As many have already heard, Wayne Weible, author of numerous books on the Marian apparitions of Medjugorje, passed away last Saturday at the age of 80. Although I never met Wayne in person, his book Medjugorje: The Message, which I read as a college student, changed the course of my life. I owe so much to Wayne and his work—more precisely, I owe so much to God for how he has used Wayne’s work to transform my life.
It was his book which led me to become a devout Catholic, bringing me to a powerful conversion experience in my life. It was his book which would lead me to study religion and spirituality in graduate school, becoming a Ph.D., and writing a dissertation on Medjugorje. It was his book that ignited the flame that would one day lead me to pursue a religious vocation, becoming a Franciscan friar and pursuing the priesthood. It was his book, most importantly, that would lead to a deep love of Our Lady, and through her maternal love, bring me closer to Jesus—to a living, intimate relationship with him.
This year I received the good news that in the fall I will be teaching Mariology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. This is such a privilege for me. It is a dream come true. And for me the beginning of that dream, the roots of it, started with Wayne’s book. His book gave my life meaning. It allowed me to understand that God is real. That Jesus is real. That Our Lady is real, a loving mother who is calling us to conversion and to the fullness of life.
“THE BOOK OF CONVERSIONS”
In his life Wayne wrote a number of books dedicated to Medjugorje. However, I firmly believe that there is something incredibly special about his first book, Medjugorje: The Message—that there is a special anointing on the book. It is a work touched by the Spirit of God.
Once I was talking with the translator for Ivan, the Medjugorje visionary, and when I shared how much Wayne’s book has meant to me, she mentioned that this is “the book of conversions.” She emphasized that so many have come to God and experienced conversion because of that book.
This profound fact is even revealed through a simple Amazon search, where so many reviews of Wayne’s book begin by testifying to the life-transforming fruits of reading the work.
One reviewer writes, “This book has changed my life.” Another reviewer explains, “This book brought my husband and me to the Catholic Church. Inspirational read.” Yet another reviewer testifies, “I was a nominal Catholic at best in 1994 when I happened to read this book. … I can say that it completely changed my life then and up to the present. It had a major impact on other family members and many others I know.” Another reviewer testifies: “A powerful book. This book led me back to the church and possibly saved my soul.”
That is the highest compliment that a Christian author can receive: that your book has helped bring souls to God, that souls have come back to the Church because of your book, and that your book has possibly saved souls for eternity. There is no greater reality than this.
There is no greater compliment that a human being can receive: that because of your life and work, people have come to know God.
I hope and pray that Wayne is in heaven now and that the Lord has shown him the countless people whose lives were transformed for the better, whose souls were taken from Satan’s grasp and turned to Jesus through Our Lady’s intercession, because of Wayne’s work on Medjugorje. And that is a reality, I have no doubt, that will continue to bear fruit, as the power of the written word is that it continues to live on even after its author has passed away, having the ability to influence lives throughout the centuries.
HIS LIFE’S MISSION: HEARING OUR LADY’S VOICE AND RESPONDING
The story of how Wayne came to write about Medjugorje, first through his columns and then his books, is remarkable.
Wayne was a Lutheran when he was first given a video tape to watch on the apparitions in Medjugorje, and in the moments that he watched the tape he internally felt the Virgin Mary speaking to him—what, in mystical theology, is known as an inner locution, the mystical grace of hearing a sacred voice interiorly. “You are my son, and I am asking you to do my Son’s will,” the interior voice said. The message continued, “Write about the events of Medjugorje; this will become your life’s mission if you choose to accept it. You will no longer be in your present work.”
His Yes to the mission that was placed before him—despite being such an “unlikely” candidate, as a Protestant being asked to write about a Marian apparition site surrounding Catholic visionaries—would, decades later, change my life, as it has changed thousands of lives: helping us to come to know the love of God.
Before reading his work, I was an agnostic—growing up in a Catholic family, but not being sure whether God exists, whether Jesus or Our Lady are real, having so many doubts. I was a political science major, thinking about law school, but not sure what to do with my life. I received a copy of Medjugorje: The Message my senior year, and from the time that I began to read everything would change for me.
I started writing about Medjugorje. I started speaking publically about Medjugorje. I started fasting on bread and water and praying the rosary, seeing miracles happen in my life and in the lives of those around me: seeing family members who have not spoken to each other in years be reconciled through the power of prayer and fasting, through the messages that Our Lady was teaching us to live.
The act of reading Wayne’s book became a spiritual experience. While reading, I began to feel the presence of God and the immensity of love that He and the Blessed Mother had for me. I began to believe in God and to love God. I deeply desired to return that love to them: to give myself to Jesus and Mary, hoping to spend the rest of my life in their service.
Thank you, Wayne, for saying Yes to the call of writing about Medjugorje. Thank you for saying Yes to a call that has given so many of us hope, meaning, and an opportunity to experience the grace of conversion and deeper intimacy with God because of your writings, testimony, and talks.
We have never met in person. But know that I love you, and pray for your precious soul, which has done so much good on this earth. Rest in peace, dear brother, soldier of God, son of Mary. May your eternity be filled with unending bliss.