Don’t cry! Put your hands together and pray!

It all started seven years ago when I was handed a card with the words, “If you only knew how much I love you, you would cry with joy.” These words touched me so deeply that I often held the card in my hands in the evenings and cried because I really needed that love even though I didn’t realize it. I was raised only by my mom, I haven’t had a good example from my dad. Unfortunately, I didn’t know then that I have my Heavenly Father, my good Lord, who loves me so much. My perception of God was that he was somewhere far away beyond the clouds and that maybe someday he would hear my prayer. I had not realized how many miracles had happened in my life through His hands…

When I got on the bus heading to Medjugorje, tears streamed down my face. I cried the whole time until I made my first sincere confession on the third day of my stay. After that, all the pain I had been carrying in my heart went away. I was as happy and joyful as I had ever been in my life.

I began to get to know Our Lady. In praying the rosary, I felt that finally everything in my life would be all right… At that time, I already had a wonderful husband and a little daughter. Soon we received good news: I got pregnant, but unfortunately, we lost the baby. I was experiencing unspeakable physical and spiritual pain, and the question kept reoccurring in my mind: “Why, God, why?” It tormented my soul.

The second time I came to Medjugorje for consolation. I was on my knees in front of the statue of Our Lady in front of the church and tears were streaming down my face again… And then a woman, a stranger, touched my shoulder and said to me in English, “Don’t cry! Don’t cry! Put your hands together and pray!” These words are forever engraved in my memory and have become my support, especially in the most difficult moments of my life. Gradually the pain subsided.

I continued to come to Medjugorje, but I was already returning here as if it were my home. When I came home from one pilgrimage, I was diagnosed with a terrible illness – an aggressive form of cancer. It was very painful to hear it, but I always remembered the words that I believe Our Lady spoke through that woman, “Do not cry! Put your hands together and pray!” The hospital was 500 km away from my town, where I would travel alone by train every week. I also had to go to the surgery alone, as my husband was working abroad at that time. But I knew I was not alone: I always had a rosary in my hand and the confidence that the Lord was with me.

When I look back, I see that Our Lady led me by the hand throughout my illness. During my treatment, I tried not to miss a single daily mass or Holy Communion. And I could often feel Jesus comforting me in confession, giving me the strength to carry on.

I thank the Lord for the gift of the priesthood. This is a great grace from the Lord for us here on earth. At every step, Jesus acted through the hands of the priest who was listening to me, infusing me with hope. While traveling to the hospital, I met different people on the train. Sometimes, even with such a diagnosis, I felt happier than they did. Unfortunately, they were those who had not yet come to know the love of God. As soon as I had completed my last treatment, I was home again – in Medjugorje. For me, this place is a school where Our Lady teaches us and leads us to Jesus. Every pilgrimage is a continuation. The most important thing is to open my heart, to trust in the Mother and to listen to her. She will lead us to Jesus.

When you come to Medjugorje, it does not mean that you will have an easy and untroubled life, but whatever happens, you will know that you are not alone, that the loving Lord and Our Lady are with you.

Natalia, Ukraine

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