Mass at Our Lady of Grace, in Prestwich, Manchester, England.
Tuesday, October 5th, 2004
First, I wish to thank God because it is in His name that we are gathered together. I wish to thank all the priests who have enabled me to meet with you. I would like to thank as well all those who have contributed to the realization of this encounter, and especially M. Tony Hickey. An encounter which, I hope, to be one of prayer, before anything else. Because if you came to see Myrna, Myrna is a very ordinary person, similar to you and in need of prayer, perhaps more than you need it. I compare myself to a messenger to whom a mission has been entrusted. In order to relay faithfully this message entrusted to me by God, I am in need of a lot of prayer.
I do not know why God has chosen the East; why He chose Syria; why Soufanieh. Soufanieh may be a very ordinary neighborhood in the eyes of the people, but not in the eyes of God since He said of it "My daughter, How beautiful is this place. I shall build My kingdom and My peace in it." (November 26th, 1986)
I donít know why He chose me. All I can say is that I told Him "Oh Lord, take my will so that Your Will works (within me) in my life". If you came to witness a miracle, you can witness a miracle every day if you so wish, since the greatest miracle is the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. If you have come to find God and very often we are seeking God, then let us search within ourselves and weíll find Him. Let us search into ourselves in order to to discover the spots of darkness which are preventing the light of God from reaching us. Let us pray the Holy Spirit today so that He enters in our heart and transform this darkness into light. And since the Holy Spirit is present in our heart, it is important that we open it so that God showers and bestows upon us all His abundant graces.
It is not important to resemble a candle. What is important is how to illuminate others. It is not important to have two eyes. What is important is to be able to see and distinguish good from evil. What I do is not important. What is important is to do it with love, however simple that task may be. It is not enough to say "God I love you". What is important is to say "I love You and let Your Will be done". It is not enough to read and listen to the Gospel. What is important is to live the Gospel in my (daily) life, because the Gospel is the Word of God and the Word of life.
The question today is the following: "Do we believe in the Gospel which says "Love one another as I, myself, have loved you" and which (also) says "Be one, the same as My father and I are one"?" (John 17,21). Do I really live the Word of God and apply it in my life? If we were really living the Word of God in our lives, God would not need to intervene today. Had God given me the choice between touring the world or staying with my family, I would have told Him for sure that I would prefer to stay with my family. But God decided otherwise when He told me "Go and preach to the whole world and tell them without fear to work for unity." (November 26th, 1987). This message is the reason for our meeting tonight. We are all called and we all have a mission. And how fortunate is the person who discovers Godís love in his or her life. He or she would then become a witness for the Lord. What is requested from us today is that we become witnesses of that Love despite our weaknesses and limits. This is why I believe that God does not dwell on our weaknesses but rather looks at our heart.
My story began in 1982. I was then 18 years old and a young bride. I am a Greek-Catholic (Melkite) and (my husband) Nicolas is Greek-Orthodox. Six months after my marriage, the phenomenon began. It started with oil oozing out of my hands on November 22nd, 1982. Naturally, I did not understand what was happening. I did not try to understand it and I hope never to understand so as not to rely upon myself. A few days later, on November 27th, 1982, a small paper picture of Our Lady with the Infant Jesus started oozing oil. This was the first call of Our Lady, when I heard Her voice without seeing Her, telling me "My daughter Marie Ö"
And the doors opened: first, people came from the immediate neighborhood, then from the surrounding regions, and eventually from all over the world. And since Jesus came for the sake of humanity, we in turn, when people come to visit our house, we do not inquire about their identity or their creed.
On December 15th, 1982, while we were praying, I felt suddenly a hand pushing my shoulder from behind. This occurred three times. This hand was pulling me towards the terrace of our house. There, I knelt, without knowing why. Suddenly, I saw a light and through that light, I saw a lady. I could not look at her. I ran away. Father Zahlaoui was in the house. He told me "Myrna, Our Lady is a mother, and a mother cannot harm her children. Ask Her to provide you with courage and pray. Tell Her Prepare me so that I can welcome You". Three days later, at the same time, we were also praying. I felt the same hand pushing onto my shoulder. I went up to the terrace. Everyone followed me. I was reassured, thinking that, they too, would see like me. I was the only one to see and hear Her. She was talking and I was repeating the words She was telling me.
All in all, there were five apparitions on the terrace. The last one being on March 24th, 1983.
Thereafter, a new phase started: The ecstasies. Since 1982, I have lived this phase thirty-six times. An ecstasy usually occurs during prayer and I suddenly donít feel anything. Oil oozes from my hands, my face and sometimes from my eyes. When the latter case happens, I would see the Light of Jesus and hear His voice. When in ecstasy, I am able to see Our Lady. As for Jesus, I only see Him as a Luminous Silhouette and I hear His voice.
Very often, I would receive a Message. When I come out of the ecstasy, I describe to the people around me what I have seen and repeat what I have heard. Often, during liturgical feasts, oil would ooze from the Icon (of Our Lady of Soufanieh; a replica of Kazan), except during Easter. That exception surprised us, since the Feast of Easter is the most important feast for all Christians. But in 1984, it so happened that the date of the Easter feast coincided between the Eastern and Western Churches.
On Holy Thursday (in 1984), in the afternoon, I suddenly felt some pain in my body and the wounds started opening in my hands, my feet and my flank. This occurred in 1984, 1987, 1990, 2001 and 2004.
The Soufanieh phenomenon is extending daily. And the signs accompanying the Soufanieh phenomenon are only a proof that God is alive and they are still manifesting themselves because He is still present. The story of Soufanieh is no longer my story alone. It is not either a question of apparitions, ecstasies, stigmata or oil. One day all these signs will eventually cease, but what will remain is the Word. The Messages that Our Lord and of Our Lady are entrusting us with matter the most.
The Soufanieh Messages are but a call to prayer, to the certainty that God is present with us and within us, because the first word Our Lady said was:
"Remember God because Go is with us Ö." (December 18th, 1982).
A call for love
"My children: Strive to see yourselves as you truly are, and to see the extent of your faithfulness in achieving the unity of heart among yourselves." (April 14th, 2001)
A call for forgiveness, repentance and Unity. And the main goal Unity.
The Church has never been divided, because Jesus is One and the Church is One. We are the ones who are divided.
This is why Our Lady says: "I am not asking you to build Me a church, but a shrine." (December 18th, 1982). "Establish a church. I did not say: "Build a church." (March 24th, 1983) Jesus also says: "You are My Church and your heart belongs to Me, unless this heart has a god other than Me." (August 14th, 1988)
The Church is not a pile of stones. We are the Church. The various rites are a source of wealth for the Church.
Unity does not consist in suppressing or humiliating the other. Unity is within oneself. I cannot preach Unity if I donít live it within myself. I cannot talk about it if I donít live it with my family. I cannot talk about unity if there is no unity with my brother and with God. I cannot talk about unity if there is no love. Unity without love cannot exist.
Therefore unity is unity with myself and with my brother, with God, unity of the family and lastly the Unity of the Church.
God did not choose Myrna alone in her mission. He chose a family. When the phenomenon started, people began to judge me. They told me that I should leave my husband and devote myself completely to the mission that God has entrusted me with. When God saw the danger which was threatening my family, -which He Himself had chosen-, Our Lady told me: "I have not come to separate. Your married life will remain as it is..." (November 25th, 1983).
Jesus also told me: "Continue in your life as wife, mother and sister." (November 26th, 1987)
Another Message from Jesus was: "How beautiful is the family whose emblem is unity, love and faith." (November 26th, 2001)
God chose a family in order to remind us of the holiness of the sacrament of marriage and how important is the family in His eyes. If this family is built on love, unity and peace, it would witness to the Church of Jesus-Christ.
If the family truly believed that reconciliation and forgiveness are key elements for its harmony and peace, then the situation of the family would be at its best today.
Since Our Lady said, "You, yourselves, will teach the generations the word of unity, love and faith" (March 24th ,1983), then home is the fundamental school to teach love, unity and faith. This becomes the responsibility of the mother and the father. I cannot tell my children "Go and pray" while I stay at home. I cannot tell my daughter "love your brother" when my husband and I keep quarrelling. I cannot ask my son not to leave home when my husband has already left it. Children imitate their parent's behavior. Let us give the good example. Our children may go through some difficult periods, but when the time will come for them to found a family, they will found it based on their parent's model.
Very often, we wonder why God does not answer our prayers. It is indeed beautiful to ask from God and to receive from Him. But the real sign of happiness is to obtain from God without our asking. When we reflect into ourselves, we notice that God gives us a lot without our asking. And should we ask from Him, He gives us. However, sometimes He delays His giving, perhaps in order to increase the depth of our prayers. Or perhaps if we receive quickly, we will not appreciate. Or could it also be that God is paving to us a better path than the one we are thinking about?
The most beautiful prayer we can ever pray is the one that Jesus has taught us, the Lordís prayer. Let us truly understand the meaning of the words "Thy will be done". Very often we repeat them but we do not mean or understand what we are saying. When we say these words, we should abandon ourselves totally and unequivocally to God. His thoughts are not ours and He knows what is good for us much better than we do. In times of need, we invoke the Crucified, because we encounter some difficulty. When we invoke the Crucified, we forget that behind that sorrowful and distressed Face, the Resurrected God is present. The most important belief in our faith relies on His Resurrection. God is calling us today to live One Resurrection Feast in the East and the West.
Life is indeed beautiful and its beauty is God. My present everyday approach to life enables me to get nearer to God when I live each day as if it were my last one. If I were to ask you the following question: "if today was to be your last day on earth" how would you live it?