A permanent sign will make many convert

The plateau of the permanent sign: On this rocky ground where the Virgin Mary first appeared in Medjugorje, the visionaries say that an eternal, indestructible sign will appear as the definitive proof that the apparitions are genuine

The earth has never seen its like. It will appear suddenly, as if out of nowhere, or right out of Heaven itself. It will arrive in such a way that people will not have words to say what it is. It will appear on the ground, it can be seen and photographed, but it cannot be touched. Today already a webcam is constantly filming the spot where it is going to be.

According to the visionaries, some day a permanent sign will appear on the site of the first apparition. Beautiful and indestructible, the  sign will lead to many conversions. According to Marija, there will also be healings. (1)

But first and foremost it will make many more people believe.

“Naturally, it will be clear to everyone that it is not something constructed and erected. Nobody will be able to say that it was brought and placed in that particular spot by, let us say, someone from Medjugorje”, Mirjana told Catholic author/journalist Michael H. Brown in 2002. (2)

A massive grace and chance to believe

The spot of the first apparition has always been a focal point for prayer. Crosses and crucifixes have been erected throughout the plateau, the exact spot being marked by a tall white statue of the Virgin Mary

The Permanent Sign is the third secret known by the Medjugorje seers. It is the only secret of which it is known that all the visionaries know about it. At least four of them also know when the sign will appear. (2)

Because the first two secrets have been unfolded and belong to the past by the time of The Permanent Sign, the sign will be perceived and experienced by people in the light of the two first secrets – or at least in the light of the first of which Mirjana said that ”it will shake people up” and ”make people see themselves in a new light.” (3)

The Permanent Sign is likely to change more hearts because it was preceded by the first and second secrets. And, according to the visionaries, changing hearts is what the sign is all about. Most of all, they say, the sign will be given for those who do not believe:

”The third secret is about a sign that she will leave here, on the Mountain of the Apparitions. This sign will remain forever. It is given above all for those people who are still far away from God. The Madonna wishes to give these people who will see the sign a chance to believe in God”, Vicka told Radio Maria in January 2008. (4)

An early interview with Mirjana backs up Vicka’s statement.

“They will understand the sign as a place where they can convert. They will go to the mountain and pray and they will be forgiven”, Mirjana prophecied in 1983. (5)

“When The Permanent Sign comes, people will come here from all over the world in even larger numbers. Many more will believe”, Jakov has said. (2)

A test of the hearts

However, according to the visionaries, there wil also be people who see the sign and still don’t believe – or who will not receive the impulse to convert that many other people will receive from seeing the sign:

“I want to say about those people who will see it and not believe, the Madonna leaves everyone free to believe or not, but those are ones whose hearts are too closed. It’s the same thing as the Madonna said to us, ‘If one wants to go to Heaven, he will go to Heaven. If one wants to go to hell, he will go to hell.’ Those people who are far away from God and do not want to believe, they will not believe in the sign. For those who do not know God, but have good intentions and a desire to love, they will be benefited by the sign. But I think that those who do everything against God, they will run away from the sign. They will not believe”, Vicka said in 2008. (4)

Vicka (far right) during a group apparition in 1982 when the visionaries received a number of the secrets. Left to right the other visionaries are Ivan, Marija, Ivanka, and Jakov

25 years earlier, during her interviews with Fr. Janko Bubalo, a more youthful and slightly less diplomatic Vicka had said a lot of the same, though in a more immediate way:

Fr. Janko: “Do you know exactly what the sign will be?”

Vicka: “Exactly!”

Fr. Janko: “Do you know when the Virgin will make it evident to the rest of us?”

Vicka: “I know that also.”

Janko: “And why is the Virgin leaving the sign here?”

Vicka: “Why to show the people that she is here among us…I’ll just say this: whoever does not believe without a sign will not believe with a sign. And, I’ll tell you this too: woe to him who delays his conversion, waiting for the sign. I once told you that many would come, and perhaps, even kneel before the sign, but will, nonetheless, not believe. Be happy that you are not among them!” (6)

In saying so in late 1983, Vicka merely paraphrased a message that the Virgin Mary had given that same year at springtime:

“Hasten your conversion. Do not await the sign which has been announced for those who do not believe; it will be too late. You who believe, be converted and deepen your faith.” (Spring 1983; exact date unknown)

What does ‘too late’ mean?

Vicka during her 2008 interview with Fr. Livio Fanzaga (left), for 20 years the director of Radio Maria

In early 2008 Fr. Livio Fanzaga of Radio Maria asked Vicka to explain what the Virgin meant in saying “too late”:

Vicka: “The Madonna did not explain why it will be too late and I did not ask, She only said that we are now living in a time of grace.”

Fr. Livio: “So, it is important to convert before the sign is made manifest?”

Vicka: “Every day the Madonna calls us to conversion, to the conversion of our hearts, you understand? And 27 and a half years later the Madonna is still among us and our hearts are still too closed, too distant. I don’t know. I don’t know what it could be, but ‘too late’ seems right.”

While the sign is first of all for unbelievers, it also serves another purpose, Vicka explained that day on Radio Maria. The conversation went on:

Fr. Livio: “So, this is a time of grace. This is the time of conversion. The Madonna said, ‘Don’t wait for the sign in order to convert yourselves.’ So why leave a sign like some last extreme help: is it in order to move the Church to recognize the apparitions as authentic?”

Vicka: “Yes, certainly it will be for the Church, so that they will have no doubt that the Madonna had been among us, and it is also for those who are still far away from God. So the Madonna is thinking about both groups of people, and then it is up to us how to be ready to respond to her call through the sign.”, Vicka said. (4)

Forerunner of the sign appeared in 1981

As to what the sign will be, only one clue has been given: On October 28th 1981, four months into the apparitions, priests an nuns were among the hundreds of people to see a mysterious fire burning for just about 15 minutes on the Hill of Apparitions. (7, 8 ) By the time the hill was barred by armed Yugoslavian police forces. When they went to investigate, they found no trace left of the fire.

That same evening the visionaries asked the Virgin Mary to explain what had happened:

“The fire, seen by the faithful, was of a supernatural character. It is one of the signs, a forerunner of the great sign.” (October 28th 1981)

And so, to come full circle, Vicka gets the last word. Her 1983 interview with Fr. Janko Bubalo is also valuable for Vicka’s spontaneous answers to Fr. Janko’s basic questions about the nature of the sign:

Fr. Janko: “Tell me where the Virgin will give that sign.”

Vicka: “On Podbrdo. At the site of the first apparitions.”

Fr. Janko: “Will the sign be in the Heavens or on earth?”

Vicka: “On earth.”

Fr. Janko: “Will it appear spontaneously, or will it gradually appear?”

Vicka: “Spontaneously.”

Fr. Janko: “Will everyone be able to see it?”

Vicka: “Whoever comes here will.”

Fr. Janko: “Will the sign be temporary, or will it be permanent?”

Vicka: “Permanent.”

Fr. Janko: “Will the sign be able to be destroyed by anyone?”

Vicka: “By no one.”

Fr. Janko: “You think that or…”

Vicka: “The Virgin said so.” (6)

Nothing is known about the fourth, fifth and sixth secret, the middle sequence of the 10 secrets. A bit different with the later secrets. Presumably, too, to take place within the lifetimes of at least some of the visionaries, they concern a time when the world will encounter God’s justice – in addition to His mercy, love and forgiveness which constitute the message and the inner contents of the initial secrets.


Sources:

(1) Michael H. Brown: ”When Will The Permanent Sign Foreseen In Medjugorje Occur?”, the news service Spirit Daily 2002
(2) Michael H. Brown: “What Will The ‘Great Sign’ At Medjugorje Be?”, Spirit Daily 2002
(3) Mirjana Dragicevic interviewed by Fr. Petar Ljubicic on October 26th 1985, quoted here from Spirit Daily
(4) Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic interviewed by Fr. Livio Fanzaga on Radio Maria on January 2nd 2008
(5) Fr. Robert Faricy and Sr. Lucy Rooney: “Medjugorje Journal – Mary Speaks To The World”, Franciscan Herald Press 1987
(6) Fr. Janko Bubalo: “A Thousand Encounters with the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje”, Friends of Medjugorje Chicago 1987
(7) Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic: “The Apparitions of Our Lady at Medjugorje”, third English edition, Informativni Centar “Mir” Medjugorje 2010
(8) Randall Sullivan: “The Miracle Detective”, Grove Press 2004