Dear Reader, I am a wife, mother of six, and a Secular Franciscan. At the age of 20, I was divorced for serious reasons and with pastoral support in this decision. In my mid-20s, I was a single parent, working and bringing up a daughter. As a daily Mass communicant, I saw my faith as sustaining and had begun a journey toward unity with Jesus through the Secular Franciscan Order or Third Order.
My sister traveled to Medjugorje and came home on fire with the Holy Spirit. After hearing of her beautiful pilgrimage, I experienced an even more profound conversion. During the following year, I experienced various levels of deepened prayer, including a dream of the Blessed Mother in which she asked me if I would work for Christ. During the dream, she showed me that this special spiritual work would mean I would be separated from others in the world. She actually showed me my extended family and how I would be separated from them. I told her that I did not care. I would do anything asked of me.
Shortly after, I became sick with endometriosis. I have been sick ever since, with one thing or another. My sicknesses are always the types that mystify doctors in the beginning. This is part of the Cross and I mention it because so many suffer in this way. I was told by my doctor that I would never conceive children. As a single parent, this did not concern me as I assumed it was God’s will. Soon after, I met a wonderful man. My first marriage had been annulled and we married and conceived five children.
Spiritually speaking, I had many experiences that included what I now know to be interior locutions. These moments were beautiful and the words still stand out firmly in my heart. But I did not get excited because I was busy offering up illnesses and exhaustion. I took it as a matter of course that Jesus had to work hard to sustain me as He had given me a lot to handle. In looking back, I see that He was preparing me to do His work. My preparation period was long, difficult and not very exciting. From the outside, I think people thought, man, that woman has bad luck. From the inside, I saw that while my sufferings were painful and long lasting, my little family was growing in love, in size and in wisdom, in the sense that my husband and I certainly understood what was important and what was not important. Our continued crosses did that for us.
Various circumstances compelled my husband and me to move with our children far from my loved ones. I offered this up and must say it is the most difficult thing I have had to contend with. Living in exile brings many beautiful opportunities to align with Christ’s will. However, you have to continually remind yourself that you are doing that. Otherwise you just feel sad. After several years in “exile,” I finally got the inspiration to go to Medjugorje. It was actually a gift from my husband for my fortieth birthday. I had tried to go once before, but circumstances prevented the trip and I understood it was not God’s will. Finally, though, it was time and my eldest daughter and I found ourselves in front of St. James church. It was her second trip to Medjugorje.
I did not expect or consider that I would experience anything out of the ordinary. My daughter, who loved it on her first trip, made many jokes about people looking for miracles. She affectionately calls Medjugorje a carnival for religious people. She also says it is the happiest place on earth. This young woman initially went there as a rebellious 14-year-old child, who took the opportunity to travel abroad with her Aunt. She returned calm and respectful, prompting my husband to say we would send all our teenagers on pilgrimage.
At any rate, we had a beautiful five days. I experienced a spiritual healing on the mountain. My daughter rested and prayed. A quiet but significant thing happened to me. During my communions, I spoke with Jesus conversationally. I thought this was beautiful, but it had happened before on occasion so I was not stunned or overcome. I remember telling others that communions in Medjugorje were powerful. I came home, deeply grateful to Our Lady for bringing us there.
The conversations continued all that winter. At some time in the six months that followed our trip, the conversations leaked into my life and came at odd times throughout the day. Jesus began to direct me with decision and I found it more and more difficult to refuse when He asked me to do this or that. I told no one.
During this time, I also began to experience direction from the Blessed Mother. Their voices are not hard to distinguish. I do not hear them in an auditory way, but in my soul or mind. By this time I knew that something remarkable was occurring and Jesus was telling me that He had special work for me, over and above my primary vocation as wife and mother. He told me to write the messages down and that He would arrange to have them published and disseminated. Looking back, it took Him a long time to get me comfortable enough where I was willing to trust Him. I trust His voice now and will continue to do my best to serve Him, given my constant struggle with weaknesses, faults, and the pull of the world.
Please pray for me as I continue to try to serve Jesus. Please answer “yes” to Him because He so badly needs us and He is so kind. He will take you right into His heart if you let him. I am praying for you and am so grateful to God that He has given you these words. Anyone who knows Him must fall in love with Him, such is His goodness. If you have been struggling, this is your answer. He is coming to you in a special way through these words and the graces that flow through them.
Please do not fall into the trap of thinking that He cannot possibly mean for you to reach high levels of holiness. As I say somewhere in my writings, the greatest sign of the times is Jesus having to make do with the likes of me as His secretary. I consider myself the B team, dear friends. Join me and together we will do our little bit for Him.
Message received from Jesus immediately following my writing of the above biographical information:
You see, my child, that you and I have been together for a long time. I was working quietly in your life for years before you began this work. Anne, how I love you. You can look back through your life and see so many “yes” answers to Me. Does that not please you and make you glad? You began to say “yes” to Me long before you experienced extraordinary graces. If you had not, My dearest, I could never have given you the graces nor assigned this mission to you. Do you see how important it was that you got up every day, in your ordinary life, and said “yes” to your God despite difficulty, temptation, and hardship? You could not see the big plan as I saw it. You had to rely on your faith. Anne. I tell you today, it is still that way. You cannot see My plan, which is bigger than your human mind can accept. Please continue to rely on your faith as it brings Me such glory. Look at how much I have been able to do with you simply because you made a quiet and humble decision for Me. Make another quiet and humble decision on this day and every day, saying, “I will serve God.” Last night you served Me by bringing comfort to a soul in pain. You decided against yourself and for Me, through your service to him. There was gladness in heaven, Anne. You are mine. I am yours. Stay with Me, My child. Stay with Me. — Anne, A Lay Apostle, © 2005 Direction For Our Times. All Rights Reserved