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From the outset the Virgin Mary reportedly warned, at Medjugorje in Hercegovina, that her apparitions there would come under satanic attack. Currently, they are in the midst of a storm about their legitimacy.

"Whatever be the place where I appear, and where my Son comes with me, Satan also comes," she said back in 1987 (the apparitions began in 1981).

Two years before, she allegedly intoned, at a time of upheaval with an antagonistic bishop, whose authority was later removed by Saint John Paul II, that "Satan has taken away one part of the plan and he wants to possess it."

"This," she had said, "is the time of the devil (1982).

"Children, darkness reigns over the whole world."

That was more than three decades ago!

"Satan is strong and is waiting to test each one of you," she allegedly also told seers, for those who subscribe to the messages, as we do, though we will obey final dictates from the Vatican. "A great struggle is about to unfold," she said in 1981 -- just weeks after the apparitions began. "A struggle between my Son and Satan."

"Dear children," she said on August 11, 1984, "pray, because Satan wishes to complicate my plans still further."

On January 14, 1985, the Virgin, known at Medjugorje as the "Queen of Peace," told a seer named Vicka Ivanković (in this territory that was home to Catholics, Orthodox, and Muslims, who were soon at war with each other), "My dear children, Satan is strong. He wishes with all his strength to destroys my plans."

He would attempt to disperse them, she warned; he was attempting to lure them with money -- material things. He would be relentless, it was implied; in 1987 she allegedly told visionary Mirjana Soldo, "You permitted, without noticing, his influences on you and he drives you on." In fact this seer was to report having an apparition of an incredibly handsome man who promised her success "in love and life" if she followed him; it was the devil.

"Pray, because you are in great temptation and danger because the world and material goods lead you into slavery," Blessed Mary, known in Croatian as "Gospa," said to another visionary, Ivanka Ivanković, in 1989.

"Satan is active in this plan."

"Dear children," she further and reportedly said again in July of 1984, "these days Satan wants to frustrate my plans."

This was the constant struggle: unfolding of her plan -- what she called God's Plan -- against relentless onslaughts of the deceiver. There were attempts, even in Rome, to shut Medjugorje down.

Clearly, she indicated that her plans could face defeat and overcome attack with the prayers of believers.

Again in 1984 -- thirty-one years ago -- at a time of great controversy with the diocese and a commission -- she had been recorded in the archives as having said, "Satan continues to hinder my plans" -- a battle that, for those many who subscribe to the apparitions, is obviously continuing (and reaching a crescendo).

That Christmas, in 1984, she had said that "Satan wanted in a special way to spoil God's plans" -- which she described as "salvation of the world." It was stiff, powerful, and largely unreported language. "Satan is working underhandedly against this parish," she was quoted as stating in 1985, at the start of the new year. "Pray that Satan retreats from the parish and from every individual who comes into the parish," she added, for our discernment, in July of 1985.

The devil wanted to work yet harder, the Blessed Mother said, now that they knew he was at work. She advised them to fast and wear blessed objects.

In 1985 -- soon after an attempt to close down the apparitions fell through -- she allegedly said that "Satan's plan has failed." We report. You discern.

"Thank you for all the sacrifices," she said that September. "I wish to tell you, dear children, to renew the messages which I am giving you. Especially live the fast, because by fasting you will achieve and cause me the joy of the whole plan, which God is planning here in Medjugorje, being fulfilled."

"You know, dear children, that with your help I am able to accomplish everything and force Satan not to be seducing you to evil and to remove himself from this place," she was recorded as saying in 1986 -- now five years after the initiation of the appearances. "Dear children, Satan is lurking for every individual. Especially in everyday affairs, he wants to spread confusion among each of you."

And so it went -- warning after warning that the evil one was on a tear. The Virgin cautioned seers constantly not to fall for his temptations, to not let him "sway" them as if they were dangling in the wind. The warnings were implicitly for everyone who read the messages. "Little children," she said in 1988, "do not be afraid because I am with you even when you think there is no way out and that Satan is in control." That same year she further reminded them that "I am your mother and I want to warn you that Satan wants to destroy everything we have started, so pray a lot."

The devil, she added, wanted to destroy "everything in you." He lurked on the "desert" just outside of the "oasis," she said. She called Medjugorje an "oasis of peace," and said that God had plans there unique in the history of apparitions.

They were remarkable messages to seers who at the time were still in their teen years.

If it was a time of special -- unprecedented -- graces, she said, it was also a time when "Satan is very active." He would become more so.

In 1990 (September 25) -- now nearly a decade after the onset -- the Blessed Mother said that "Satan wishes to destroy my plans and hinder the desires which the heavenly Father wants to realize here."

And so it went -- on a constant basis, like hand-to-hand combat -- for years and then decades. She was coming so often, she explained, because the world was on the brink of tremendous, unprecedented danger.

The warnings were not only for the apparition site but for the Church and the world at large.

"Dear children," she said on January 25, 1991, "Today, as never before, I call you to pray for peace. Satan is strong and he seeks to destroy not only human life but also nature and the planet on which you are living.

"Therefore, dear children, pray to be protected through prayer, with the blessing of God's peace. God has sent me to help you. Persevere in praying the Rosary. Even the Rosary itself can achieve miracles in the world and in your life. I bless you and I will stay with you as long as God wills. Thank you for being faithful to my presence here. Thank you for your response to my call."

[resources: the Virgin's messages: excellent compilation and bestselling DVD, Queen of Peace]

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