A Wayne Weible interview and introduction to his mission
Written by Petronia M. Laine
In October 1985 Wayne Weible was a journalist and a Lutheran Sunday school teacher. During one of his classes on a topic for modern day miracles someone mentioned what was happening in a village of Yugoslavia. Supposedly, the mother of Jesus was appearing there to some children. Mr. Weible cared to know more as he was a columnist for four local newspapers. After class he inquired the person of where she had heard about this happening. He was directed to a friend who had a book and video of the appearances.
Mr. Weible's career training was to look for facts and verify news for reporting to the community. This career interest led him to follow-up for the information regarding the event that was said to be happening in Yugoslavia. He planned that it would make a good column for the Christmas season.
In a short time he read the book in curiosity. Nights later the video was watched by Mr. Weible and his wife,Terri. As he was viewing the video he shook his head and murmured over and over "This is incredible!" and believed the event was authentic.
Suddenly, while viewing the video, he "felt" an unexpected message within himself that was not audible. The message within himself was strong along with gentle and soft and said, "You are my son, and you are to do my Son's work. Write about the events in Medjugorje. Afterwards you will no longer be in this work (newspapers), for your life will be devoted to the spreading of the message."
Feeling stunned and nearly in shock he sat up the entire night wondering and asking "Why me?". Mr. Weible felt totally unworthy and knew very little of spirituality. There was no doubt that the message was from the Blessed Virgin Mary. He responded to God in a hesitant "I'll try."
The willingness of Wayne Weible to try has led to many conversions by spreading the messages of Medjugorje as according to God's will. Today, having answered the calling of Gospa, the Virgin Mary, Mr. Weible has written several books on the apparitions in Medjugorje. He has converted to the Roman Catholic faith and his publications and lectures at Marian Conferences have influenced the faith of Christians and the secular world.
Q. In September, 1986, 2500 tabloids were being printed and you were thinking they would last well over a year. The tabloids amounted to 8 million being shipped by December, 1987. How did you feel about the great increase of response and were you shocked?
A: The little tabloid of the eight articles on Medjugorje's apparitions I had written for my newspapers has now reached the astounding total of over 70 million. I felt that I could write one article in the beginning. To this day, I am shocked at the phenomenal spread of the articles, which has happened without organized marketing. In reflecting back, the articles are what launched my writing and speaking mission. People would get hold of the articles, read them and then contact me and invite me to come into their area to speak about the apparitions.
Q. During your spreading the messages you changed faith from Lutheran to the Roman Catholic faith. Why did you change religion?
A: Well, to be perfectly frank, it was one thing. When I went to Medjugorje the first time in May 1986, I discovered Jesus in the Eucharist. I fell in love with Him, knowing that He truly was present in this sacrament. Before that time, I knew nothing about the Eucharist. That is the sole reason for becoming Catholic.
Q. There is One Truth in Jesus Christ, Savior of the world. Do you believe the visible marks of the Roman Catholic faith are being as one, holy, catholic and apostolic teaching and why?
A: Yes, I believe this because that is what was instilled in my heart when I went on that first pilgrimage and discovered the Eucharist. Since then, I have studied early church history and for me there is little doubt after reviewing the early formation of the Church.
Q. The plans of your given mission grew from the thought of making a few columns in October 1985 to selling your newspaper business in April, 1986 for devotion to spreading the messages. And then the success of your first book of Medjugorje with the Paraclete Press (Orleans, Massachusetts) must have been overwhelming. What do you think is the reason for this hunger in the world?
A: People want Faith. They want something substantial that gives them hope and reason to be. I wrote my first book, The Message, strictly with my heart. It was the facts of the apparitions but centered primarily on the conversion that takes place when an individual accepts that God is real and that He loves us. Once this is accepted by individuals, the following steps is putting it into daily life to allow us to live with whatever crosses are given to us.
Q. Father Slavko has been passed away for one year in November. Please share some of your personal memories you have of him.
A: Father Slavko Barbaric was the face of Medjugorje, and for me, a very personal friend. I remember going to confession to him in Medjugorje, absolutely scared to death. I just wanted to get in and get out as quickly as possible, especially since there was a long line waiting. I made my confession and expected to leave when he begins to talk about other things, and asks about my family and work. Twenty minutes later, I left, refreshed of soul and uplifted by the personal touch of this man and holy priest.
Q. The Gospa has given thousands of messages to the world. Which message do you feel in your heart is most important?
A: This one is easy! It was a message given in January 1985, when a Catholic priest questioned the healing of a little child whose parents were Orthodox Christians. He questioned the healing because the Orthodox faith was the faith of the "enemy" of Croatian Catholics. The question was put to Our Lady and she said this: "Tell this priest, tell everyone, that it is you who are divided on earth. The Muslims and the Orthodox, for the same reason as Catholics, are equal before God, as St. Paul says. It does not suffice to belong to the Catholic Church to be saved, but it is necessary to respect the commandments of God in following one's conscience. Those who are not Catholics, are no less creatures made in the image of God, and destined to rejoin someday the House of the Father. Salvation is available to everyone, without exception. Only those who refuse God deliberately are condemned. To him who has been given little, little will be asked for. To whoever has been given much, very much will be required. It is God alone, in His infinite justice, who determines the degree of responsibility and pronounces judgment." I don't think further comment is needed on this one. It says it all!
Q. You interviewed the Medjugorje seers and they are all blessed with Gospa's insight. Possibly you have been closer to one of the seers more than another. If so, will you share the seer and the message the seer may have shared that deeply moved your heart?
A: It is Marija, who is like a sister to me. I know in my heart that Our Lady put us together to pray for each other. I have spent much time with her and her family. Just recently, when I was having difficult trials in my personal life, I was walking back to Marija's home with her after her apparition that evening. Without warning, she reached over and put her arm around my shoulders and said: "Our Lady loves you very much!" Needless to say, I was overwhelmed and grateful to her and to Our Lady.
Q. What is your current project and could you give some information about it?
A: Well, there is always so much going on. I am deeply involved in a charity to furnish full, prefabricated homes to refugee families in the Medjugorje region. This has been the most satisfying project in my entire Medjugorje experience. Also, I intend in this coming months to focus primarily on writing. I have several books inside of my bursting to be done. So, I'll be spending more time on writing and less on lecturing this next year.
Q. At this time of Christmas, the birth of Jesus, we see God in His love and humility becoming man for our salvation. The first sin was in disobedience to God. As descendants of the first Adam and Eve, we are all sinners and in Jesus Christ are freed from condemnation. As an example of forgiveness, Jesus said to the adulteress, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." What do you think we should do to correct our mistakes to obtain forgiveness?
A: The first thing we must do is accept our Jesus on the cross. He died for our sins and He gives the contrite full forgiveness. Second, we must forgive ourselves, that is, accept His forgiveness and then get on with our life. Our Lady said we should consider our sins, take the appropriate action supplied by the Church (confession) and then forget them.
Q. Medjugorje has given evidence of various experiences and signs. Some of these signs involve unusual pictures and testimonies of spiritual experiences in relation to Medjugorje. Many feel this is a part of sensationalism. Are signs and testimonies necessary to faith and how can we discern them from sensationalism?
A: Signs are given with purpose. Apparitions are signs. But, we have to accept the signs, large and small, as proof of God's love for us. They are like little shiny banners used to get our attention so that we will move forward with the spiritual growth that comes from acceptance of God.
Q. Do you need to be in a certain frame of attitude to hear Our Lady's prompts to your heart?
A: No. She comes without notice; however, for reasons I can't explain in words, I just know when she is there and when she speaks to my heart. It is not an everyday thing, and sometimes her words come through others.
Q. You have shown that certain things may be on your mind and you hear Our Lady's requests for you, such as the prompt 'do it' to write the book, "Letters From Medjugorje". Have you ever failed to act on her prompt at the moment or do you have any regrets in service to the Gospa and what did you do to reconcile?
A: Oh, my, yes! So many times I have said no in words and actions. And yes, I regret it almost immediately because I know in my heart when I have said no even though she is the one asking. One that I remember the most is a request to pray over someone. She prompted me to do so and I said, no, I'll just pray for that person right here without going to him and placing my hands on him. Well, I immediately regretted it and wouldn't you know, within minutes another person approached me and asked me if I would come and pray over this same person! I did so but it was the next day as felt I could not effectively pray over that individual in that frame of mind.
Q. There are those who doubt in Blessed Mary as the Mother of God. What do you say to those who doubt the Immaculate Conception?
A: For the doubters, I pray first. Then if pushed to respond or defend, I point out the Scriptures where Mary is mentioned. I don't go beyond that anymore because it is useless to argue these things. Let unbelievers see in our daily life the truth of these things. Many times, people who questioned the apparitions would later tell me that after a period of time they could see the fruits of my living the messages rather than arguing with them. Eventually they will have to decide by their own free will.
Q. You may have a special prayer or devotion that you recite with the heart. Which prayer or devotion next to the Rosary is most dear to you?
A: My absolute favorite prayer is Hail, Holy Queen, which we say at the end of the rosary. But of course, the rosary is also my overall favorite expression of prayer outside of Holy Mass. By the way, Our Lady says her favorite prayer is the Creed.
Q. The Marian Eucharist Congress was held in Winnipeg, Canada with you as one of the humble speakers. Please share your reflection of the weekend of August 31, 2001.
A: Well, if I can briefly say, such experiences are like little pilgrimages to Medjugorje and this one was no exception. I would hope that the feeling of pilgrimage would remain in the hearts of those who were in attendance.
Q. Our Lady invites us to prayer and fasting. Fasting may be given for various means of the world in addition to not eating or drinking things, such as watching less television or renouncing worldly things. Do you think fasting is important for the discipline of change in thought as well as virtue of our soul?
A: Yes. Fasting is a way of allowing the spirit to rise above the flesh and rule the soul. Our Lady has said with prayer and fasting we can stop wars and alter the laws of nature. Fasting enables us to stop the war inside of us between the world and the spiritual.
Q. We have received many gifts from God and acts of penance is a way of expressing our thanks to Him. If an act of penance is not done by the heart but is done only as an act, is this act also an expression of love?
A: It depends, of course, on the act. But if an act is not done with love, it loses the majority of its grace, thus, its power. Remember that Jesus could only perfom small miracles in his home region because of the lack of belief. The same is true with acts of penance. If they are not done with love, they ared ineffective.
Q. You have traveled in spreading the messages for about 16 years. May you share with us one your most heartfelt experiences you have encountered.
A: That would take so much space and time! Let me simply say that just in the last two weeks, I saw this very act we just talked about, acts of charity or penance done with or without love. A man just sent our center a donation in memory of a lady who had seemingly devoted her entire life to helping and being kind in thought, word and deed to others. This woman was a devout Baptist and the man was a strong Catholic; they were very much in love; and then, she died. He sent the money after reading my books, wanting to do something in her memory. I was shocked to open the envelope he sent me along with his letter. It contained a check for $50,000 to be donated to our charity, Children of the Sewers, a special charity to help abandoned children in the city of Bogata, in Colombia, South America, that I have been involved with for many years. The most important part of this tremendous gift of the heart is that this man is not wealthy and runs a small business. He felt this was the best way to express his feelings in the memory of this woman.
Q. It is written in Scriptures that we examine ourselves. Do you follow an order of process of self-examination of conscience when you prepare to receive the Sacrament of Penance?
A: Yes. This is not something I do on my own but a requirement of a good confession. This is what leads to a contrite heart. We do not need to list every little detail in confession and I think that is what keeps some people from using this sacrament more. However, we can thoroughly look into our own hearts and attempt to cleanse all so that we can receive the full joy of this grace.
Q. The Holy Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ given for unity of the church. How did you come to believe and know this truth?
A: As I said earlier, I discovered the Eucharist on my first pilgrimage to Medjugorje in May 1986. I went into the church and got in line to receive at the proper time. I knew nothing about it before, having never even heard the word Eucharist. I can't explain how, but the moment I received, I knew in my heart this was the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. The priest did not know I was Protestant and I did not know I was not supposed to receive the sacrament as a non-Catholic. It just happened and it is the the real force that changed my heart and turned me toward wanting to live as a Jesus. I still struggle and I still fail far more than I succeed. But, there is no peace on earth like the peace right after receiving the Eucharist. I absolutely live for it.
Q. Other than Medjugorje which apparition site has had most affect with you?
A: Again, that is easy. It is Fatima because it is closely related with Medjugorje. But I have also been touched deeply by Guadalupe and LaSalette.
Thank you Mr. Wayne Weible for your heartfelt sharing with [Medjugorje USA]. May God bless you in your humble service of Gospa.