says about this that many times people listen to her message with one ear and they let it out the other ear and nothing remains in their hearts! It’s not the ears that are important, but the heart. If man decides to change himself he can (from within his heart). If, instead, he seeks what is always best for himself and remains in his egoism, he makes Our Lady’s words vain.
Q. Tell me about Mary’s silence. How are your meetings with her now? Do you pray, converse?
VICKA: Most of the times we just pray. Our Lady loves praying the Creed, the Our Father, the Glory Be. We also sing together. We don’t remain much in silence. Before Our Lady spoke more, but now she prefers praying.
Q. You mentioned joy before. The man of today needs it a great deal, but he is often sad and unsatisfied. What do you suggest?
VICKA: If we pray with a sincereheart for the Lord to give us joy, it will not be lacking in us. In 1994 I had a small accident. To save Grandma and a nephew from a fire I got burnt. Things really looked bad: I was burnt from my waist up. At the hospital in Mostar I was told that I’d need plastic surgery. In the ambulance, on the way there, I asked my mother and sister to sing. They were surprised, and seeing how disfigured I was they couldn’t think how it could be possible to sing. But I told them to be happy and thank God.In the meantime I didn’t have plasticsurgery… and friends were perplexed by my serenity because the fire had truly disfigured me, but I told them I would accept whatever God sent me, even if it meant staying like that. Believe me, after a month there wasn’t a trace left, not even a little scar! I was beside myself with joy. Everyone would say: ‘but have you seen yourself in the mirror?’ and I would respond no, as my mirror is inside myself.If man prays with his heart and withlove, joy will always be in his heart, but today man is always so busy with unimportant things and he escapes from what can give him joy and happiness.If families put material things first theywill never be able to hope in joy, but if they desire that God be their light, their centre and the king of their family then they will always have joy. But Our Lady is sad because today Jesus is in the last place for families, or not there at all!
Q. Perhaps we exploit Jesus attimes, or want Him to be the way that suits us.
VICKA: I would say that we test ourstrength against His. For example, in a certain situation we might say: “But I can do this by myself! Why should I seek God if I can be in first place sometimes?” It’s an illusion, for we are not given to precede God. But He is so good that He allows it, as a father would with his baby, for He knows that sooner or later we will return to Him. God gives man total freedom, but He always waits for him to return.You see how many pilgrims come hereevery day. Personally, I would never say to them: “You have to do this or that; you have to believe; you have to know Our Lady… If you ask me I shall tell you, otherwise I respect your freedom. But remember that you are not here by chance, because you have been called by Our Lady. This is a call. So, if Our Lady has brought you here, it means she expects something from you. You have to discover, in your heart, what it is.”
Q. Tell us something about theyoung people you so often talk about.
VICKA: Young people are in a verydifficult situation. Our Lady says we can help them only through our love and prayer. To them She says that all that the world offers today is fleeting, and to be careful because Satan desires destroying them. In this time the devil is particularly active amongst young people and the families.
Q. How does the devil act infamilies?
VICKA: Families are in dangerbecause there is no more dialogue, no prayer, no nothing! That is why Our Lady desires that prayer be renewed in families. She asks parents to pray with their children, and children to pray with their parents, so that Satan is disarmed.Prayer is the foundation stone of afamily. If parents had time for their children, there would be no problems. But today parents leave children to themselves so they can have more time to themselves and they don’t understand that their children are getting lost.
Q. Thank you. Would you like toadd anything?
VICKA: I will pray for all of you,especially for the readers of Echo of Mary. I will commend you to Our Lady. May the Queen of Peace bless you with her peace and love. I greet you all most warmly.