(c) Mary TV 2015
September 16, 2015
Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian
Dear Family of Mary!
Today the reflection is very long, but you will not be sorry. Denis and I have transcribed the incredibly beautiful testimony of Regina Collins, Fruit Show 182. I recommend that you go to the Fruit of Medjugorje Archives to hear and see Regina tell her story. But if you can't access it, this transcript is really worth the read. In these times of rumors and fears about Medjugorje, this testimony will stop them all. Regina shares in a powerful way exactly what Jesus and Mary are up to in Medjugorje!!! They are saving souls, one at a time. And they are unstoppable!!
Hello. My name is Regina Collins. I'm from Galway, a city in the west of Ireland. This is my story of what Our Lady of Medjugorje has done in my life and how Our Lord has changed my life through the events here at Medjugorje.
I came here first in 1996. I was twenty five, a very angry and very scared twenty five year old. Just to give you a little bit of background, I was raised in a Catholic family. I grew up in the Catholic Church. But I can clearly and distinctly remember the very first time I questioned God's existence. I was ten years old. And I am the eldest in my family so I remember these days very clearly. My father was diagnosed with a very rare type of brain tumor. And being the good Catholic family that we were (or are...) we turned, of course, to prayer. There were many rosaries said at our house and many masses offered. But I remember thinking, "If God is so good, and if God is love, then why is my father suffering?" And I decided there and then, that I would not pray. Everyone else could pray, but it would be only the doctors who would cure my father.
Thankfully my father made a great recovery. But that Christmas I discovered, too, that Santy Claus did not exist, much to my shock. And I was really angry with my parents for having taught me lies. And I began to think about it, and I thought, well maybe grownups make up God, and Our Lady, and Heaven, because they are afraid of dying. Maybe that's another story grownups have taught me.
I never spoke the thoughts aloud to anybody, and as I grew older they kind of grew deeper into my heart. By the time I reached my teens I had a very troubled relationship with both of my parents. And then of course, I discovered night clubs and drinking and boys. And that became my world for quite a few years. My weekend would begin on a Wednesday night and finish on a Sunday night. And as the years went by I became more and more hardhearted. I was extremely angry. I hated the world, and I hated everybody in it. But most of all I hated myself.
There was a lot of drink. There was a lot of drugs. I could be violent at times. I often got into fights at night clubs, and on one occasion, I remember being so violent and so full of anger that if I had had a knife in my hand at that moment, I would have easily killed that girl without thinking.
So by the time I came to my twenties, I had calmed down a little. On the outside I looked normal. I had a job and a steady boyfriend. But to be honest those years became the darkest years of my life for reasons which are too difficult to explain. I remember one time, my mother commenting to me...we weren't having an argument...it was something she said in response to a comment I made. She said, "Regina, you have a heart like a swinging brick." And she was right. And I took that as a great compliment because I was filled with pride.
I had a huge amount of pride as well as anger. I thought I was superior to a lot of people, especially people of faith, no matter what faith they were. But I reserved a special hatred for the Catholic Church. I don't know why.
I never became involved with anything "New Age" or anything like that, because I simply didn't believe that anything apart from this world existed. I suppose in a strange way, God was protecting me. All through those years my grandmother, my mother, but particularly my grandmother, her sister and her brother prayed a lot for me. And my granny and her sister and her brother showed great love towards me. Their love was unconditional. And they always treated me like I was a lady. So I owe them an awful lot.
So in 1995, my sister, the one I am very close to, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And I think if there was any tiny bit, any remnant of faith in my heart when we heard that diagnosis, those words just blasted that tiny bit of faith, if it was there at all, away from me. But in response to that, my mother decided she would take my sister on a pilgrimage, and she chose to come to Medjugorje. And just by way of asking, they said, "Would you like to come, Regina?" And of course I snapped at them and said, "Are you crazy? I am not going to any crazy religious place."
But then I thought, "It will be sunny. I don't have any money for a holiday." And when I was in school, I loved history. And oddly enough, I did a project on the history of Yugoslavia. So I thought it would be an opportunity to get to see a place I would not get to see otherwise. So I accepted the ticket and I came. They were shocked. And I am sure they were thinking, "How will be put up with her for a week at a religious shrine?" But I warned them ahead of time, "You can find the Church and I will find the bar." And that was the deal.
So when I arrived in Medjugorje, I was only here 24 hours and I hated the place, I absolutely hated it. And the hatred intensified as the hours passed. And I began to become very panicky. By the end of the first day I had calculated the hours down to the minutes of our return to the airport. All I wanted to do was get home.
On our second day we were invited to go to the Cenacolo Community. And I said, "That's it, I am not going. I do not want to hear a born again Christian saying I am clean of drugs." But the way God works, that day I just fell into the crowd and before I knew it I was there in this little church with a beautiful mural on the wall of the risen Christ. I was sitting in the back of the church and I was listening to a testimony given by a gentleman called Raphael from Italy. And for the first time in my life, I could empathize with another person. And the tears began to flow down my face. I became very embarrassed and I kept pinching my hand, trying to stop myself from crying.
He started to stare at me, and being very arrogant and very proud, I wouldn't look down. So I looked up at the eyes of Our Lord in the mural. And I cried all the way through the testimony. And before I left, this man came over to me, and he introduced himself and asked my name. He had very little English. But he said to me when he looked into my eyes, he said, "Are you happy?" And being Irish, I said, "Oh sometimes happy, sometimes sad." And he looked at me again, and he said, "ARE YOU HAPPY?" And I had to be honest and truthful with myself. I was shocked when I heard myself say, "No, I am not happy."
That was the beginning, I now understand, of my conversion. Because as the days went by, I began to go to the church, because I didn't like the heat and the church was air conditioned. Then I realized that everyone was going to receive Holy Communion and I was the only one that wasn't, so I began to receive Holy Communion, not because I believed, but because I didn't want to stand out. And I didn't want anybody trying to convert me. So Our Lady is a very wise mother. Little by little, very gently she was calling me.
The next big event was a trip to Siroki Brieg, where Fr. Jozo Zovko was based at the time. He gave a talk. I stood at the back door and popped in and out for cigarettes. I was not understanding what was being said, or the importance of Fr. Zovko, or anything like that. And at the end of the talk all the priests were blessed and they in turn prayed over us. And I was in a line and I decided "Nope, this is not for me." And I tried to turn and walk away, but my feet were stuck to the ground like two strong magnets. And I could not move left nor right. And the priest prayed over me. And that was the most difficult day of all, because all of the anger I had been carrying in my heart for years, came up to the surface.
I ran away from the church and sat on a wall. I looked around and I started to panic. And I remember gripping the wall with my hands and saying over and over, "You live, you die, that's it. You live, you die, that is it." And I felt a terrible darkness all around me. And as I was sitting there an old car passed by, and there was a song playing really loudly from the car. It was an Irish band. The chorus of the song struck my heart. But I became very scared. In that moment I really and truly believed I was losing my mind. That was a terrifying feeling. I felt I was losing my grip on reality.
The next day was our second to last day in Medjugorje. I was sitting outside church before English Mass in the shade of a tree on my own, full of anger and pride, when six ladies from London came up and ask me if they could share the shade with me. They thought I was younger than I was, and they were saying, "Aren't you very good to be in Medjugorje so young. It is wonderful you are here." But I snapped at them, "I am not that young and I am only here to keep my mother happy." They asked me my name, and I told them my name." They said, "Regina, we are going to our group Mass and we will offer you up in the Mass." So I very sarcastically thanked them, and laughed, and off they went.
And we were brought to our group Mass, and I was thinking, "Oh, one Mass today, and one Mass tomorrow, and then I am home and dry." But this was what God was preparing me for. The group was brought into St. James Church, and we had our group Mass there. During the course of the Mass, people were coming in and out and approaching the Statue of Our Lady, so when it came to the time of Consecration, or just before that, our priest asked us, in Irish, to get out of our seats, and to walk up onto the steps of the altar. I had to go, because I couldn't remain there on my own in the seat. And as I walked up to the altar, and as I went to place my foot on the ground of that altar, I suddenly had a feeling of standing on holy ground. It made me gasp, to breath it in and exhale it out.
Then we were told to join hands for the Our Father, which I did, and the tears started to come again, except this time I wasn't afraid. This time I didn't try to fight them. When we finished praying the Our Father, I looked to my left and to my right, and for the first time in my life I felt love in my heart for the people around me. We greeted each other and made peace with each other and embraced each other and by then the tears were really flowing. And I don't really remember what happened after that. All I remember is receiving Holy Communion, and this is the truly difficult part to explain.
When I received Holy Communion everything disappeared. The church disappeared, the ground beneath my feet disappeared. I was no longer aware of being in a physical building or in a physical place. All I could see was white light. The whitest, brightest most beautiful light you could possibly imagine. It was under my feet, it was completely surrounding me, it was above me. The only way I can explain it is if you dived into a pool, and you're in a pool of water - I was in this never ending dazzling light. And at the same time I felt a powerful energy flow down into my body up through my right side and I felt a powerful energy flowing up from my body and flowing out through my left side. And at the same time I felt so tiny and so insignificant. Somehow I knew that all the pride in my heart was being taken out and I was being filled with love. This love that God has is completely, totally indescribable. There are no words in any language that can describe the love of God the Father. There can be no painting. There can be no music. No song. It is completely indescribable. It is overwhelming. It's a joy that cannot be described.... And I felt so tiny, so insignificant. It was like being cradled in the arms of a father. The only way I can explain it is if you remember if you were a little child and you got lost in a shop and you're very brave. But when you're father or your mother finds you and then scoops you up, picks you up, then the tears come and you feel the love of the parent.
I don't know how long this went on for, except that I felt a tap on my shoulder. And I found myself looking up, and it was my sister. And she says, 'Regina, what are you doing on the floor?' And then I looked, and I realized that somehow I had dropped to the floor and had my forehead pressed to the floor, on the altar of the church. And she had to lift me up. And Mass had finished and everybody had left. And that's when the tears really, really started to flow. She left me in the church and I was there for quite some time and it was waves and waves and waves of tears. But this time it was joyful. It wasn't upset tears. I just can't describe it.
So after a long time I left the church. I didn't want to go to the restaurant and meet anybody. I needed to be on my own. I saw this lady coming along, and I didn't want her to see me because if she saw me crying she'd stay with me. And I thought, "What will I do? I don't want to cause offense." Where as before I wouldn't have cared if I caused offense. So I looked around and there was a priest and he was hearing confessions in the confession boxes. And there was a long queue. And so I said to myself, 'If I stand at the back of the que she'll see that and she'll just go on her way.' And I had no intention of going to confession, I was still crying. So I stood at the back of the queue, and even better, they were all French. And so I'll stay quiet and I'll stay here and make sure the coast is clear.... And just as I was about to turn to leave I could hear this big shout of "Allelluia! Praise the Lord!" And to my horror it was those six ladies who I had met just before Mass, returning from their Mass. And they see me standing at the end of the que for confession with tears flowing down my face. And so they came to me and said, "Regina, these people are French. Do you speak French?" And I said, "No". But every time I tried to open my mouth to speak to explain I couldn't because the tears would come again. So they said, "Hold on to her. We'll find her a priest."
And in the distance there was a man sitting on a bench reading a book. And one of the women approached him. And next she shouted, "Alleluia!" again. She found a priest. And I was brought to confession with two ladies on this arm, and two ladies on this arm, and I was trying to dig my heals in, and I was trying to say 'I don't want to go' but they didn't know, they didn't realize, because I couldn't speak. And they left me on the bench with the priest. After a long time I stopped crying and he said, "Would you like for me to hear your confession?" And I said, "Father, my confession will be very long and it could be very shocking. And you're a holy priest." And then he said to me, "Regina, there's nothing that you can't tell me." He said, "I was a chaplain during the war in Vietnam and I've heard everything there is to hear." And I truly believe God chose that priest especially for me, for as I've said, I had a great love of history and I had studied about the war in Vietnam quite a lot. And I sat there and I made my first confession for many years... I call it my conversion confession of course.
During the course of that confession there was a man, a father, and a little child in the shade of the confessional boxes... And every now and again they caught my eye. So when confession ended and I received absolution, Fr. Kevin pointed out this man and his child, and he said, "Regina, you're like that little child." He said, "You know, you'll be weak. There may be times when you may fall. But every time that you fall, God your Father will pick you up!" I remember leaving that priest that day and I floated back to the house where I was staying. I mean, I ran up the road waving at waiters and taxi drivers and people sitting in their gardens.... You can picture James Stewart in that film "It's a Wonderful Life" ... I mean I was like that! And I hugged and kissed everybody in the house.
That evening then we were all invited to a public apparition on the small mountain. And I just went along just to say I was there. After all that happened, apparition wasn't that important to me - after what I had encountered in the Eucharist. But I went along, and we sang hymns and we were praying the rosary while we waited. And I remember it was a Saturday night, and I remember at one point during the rosary laughing to myself because on a Saturday night back home in Galway I'd be in a queue for a nightclub. And here I was on the side of a mountain in Hercegovina waiting for the Mother of God to come and visit. I remember my heart being filled with joy! And just before the apparition began I was just completely surrounded with the smell of roses - just waves and waves and waves of the most beautiful smell of roses and the smell of every kind of flower you can imagine. It was so strong that I actually at one point opened my mouth to try and taste the rose pedals. It lasted a very long time. And then we knelt when Our Lady appeared and everything went quiet.
And after the apparition was over we were making our way down the mountain and I was so filled with joy I just wanted to burst into song, but I couldn't remember any hymns, because the only songs I knew were heavy metal songs or stuff like that. But the words of one hymn came back to me that used to be sung in Galway when I was little at the novena. And it was "Walk in the Light". I could only remember two lines, but I started to sing out loud "Walk in the Light" and people beside me picked it up and very soon most of the mountain on the way down were signing "Let's walk in the light of God."
And at the foot of the mountain a lady said to me, "What did you ask Our Lady for?" Well, I looked and I said, "Well, I didn't say anything because I didn't want to interrupt Our Lady talking to the visionary!" And it was in that second that I believed that Our Lady really was there.... And ever since then my whole life has changed. I changed completely! And that's when my conversion began. But that was 19 years ago now. And conversion doesn't begin and end at one event, I found out. Conversion is a constant, not process, it's a constant living. And there have been times I have fallen. And once or twice spectacularly! But God my Father has picked me up. And he's brought me back to Medjugorje many times since then. I even had an opportunity to work as a group leader.I have seen and learned and experienced many things in those years.
I'll just finish now by telling this short little story. Many years after that conversion story, I was back in the Church of St. James in Medjugorje and I was asked to do a reading at Mass. And I was very nervous and I didn't have time to go through the reading, or pray about it before the Mass. And I stood up onto the altar, and hand reached out to adjust the microphone for me and I looked to my right and there was Fr. Kevin Devine, the priest who heard my conversion confession in 1996. I was so filled with joy and love in that second when I saw him because I never forgot him. And I always prayed for him. And gave thanks to God for his vocation.
And I looked down and began to read the reading, and it was from Ezekiel. And there were two lines of that reading that just truly amazed me. And it was only in that moment I realized what God, what Our Lady did for me. And these are the lines from Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 36: 26
I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I shall remove the heart of stone from your bodies and give you a heart of flesh instead.
Then I understood. So all praise be to Jesus and Mary, and Happy Birthday, dear Heavenly Mother....
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2015
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Mary TV Daily Reflection 9/16/2015
A testimony that reveals what Jesus and Mary are up to in Medjugorje!!
"Medjugorje is the spiritual center of the world."
Saint John Paul II