Back in the 50s, I watched The Song of Bernadette. I was so taken with that when I was about 8 years old, watching the movie, I said, “If Our Lady ever comes again, tell me.” And She did. So I right away knew this place was real — from the heart.
So I came in 1988 when it was still communist here, and I said, “I don’t know what I’m doing here, but I know.” I never had doubt that Our Lady was here.
My favorite saint is Saint Bernadette. I owe everything to her, from that time, and she kept her promise.
It’s been a tough life. I’ve been in Vietnam. I was a scout in Vietnam. Many meanings behind all of it. I had the greatest dog on earth in Vietnam. It was this dog with a saint behind it. It was the meanest freaking dog on earth, yet totally obedient and loving toward me. Nothing else could get near me. And it chased things in Vietnam that broke up everything and saved everybody. Because I’d have to fly out and get guys out of trouble. I was a scout, just like in the old west, but in the old west you could see a long way. In a jungle you can’t see a long way. You can only see a short way. And that dog would go, and there’d be an ambush set up, and it’d scare the hell out of them and they would all scatter. They were ready to kill everybody, and we’d come upon the ambush and they’d leave. They’d drop their weapons; they’d drop stuff because that dog I had was terrible and terrifying.
It took me many years to realize it wasn’t a normal dog. It just was too crazy and it protected everybody. I never lost anybody that I led — in or out of battle. All were unharmed, my whole year in Vietnam. 38 missions, I went on to lead people into battle and out. And not one person was wounded. And we saw conflict, but the enemy scattered. That dog was scaring everybody except me.
And I remembered, it all came back to me in what we’ve got to be in life for our shepherds and for the sheep. We have to be that kind of dog. We have to be ready to protect our shepherds and to go out for the sheep. And that’s what Our Lady’s told me in Medjugorje. Always be ready now. Because we now have entered into this moment, and the moment is the most extraordinary moment in the history of all time. It’s now. And some of us will enter into the new time; others will not. There’s no guarantees. But if we follow Our Lady and we do what She says, She will definitely lead us and strengthen us for whatever our call is. And whatever the moment is. Because it’s now. It’s not coming ten years from now, for me. I feel it right now.
It’s very important to get that. Because that call, it goes way back when I was a kid. And it was very innocent. I just wanted to see Our Lady, and so in 1988 when I went to Cross Mountain, I was by myself in the middle of the night. I went up there, and I got to the top maybe one o’clock in the morning, all by myself because I came by myself. I didn’t know about [visionary] Mirjana and all this. Back then it was trails; it was just dirt. And I went up there and I sat and I had that one experience that lives with me my whole life. It wasn’t visual, but there are very many powerful things that God can do if your heart’s open. And so I sat there until I saw the break of dawn. And I was the only one on the mountain all night. In 1988, August 15th. Back when there weren’t many people here.
I went back, and it’s been a tough go because God tests you a whole lot in your life. And being a Vietnam veteran, in probably the worst situation you can get in. Because, as a scout, you go out before others, and most did not make it back. It’s always been an ongoing miracle, and I come here only with thanks to Our Lady for that invitation. It’s a great invitation. I know the Eucharist is in every parish, I know Our Lady is everywhere you go if you take Her in the rosary, but there’s something different here. She’s very much alive here among the people. You can feel that seeing this area. It’s a great gift to have that moment to get here.
Guard your shepherds right now. They really need it. I feel for them greatly. They need the protection of the dogs and they need the respect of the sheep. We need to be very careful because the wolves are gathering and we’re going to have to be ready for them. They’re coming and they’re going to do everything they can. So you’ve gotta be ready wherever you’re at. Just like a military. Just like a scout. And the only way to get there is the Rosary.
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