Offering of Suffering by Paul Mihalik 
Paul Mihalik provides great insight into an area few of us understand: Suffering for the salvation of souls. Each of us has pain in our lives. Once we realize that, we transcend it -- we see the beauty of our trials, tribulations, and tests. Mihalik shows us through the lives of Jesus, Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, St. Therese of Lisieux, and others, the redemptive power of suffering. Don't waste your pain, offer it up for the salvation of souls. CLICK HERE


The building is in Bijakovici just southwest of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina, near what is known as Apparition Hill. It's the kind of stone-and-clay-mortar structure that used to dominate the village, and half of it has been eaten away by the elements -- the roof and walls collapsed, the interior now looking like it's nothing more than a storage shed. 

It was there, we were told by our guide on our recent pilgrimage, that seers Jakov Colo and Vicka Ivankovic were granted something beyond extraordinary: what they have described as a visit to heaven.

Where some have visions, they described being taken bodily through a "door" or "tunnel" that opened at the top of the home.

It was in the late summer of 1981, and the two youngsters had just returned from the nearby city of Citluk. They asked Jakov's mother, Jaka, for a snack, and wandered into another part of the tiny house (which, like many buildings in Medjugorje at the time, had no running water). But when Jaka called the two young seers to eat, there was no response. Somehow, they had vanished from the two-room home without her seeing them. It was impossible to exit without being seen but somehow the children were gone.

Jaka frantically searched. They were gone for at least 20 minutes (starting at 3:20 p.m.), and when suddenly their voices were heard again, it was to tell Jaka that they had been taken to heaven.

As Vicka later recounted, the Virgin had appeared to the two seers, asked if they wanted to see heaven, and when they said yes, "the roof opened and there we were!"

"Our Lady took my right hand and Jakov's left hand and brought us with her," Vicka told our pilgrim group when we visited Medjugorje last month (more on this in coming days). "In a second we were in paradise. We were able to see endless saints and a kind of light that does not exist here on earth and I was able to see people, all the same, no thin, no fat, and three kinds of attire, green, yellow, and rosy, all of them walking around praying and singing and glorifying God, with little angels flying over. Our Lady said, look at these people in heaven, how joyful, how content, how happy they are, a joy that does not exist here on earth!"

Vicka has described heaven as a wide, limitless space and the people there as communicating in a way we don't know on earth. "They know each other from the inside," the seer once told a nun, Sister Emmanuel Maillard. "They wear long robes. I noticed three different colors, but these colors are not like the ones on earth."

And as she once told a priest named Janko Bubalo, "Later, reading Holy Scripture, by accident I read in St. Paul, how the human eye had not seen nor the ear had heard anything like it. Well, Paul said it all! Flowers... angels... All is filled with some indescribable joy. Your heart stands still when you look at it!"

Is it difficult to live on earth after seeing heaven, Jakov was asked.

"That is an understatement."

According to Vicka, everyone looked about thirty years old and were "very, very beautiful." Other seers at Medjugorje have also been shown heaven. "I saw like a projection of a movie and it was only for a few seconds," says Mirjana Soldo, the first seer to obtain all ten secrets. "I saw heaven and purgatory for a few seconds. With heaven, what touched me is that all the faces have the same expression, that you can see on their faces as if they are telling you, 'I have everything.' They are so happy; they don't need anything. They have complete peace. "

Mirjana's advice in preparing for the hereafter is to "accept everything that will come in this life, because in this life today you are here, but tomorrow you may not be, and every second we must be ready to go to God. Each one of us has a cross to carry. One cross is harder, one is lighter. If you don't have a cross today, you'll get it tomorrow, be sure, because that's what this life is like. We just have to pray to God with love to be able to carry our crosses to deserve the Kingdom of God. You can have all material things, but if you don't have Jesus, you don't have anything. You will always want more things. But if you have Jesus, you will be happy with what you have. What's most important is to be ready every single moment to come before the Face of God."

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