It is a paradox that I wrote this book. I have made it my avocation to write against apparitions, mystics, cults, and new religious movements. I have no fear in writing against these things, as it is easy to spot the false with simple discernment from the Bible and the teachings of the Church. Moreover, true saints throughout the ages have warned against such things and have given great guidelines to follow. Padre Pio often saw the devil in the form of: Christ Crucified, his Spiritual Director, St. Francis, and the Virgin Mary. He was never fooled. Padre Pio warned Raffaelina Cerase
"The devil, as you know, is a great artificer of evil in which he has been engaged only too long. When he sees how keenly you desire it [the miraculous], he could deceive you by some diabolical illusion or apparition disguised as an angel of light. Who would believe it? This unhappy apostate even knows how to disguise himself as a Capuchin and to act the part quite well. I beg you to believe one who has undergone an experience of this nature."
As I said, it is easy to spot the false, but it is not so easy to be sure of the true. It makes me very uneasy to write in favor of an apparition as I am doing this time. I believe, however, with all my heart [leaving the final judgment to the Church] that God sent me to Damascus for no other reason than to spread this message throughout the world. You can judge for yourself as you read this book.
Why me? Since I normally write against apparitions, perhaps I will be believed. My readers know I am not easily fooled.
This introduction, at any rate, will confine itself to the dangers of false apparitions. These dangers were never more apparent to me as they were while writing this story.
God, in His infinite wisdom, saw to it that I became isolated in a monastery [I am not a religious] until I finished His work. Without this place, it would have taken me five times as long to complete it. There [in this closed community] the effects of the false become more and more conspicuous.
There were over one hundred seminarians, ten priests, and some guest teachers in the monastery. For over ten years they lived with a charismatic, mystical leader, who got his instructions direct from Heaven, or so he said.
Oh, I don't doubt his sincerity. Mere theory, this, but what probably happened is that he lost his confidence in his spiritual director, his superiors, his Church. Once this happens, Satan gains a foothold, for he has succeeded in convincing the man that he [and not his spiritual director] is the last judge in all things spiritual. When this person is deprived of this guidance, he will fall into "every vice, even the most abominable. He will be so blinded that nothing will then avail to snatch him from the road to perdition on which he is launched. Such a person will reach the stage at which he will believe he has no further need of help, even of God's help, and this will be apparent at least from his actions. As a proof of what I tell you, there is no need to turn to what the history of past centuries teaches us, because we can see it happening before our very eyes and being repeated thousands of times at every moment." (Padre Pio)
This is what probably happened to this man. [He is known all over the world.] Eventually he was exposed. The evidence against him was monumental. Once the priests [his superiors] started to suspect him, they did an extraordinary job of gathering proof of his wrongdoing. This proof piled higher and higher before they acted against him. Notwithstanding this evidence [it would shock you], half the community still follows him. The rest are disillusioned, depressed, quiet.
It is in this atmosphere of upset, confused and muddled seminarians that I tried to write this book.
Actually, I believe God sent me there. [My coming wasn't of my own choice.] I believe He wanted me to use my past experience and what I have learned in this community.
I must show my reader the dangers of false apparitions and false mystics, and at the same time, present this true story without it being associated with them, or to simply put this story on the shelf with 700 other pseudo-apparitions since Fatima.
This will happen if I don't warn the reader. Pray, then, that I make you understand.
The hardest thing for me over the years has been to answer this question:
"Why would Satan allow people to become good, holy, religious, to pray more, to stop sinning, etc.? What would he have to gain?"
The answer is diffusion, confusion, and disillusionment. For example, how many of you know about a true apparition of Our Lady in Nicaragua in 1978? How many know about an apparition in Japan within the past few years? And, of course, Damascus has been going on for eight years. Not many, I'll bet! Diffusion!
How many lovers of Mary know that Lucia of Fatima is still receiving visits from Our Lord? How many lovers of Mary are still promoting the messages of Fatima? How many are promoting other apparitions and think Fatima is old hat? Diffusion!
In the community I sat for lunch and dinner everyday with a Professor of Moral Ethics. He knew I was writing a book about a miracle and that there are "messages from Heaven".
After two months of conversation twice a day, he still doesn't know one word of the messages from Damascus. Why? It is not because I didn't try to tell him.
Everyday, at every lunch and dinner, he told me over and over about another "so-called apparition". He knew I didn't believe in it, and with good reason. [Pay attention to where I am trying to take you.] He was so busy trying to convince me of this other apparition, he had no time even to listen to the messages of this book. As far as he is concerned, if I don't believe in his, mine must be false. Satan has won again. Diffusion!
Another man, in this same monastery, wouldn't even sit with me. I don't believe in the mystic mentioned above. He does; and so, I must be bad, Satanic, an adversary of God. He will soon become a priest. God help us. Diffusion!
There are apparitions in the world today that say Vatican II was Satanic, that Pope Paul VI was a false pope, that the New Mass is not real. There are others that say all religions are the same in the eyes of God: Moslem, Protestant, Catholic, everything. Some say the Anti-Christ is alive. Many say they are the voice of God and that we should no longer listen to the Church, since it is no longer orthodox.
Finally, hundreds are predicting the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world. I'm not talking about things years ago. I'm talking about apparitions that are going on right now, this very minute. Confusion?
Even though I mostly write against these things, there are 25 supernatural happenings in the past 80 years that I do believe in. I have not become disillusioned. The brothers, priests, etc., of this house, were fooled for a long time by a mystic, and now, they don't want to hear about, talk about, think about anything supernatural -- not even Fatima. They were fooled -- fooled badly. They don't want to think about the supernatural, not now, not ever. Satan has won again. How? Disillusionment!
Once I finished the book in Rome, I went back to the United States. No sooner did I arrive than Mirna came to California. Again the divine hand of God was at work. Day after day Mirna sat with me going over all the details of the visions, the messages, the meanings, and how we should bring about unity.
In between all these sessions with Mirna, people by the hundreds came to pray with her everyday. And everyday without exception oil came from her hands or an Icon. Sometimes there was a cure. The oil from her hands comes when she prays, when a priest gives her a blessing, when she shakes the hand of a bishop, when we are talking about unity or when we are simply loving each other and God is happy with us. Some days there were two, three, four, or five miracles.
As I completed the last words of this book, the oil poured around me, people were being cured of body and spirit. In the evening prayers, I gave short talks on the miracle, and then everyone prayed with Mirna. In the afternoon, between the prayers, we worked on the book.
But no matter how many miracles they see, many could not stop talking about other apparitions that have not been approved by the Church. Finally we had to make up a sign in very large letters. We wrote:
MIRNA AND "THE MESSENGERS OF UNITY" HAVE PERMISSION FROM THE BISHOPS OF DAMASCUS TO ANNOUNCE THE MESSAGES AND THE MIRACLES OF SOUFANIEH. WE DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO SPREAD INFORMATION ABOUT ANY OTHER APPARITION. PLEASE DO NOT TALK ABOUT OR BRING LITERATURE ABOUT ANY OTHER REPORTED MIRACLE.
THE MESSENGERS OF UNITY
Why is this so important? Because in order to attract the priests and bishops of the world to the Miracle of Damascus we have to become noted for obedience to the churches. We do not want people to change their beliefs. That is not our job. We just want to concentrate on the messages to Mirna.
Moreover, some of these other reported apparitions have exactly the opposite messages from the messages of Soufanieh.
They have many reported cures, but not one provable cure. They have many reported miracles, but not one that Satan, himself, could not do. They have much apparent holiness, but the long-term fruits are bad. The followers of Jim Jones had apparent holiness.
One boy [from one of these other apparitions] became very holy for almost six months, saying the Rosary every day and going to Mass seven days a week. Then he fell into Satanic worship. He began to play Satanic music and beat his head against the walls. Mirna was asked to pray for him. I don't know how he is now.
But the greatest example of these problems can be shown in a comparison of two good and two bad days of prayer with Mirna.
First, the two good days. There was a very holy priest, who said a prayer to St. Michael against Satan and then blessed Mirna with a Crucifix and a holy relic. The minute he did it, oil came from her hands.
A second time, a holy priest blessed a house with holy water to drive out the devils. Mirna was with him. As he blessed the house, oil began to mix with the holy water.
In all the hundreds of times I saw Mirna pray in California, only twice was there no miracle. Once was during a Mass where the priest gave a sermon against unity. The other time is very, very important. There were four hundred people praying with Mirna. I gave a talk about unity before the prayers. Mirna prayed for over one and one half hours, but no oil. She finally quit. She looked at me and as if to say, "I don't know why.???" But I knew why. In spite of the sign we had put up, and in spite of our pleas, a priest came with ten of his followers. They passed though the crowds, handing out medals, pictures, and messages of an un-approved apparition, as we were trying to pray. There was no miracle, because we let Satan into our group.
What does Satan have to gain by making people seem more holy, pray more and stop sinning? What does Satan have to gain? A great deal I would guess! He sees all the world at once. He has a pretty good idea of what God and Mary are up to. He wants to stop them. I hope and pray you don't fall for his traps. So, with these crosses, with my eyes wide open, with full knowledge of the future problems, I write this book, hoping upon hope that someone will read it, believe it, and act on it. For I firmly believe that if we don't do what God wants in these messages, God will unify us anyway. We will not like how God does it. Then some will say, "But Lord, if you had told us?"
PRAYER OF THE PUBLICAN
I stand full of confusion and doubt, asking the Most High Lord from the bottom of my soul, to transfer my pen to the hands of an angel, in order that no injustice may be done to the subject of this discourse; or that He Himself, the most powerful and wise God, speak for me, enlighten my faculties, so that governed by His divine light, they may be fit instruments of His will and truth and be free from the human frailty of an ignorant man.
In obedience to the Decree of Pope Urban VIII, I declare that I do not attribute more than human faith to any extraordinary facts narrated in this book, nor do I anticipate the definitive judgment of the Church to which I intend to offer fullest submission.
Imprimatur, Catholic Bishop of Damascus
THE MIRACLE OF DAMASCUS
On November 22, 1982, in the old city of Damascus, within walking distance of the House of Ananias (where Paul became the light of Christ to the gentiles), a strange new light began to shine, dim at first, but [with the grace of God] a beacon to re-light the world.
A young girl named Mirna prayed over the bed of her sister-in-law, Layla. She was very sick. Two other women prayed with her, an Orthodox woman, and a Moslem woman. As they prayed, the Moslem woman noticed light coming from Mirna's hands. [Mirna didn't notice it.] After the light, oil began to flow right out of her skin. Mayada Kowzaly shouted at her to look at her hands. Mirna, confused, didn't know what was happening nor what to do about it. Mayada quickly told her to put her hands on Layla, the sick woman. She was instantly cured. And so the light began to shine in this bewildered young woman. Mirna had just turned 18 and had only been married six months.1
That evening her husband, Nicolas, came by to pick Mirna up. Excited, they told him what happened. He reprimanded Mirna severely. Neither of them knew what to make of it.
On November 25 Mirna's mother was cured in the same manner. But this was only a flicker of light. The true miracle of Damascus was about to start. These bizarre happenings were only paving the way for what would come that same week.
OPEN THE DOORS
November 27 is the anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary to St. Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal. It is also known as the start of the Age of Mary. This will become more and more relevant as this story unfolds. At any rate, on November 27, 1982, a three-inch tall picture of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child in a cheap plastic frame began to exude oil. The oil flowed out from the bottom of the Icon and onto the floor next to Nicolas and Mirna's bed. Oil again appeared on Mirna's hands.
Nicholas went out to call all his relatives to see what was happening. They came in and began to pray. Mirna was praying with them. Within the first hour, four dishes of oil came out of the Icon. Soon all sound began to disappear like a vacuum from Mirna's ears. She could hear no sound at all. She looked around. Everyone was still praying out loud, but she could hear nothing. Everything was total silence. This silence lasted a long time. She laid her head on the dresser a few inches in front of the Icon. Mirna, whose real name is Mary, heard a woman's soft voice as if from inside a seashell:
DO NOT BE FRIGHTENED. I AM WITH YOU.
OPEN THE DOORS AND DO NOT DEPRIVE ANYONE FROM SEEING ME.
LIGHT A CANDLE FOR ME.
Mirna thought she was imagining things. She was afraid to tell anyone. Two minutes went by as she thought about the words. Suddenly the lights in the house went out. Mirna had to light a candle. The moment she lit it the lights came back on. She remembered the words: "LIGHT A CANDLE FOR ME." She wished she had done it right away. The Icon poured continuously for four days. They gathered the oil in bowl after bowl. From that day to this thousands of candles have been lit in the house and all over the world for the Virgin Mary. The light is getting brighter each year.
The following day a Catholic priest, Father Elias Zahlaoui, was called to Nicolas' house. By the time he arrived, the courtyard was filled with emotional people. Other priests arrived. The authorities brought in a physician with four security officers. They took the picture out of its frame and discovered that oil was dropping from the Icon itself. They put it back and asked Mirna to wash her hands. She did so. They went with her to the setting room and asked her to pray in their presence. Immediately oil came from her hands. The doctor examined her hands and said to the officers, "God is great." They took pieces of cotton soaked in the oil and left the house. Since then the authorities have taken a respectful stand regarding the events at Soufanieh. Father E. Zahlaoui asked questions of all the family. He then asked to speak with Mirna alone. He asked her some questions:
"Mirna, what do you think about all that is happening?"
"I feel that my heart is missing. I don't know what is happening to me."
"Do you have the habit of praying a lot?" Asked father.
"Father, don't make any illusion. I turned eighteen recently. I lived like any young girl of my age. I have been married only seven months. What do you think that I can be? My daily prayer is limited to the Lord's Prayer and a Hail Mary. Every Wednesday I accompany my mother-in-law to the Church of the Holy Cross."3
During the meeting, Mirnas sister entered the room. She was quite upset. Father, would you please pray with Mirna? The oil has stopped coming out of the picture.
Father was surprised at the question and tried to avoid the request, but then asked Mirna if she would.
"As you wish, Father."
"What abut all these people crowded in the room?" He asked.
"I shall send them out."
They knelt in front of the Icon. Father Zahlaoui knelt behind her so he could watch her and the Icon at the same time. Mirna liked the oil coming from the Icon, but she didn't like it coming from her hands. So, in a low, calm voice she said:
"Oh, Virgin, Do not allow the oil to pour from my hands and to stop flowing from your picture. People are coming for you, not me. I kiss your feet. You are the source."
Without looking at Father Zahlaoui, she spoke to him:
"Father, I feel like the Virgin has entered into me."
Father would later write: "Hearing these words, I felt a shivering in all my body, and I saw a very brilliant liquid flowing abundantly from her palms like a sponge that we press. At the same time, drops of oil piled up on the glass of the Icon and flowed slowly." Father E. Zahlaoui was confused. He went to see his Bishop. He told his story and let him smell a piece of cotton impregnated with oil. The Bishop said it had the smell of Holy Myron and told him to "keep on watching but with circumspection and prudence."
After he left the Bishop, Father called Dr. Hunein Siage, a famous epidemiologist and professor at Damascus University.
"Doctor, can the human body exude oil?"
"The human body can perspire," answered the doctor, "but it is sweat. In the case of a strong agony, it may exude drops of blood."
Back at Nicolas and Mirna's house a top ranking officer of the police asked Nicolas if he would like them to close off access to his house because of the large crowds. Nicolas thought about the message, "open the doors". At the same time, he was irritated with all that was happening. He replied in a sarcastic voice, "Who opened the house will close it. If it depends on me, I will not open the door of my house to anybody." Since then, the door of the house has always been open. No one even need knock. In those first days, thousands of people visited the Icon day and night. Among them were non-Christians, Moslems, Orthodox, and Catholics of every denomination. Many came from Al Djazireh. Sometimes groups came at 4:30 A.M.
At one point Nicolas and Mirna could not get in or out of their house. They had to pull loose boards off the second floor wall and call out to their neighbors to go and get them some food. There were times when people slept in their bed for more than a week at a time. Nicolas and Mirna had to sleep on the floor or sofa. Only Mirna and the 70-year-old mother of Nicolas are there to clean up after the crowds to this day. Never have they closed the doors.
On the night of December 15, 1982, while large numbers of the faithful were praying in front of the Icon, suddenly Mirna felt something pulling on her arm. The odd thing about this was that it happened at exactly the same time of night that the angel had led Catherine Laboure to the chapel to see the Virgin Mary [11:37 P.M.]. Mirna had never heard of Catherine Laboure, though, and she was now being pulled upstairs to the roof terrace of the house.
"I felt a power pushing me, and I was afraid." She said afterward. "Trembling, I knelt face to the floor. When I raised up my head, I saw the Virgin Mary in front of me. She shined as if she were covered with diamonds. I was afraid, and I ran away screaming."
Mirna ran to her sister-in-law, who lived on the upper deck of the house with her husband and children. She ran into her arms screaming, "Helene, Helene, the Virgin!" Helene woke with a start but couldn't see anything. Mirna could not stop crying. Awad, her brother-in-law, carried her down to her floor and into the living room.
Nicolas was beside himself. He didn't know what to do. How could he console his wife? This power was bigger than he could handle. His house, his wife, his whole family was in turmoil. Father Elias Zahlaoui talked with her.
"What do you mean, 'she was like diamonds'? Did she have diamond rings?"
"No! Her entire body and Her clothes were like shining diamonds."
"The Holy Virgin has certainly a mission to confide to you," the good father explained. "I think she will come back. You have to prepare yourself with fervent prayers." He taught her a prayer to say:
"Oh, Virgin, prepare me to receive you well, to understand better what you want to tell me."
"Only that?" asked Mirna.
"Only that!" responded the father.
On the night of December 18, 1982 [again at exactly the same hour, 11:37 p.m., that Catherine Laboure talked to the Virgin Mary], Mirna was drawn (or gently pulled from the back of the arm) to the open terrace of the house. About ten people followed her to the roof including her husband and her father.
Across the street, in the upper part of a large tree, Mirna saw a large, luminous, white globe like a large diamond ball sitting on a tree limb. As she watched, the ball opened, splitting from the top and dividing in two half- moons.
As the halves opened, a bow of light appeared over the top, and inside was the same beautiful lady. As the ball disappeared, the lady seemed to be standing on the branch of the tree. She had a white veil that covered all Her hair. The veil was a part of Her dress. Over Her right shoulder was a sky-blue cape that wrapped around Her back and over Her left side. The white dress covered her feet, and only Her hands could be seen. The dress and cape seemed to be made of white and blue light. From Her right hand, between the second and third fingers, hung a long Rosary.
She floated across the air above the street. Mirna couldn't see Her feet moving. As She moved towards Mirna, a street of pure light appeared behind Her like a road in the sky. She passed right through the railing of the terrace. When She was within two feet of Mirna, She stopped.
This time Mirna didn't run away. She thought everyone was seeing the same vision. The Holy Mother spoke gently and slowly in classical Arabic:
REMEMBER GOD BECAUSE GOD IS WITH US.
YOU KNOW EVERYTHING AND YET YOU KNOW NOTHING. YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS AN IMPERFECT KNOWLEDGE, BUT ONE DAY YOU WILL KNOW EVERYTHING AS GOD KNOWS ME.
DO GOOD TO EVILDOERS. DO NOT TREAT ANYONE BADLY.
Many people were around Mirna now, but they saw nothing. Mirna's father bent double to the floor and said loudly, "Virgin Mary, please, don't deprive us of the oil." Mirna heard the answer but her father did not.
I GAVE YOU MORE OIL THAN YOU ASKED FOR, AND YET, I SHALL GIVE YOU SOMETHING MUCH STRONGER THAN OIL.
Mirna's father asked, "Can you see the Virgin Mary?"
"Yes! Yes! She is right here." Mirna reached out and touched the Virgin's foot through the long, white dress. She could actually feel the softness of the top of Her foot. It was real flesh.
REPENT AND BELIEVE...REMEMBER ME WHEN YOU ARE HAPPY.
ANNOUNCE MY SON, EMMANUEL. HE WHO ANNOUNCES HIM IS SAVED. HE WHO DOES NOT...HIS FAITH IS IN VAIN.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER. I AM NOT ASKING FOR MONEY TO BE GIVEN TO THE CHURCHES, NOR TO BE DISTRIBUTED TO THE POOR. I ASK FOR LOVE.
THOSE WHO DISTRIBUTE THEIR MONEY TO THE CHURCHES AND THE POOR, BUT DO NOT HAVE LOVE, ARE NOTHING.
I SHALL VISIT HOMES MORE OFTEN, BECAUSE THOSE WHO GO TO CHURCH, SOMETIMES THEY DO NOT GO TO PRAY.
I AM NOT ASKING YOU TO BUILD A CHURCH FOR ME BUT A SHRINE.
GIVE. DO NOT DEPRIVE ANYONE WHO ASKS FOR HELP.
After She finished the message, the Virgin began to move slowly backward. As She did, the road of light disappeared under Her feet. When She reached the railing of the roof, She passed right through it and raised Her right hand with the Rosary still in it. It was not a wave of good-bye. It was as if She was reminding everyone of the Rosary. She went back to the branch without ever turning around. The ball of light closed around Her again, and She disappeared in the light.
Three times Mirna saw flashes of light around the large globe, then it disappeared also.
No one else on the roof saw anything. Mirna conveyed all the messages to Father Elias Zahlaoui, who wrote them down. Father had to explain to her what the word "Emmanuel" meant. She had never heard it before.
After the apparition, the people began to ask how they should build a shrine. They werent sure what to do. The Virgin answered their questions.
One night during the prayers, all sound disappeared from Mirna's ears. There were many in the house but she heard no sound. Then Mirna heard the Virgin's voice again:
MAKE A NICHE OUTSIDE THE HOUSE. TAKE OUT ONE STONE AND PUT ME IN IT.
Nicole called an engineer friend of his. They could only find one stone on the entire house that could be removed without damage to the walls. This stone was right next to the main door and at eye level. They took out the stone, placed one of the Icons in the space with a marble dish under it, and put a glass cover over the hole. Inside they made another shrine with the original Icon that poured out oil. It was still coming out.
Again Mirna heard the voice in the same manner. This time it was a secret message for Father E. Zahlaoui. All I know about the secret is that something very miraculous happened to Father E. Zahlaoui in his past by the intercession of the Mother of God. She reminded him of it.
MY SON CAN WALK
The oil from the picture didn't stop. The oil from her hands didn't stop. The crowds became larger and larger. Sometimes the oil appeared on the glass of the image like bubbles. It would blow up, then break, making a perceptible noise. Mirna's husband didn't understand nor appreciate any of what was happening -- until the day following the apparition.
On December 19, 1982, a paralyzed boy of nine years was brought to the house from Hons, Syria. The boy's father carried him into the bedroom. His legs were all twisted. He had never been able to walk. Mirna and the father prayed together over the child. Oil came from her hands. She anointed his legs. The child's legs straightened out. He started to move them. The father screamed and ran into the patio kneeling at the water fountain, thanking God with many tears of joy in his eyes. Then he jumped up.
"Give me some shoes. Give me some shoes. My son can walk. He will need shoes."
The son of Mirna's sister was about the same age as the boy. He quickly took off his shoes and gave them to the father, who put them on his son. The boy not only walked all over the patio, but he jumped and danced.
So much joy came to Nicolas in seeing this boy, he never again wanted the miracle to go away. This didn't take away his crosses, which were many, but he began to carry them without complaint. The crosses were many. That same day six other people came on crutches and went away without them. Father Zahlaoui thought about the message, "I shall give you something much stronger than oil."
HOME OF THE ICON
Mirna is a Catholic of the Melkite Byzantine Rite. Her husband, Nicolas, is Greek Byzantine Orthodox. And so, on December 30, 1982, His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim interviewed Nicolas and Mirna in his office. After the interview, the Patriarch promised an official declaration for the following day. The next day the official paper was read to all the Greek Orthodox Churches in Damascus. It gave recognition to that was happening. The Patriarch ordered the Icon moved in procession to the Church of the Holy Cross, which is very near to Nicolas' house.
On January 7, 1983, two days before the moving of the Icon, Safa Abu Fares, a Moslem woman, who was completely blind, recovered her sight. In spite of this, there was no joy in the house of Mary. On the 9th of January the Icon would be moved.
At this point Nabil Choukier who had a video shop a few hundred yards from Mirna's house began to film everything. He now lives in California and is a charter member of THE MESSENGERS OF UNITY. It is because of him that we have everything on film.
On January 8, 1983, at 11:37 p.m., Mirna received her third apparition of the Virgin Mary. The Holy Mother of God was crying. Mirna was crying also, and she cried out: "The Blessed Virgin is crying."
The Virgin said to Mirna, IT IS ALL RIGHT. She smiled and disappeared.
The following day thousands of the faithful marched in the short procession from the house to the church with the Icon. But there was no joy in their singing. The Icon was placed next to a large column in the church, and "collection boxes" were placed around it. The Icon stopped pouring oil.
However, at Mirna's home, a second identical Icon began to pour out oil on January 17, 1983. [Nicolas had bought ten Icons with the first one. This one had been placed in a niche outside the front door of their house]. The news went around fast, and the crowds continued to come to the house.
There on January 26, 1983: Alice Benilian of Aleppo, who had suffered from a withered arm for 13 years, was cured while she was praying in front of the Icon in the church.
On February 21, 1983, two Greek Orthodox priests, Fathers Elias Kfoury and Dimitri Hosni, brought the holy Icon back to the house in a very sacrilegious manner [a black nylon bag]. They told Nicolas he should not allow anyone into his house except Greek Orthodox people. Nicolas, angry about the black bag, answered them:
"I am a Christian before I am a Greek Orthodox. All are welcome."
They went away angry.
Father Joseph Malouli, a Catholic Lazarist priest of the Roman Rite, arrived. He knew what had happened. He asked Mirna to pray with him before the Icon. They recited ten decades of the Rosary and then prayed silently. Father Malouli prayed:
"Virgin Mary, enlighten us so we may do nothing against your wishes."
FORGIVE WITH HUMILITY
Around 9:20 p.m. Mirna left the room. She said nothing. She went upstairs to the terrace. Her brother-in-law saw her and told Father Malouli. He followed, as did the other members of the household and the visitors. At 10:30 p.m. on February 21, 1983, she had another apparition.
The Virgin appeared again in blue and white light just as she had appeared the first time. The Virgin spoke:
MY CHILDREN, THIS IS BETWEEN YOU AND ME.
I CAME BACK HERE... DO NOT INSULT THE PROUD PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO HUMILITY. THE HUMBLE IS THIRSTY FOR THE REMARKS OF OTHERS TO CORRECT HIS FAULTS, WHEREAS THE CORRUPT AND ARROGANT NEGLECTS, REVOLTS, AND BECOMES HOSTILE.
FORGIVENESS IS THE MOST PREFERABLE THING. HE WHO PRETENDS TO BE PURE AND CHARITABLE BEFORE MEN, IS IMPURE BEFORE GOD.
I HAVE A REQUEST TO ASK OF YOU. ENGRAVE THESE WORDS IN YOUR MINDS AND ALWAYS REPEAT THEM.
"GOD SAVES ME. JESUS ENLIGHTENS ME. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MY LIFE. I AM NOT AFRAID."
IS THAT NOT SO, MY SON, JOSEPH? ENDURE AND FORGIVE. ENDURE MUCH LESS THAN WHAT THE FATHER ENDURED.
Mirna passed on the message as she heard it and Father Malouli wrote it down. After the apparition Mirna wanted to know who Joseph was.
"My name is Joseph", Father Malouli said.
Before the apparitions the family didn't know the good father. Few in the city of Damascus knew his first name. Father had an answer. He still didn't know what to do, but he knew what not to do. The Lord's Prayer says, "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." The Mother of God was telling us to do the same thing. She was also repeating the doctrine of the Trinity. "I came back here." It was still the same day the Icon returned. Was Mary saying that where the Icon stayed, there Mary would be? Is this why she was appearing to this little girl? Was it to tell us to be more forgiving? Father pondered the words over and over. There must be another reason for these happenings?
A DIVIDED KINGDOM
March 24, 1983: Mirna had another apparition. It was 9:30 p.m. on the feast of the Annunciation, the entrance of Christ into Her womb and into the world for the first time. The Virgin appeared again in blue and white with the Rosary in Her right hand. She came and left the same way as in the second apparition, in a ball of light on the tree. Twelve people followed Mirna to the roof. They could see nothing. The Virgin came close to Mirna and spoke:
MY CHILDREN, MY MISSION HAS COME TO AN END.
IN THIS NIGHT THE ANGEL TOLD ME: "BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN."
I COULD SAY NOTHING EXCEPT: "I AM THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD."
I AM HAPPY. I AM NOT WORTHY TO SAY: "YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN", BUT MY LORD HAS SAID IT.
ESTABLISH CHURCH. I DID NOT SAY "BUILD A CHURCH".
THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS ADOPTED IS ONE CHURCH, BECAUSE JESUS IS ONE. THE CHURCH IS GOD'S KINGDOM ON EARTH.
HE WHO DIVIDED IT HAS SINNED. HE WHO IS HAPPY IN THESE DIVISIONS HAS ALSO SINNED.
JESUS ESTABLISHED IT. IT WAS VERY SMALL. WHEN IT GREW IT BECAME DIVIDED. WHOEVER DIVIDED IT HAS NO LOVE. BE UNITED.
I SAY TO YOU: "PRAY, PRAY, PRAY." HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE MY CHILDREN WHEN THEY KNEEL AND IMPLORE.
DO NOT BE AFRAID. I AM WITH YOU.
DO NOT BE FRAGMENTED LIKE THE ELDERS. YOU SHALL TEACH GENERATIONS UNITY, LOVE AND FAITH.
PRAY FOR THE INHABITANTS OF (SAMMA) AND EARTH.
The Mother of God clasped Her Rosary at the center of the beads [where it connects making a circle]. The cross hung down. She reached out as if to hand it to Mirna. Mirna reached out with two cupped hands to catch it and lifted her hands to a point of touching the Crucifix. Oil poured quickly out of the Crucifix and filled both hands. It overflowed onto the ground. Everyone around her saw the oil overflowing and ran over to catch it. Each of them filled their own hands from the overflow of Mirna's hands. One man filled his hands and poured it all over his face. Then filled his hands again.
The Virgin backed away lifting the Rosary up as if to remind us not to forget it. The road of light disappeared under Her as She passed through the railing, across the street, into the ball of light in the tree. The ball closed around Her. Three bolts of lightning came out of the ball. Everything disappeared. A large spot of oil on the floor was all that remained. Later they built a ring of bricks around the spot to keep people from walking on it. And later still they built a shrine with a statue of the Virgin over the spot.
Mirna understood almost none of this apparition. Her limited religious knowledge allowed her only to pass it on. A great deal of deep theology is in these simple lines, but we will get into that in another chapter. For now it is important to note that she didn't understand. Mary's mission from God was to teach the world that God wants His Church united again as it was in the beginning.
On October 24, Mirna had two ecstasies. The first at 2:00 p.m. and the second at 6:00 p.m. There were no messages; however, on October 26th she began for the first time to feel the presence of nails in her hands.
On October 28, 1983, Mary comforts her:
DO NOT BE AFRAID. ALL THIS HAPPENED SO THE NAME OF GOD WILL BE GLORIFIED.
DO NOT BE AFRAID. THROUGH YOUR EXAMPLE I WILL EDUCATE MY GENERATION.
The ecstasy lasted from 6:20 p.m. until 6:50, even though the message was short. Oil extruded from her face, neck, chest and hands. Her body became rigid and cold. She had pain in her head and in the palms of her hands. On November 4, 1983 a kind of callosity [red spots] appeared in the middle of each palm.
NOT ALL MY CHILDREN
On the 7th of November she started receiving pain at the "bend of her foot". Oil continued from the Icon and the pain continued. She had the feeling of the presence of nails in the palms of her hands and feet. She prayed all that time.
She stayed in bed. Her mother was beside herself with worry and sympathy for her pain. She began to wish this had never happened to her daughter. Mirna went into another ecstasy, and as she narrates:
"I found myself in the clouds, and I saw my Mother Virgin Mary. She was smiling at me. I smiled too. It was as if She was my sister and my friend. She was standing and I was almost standing... I mean sort of squatting.
The Virgin's smile changed and became gloomy. She said:
GO DOWN AND TELL THEM THAT YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER BEFORE BEING THEIR DAUGHTER.
"I repeated what She said. I saw them all crying around me. Also I saw my body lying down on the bed. How I saw that, I do not know. I told them: 'Nouha, [This is her mother's name.] I am her daughter before being yours.' Again I went back to the Virgin Mary. She said to me:
MY HEART IS CONSUMED FOR MY UNIQUE SON. IT WILL NOT BE CONSUMED FOR ALL MY CHILDREN.
Then I came back and opened my eyes."
During the ecstasy, Mirna approved with a movement of her head what Father Malouli was telling the believers. She kept saying, "Pray, pray, pray!" By now oil was coming out of copies of the Icon from all over the world. Hundreds of Icon copies had been given out to visitors at the house of Soufanieh or simply made by people who believed. These (copies) were pouring out oil, and cures were taking place everywhere. This is very much like what happened and continues to happen with the Miraculous Medal. So far we can count 37 comparisons to the apparitions of Saint Catherine Laboure.
WIFE OR NUN?
The Miracle of Damascus was a year old. No one who lived the miracle had any doubts. Hundreds of priests and nuns had become involved. Five bishops were watching closely. No condemnations were given. Documents were being sent to the Vatican. Mirna was beginning to suffer not only from her body [which was taking on the five wounds of Christ] but also from the people around her and her own husband.
Her friends became angry at her because she continued to be a housewife. She mopped the floors, made beds, fixed the meals, washed the clothes. When her friends saw her, they would get angry.
"Your hands should not do these things. They are blessed by God."
She would answer, "I don't believe the Virgin Mary had a servant."
Nicolas was a problem too. He loved her dearly, but he now thought of her as something that no longer belonged to him, something (not somebody) that was holy, a relic, a sacramental, something too holy to touch. Mirna spent many hours crying. No one knew why. The priests worried about it, but (for a long time) didn't ask. Eventually, they found out. Mirna wanted to have a baby, but Nicolas had not even touched her in over a year. Finally, the good priest decided to get involved.
"Nicolas, marriage is for children. Why are you not having children? Why are you breaking your marriage contract?"
"Father, I married a normal, happy girl, but she no longer belongs to me. God took her away. She should become a nun or something. She has become the property of the world. She is called by God to something. I don't know what. But how can our life ever be the same again? These things do not happen to normal people, only to nuns and priests."
"Have you learned nothing from all of this, Nicolas? What is God trying to say to us? Is it not 'UNITY'? Isn't He telling us we should be one, one Kingdom on earth, one faith, one belief, one Church? The greatest example of this unity was the holy family. Family life is the first building block of the Kingdom, the Church. The unity of the family is the first example of the unity of the Church. If God didn't want your marriage, He would have started this miracle six months earlier before you were married. He wanted to show the world the sanctity of marriage, the sanctity of the unity of one body in Christ. You and Mirna are one, not two. She is no longer alone. She is one body with you. Is that not what you became at the Sacrament of Marriage? Is it not what you promised to God in your vows?"
Nicolas was not convinced. "Yes! Yes! I have thought out all those things. But you know my past life. I was not the most saintly of men. In this part of the world, we do not have such openness about sex. It is not even thought of as holy within the marriage itself. We think of it as only tolerated by God."
"No! No! No! My poor friend! Your thinking is all wrong. What do you think you can give to God? Do you think God needs anything? Does God need sacrifices? Does God need our prayers? No! He doesn't. We need them. He gives everything. All He wants in return is SOULS, SOULS, SOULS. We cannot give Him souls without babies.
Sex is [a] most perfect example of unity, since the unity brings life, and life [properly lived] brings eternal life with Christ, and eternal life with Christ is all God wants from us so He can show us His love forever and ever and ever. Without this perfect unity, nothing happens."
"What about you priests and nuns? What about Christ, Mary, and Joseph? None of you have sex. You have all given it up for God."
"Christ, Mary, Joseph, and we, who have followed their example, have done so to become the servants of the family. We are the aids of the family. We are always and forever outside in order to be the guides, the directors, the debt-payers for all those families who don't live as they should, who don't pray as they should, who don't love as they should. We are ordained by God to be the servants of the family.
But the family is the main building block of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. It is the miniature Kingdom, or the atoms of the Church. Without babies there are no souls for us priests to serve."
STIGMATA AND UNITY
It was a great argument, but the good priest needed help. He got the help from the greatest of all sources. On November 25, 1983, Mirna was starting to show signs of the stigmata. Her small home was packed with priests from every different kind of church: Syrian Catholics, Roman Catholics, Romanian Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Assyrians, etc. Oil continued pouring from her hands and the Icon. Blood came from her side leaving a blood stain on her shirt. By 5:00 P.M. blood was flowing from her hands and her feet. After six hours the blood stopped and the wounds closed all by themselves.
At 8:00 P.M. Mirna had another vision. (See film.) She saw the Virgin Mary. The Virgin was standing at a level slightly higher than Mirna, but in the vision, both were standing. The Holy Mother didn't mention the wounds and pains Mirna had suffered. In referring to past messages and to Nicolas, she simply said:
THAT IS ALL I WANT. I DID NOT COME TO SEPARATE. YOUR MARRIED LIFE SHALL STAY AS IT IS.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO COME TO ME? ... COME IT SUFFICES THAT YOU ARE WILLING TO COME.
Their marriage life became normal again, but God didn't bless them with children. After four-and-one-half years they would finally have a child. It would be with the help of God. (See the message of May 1, 1985.)
The miracle of oil continued, not only from the original Icon, but from other Icons, in other houses and in other countries. The blind were being cured, the lame were walking, the deaf hearing, the sinners repenting. But most important of all, people and even priests from all the different Orthodox, Catholic, and Moslem Churches were praying together as one body.
GREEK ORTHODOX OR NO ONE
This didn't make some of the Greek Orthodox priests happy, especially to see fellow Orthodox priests praying with Catholics. Some Catholics had the same problem. But since Nicolas was Greek Orthodox and head of the household, they felt only Greek Orthodox should lead in the prayers. Father Joseph Malouli, a Catholic priest had been doing it. In spite of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch's approval of the miracle, these priests tried to close down the house by bringing in the local security.
On November 29, 1983, a Greek Orthodox deacon lawyer and a Greek Orthodox theologian came with Syrian security police. The police took the picture apart to find out how the oil came out of it. In doing so, they tore the top right-hand corner of the picture, which remains severed to this day. [The picture took on the look of the Kingdom of God as it is today. The frame was broken on the outside. The Icon was ripped on the inside.] They could find no reason to close down the house.
Several days afterward, the security officer came back to the house. He asked Mirna to pray for him. Ever since he tore the Icon his arms were itching badly. Mirna put oil on his arms and prayed for him. The itching stopped. Never again did they have problems with the police. In fact, on days when the crowds are very large, [thousands of people and hundreds of cars] the police are there directing traffic and keeping order.
During the year, oil flowed from everywhere, in front of people from every walk of life and almost every type of religion except Protestant. It even came from the Sacred Heart Picture on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. On November 6, 1984 in front of the Vatican Ambassador, Pro Nuncio Nicolas Rotunno, oil flowed from the hands of Mirna and from the Icon. He met with her secretly in the Little Sisters of Jesus house in Damascus.
Copies of the Icon were made and passed out. People wrote their names on the copies and wanted to leave them in the house overnight. The copies poured out oil. Soon their bedroom was so full of Icons, Mirna and Nicholas had to sleep on the couches in the living room. Over 900 Icons gave oil in that house. (see pictures) As the oil came from a picture, the name on the Icon was called and they came to pick it up. One nun came to leave a picture with Mirna.
Mirna said, "You don't need to leave it. Oil is already coming." The nun looked down at the Icon still in her hands. Oil was coming out already.
On Holy Thursday, April 18, 1984, the stigmata started again. The wound in her side opened up about five inches long. It opened from the inside to the outside as if the flesh exploded.
The wounds were larger than the ones in 1983. Six hours later the wounds closed without any care. The pain lasted a few days and then disappeared.
BEAUTIFUL SHINING MOUNTAIN
On Holy Friday the pain in her side and head was severe. At 3:30 in the afternoon she went into ecstasy. Father Malouli asked her to ask the Virgin what he should do.
"Mirna, Mirna, ask the Virgin Mary what does she want from us so we will execute it."
Mirna didn't hear anything. During the ecstasy she didn't see the Virgin Mary. She saw a high and beautiful mountain. The entire mountain was bathed in light. It lit the whole mountain. She had a strong wish to climb. Many times during the ecstasy she tried to raise her head and her body. For a long time after the ecstasy she couldn't move her left arm and left leg.
When she recovered, Nicolas, Mirna, Father Malouli and all the household went to the Holy Friday burial-service of Christ at Our Lady of Damascus Church. Probably nowhere in the world is there a greater example of the beautiful result a UNITY the Churches could bring about than the Good Friday candle-light procession at Our Lady of Damascus Church. Father Zahlaoui initiated it many years before the Miracle of Unity began.
The ceremony was so beautiful and he was so well liked by the faithful that in time everyone from every type of church attended his service. More than ten thousand people filled the church and the streets: Roman Catholics, Syrian Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholics, Armenian Catholics, Maronites, Assurian and Moslems, all crowded the streets around his church to pray together for the one Christ.
Unity, one Church, one Christ! Maybe it really all started with the work and the prayers of Father E. Zahlaoui many years earlier. Only a few blocks away from his church is the Catholic Church of Our Lady of Fatima, where in 1977 the statue began to cry. Five years afterward came Mirna. The crowds around Our Lady of Damascus church were so big they encircled both churches. The mountain? I don't know. Maybe it was the Church, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Maybe it was Heaven itself. Maybe it was the unity that we should all try to reach.
THE TRUE PEACE
On May 31, 1984, the Feast of the Ascension, Mirna expressed her wish to see Christ to Father Malouli.
"But you must pay the price," said the good father.
"What is the meaning 'to pay the price'?" She asked.
At 3:00 P.M. she found out. She left her family to lie down on her bed. Oil extruded from her forehead, face, neck, hands and --- eyes.
Severe burning of the eyes started. Father tried to wipe her eyes with cotton and paper towels. Two persons held her hands to prevent her from tearing at them. The pain was great. She went into ecstasy and began to talk.
"I saw him." She smiled and went back into an ecstasy.
Father Malouli stuck her finger with a pin and then her thumb. No reaction. Her father tried to tickle her feet. No reaction. Father Malouli scratched her foot with a screwdriver. No reaction. Sixteen people were in the room.
Jesus spoke to her:
I AM THE BEGINNING AND THE END. I AM THE TRUTH, THE FREEDOM, AND THE PEACE. MY PEACE I GIVE TO YOU.
LET NOT YOUR PEACE DEPEND ON PEOPLE'S TONGUES, WHETHER GOOD OR BAD; AND CONSIDER YOURSELF LOWLY. HE WHO DOES NOT SEEK SATISFACTION FROM MANKIND, AND DOES NOT FEAR THEIR WRATH, ENJOYS THE TRUE PEACE, AND THAT WILL ONLY BE THROUGH ME.
LIVE YOUR LIFE JOYFULLY AND INDEPENDENTLY. LET NOT THE HARDSHIPS YOU HAVE UNDERTAKEN FOR MY SAKE DESTROY YOU BUT REJOICE. I AM ABLE TO REWARD YOU.
YOUR HARDSHIPS WILL NOT LAST; YOUR SUFFERING WILL NOT ENDURE. PRAY WITH ADORATION FOR EVERLASTING LIFE DESERVES THESE SUFFERINGS.
PRAY THAT THE WILL OF GOD MAY BE COMPLETED WITHIN YOU AND SAY:
"SWEET JESUS, GRANT THAT I REST IN YOU ABOVE ANYTHING ELSE,
ABOVE ANY HUMAN BEING,
ABOVE ALL YOUR ANGELS,
ABOVE ANY PRAISE,
ABOVE ANY REJOICING AND HAPPINESS,
ABOVE ANY GLORY AND HONOR,
ABOVE ALL HEAVENLY POWERS,
FOR ONLY YOU ARE THE MOST HIGH.
YOU ARE THE MOST POWERFUL
AND THE MOST GOOD ABOVE ALL THINGS.
MAY YOU COME TO ME AND RELIEVE ME
AND RELEASE MY CHAINS
AND GRANT ME FREEDOM,
BECAUSE WITHOUT YOU MY JOY IS NOT COMPLETE.
WITHOUT YOU MY BANQUET IS EMPTY.'
THEN I WILL COME AND SAY:
'HERE I AM BECAUSE YOU CALLED ME.'
Unlike the Virgin Mary, Mirna didn't see Christ clearly. She saw Him on a mountain with thousands of hands praising Him. He was dressed entirely in fire red. A light shone around Him so bright that she couldn't see Him clearly, but could make out that it was Christ. He was about 200 feet away from her when He spoke. She heard Him clearly. It was the first time she saw Him, but she would see Him many more times after that.
The explanation of many of these messages can be found in The Imitation of Christ, especially on humility and the cross we have to carry. The Miraculous Metal alone has 20 correlations: dates, hours, clothes, hands, Immaculate Conception, etc.)
On Friday, September 7, 1984, another ecstasy started at 7:47 P.M. Dr. Samia Barsa tested her reactions during the ecstasy. The Virgin Mary confided a secret to her and told her:
THIS IS BETWEEN YOU AND ME UNTIL THE MOMENT OF YOUR DEATH. [secret message]
LIVE YOUR LIFE, BUT LIFE SHOULD NOT STOP YOU FROM PRAYING.
There was much commotion in the room that night. On November 20, 1984 she heard a voice,
I WILL TAKE YOUR EYES.
She told Miss Hana Janane, a Moslem, what was going to happen to her.
Six days later, Mirna lost her eyesight. For three days she could not see anything except a white light. Her eyes were open and normal, but she could see nothing. When sacred objects were placed in front of her, she could see them as if made of white light: crucifixes, rosaries, Saint images, etc. In fact, she could see the images right through the people who tried to stand in the way of them.
Her face glowed with happiness. Her body emitted a kind of perfume. She fasted for these three days. She had a great peace and calmness about her. The entire house felt this peace.
On the third day of her blindness Father Zahlaoui brought her communion. He told her to open her mouth for the communion. She said that she all ready received communion that day. Father asked her mother if any other priest had come in that day. No one had. But Mirna said she felt someone's hand and received a host. Father gave her the second communion.
During the three days she didn't close her eyes once. She didn't sleep at all. The light was so beautiful, so peaceful, and so heavenly she didn't want it to ever end. Her mother was constantly worried though. She pleaded with Mirna to sleep. Finally, as the third day was coming to an end, Mirna said a prayer, more for her mothers sake than her own, that she would sleep just for one half hour.
She felt someone's hand softly go over her eyes as if to close them. She felt this three times. Finally she told her mother to move her hand away from her. Her mother was not even near her.
At 9:00 P.M. she vomited a perfumed oil; at l2:00 midnight, she recovered her sight. The first person she saw was her mother. There were over thirty people in the room including Nabil, who took pictures of everything on his video camera. Everyone cried. During the three days, her face was the color of pink, but after, it went back to normal, which is sort of pale.
FATHER IS IN HEAVEN
March 3, 1985: Nicole, Mirna, Father Zahlaoui, Father Malouli, and some other people went to see the Catholic Bishop, Paul Bourkhoch, of Hauran. After leaving, Father E. Zahlaoui went to the cemetery to pray with a group of priests and nuns over the grave of Msgr. Naaman. Father Naaman was the founder and builder of the mission. He was also the teacher of Father Zahlaoui, and father had a great love for him.
Nicolas, Mirna and Father Malouli left him and headed back home. Mirna fell into an ecstasy in the car on the way home. They had to go back to the Mission. They placed her in the bed of one of the nuns.
Many people were there to pray for the deceased Msgr. Naaman, but Mirna and Nicolas didn't know anything about why they were there or about Msgr. Naaman. They prayed the Rosary around Mirna's bed.
Mirna had a vision. She saw the Virgin Mary standing with a very short man. After the vision, she told them about the man. They showed her pictures of Msgr. Naaman, but the ones where he had on a hat she didn't recognize. When she saw him without a hat she said that it was the man she saw. It was the deceased Msgr. Naaman. Everyone who knew this bishop rejoiced, for Mary was telling them that he was in Heaven. Mirna had never met him.
On March 24, 1985, a large amount of oil came up from tiles on the floor of the roof. The same spot on the roof where it had poured out of the Virgin Mary's Rosary into Mirna's hands and onto the floor exactly one year before.
MY HEART IS DIVIDED
On May 1, 1985, the feast of St. Joseph, the Worker, (Latin calendar.) oil flowed from Mirna's hands and face. Again she saw the Virgin Mary. The Virgin spoke to her:
MY CHILDREN, BE UNITED. MY HEART IS WOUNDED.
DO NOT ALLOW MY HEART TO BE DIVIDED BECAUSE OF YOUR DIVISIONS.
MY DAUGHTER, I WILL GRANT YOU A GIFT FOR YOUR FATIGUES.
A gift for your fatigues? Mirna didn't understand. What she didn't know was that after four and one half years of marriage, she was pregnant. Eight months after this message she would give birth to a baby girl named Myriam. Later, while traveling in California, they had a boy and named him "John Emmanuel".
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Nicolas and Mirna went to the city of Al Hassake which is about 600 miles from Damascus. It has one of the largest churches in Syria. The people of Al Hassake had been asking Mirna to come for a long time. They went to the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop and asked to have a Unity Mass. They wanted all the different churches to join together and pray for unity. They received his permission, but Mirna wanted to have Wadih Al-Safi, the greatest singer in the Arab world, sing at the Mass.
The Archbishop, however, never allowed musical instruments in church. He would not budge on this point. Before they left his office, the bishop asked Mirna to pray with him. They went into another room. As they prayed oil came out of her hands.
When the bishop came out of the room he said, "You can have your violin. You can have a piano if you want. Whatever you want."
The next day, Sunday August 4, 1985, St. George Church was filled to overflowing. There were over 10,000 people inside alone. Syrian Catholic priests were there. Syrian Orthodox priests were there. Armenian Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, and Chaldean priests came. Two bishops, Catholic and Orthodox, directed the Mass. Wadih Al-Safi led by singing the International Prayer of Soufanieh, written by Awad, the brother of Nicholas:
"Virgin Mary of Soufanieh
She gathers us night after night
For peace we pray and for Christian unity
Oh Mary, heal the sick.
Bring back those who went away
Release the prisoners. Bring them home
to visit Soufanieh
Oh Mary, Mother of Light,
We light candle and incense
Daily we give the gift of rose
and pray to you every night
She came in Heaven's glory
with Her healing oil to us
Jesus' whose blood redeemed us,
save us from sin."
At the end of the Mass, Mirna sang the same song. As she sang, oil came out of her hands and her face. The crowds pushed around her. It was hot. She fell backwards and was caught by two women. They thought the heat got to her so they laid her down on two chairs and tried to cool her. What they didn't know was that she was in ecstasy. The Holy Mother spoke to her:
THE CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN ON EARTH.
HE WHO DIVIDED IT HAS SINNED.
HE WHO IS HAPPY WITH THESE DIVISIONS HAS ALSO SINNED.
THROUGH YOUR EXAMPLE I WILL EDUCATE MY GENERATION.
It was forty minutes before she came back to earth. Forty minutes seems like a long time, but as Mirna tells us, everything has to move slowly in order to prepare her soul for the vision. She saw the Virgin in the same clothes as She wore in the Miraculous Medal and in the first apparition.
UNITY OF HEARTS
On Wednesday, August 14, 1985, the anticipation was very high. This is one of the feast days that something always happens. Five hundred people packed like sardines into the small house. They were on the stair case to the patio. They were on the stairs to the roof. The roof was packed. The living room was packed. Outside in the street were hundreds more. During the prayers there was an attempt to rotate the people. Mirna stood next to the water fountain and prayed and sang with the people.
Somehow she knew something was going to happen. She tried to visualize the Virgin as she normally does in her prayer, but she couldn't. All she could do was ask help of her Mother to prepare her and to pray for the forgiveness of her sins and weakness. It was the eve of the Assumption.
Slowly the room and the people began to disappear from her eyes and mind. She saw nothing but light. The light seemed to pull from her all thoughts and attractions of this earth. When the cleansing was complete, she saw the Virgin Mother. She was all shining like bright diamonds in blue and white. Mirna went into an ecstasy at 7:12 P.M. They carried her to the bedroom. The Virgin Mary spoke to her about unity:
HAPPY FEAST DAY! MY FEAST IS WHEN I SEE ALL OF YOU GATHERED TOGETHER.
YOUR PRAYER IS MY FEAST. YOUR FAITH IS MY FEAST. THE UNITY OF YOUR HEARTS IS MY FEAST.
After her Mother left, she saw the white light for a time. Then she became aware of people in the room, but she could not see them. She was very unhappy that the people were there. This was true of every ecstasy. Her vision was so beautiful, she wanted to just lay there and enjoy the memory of the vision for a long time. But she knew the crowds would not let her. She opened her eyes and answered all the questions from her bed.
THE BIRTH OF MARY
September 7, 1985, the eve of the birth of Mary, the crowds were again big in the little house of Soufanieh because of the feast day. During the prayer, oil started in her hands and then just burst out on her face. It came out of her eyes. Her eyes were on fire. She tried to dig at her eyes. She was taken to the bedroom, and they held onto her hands to keep her from clawing at her eyes. Her mother held on to her with the help of others. (As in almost all the ecstasies, everything was filmed. See film.)
Mirna fell into an ecstasy. The pain in her eyes went away. She saw a beautiful bright white light. A period of time passed as she enjoyed the vision and the feeling of the light. The image of a man appeared in the light. He was completely made of light but much brighter than the light around Him. She heard Him speak to her in a far off voice but very clear:
I AM THE CREATOR.
I CREATED HER TO CREATE ME.
REJOICE FOR HEAVEN IS REJOICING BECAUSE THE DAUGHTER OF THE FATHER, THE MOTHER OF GOD AND THE BRIDE OF THE SPIRIT IS BORN.
REJOICE, FOR THE EARTH IS REJOICING BECAUSE YOUR SALVATION HAS BEEN REALIZED.
SAVED BY THE CROSS
On October 10, 1985, Mirna attended Mass in Lebanon. The crowd was so large Mirna hardly had air to breathe. Oil started coming out of her hands. The people became crazed. They wanted to touch her, take hair from her, a piece of her clothing. Her life was in danger. Nicolas and the other men couldn't stop the people. Suddenly oil began coming out of the huge crucifix on the wall. Everyone saw it. They ran to the crucifix taking oil off the legs of Christ. Mirna was able to get away. Nicolas took her out of the church to safety. (See film.) The oil from the Cross had saved her life.
CRUCIFIED OR HONORED?
On the third anniversary of the phenomenon, November 26, 1985, Mirna fell into another ecstasy. Oil poured from her face, eyes, neck, hands, and feet. There were six Catholic priests, one Greek Orthodox, a Deacon lawyer, a writer-theologian, and the family watching. The doctor separated the flesh from the nail of her finger, which angered Nicolas. After she came out of the ecstasy, her finger hurt for a long time. During the ecstasy she had no reaction at all. The trance lasted for one and one half hours. Christ spoke to her:
MY DAUGHTER, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE CRUCIFIED OR HONORED?
Mirna answered honestly, "Honored."
Christ smiled and said,
WOULD YOU PREFER TO BE HONORED BY THE CREATURES OR BY THE CREATOR?
"By the Creator."
THIS WILL BE BY CRUCIFIXION BECAUSE THE MORE YOU LOOK AT THE CREATURES, THE FARTHER YOU GET FROM THE CREATOR'S LOVE.
MY DAUGHTER, I WANT YOU TO PRAY FERVENTLY AND DESPISE YOURSELF, FOR HE [WHO DESPISES HIMSELF] GAINS STRENGTH AND DIGNITY FROM GOD.
I WAS CRUCIFIED FOR YOUR LOVE'S SAKE. I WANT ALL OF YOU TO ACCEPT AND CARRY YOUR CROSS FOR MY SAKE WITH OBEDIENCE, LOVE, AND PATIENCE, AND AWAIT MY ARRIVAL, FOR HE WHO SHARES IN MY PAIN, WILL SHARE IN MY GLORY. THERE IS NO SALVATION FOR THE SOUL EXCEPT THROUGH THE CROSS.
DO NOT BE AFRAID, MY DAUGHTER. I SHALL GIVE YOU FROM MY WOUNDS ENOUGH TO PAY THE DEBT OF SINNERS, BECAUSE THIS IS THE SOURCE FROM WHICH EVERY SOUL SHALL QUENCH ITS THIRST.
IF MY ABSENCE ENDURES, AND THE LIGHT IS CONCEALED FROM YOU, DO NOT BE AFRAID, BECAUSE THIS IS FOR MY GLORIFICATION.
GO TO THE LAND IN WHICH CORRUPTION HAS PREVAILED, AND BE IN GOD'S PEACE.
When Christ said, "If My absence endures", no one knew what He meant. However, from that day, November 26, 1985, until November 26, 1986, Mirna had no apparitions or ecstasies, no oil came from her hands, and no oil came from the Icon. It was a test by God for her and for the people. In spite of the lack of miracles, the people continued to come everyday. They continued to pray just as if nothing stopped. One year later it started all over again.
THE DEATH OF AWAD
During the year of silence from God and from all miracles, Mirna was pregnant with her first child, Myriam. She was born on October 15, 1986. Forty-one days later, on the feast of the apparitions, Mirna had her first vision in over a year. Forty-one days are the exact amount of days of purification for women who have babies, and this purification period is still observed in the Eastern Churches.
On the night of March 26, 1986 at 11:00 p.m., Father E. Zahlaoui was called. He went right over. Nicolas was upset. The house was full of people praying. They were standing, astonished at what they saw.
The small Icon had moved all by itself. Mirna's father told Father E. Zahlaoui in a stuttering voice that he found the Icon had moved from the lower stand to the higher one.
Mirna's father owns a marble factory. At the request of Father Malouli, when the Icon first started pouring out oil, he made a little marble house for the Icon. It has four glass sides. It looks like a little church. The front of it has a door with a large lock. Only Father Malouli has the key. He also made a marble dish to catch the oil. There was so much oil, he made a larger dish and a higher stand for the Icon. After fixing the picture on the new, higher stand, people said they didn't like it that high. So it was moved to the lower one, and the door was locked. On this day, however, it moved to the higher one all by itself. No one knew why.
Father saw Mirna sitting on a chair near the Icon. She was pale. Father asked her what happened.
"I don't know. My father and Nicolas screamed. I came and found the photo as you see."
"Where is Father Malouli?" He asked, since he knew that he had the only key.
"He couldn't come today. He is busy moving all the documents from the convent."
"Where is Nicolas?"
"He is in the sitting room."
Father found Nicolas sitting on the couch, very pale. He greeted him, but Nicolas didn't get up.
"Father, please forgive me. I feel pain in my knees. Please, Father, what is happening?"
No one knew. They prayed all night long. Awad [Nicolas' brother] lived in the same house but on the upper floor. He was dying of an illness since September. Awad was a very holy man. These last months he was praying all the time. He would listen to the people singing and praying the Rosary downstairs everyday. Some of the prayers and songs he had written himself. The main song of the house was one of his.
"Virgin Mary of Soufanieh - We gather every night - For peace we pray - and for Christian Unity."
Subsequently, the Icon of the Virgin bent over to the front of the glass all be itself and stayed like that for two days. On the third day it fell into the oil basin. Awad died. Awad's daughter was only nine years old, and she was at his side when he died. All the family cried, but she comforted them.
"Daddy wouldn't want your tears. He would want your prayers." She led them in praying the Rosary.
At Awad's funeral, his daughter walked next to Mirna singing the Virgin's song, surrounded by all the women singing all the way to the church with his coffin. Moslem and Christian men carried the coffin from the house to the church. All the way they sang:
"VIRGIN MARY, OPEN YOUR DOORS TO AWAD, YOUR MOST VALUABLE BELOVER."
DO NOT SELL MY BLOOD
During the year of silence from God and all miracles, Mirna had her first child, Myriam [October 15, 1986]. Forty-one days later, on the feast of the apparitions, November 26, 1986 oil started again to flow from the Icon for the first time in a year.
On that day and before Awad's funeral and with the Icon lie bowed against the glass, Mirna went into another ecstasy. As before, it was preceded by oil from her face, hands, and neck. She saw a strong light with a more brilliant light inside. A human shape was in it. She heard a man's voice, loud and deep:
HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THIS PLACE. IN IT I SHALL ESTABLISH MY KINGDOM AND MY PEACE.
I SHALL GIVE YOU MY HEART, IN ORDER TO HAVE YOURS.
YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN BECAUSE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ME, AND HE WHO LOOKS FOR ME, I SHALL IMPRINT MY IMAGE IN HIM.
WOE TO HIM WHO REPRESENTS MY IMAGE AND SELLS MY BLOOD.
PRAY FOR THE SAKE OF SINNERS. IN EACH WORD OF PRAYER I POOR A DROP OF MY BLOOD ON A SINNER.
DO NOT BE TROUBLED BY EARTHLY THINGS BECAUSE THROUGH MY WOUNDS YOU SHALL EARN EVERLASTING LIFE. I WANT TO RENEW MY PASSION.
I WANT YOU TO ACCOMPLISH YOUR MISSION BECAUSE YOU CANNOT ENTER HEAVEN UNLESS YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED YOUR MISSION ON EARTH.
GO IN PEACE TELL MY CHILDREN TO COME TO ME AT ALL TIMES, AND NOT ONLY WHEN I RENEW THE FEAST OF MY MOTHER FOR I AM WITH THEM AT ALL TIMES.
THE STIGMATA OF 1987
Holy Thursday, April 16, 1987, was another year where Easter for the Western Church and the Eastern Church landed on the same day. Everyone expected the same phenomenon of the stigmata to happen to Mirna again as a sign that God wanted unity between the churches. What they didn't expect was the change. The first time she received the wounds of Christ, they were very small. The second time they were larger. This time they were much larger. In fact, this time she even received one of the wounds in the head from the crown of thorns.
Father Elias Zahlaoui tells us the story in his own words:
"I arrived at Soufanieh at 2:25 P.M. in the afternoon. The Nazzour family was taking lunch at the courtyard, near the Holy Icon. I prayed for awhile, then I asked where Mirna was. They said she was in the bedroom with Father Malouli. I entered the room. Father Malouli was reciting his Breviary. Mirna seemed to be calm but worried. I told her: 'So, Mirna, are you preparing something for us?'
'Father, don't frighten me.' she responded.
'Remember what I told you. You are the last person in the world to be permitted to say the word 'frighten'. The Lord and the Virgin Mary are with you.'
I sat next to the father. I was reading the gospel of John, trying to follow the passion of Christ. Again Mirna said: 'All my body is shivering.'
'Mirna, don't interfere. Leave it to God.'
She walked back and forth in the room looking at the floor and at the ceiling saying, 'Virgin Mary ... Lord Jesus..' She put her hands on her face. She sat in the corner of the room, at the left side of the bed, repeating the same words, 'Virgin Mary ... Jesus...Lord.'
Then she sat on the floor, shriveled up, clenching her knees and her chin. I watched her. Suddenly she screamed and put her hands on her head. 'Take it away. Take it away.' I ran to her. She bent a bit backwards. I held her shoulder. I saw the blood coming out of her forehead. I saw it in the mirror placed in front of her. At the same time, she opened her arms and let them fall down. I saw also the blood coming out of her palms. With Father Malouli, we put her on her bed. The blood was coming out of her feet also. All this happened in a few seconds.
Father Malouli [who has the habit of timing everything] said it was precisely at 2:46 P.M. To see the stigmata appearing right in front of us reminded me of what the Director of the French Hospital in Damascus had said the first time she had the stigmata on November 25, 1983. We took Mirna to the hospital two days after to request a medical certificate regarding the stigmata and the inexplicable disappearance (without leaving any trace). Dr. Nasrallah asked us if we were both present when the wounds appeared. I remember very well telling him that, 'God was not in the habit of giving an appointment of this kind.'
In my heart I was saying an immense prayer to God to permit Father Malouli and I to witness this unique thing in the future. I ran to the telephone and called the physicians: Jamil Marje, George Mesmar, Louis Kawa, George Mounayer, Elie Barsa, his wife, and Dr. Najat Zahlaoui. I also called the Patriarch of the Greek Catholic Church, Father Elias Sargi, Father Elias Baladi, and Father Rizkalla Semaan. I called the Maronites (as Father Malouli requested), Father Khalil Rustom and Father Mouwannes. I then called the Italian Hospital, informing Sister Fiorina and requesting her to inform the Nuncio of the Vatican. I called the French Hospital, but the line was busy. So I called Sister Lucy, head of the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and asked her to run to the hospital to inform the Superior. I called the physician in charge of the chemical sciences, Hani Rezk, from the Research Scientific Center in Damascus. I called Fadi Touma so that he would inform Mr. Antoine Maksisi and Mr. Adib Mousleh. I called Bassam Mesmar to inform his sister, Mouna. I tried to call Doctor of Biology Jean-Claude Antakly and his wife, who arrived the night before from Paris. I also called Dr. Michel Saba.
I went back and sat right at the head of Mirna's bed. I stayed for the duration of her 'passion' followed by the ecstasy and her coming back to normal. I took care to note everything: words, gestures, etc., while the camera of Nabil Choukair, whom I called first, was doing his job. (See film.) Here is everything I noted, with the precious help of Father Salmo, Syrian Catholic, who was sitting next to Mirna, along with Father Ain. The following are all my notes without any commentary:
In the room is Father Malouli, Doctor Jamil Marji, Father Nasri Salmo, Father Antoine Ain. Mirna is singing, 'That we participate at His Cross.' Then she screams 'Akh... ah... dakhildon [dakhilkon means "I am begging you"] dakhilkon... dakhilkon... akh... Oh, my mother... my head... ah.'
The physician, Antakly, took her wrist, and she screamed, 'Akh, Oh, Virgin... Oh, Jesus... for your suffering, Lord... for your suffering, Lord... Oh, Jesus, have pity on me, your sinner servant.'
The physician touched her hand. There was pain. He touched her foot and there was pain, severe pain. 'Oh, Lord... Ah, Jesus, I am begging you... I cannot stand it anymore... Lord... This is the time of my weakness, Lord... I cannot see with my eyes... Oh, Jesus, I am begging you... I cannot bear as much as you do, Lord.'
I asked her husband, Nicolas, to check the wound on her side.
'It is as big as the last time, but I don't know if its in the same place.'
The position of both feet during all her 'passion' was right foot on the left foot in the form of an 'X'. We put them apart, and she put them back in the same position.
'Oh, Jesus, have pity on the dead... Oh, Jesus, have pity on me... Oh, Jesus... God is the Creator... God, the Creator, can be proved by Himself. He doesn't need any witness... For your glory, God.'
Almost stammering she said, 'For the forgiveness of the sinners... whom I am the first, whom I am the first, whom I am the first... I feel they are driving nails in my head... Oh, Virgin, I am begging you.'
Mirna's baby was in the room. Doctor Najat Zahloui asked her, 'What do we say to Myriam? Do you want Myriam?'
'She has her Mother.' Said Mirna. 'I feel pain in all my body... I have pain in my eyes... my head... Give me some water.'
Father Nasri Salmo gave her a piece of cotton dipped in water. 'Lord, Lord, why do you abandon me? I don't feel with my hands... Oh, Lord, Oh, Jesus... support my little faith... Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord.............. Lord. Oh, my Mother, tell your Son... Oh, my Mother... alleviate my suffering, Lord (she raised her head up and down)... Keep away your crown, Lord... keep it away... keep it away. Lord, I cannot bear what you can bear yourself. Lord, You... You are God... I am a worm of the earth.'
It was 4:10 P.M. 'Lord, don't permit me to become more pitiful. Oh, Virgin, I beg you, don't let the people be afraid of the spectacle of your Son. Oh, my Mother.'
At 4:17 P.M. Mrs. Antakly took her pulse. It was 100. 'Oh! My Mother, those are your children...Oh, my Mother... You are their Mother.'
I asked her if she saw anything. 'Light, light...I am conscious of everything, but I suffer from everything.'
'If you don't feel,' I told her, 'all your suffering has no meaning.'
'But pray for me, father, so He will alleviate my suffering.'
'Tell Him, Mirna, that His Will be done.'
'Oh! Virgin. Oh, Mother.'
At 4:27 P.M. blood flowed again from her forehead. 'Oh, my Mother... my head, ah, my head... I am begging you. Move it away... Your will be done, Lord... Oh, Jesus, I am begging you. Have pity on me, your sinner servant.' At 4:28 P.M. she was screaming weakly. Mrs. Antakly touched her hand. 'Akh, my Mother, I am begging you. All this suffering, and it is equivalent to the suffering of Her smallest toe.'
Mrs. Antakly took her pulse. It was 130. At 4:37 P.M. Mirna made a gesture to remove 'the spines' from her forehead and her temples. 'Move them away, move them away.' Again blood started to come out of her forehead. The gesture to remove 'the spines' lasted for two minutes.
'Pray for me... but remove it away......... He loves us... He loves you... Oh, dad........ He... He loves us... We... we don't love Him... We are playing a comedy to each other... He discovered us... He knows who loves Him... We are playing the comedy between each other... He is patient toward us... He... He wants to UNIFY us by His Will... He can make it over our head [the literal translation would mean our head will be the price]... but He wants it to come from us.'
As Mirna was saying these words about UNITY, I heard Father Malouli in the patio, preaching about the beauty of this house, the beauty of prayer, the unity of hearts, and the Lord's call for the Unity of the Church. At 4:40 P.M. Mirna again started the gesture to remove 'the spines' from her head and temples. 'Ahh, Lord', rubbing her left temple.
"I asked her if she wanted us to sing. 'Yes.' She said. George Bdeoui sang one of the songs of Holy Thursday:
'Today He is suspended on a wood, the one who suspended the earth on the waters...'
At 4:46 P.M. she had a stifled scream, and she put her hand at her left side. I asked her what she saw.
'I see light, but I suffer a lot.' She dropped her head to the right side and became unconscious. I called her many times by her name, but she didn't react. The physician raised her left arm up and let it fall down. It caused no pain and she did not react. He repeated it many times.
At 4:55 P.M. the surgeon, George Mesmar, asked to examine the wound on her left hand. Biologist Antakly said, with a reproach, 'Science should always interfere.' I responded that there is no inconvenience from our part. At 4:56 P.M. Dr. George Mesmar cleaned the wound of her left hand. Again blood started to come out of it, but only a small quantity. At 4:57 P.M. Mr. Antakly took the pulse of Mirna: 124.
I noticed that Mirna's eye-lashes were trembling. I told Dr. Antakly. I called her many times, but she heard nothing. At 4:58 P.M. Dr. Mesmar asked to be authorized to clean the wound of her forehead. Nicolas asked the priests. Permission was granted. Cleaned, the wound appeared to be very deep. It measured one centimeter. Again blood started to come out, but this time abundantly. The crease of her forehead was filled. It flowed to her hair and made a big spot on the white cloth under her head.
At 5:10 P.M. Dr. Mesmar cleaned the wound on her foot. Again blood started to come out, but not as much as before. She came around and crossed her hands on her chest and kept them in that position for a while.
She said, 'My shoulder.' She put her head in both of her hands. At 5:21 P.M. she opened her eyes slightly.
I asked her, 'Did He tell you anything?'
'No, but I am broken.'
George Bdeoui asked me to ask her what she saw in details.
She said, All the passion... I am very tired... The spectacle is impossible for me to forget it... I will tell you all about it later.
'If I ask you to write what you saw?'
'I will write it.'
George Bdeoui insisted I interrogate her. I did. I told her to tell us everything she saw. She expressed with chopped words the following:
'From afar, I saw Him coming down from a stairs. Carrying the cross... Dressed in red... Had a crown at His forehead... They climbed the mountain. The Virgin Mary with three others. There were three women... They hit Him a lot... When they whipped Him... Yes, when He was whipped... before that, they gave Him the cross... Someone carried the cross with Him. A soldier... 'Spectacle of a Cross'...
Words were said in a very loud voice, like if it wasn't Him who said them,
FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING.
'Three women were on the ground, like kneeling. I didn't hear any noise. It was a silent spectacle.'
'After the crucifixion,' asked Bdeoui, 'did someone come near Jesus?'
'They gave Him a drink... They pierced Him with a javelin... He didn't drink... The last word was a scream:
'FATHER FORGIVE THEM'.
'Maybe He meant us with these words... I don't know... When He breathed out, He cried... It was a silent spectacle... Only one man and three women brought Him down from the Cross... The world became black... Women, one military, one man and three women... The women wore black.'
I realized that Mirna wanted to stand up. I left the room and invited everyone to leave also, to leave her alone for a moment."
Written by Father Elias Zahlaoui: In Damascus on April 18, 1987
As long as we have no unity, her suffering just might continue. Let us make sure we are not the reason [or even a small part of the reason] for her sufferings.
UNITY OR ELSE
Saturday, April 18, 1987 [Holy Saturday]: Nicolas called Father E. Zahlaoui late at night. It was 9:45 P.M. Oil was flowing abundantly from the four-inch Icon. Five minutes later he was there. The marble container was already full of oil. The house was full of people. Everyone was praying. Crowds came from everywhere.
Just after 10 P.M. Mirna was standing with the crowd of people with both her hands on her face. Her hands were dripping with oil and she was very shaky. Father called Antoine Makdisi, Adib Mousleh, and Dr. Hani Rezk from the Research National Center. Nicolas had taken Mirna to the bed and asked Father to be with her. He took notes of every gesture and word. His notes:
"She had both her hands on her forehead and was screaming, 'Akh, Oh, my Mother.' She pressed both fingers into her eyes. 'Oh, my Mother.' Oil flowed from her face. She pressed her eyes.
"Father asked everyone to pray in their hearts and not to stare at her.
'Oh, my Mother, my eyes.' She pressed her eyes again. 'Oh, my God.'
"Nicolas and her father wanted to hold her hands, but Father e. Zahlaoui stopped them. 'Don't worry. Leave her.'
"Pressing her eyes she continued her pain, 'Oh, my God, Oh, my Lord, Oh, my Mother, Oh, Virgin Mary... Oh, Jesus, have pity on me, your servant sinner. Oh, oh, Virgin... Akh, my God... God, I can't stand it anymore. I cannot stand it anymore.'
"She rubbed her eyes and pressed them hard, moaning and crying. 'Lord, I can't stand it anymore.' She began to cry. 'I can't stand it....................That Your Will be done.'
"She pressed her hands on her forehead. She covered her face with her hands and moved her head. 'Oh, my Mother.' Then she said the first part of the Lord's Prayer outloud. The people present said the second part, and when they finished, she fell into ecstasy. It was 11:16 P.M.
"Mirna placed her left hand over her chest and her right hand over the pillow behind her head. Her fingers were in the form used by a priest who is making a blessing.
"Father E. Zahlaoui had to get angry at all the talking of the people present and told them to pray. Mirna's father was already saying the Rosary. Nicolas was upset and was saying over and over again, 'Oh, my God. Oh, my God.' When he heard someone asking people to leave the room to make room for others to come in, Nicolas said, 'Who is able to leave such a spectacle, to leave the room?'
Doctor Jamil Marji examined her and tried to open her fingers, but they went right back into the position of a blessing. Then at 11:32 P.M. she moved her right hand and her head. She tried to raise her right hand up. When she did she made a blessing over her head in the form of a cross. She made the sign of the cross with her hand three times.
"Her father said, 'Your Will be done.'
"She lowered her hand and said, 'Christ has risen.'
"Everyone responded according to the Oriental rite, 'Really, He has risen.' This was repeated three times.
"Her eyes were always closed, but she opened and closed them now. She made the sign of the cross on herself, wiped her eyes and opened her eyes.
'Did you see anything?' Asked Father.
'Did He tell you anything?'
'Nothing but two things.'
'It is okay. What did He tell you?'
'I saw a strong light. After awhile the Christ in a white robe as if He was in the Heavens. Maybe it's the Resurrection? He said:
I HAVE GIVEN YOU A SIGN OF MY GLORIFICATION. CONTINUE YOUR JOURNEY; I AM WITH YOU, ........ .OR ELSE.
'That's all?' asked Father.
'Yes, it is all.'
'When He said OR ELSE, did He do anything?'
'He gave the blessing sign.'"
PRAY WITH FAITH
On the Feast of the Ascension, May 28, 1987, oil began to flow again from the Icon of Mary and the Christ child. By 10:30 P.M. the marble container was half full. The oil was coming at the rate of one drop per second. The house was filled with people. All the usual priests were there. They sang songs and prayed the Rosary together. Mirna was in the back of the room. Suddenly oil flowed from her hands. She saw it but didn't want anyone else to see it. She wanted them to continue the prayers. She tried to go to her room, but she fell down. The priests carried her and put her on the bed. The oil was flowing from her face, her hands. She had pain in her eyes. She entered into an ecstasy.
She put her right hand on her left hand. Her eyes opened and closed, but she saw no one. Her lips moved without any sound as though she was praying. She made the sign of the cross. When the ecstasy was over, one of the guests asked, "Mirna, did you see anything?"
"What does He wear?"
"A white dress, and He has His hand raised upward."
"Did He tell you anything? A command?"
"There is something."
"Is it something in particular?"
"No. It is concerning charity."
"What did He say exactly?"
LOVE ONE ANOTHER AND PRAY WITH FAITH.
After this message, Christ gave a secret message to Mirna to give to three priests, Father E. Zahlaoui, Father Malouli, and Father Paul Fadell.
"Did He say anything else?"
"For you or for everybody?"
"What did He say after the blessing?"
"It was for me. It is something personal. He checked my wounds."
"Did you ask Him for anything?"*
"I didn't have time to."
"Did you pray for us?"
"He is with us, and I will pray for you."
Fathers E. Zahlaoui, Fadell and Malouli had asked her to ask Christ if they could talk about the secret message confided to her. She told them (when no one was around) that Christ knew what she was going to ask before she asked and told her,
THE MATTER YOU CAME FOR, DO NOT TALK ABOUT IT.
Father Paul Fadall is very holy Greek Catholic priest who teaches in the Seminary. Once, after this apparition, a priest told Father Fadall that he would die if he went to Lebanon. He went anyway. Mirna heard of it and prayed to God for him. She told God that if he died she would be very angry. A bomb hit the seminary he was in, but he wasn't hurt. When he returned, everyone hugged him for they all knew of the prediction of his death. Mirna wasn't angry at God.
CHRIST, NOT ME
On July 22, 1987, in Harissa, Lebanon, Nicole and Mirna went to Tony Hanna's house. Many people prayed at the foot of the statue of Our Lady of Lebanon in the house. During the prayer, oil flowed from Mirna's hands, face, and eyes. She went into an ecstasy. She saw a bright light, so bright it was as if light came from inside her eyes. She couldn't see anything except the light. She heard a voice. It was a strong voice. It had the sound of a voice from a tunnel or (as she says) as "if you put a seashell over your ear".
DO NOT BE AFRAID. THROUGH YOU I SHALL EDUCATE MY GENERATION. PRAY, PRAY AND PRAY, AND WHEN YOU PRAY, SAY:
"OUR FATHER, THROUGH THE WOUNDS OF YOUR BELOVED SON, DELIVER US."
On July 28, 1987, they had a procession from the church to Tony Hanna's house. Tony Hanna had built an outside chapel so the people could pray even when he wasn't home. The procession was to bring a copy of the Icon of Soufanieh to the chapel. Two priests walked on both sides of the Icon. A large crowd followed. When they reached the chapel, Mirna fell into an ecstasy. They placed her in a chair outside the chapel.
She saw Christ as pure light, but she could only make out his outline and face. He raised His right hand and blessed the crowd. She heard no words.
MY DAUGHTER IS MY MOTHER
On the eve of the feast of Mary's Assumption into Heaven, August 14, 1987, and into the morning, Mirna had a vision of Christ. They were at their home in Damascus, a home that now belongs to the Mother of God. We now call it the House of Soufanieh. As on every feast day of Our Lady, thousands came. They were packed into the little home, on the stairs, on the roof, in all the rooms, in the street and in the park across from the house.
Everyone was praying the Rosary, singing songs, and saying the prayers of the apparitions. Mirna's face and hands broke out in oil. Oil came from her eyes and they began to burn like fire. They took her to the bedroom and put her down on the bed. They held her hands. She was in lots of pain from the oil in her eyes. Everything was filmed. She went into an ecstasy and the pain stopped. Father Malouli took everyone out of the room except the priests. (See film.)
Mirna saw a beautiful white light and nothing else for a long time. To her everything was now calm and peaceful. All thoughts of earth disappeared as she enjoyed the light. Then the figure of a man appeared in the light. He was made of a brighter light. It was Christ.
SHE IS MY MOTHER FROM WHOM I WAS BORN.
HE WHO HONORS HER HONORS ME.
HE WHO DENIES HER DENIES ME,
AND HE, WHO ASKS FROM HER, RECEIVES,
BECAUSE SHE IS MY MOTHER.
Father Malouli waited for her to come back to earth. Her heart was beating but she didn't appear to be breathing. No one was afraid. She woke and could hear Father, but she couldn't see anything excepting the beautiful white light. Father asked her all about the vision and wrote it down. He wrote the message very carefully. Everything remained very clear to Mirna while she was still bathed in the light. Then her eyes opened. She could see Father Malouli again, but her recollection of the vision became less clear. This is why she asked father: "Was it very beautiful?"
The Mother Of God? Many would disagree with that statement. Many have claimed that Mary could not be the Mother of God, and that Christ was not really God. Others claim that Mary was no different than any of us. Some say that you shouldn't ask those in Heaven to pray for you; you should pray only to God. Some say to honor Mary is the same as idol worshipping. There is much doctrine being presented in these messages. Father Malouli obtained the "Nihil Obstat" from his major superior for all the messages from the beginning until August 14, 1987.
GOD RENOUNCED ME
On September 7, 1987, the evening of the birth of the Virgin Mary, a large number of people were at Nicoles and Mirna's house for prayer. Mirna asked Father Malouli if she could leave. "I'll go to my room to pray because I feel everyone is looking at me. I don't want them to think about me instead of thinking about the prayers."
In her bedroom, oil came from her hands, face, and eyes. Her eyes were on fire. She went into an ecstasy. When it was over, she opened her eyes. She cried bitterly. She couldn't see anything, but she could hear Father Malouli.
"I don't want anyone in the room. Leave me. I don't want anyone." She cried.
Her father asked her, "Mirna, what is wrong?"
"Nothing. Leave me... This is something concerning me."
Nicolas, asked her if the priests could stay.
"I am afraid the others will be angry. I don't want anybody. Please." She was still crying, but no one knew why.
"Can you see?" Asked Father Fadell.
"No... a shadow."
"Do you want me to leave?"
Father Malouli asked her, "Did you see anything?"
"Yes... I saw Him alone... He renounced me... He doesn't want me."
"Did He tell you that?"
"He gave me a chance... God is merciful... No... He is not merciful... (she cried again)... This is the first time He called me by my name which means He renounced me."
"What did He tell you?"
"Why did He choose me from the beginning? Why did He choose me?"
"What did He tell you--exactly?"
"Suicide is preferable, if Heaven is refusing me."
The priests decided to leave her alone. They told the faithful that Mirna was crying and asked them to end the prayers and leave the house. Father promised to tell them later about what happened. When everyone was gone, the priests and Nicole went back into the bedroom. They asked Mirna about the vision.
Christ was reprimanding her, but He was not rejecting her as she thought. She confused the Arabic word "Alsatian" for "Lassti". The first means "Aren't you the young girl", but the second word means "You are not the young girl." This is the real message of Christ to Mirna, whose real name is Mary. Mirna is a nickname.
AREN'T YOU THE YOUNG ONE THAT I HAVE CHOSEN, THE CALM GIRL, WHOSE HEART IS FILLED WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION?
IT APPEARS TO ME THAT YOU CANNOT ENDURE ANYTHING FOR MY SAKE.
I SHALL GIVE YOU TIME TO CHOOSE. BE CERTAIN THAT IF YOU LOSE ME, YOU WILL LOSE THE PRAYERS OF THOSE WHO ARE AROUND YOU.
AND KNOW THAT THE BEARING OF THE CROSS IS INEVITABLE.
My personal feeling is that she just wanted people to pay more attention to God and less to her, but God was using her and wanted her to accept that. In fact, God is forcing her to travel, since miracles happen one hundred times more often when she travels than when she stays home in Damascus.
Nineteen days later, on the fifth anniversary of the start of the apparitions, Mirna asked Father Malouli to come and pray with her. He brought Father Paul Fadel and Father Michel Farah. Father René Laurentin was there. Dr. Jamil Margi arrived. At 4:30 P.M. oil came from her hands, face, eyes, and wrists. She fell into an ecstasy. Dr. Jamil Marge tested her pulse, her reactions, breathing, etc. He cut her hand. She felt nothing. When she recovered, the cut hurt her immediately.
Christ appeared to her as pure light, bathed in light. His body was all light and brighter than the light around Him. His outline was clear, but His features were not. He spoke with her again. At the end of the ecstasy she smiled. It was November 26, 1987:
I VALUE YOUR DECISION TO CHOOSE ME, BUT NOT IN WORDS ONLY.
I WANT YOU TO JOIN MY HEART TO YOUR SOFT HEART SO OUR HEARTS WILL BE UNITED. LIKE THIS YOU WILL SAVE MANY SUFFERING SOULS.
DO NOT HATE ANYONE, OTHERWISE YOUR HEART WILL BE BLINDED TO MY LOVE. LOVE EVERYONE JUST AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME, ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO HATE AND SPREAD RUMORS ABOUT YOU.
IT IS THROUGH THEM THAT YOU WILL EARN GLORY.
GO ABOUT YOUR LIFE AS A WIFE, MOTHER, SISTER.
ALLOW NEITHER DIFFICULTIES NOR SUFFERINGS TO BURDEN YOU. DEFEAT IT. I AM WITH YOU. OTHERWISE YOU SHALL LOSE MY HEART.
GO AND PREACH TO ALL NATIONS, AND TELL THEM WITHOUT FEAR THAT THEY HAVE TO WORK FOR UNITY.
IT IS NOT SO MUCH THE FRUITS OF THE HANDS THAT ARE CONSIDERED SHAMEFUL IN A MAN BUT THOSE OF HIS HEART.
MY PEACE IN YOUR HEART, SHALL BE A BLESSING TO YOU AND TO THOSE WHO HAVE CONTRIBUTED WITH YOU.
UNITY AND MY MOTHER
Nicolas and Mirna were invited to California, by a Syrian doctor. Mirna was pregnant for the second time, but Christ had said, "GO AND PREACH TO ALL NATIONS." He had also said, "GO TO THE LAND IN WHICH CORRUPTION HAS PREVAILED." Nicolas left it up to God as to what nation God meant, but he knew they had to go wherever they were called.
In California, oil came out of her hands almost everywhere they went. Many copies of the Icon poured out oil. Many people were cured. Only once during a Mass did oil not come from her hands.
Fred Anderson, news commentator for Channel 7, interviewed her. He not only saw the oil come from her hands and the picture but witnessed the ecstasy of August 14, 1988. Anderson brought a specialist in magic with him to see if he could find any tricks. He did not.
John Emmanuel Nazzour was born to Nicolas and Mirna on July 26, 1988, the feast of Ann and Joachim, the grandmother and grandfather of Christ. He became an American citizen.
On August 14th Mass was said in the patio of the doctor's house. All was on film. After Mirna received communion, oil started coming out of her hands. She asked to be taken away so the Mass could continue. They took her to a bedroom. The cameras followed. Oil came from her face and eyes. Her eyes were on fire. Christ spoke to her again:
MY PEACE I GAVE TO YOU, BUT YOU, WHAT HAVE YOU GIVEN ME?
YOU ARE MY CHURCH, AND YOUR HEART BELONGS TO ME, UNLESS THAT HEART HAS CHOSEN TO FOLLOW ANOTHER GOD.
I HAVE SAID: "THE CHURCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN ON EARTH. HE WHO DIVIDES IT HAS SINNED. HE WHO IS HAPPY IN ITS DIVISIONS HAS ALSO SINNED."
IT IS EASIER FOR ME THAT AN INFIDEL BELIEVES IN MY NAME, THAN THOSE WHO CLAIM TO HAVE FAITH AND LOVE, AND SWEAR (take an oath) IN MY NAME. YOU OUGHT TO BOAST IN GOD ALONE.
PRAY FOR THOSE SINNERS WHO FORGIVE SINS IN MY NAME, AND YET, RENOUNCE MY MOTHER.
MY CHILDREN, I GIVE YOU ALL MY TIME. GIVE ME A PART OF YOURS.
WORK FOR UNITY
On September 6, 1988, Mirna and Nicole arrived in Damascus from the United States. The following day [September 7, 1988], they prayed before the Icon with a large group of followers. Mirna fell into an ecstasy and had to be carried to bed. She saw Christ bathed in light. He was pure light also. He stood still as she left her body and moved closer to Him. He spoke:
I TOLD YOU TO OVERCOME ALL YOUR DIFFICULTIES, AND KNOW THAT UP TILL NOW YOU HAVE ONLY MET WITH A FEW.
TELL MY CHILDREN, IT IS FROM THEM I ASK UNITY.
I WILL NOT ACCEPT IT FROM THOSE WHO ARE ONLY ACTING; PRETENDING THEY ARE WORKING FOR UNITY.
GO FORTH AND ANNOUNCE THIS MESSAGE. WHEREVER YOU ARE I WILL BE WITH YOU.
When Christ finished talking, Mirna moved away from Him and back into her body. She woke up but could see nothing but light. She repeated the messages while still in the light and then opened her eyes.
MIRNA AND THE MASS
Mirna and Nicole went to Lebanon at the invitation of their friend, Tony Hanna. Together they went to the Maronite Bishop and asked him to organize a Mass for all the different churches to pray together for unity. He did as they requested and called all the different churches. At the last minute he could not come himself. However, more than 500 people showed up, and it couldn't be held inside the church. They organized it in the school yard.
Majed Grayeb, who had been saved from a car accident by the Virgin Mary, passed out pictures and messages of the Virgin. The people built a large flower arch. On both sides of the path to the school yard they placed signs with the messages printed on them. On the ground and on the houses were candles. When Mirna saw all this she cried with tears of joy. At the Mass were Christians from every kind of church, Catholic, Orthodox, Maronite, etc. It was October 10, 1988, in St. George Church in Maad, Lebanon. As soon as Mirna received communion, oil poured out of her hands. Everyone turned away from the Mass and began to gather around her. She was very upset because they were disrupting the Mass.
"The oil is from Him up there on the altar, NOT from me."
She began to cry and ran away. The church was over 100 yards away from the field. She ran to the church crying. She ran inside and laid her head down under the crucifix of Christ. She went into an ecstasy.
The large crowd of people came into the church following her. A TV cameraman came taking pictures. They all stared at Mirna in awe. There she was kneeling in a chair with her head and hands laying on the table directly beneath the crucifix. Oil was pouring down the legs and feet of Christ and onto her right cheek. Her face was only five inches below the feet of Christ. (See Video.) As the people and the camera watched the oil go from Christ's feet to Mirna's face, she was having a vision of Christ. She saw Him as pure light, bathed in light. He gave her the following message:
MY DAUGHTER, MARY,
WHY ARE YOU AFRAID? I AM WITH YOU. YOU SHOULD SPEAK AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOICE THE WORD OF TRUTH ABOUT YOUR CREATOR SO MY POWER WILL BE SEEN IN YOU.
I WILL GIVE YOU FROM MY WOUNDS TO MAKE YOU FORGET THE SUFFERINGS PEOPLE CAUSE YOU.
DON'T CHOOSE YOUR OWN PATH, BECAUSE I HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN IT FOR YOU.
Majed Grayeb has built a chapel to Our Lady of Soufanieh and awaits Mirna's return.
Mirna's love for the Body and Blood of Christ is an inspiration to everyone who knows her well. She will not bless a priest with oil. She always asks his blessing instead, for she knows that in his hands is the power to bring Christ into the world.
She will not go up the steps to the altar, for she does not believe that women should be on the altar. Even when the priests place chairs for her on the altar, she will not go. She prefers to be with the rest of the people.
She has expressed to me that she doesn't like to see women doing the reading at Mass, and especially, she doesn't like to see women passing out Holy Communion.
Once during our trip to Detroit, she was not able to receive Communion and we stayed up until 2 A.M. In spite of this, she woke Chor-Bishop Joseph C. Feghali up at 6 A.M. and asked if he would say a Mass. The Bishop and Mirna had a private Mass together.
Sometimes she has had to sneak away from people in order to attend Christ's greatest miracle. In Damascus Father Maloui will bring Communion to her at the house when she cannot attend during the week.
Those who think they are doing the Will of God and do not attend Mass, should reflect on Mirna's love for Christ's Body and Blood, for this is what makes a Church into God's Kingdom.
WHY DIDNT I FEEL YOU?
On November 26, 1988, at 6:30 P.M. at Soufanieh, the sixth anniversary of the Miracle of Damascus, hundreds of people came to the evening prayer session. Most of the people could not get into the house, so they prayed outside in the street. Mirna had another vision of Christ.
It would be the last one as of the writing of this book. Three drops of oil hung from the Icon. Nine months later (even though a hot light shines inside the housing of the Icon) these three drops just hang there without dropping. Two months after the following ecstasy, I arrived in Damascus and began my investigation of this miracle. Christ spoke to Mirna:
IS EVERYTHING YOU DO FOR LOVE OF ME? DO NOT SAY: "WHAT SHALL I DO?" BECAUSE THAT IS MY WORK.
ADOPT FASTING AND PRAYER, BECAUSE BY PRAYER YOU FACE MY TRUTH AND BEAR ALL THE BLOWS.
PRAY FOR THOSE WHO FORGOT THE PROMISE THEY MADE TO ME, BECAUSE, THEY WILL SAY: "WHY DIDN'T I FEEL YOUR PRESENCE, LORD, WHEN YOU WERE WITH ME?"
ALL I WANT IS TO GATHER TOGETHER ALL OF YOU IN ME AS I AM IN EACH ONE OF YOU.
AS FOR YOU, MY DAUGHTER, I SHALL LEAVE YOU.
DO NOT BE AFRAID IF YOU DO NOT HEAR MY VOICE FOR A LONG TIME. BE STRONG AND MAY YOUR TONGUE BE A SWORD WHICH SPEAKS IN MY NAME. BE SURE I AM WITH YOU AND WITH ALL OF YOU.
FINAL MESSAGE FOR OVER TWELVE YEARS
On the feast of the apparitions, November 26, 1989, Mirna received the following message from Our Blessed Mother:
JESUS SAID TO PETER, YOU ARE THE ROCK, AND ON IT I SHALL BUILD MY CHURCH.
AND I SAY TO YOU NOW. YOU ARE THE HEART IN WHICH JESUS WILL BULD HIS ONENESS.
I WANT YOU TO DEDICATE YOUR PRAYERS FOR PEACE FROM NOW UNTIL THE REMEMBRANCE OF THE RESURRECTION.
On Holy Week of 1990 Mirna again received the stigmata of Christ. This time she received three wounds in the head from the crown of thorns. Each time the stigmata becomes more extensive because there is no unity. On Holy Saturday after the stigmata Christ appeared to Mirna [May 14, 1990].
YOU WILL TEACH GENERATIONS THE MEANING OF THE WORDS, UNITY, LOVE AND FAITH.
I AM WITH YOU. BUT, MY DAUGHTER, YOU WILL NOT HEAR MY VOICE AGAIN, UNITL THE FEAST HAS BEEN UNIFIED.
STARTS AGAIN IN 2001
On the last day before printing of the first edition of this book, Mirna received her last message from Our Lord, November 26, 1989, who said that He would not see her again until the two Easters would be celebrated again together, meaning the Orthodox and the Catholics would celebrate Easter on the same day. We use two different calendars. I was able to get this message into the book as a supplement, and it has been twelve years since Mirna has had a message.
Pope Visits Damascus
Because of the two calendars the two Easters would not fall on the same day until 2001 and everyone, including me, knew that she would again receive the stigmata and have a message from Our Lord. It just so happened that Pope John Paul II planed to visit Damascus almost at the same time. His reason for going to Damascus was the unity of all Christians. I cannot say that the Pope visited Mirna or even talked to her, but I do know that they were side by side during the Mass. I also know that he used the chalice my friend Vatche gave to Mirna and it was returned to her after the Mass. There are two other indications that he talked with her, which can be understood below in the news of Father Fox and Archbishop Luigi Accogli. These things make me believe that he is taking direct control of this apparition.
Stigmata of 2001
As predicted Mirna received the stigmata of Our Lord on Good Friday of Easter Week, 2001. She suffered in the presence of her two children, her husband, priests, and many friends. There is nothing I can say about this that the pictures and videos will not reveal except "Why?" The best answer to that comes from Father Mariani, who once witnessed the same stigmata but with another woman. In his heart, but not with words he said, "Why would God do this to this woman?" The woman lifted her head and said to him, "So that you will never forget what happens when you say the Mass."
Message of Our Lord
At predicted Our Lord visited Mirna at 14:50, Holy Saturday of 2001. See pictures of her ecstasy. The following is that message. I will comment below.
Message of Our Lord Jesus Christ
To Myrna at Soufanieh
Holy Saturday April 2001 at 14:50.
I have given you a sign for My glorification.
Continue on your way and I am with you, or I will shut the gates of heaven before you.
But here there is a Mother who suffers, who prays and who says to Me: "Lord, Thou art all love."
And I say: "Do not despair, O Gate of heaven, because I love them
and I want them to return to Me, by their gift, love for love."
My children, apply yourselves to knowing yourselves as you are and to measuring the degree of your fidelity in the accomplishment of unity of hearts among you. Adorn yourselves with patience and wisdom and do not be afraid if you fail.
Persevere in hope.
Have confidence in Me, for I will not abandon those who accomplish My will.
As for you My daughter, be circumspect and arm yourself with My grace. Be patient, wise and humble.
Offer your sufferings with joy, for I have already told you: "Your trials will not be prolonged."
Direct your regard toward Me, you will find peace and rest. For it is I who strengthen you. It is I who throw you into the melee and it is I who remove you from it to lead you to the joy of heaven.
Apply yourself to prayer and that your fast be accompanied with meditation and recollection; then you will hear My voice in your inmost interior.
Have confidence in Me, for I will abandon neither you nor your family, nor any of those who have collaborated with you in My honor and only for Me.
My comments on this message are for two groups: one group is those Catholics and Orthodox who do not want any ecumenical movement at all and do not want to even dialogue let alone compromise; the other group is those who want all Christians to be one without any change whatsoever in doctrine, canons, or moral practice, this is called "pluralism" and is a heresy.
The primary message of Damascus is: "The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth is the Church. Those who have divided it have sinned. Those who are happy with these divisions are still sinning."
"I have given you a sign for My glorification." The sign is the stigmata of Mirna.
"Continue on your way and I am with you, or I will shut the gates of heaven before you." Our way is the way to unity and if we stand in the way of this, the gates of heaven will be closed to us.
"But here there is a Mother who suffers, who prays and who says to Me: 'Lord, Thou art all love.' And I say: "Do not despair, O Gate of heaven, because I love them and I want them to return to Me, by their gift, love for love." The Gate of heaven is Mary, Our Mother, who suffers because of our sins, but never stops praying for us night and day in Heaven.
"My children, apply yourselves to knowing yourselves as you are and to measuring the degree of your fidelity in the accomplishment of unity of hearts among you. Adorn yourselves with patience and wisdom and do not be afraid if you fail."
Knowing ourselves is to not justify our sins or to rationalize our lack of good works towards the unity of Christians and the unity of hearts.
"Persevere in hope." The word here means "Trust", or "Confidence" that God will not leave us if we do His will.
"Have confidence in Me, for I will not abandon those who accomplish My will." The trick here takes wisdom to know what God's will is for us. The rest of the message is for Mirna personally and need no comment.
Father Robert Fox
After the message of April, 2001 Nichol Nazzour (Mirna's husband) called Father Robert Fox in America and invited him to Damascus. Father Fox is the founder of a youth Apostolate of Fatima, publishes a magazine on the family, writes many good books on religion, and conducts yearly conferences for the family. Ten years ago he was attacked bitterly by Medjugorje and Vassula promoters for publishing a front-page book review on my book, "The Miracle of Damascus".
What is strange about this call by Nichol to Father Fox is that Nichol almost never calls anyone as he has very little money and cannot afford phone calls to America. Father Fox was recently asked by the Holy Father to concentrate his Apostolate towards saving the family unit. It is my theory that the Pope, himself, asked Mirna to get Father Fox's help is spreading the message of unity. Anyway Father Fox went to Damascus.
He had a very good time in Damascus, he celebrated Mass in Mirna's home every day, and on the last day oil exuded while he was telling people the origin of his Apostolate of going to Fatima, and being called by Our Lady to start a youth Apostolate.
Archbishop Luigi Accogli
Archbishop Luigi Accogli was Papal Nuncio to the Vatican in Damascus when I was there. He helped me a great deal in my investigation and later reported to the Holy Father all the happenings regarding Mirna. He was helpful to me in getting the Imprimatur for my book. He personally presented a copy of the Icon of Our Lady of Soufanieh to the Holy Father. Archbishop Luigi Accogli is the advocate for the beatification of Padre Pio. He has been assigned to travel with Mirna no mater where she goes and is opening an ecumenical center in Rome that will focus on the Eucharist. Again I see the hand of the Holy Father taking control of these messages and their promotion. At least now, they will not be mixed up with un-approved apparitions.
Pope Orders Unified Easter for Syria
Right after Pope John Paul's visit to Damascus he ordered that all Catholics in Syria could celebrate Holy Week, and therefor Easter on the same day as the Orthodox, no mater what year it was. Christ said to Mirna in 1989: "You will not hear my voice again, unitl the feast has been unified." God knows the future and therefor He appeared to her, but unifying Easter is only symbolic of unitying the two Churches. Can we possibly say that the Pope does not know and believe the messages of Our Lady of Soufanieh?
Mirna and Fatima
I have contacted Mirna and told her of my plans here in Portugal, and have received help from the sisters at the convent of Lucia in Coimbra. I was unable to promote the message of unity in the United States because of the false apparitions; however, I do not have that problem in Portugal. The Portuguese people do not fall for apparitions that have no Bishop's approval. I am having my book translated into Portuguese and making a small video also in Portuguese. With the help of Roberto Leal, one of the most famous singers in this country, and His Royal Highness, Dom Duarte, we hope to get this message all over the country. When we have had sufficient success, I will bring Archbishop Luigi Accogli, Mirna and her family to Portugal. The King, the singer, and Mirna will travel from one end of the country to the other spreading the message of unity of all Christians. Pray that this time I will not fail to do God's will.
Message of Our Lord to Mirna in Damascus
Feast Day of Our Lady of Soufanieh, November 26, 2001
I offer Myself to you.
The act of adoration, meditation, thanksgiving and spiritual companionship makes Me happy, but you will only find perfection by your union around the altar.
I offer you My Body and Blood as proof of My fidelity and My love. Accept from Me this Sacrament with trust and faith. This Sacrament consoles you and gives you strength and wisdom and makes you grow in grace.
Difficult days await you: disturbances in the interior of the Church. Division constitutes a danger for he who does not have true peace.
Don't let yourself be defeated. Don't pay attention to the judgment against you by others. Do not defend yourself and do not ask what I have prepared for you. It is I who look after your problems because you are the work of My hands.
Show Me your love because through love I walk by your side, and through the Sacrament I unite Myself to you.
Do not forget that I am the cause of your existence on earth and the reason for your happiness in heaven.
FINAL THOUGHTS OF THE AUTHOR
Unity? The Messengers of Unity? Will we accomplish it? I don't know. I know God is doing His part. But as I watch the people pushing and shoving to get blessed with the oil, I see very few people who want to give anything to God. I see many who want God to give to them. "God will do it. Leave it up to God."
Yes! God will do it. If we don't bring about the unity He wants, He will; But I don't think we will like His method. It the past, people read about miracles and were amazed. Some miracles were going on in their own time, but they had to travel thousands of miles just to see the spot of the miracle; the actual miracle, only a few would see.
This time, this miracle, this work of God is coming to you. Sooner or later Mirna will come to your area. It is commanded of her by God. Sooner or later you will have the opportunity to see a miracle for yourself.
God is pouring out all these miracles for one [and only one] reason: so that we will work for the unity of all the churches, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
But what do I see? I see people shoving other people out of the way so they might be cured of a headache or a sore toe. I see people wanting to gobble up Mirna as their own possession and put her in a bottle to keep all to themselves. I see people going through great extremes [even getting mad] in order to have one moment with her.
But I see very few who study the messages of Christ and His Mother to see what they must do. When Mirna is in town, the activity is great. Everyone is working and praying. When she leaves, only a handful are left to do the work God is demanding of us.
THERE IS NO GRACE IN A MIRACLE.
Miracles are signs given by God to draw attention to what God is trying to tell us. If we don't ACT on His appeal [and in this case the appeal is for the unity of the Churches], we have gained nothing.
For my part [in this work] I will continue to write and talk about unity. I will go anywhere, at any time, any place in the world [at my own expense] to speak to any group, large or small, about UNITY. Without ending in this UNITY of the Churches, God's miracles will not have produced the fruit for which they were given.
We, who have read these messages and have seen these miracles, will have to answer to God for our lack of action. For this reason, I no longer care to see any more miracles. I only care to work for the unity of the Churches.
The miracles don't stop. As I write this book, miracles continue everyday. Yesterday, July 7, 1989, four miracles took place, and I personally saw three of them.
So the light goes on.
Each day it shines brighter and brighter.
Each day more and more of the children of the Kingdom are seeing the need for unity.
Each day more and more are hearing the prayer of Christ:
THAT ALL MAY BE ONE, EVEN AS YOU, FATHER, IN ME AND I IN YOU; THAT THEY ALSO MAY BE ONE IN US, THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE SENT ME. AND THE GLORY YOU HAVE GIVEN ME, I HAVE GIVEN TO THEM, THAT THEY MAY BE ONE, EVEN AS WE ARE ONE: I IN THEM AND YOU IN ME; THAT THEY MAY BE PERFECTED IN UNITY, AND THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW THAT YOU HAVE SENT ME, AND THAT YOU HAVE LOVED THEM EVEN AS YOU LOVE ME. (John 17:21-23)
I believe it started in 1916 when the angel of God gave to the two little children of Fatima the Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Why? Because he gave it to them according the Orthodox Rite (from the Chalice) and not according to the Catholic Rite.
It continued when John XXIII called a Ecumenical Council to "promote the restoration of unity among all Christians."
It received a loving heart when the Orthodox Bishops joined with the Catholic Bishops on March 25, 1984 to consecrate Russia and the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It is gaining the grace it needs from Lucia of Fatima, who has said that she will give the rest of her life to prayer and sacrifice for the unity of the Church.
Father Messias Coelho [Lucia's messenger] said that God created the World to create the Church in order to have a family to love.
Each day we draw closer and closer to this marvelous day when all Christians will be in the same family of Christ and Mary.
Each day more and more are realizing that to be Christian is to work for unity.
Each day more and more Christians from different religions are praying together as one.
Each day more and more Orthodox and Catholic priests and bishops are praying together as brothers.
Let us keep the light burning. Let us keep marching towards unity. Let us say to Christ,
"Here we are, Lord. We came to do your will.
We came to build up The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
We came to bring back those who have left
We came to unite the Kingdom
Block by block we will build it up.
Stone by stone we will mend the walls.
Soul by soul we will make it whole.
We will light a candle for Mary and
Light by light we will light the world.
When all Christians have this UNITY, we will light a candle for Our Lady so big we will light the world.
When the non-Christians, the Moslems, the Jews see this light, they will know and be converted.
Then we will have a true KINGDOM ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, and the Lord's Prayer will be answered.
1. She had known her husband, Nicolas Nazzour, for some time. Her sister had married his brother. Nicolas had left Damascus to work in Germany and Saudi Arabia. He came back to Syria to find himself a good wife. They were both only mildly religious.
2. These are the first words used by the angel at Fatima and the first words used by Mary at Fatima - "Do not be frightened."
3. Mirna and Nicolas liked to dance and swim and laugh. They were very normal. He had saved a bit of money in his travels and could speak many languages. They had only recently returned from their honeymoon in Rome where they had an audience with the Holy Father and Nicholas made his first confession in St. Peter's Cathedral.
4. This statement of the Bishop regarding Holy Myron is very significant. When oil is prepared for the many sacraments where it is used, from 30 to 60 different herbs are added to it. It has a very special smell. It is the smell of the oil of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Extreme Unction, Etc. The oil is called Holy Myron.
5. The Virgin Mary doesn't mean in this passage to not give to the churches and the poor, since at the bottom of the message She says to give to everyone who asks. It means our motive must be love.
6. "Emmanuel" means "God with us". I have assumed Her meaning in the first part of this message [regarding knowledge] is related to [our knowledge] of the Bible, which is entirely known but not entirely understood. For "As God knows me" see Chapter Three.
7. Father Malouli noticed that the words of this apparition were similar to the words in "IMITATION OF CHRIST", Book II, Chapter II, and Book III, Chapter VII.
8. This is not to say that the Icon is Mary, but only that She will be where the Icon stays just as God was with the Ark of Moses.
9. An apparition is a face-to-face vision of the natural eyes, and the visionary does not lose consciousness of those around her. An ecstasy is a vision of the mind or the eyes of the soul.
10. The words "Blessed are you among women." appear in the forth century versions of the Bible in Luke 1:28. However, in the second century they only appear in Luke 1:42. The Arabic Bibles all have it in 1:28. We can draw one of two conclusions from this. Either Mary is conforming to the time and place of the seer, as most Marian Theologians would conclude; or Mary is stating that the translation of the fourth century was inspired be the Holy Spirit to be correct. I am inclined to believe the second.
11. At first I translated "Samma" as "Heaven"; however, I was wrong in the translation. "Samma" means "upper sky" and "Janni" means "Heaven". There is another word for the blue or lower sky. So this has to mean an in between place or Purgatory. The Melkites call it "Mat'har" or "cleansing". The Virgin Mary is stating a doctrine without offending anyone.
12."Establish Church" has the same meaning as "Establish Truth". For the word "adopted" see Romans 8:14-15.
13. Mary is affirming in these apparitions that She is the Mother of all mankind. Co-redemption is also implied.
Mirna came out of her body and then could look back at herself lying in bed.
14. There are many saints throughout history who were married. There are many who had apparitions: St. Bridget, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, St. Monica, St. Helen, etc.
15. This prayer was later discovered by the fathers of Damascus in "THE IMITATION OF CHRIST" Book III, Chapter XXI. It is the same prayer except in more detail in the book. Also "Let not the hardships that you have undertaken etc." can be found in the same book, Chapter XXVII-2. It is as if Christ is pointing to the little book as an instrument of unity. In fact, since Mirna learned of this, she reads from it almost everyday.
16. Paul received the same three days blindness only a few hundred feet from this spot. Moral theology would say that this was a cleansing of the soul from all earthly loves in order to reach the state of pure heavenly love and the infusion of Heavenly wisdom.
17. The word "EDUCATE" is not a true translation from the Arabic. It should be "construct", but this type of "construct" in Arabic means "to raise up a child as in education children in the truth of God." Most Arabic people take this to mean "teaching the truth through Mirna". Since there is no equivalent word in English, I have used "Educate".
18. One vision is not mentioned in this story because the crowds were so great a woman was pushed on top of Mirna as she woke from the ecstasy. This caused her to forget the message. To this day she doesn't remember.
19. This vision answers three controversies in Church history: the uncreated light in the Gregory Patamas vs. Barlaam of Calabria case in 1368; the role of Mary in the Kingdom; and the argument over the Immaculate Conception. We will get into these in Chapter Four. "Your salvation has been realized" means that the plan of salvation began with God's creation of Mary, the Temple of God.
20. The words about the cross in this message can be found in book II, Chapter XII of "THE IMITATION OF CHRIST". I have been skipping over many documentations of cures, oil from pictures, from her hands, etc. because this is a daily activity in the Miracle and the messages must be given priority. I have bypassed a child who was born blind and can now see, and a man who was dead and is now in perfect health. See Chapter Two.
21. There is a doctrine in the Catholic and Orthodox Churches that goes back to Augustine. Anyone who is truly seeking the Kingdom of Heaven - the Church - even those who have never heard of Christ are already baptized into Christ - "He who seeks me."
22. The words "you and your" in the Arabic as used in this passage are in the plural and are meant for all people and not for Mirna. I have much to say about the words "or else", but they will wait for later chapters. The words "I AM" means God, and in the old law only God could say those words.
23. The words "you came for" in the Arabic are in the singular form, whereas the words "do not talk" are in the plural form.
24. The Assumption is the feast of Mary's Assent into Heaven of Her body and Her soul. It seems to be one of the biggest days of this miracle.
25. This passage about "another God" reminds me of the story of St. Jerome. He was a lover of Greek writings, especially of Cicero. He was a Christian, but he preferred the writing style of the Greeks. God sent him a vision of his Judgment, where he was asked who he was. The saint replied: "I am a Christian, and I profess no other faith than yours. O my Lord."
"You are lying," replied the Divine Judge. "You are a Ciceronian, for where your treasure is, there is your heart also."
Regarding "Boast in God alone", some use God for their own gain, money, honor, prestige. Many are caught up in what God is doing for them, but very few are asking, "What can I do for God, for Unity?" Of course, "another god" could also mean a false or demonic apparition.
CHAPTER TWO - TESTING THE SPIRITS
CHAPTER THREE - THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
CHAPTER FOUR - ANALYZING THE MESSAGES
CHAPTER FIVE-HISTORY OF DIVISIONS
CHAPTER SIX-ATTEMPTS AT UNITY
CHAPTER SEVEN-WHAT UNITES?
CHAPTER EIGHT-ORGANIZING TOWARDS UNITY
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