What's happening in Medjugorje (May 2007)
“A people from afar”
At the beginning of the month of May which is consecrated to the Mother of God, an unusual wave of pilgrims came upon Medjugorje. It was the presence of a people which is very faithful to Marian devotion; a people very attached to my own heart: “a people from afar, far but always close, strong in its faith and Christian tradition.” Yes, I am talking of the Polish pilgrims, who came so numerously in the fi rst week of May. They came to thank God for the gift of the Virgin Mary, and to lift up to God their song of praise.
Down the centuries they have experienced on several occasions the special help of the Mother of God. The power and splendour of this “motherly hand resting on their land” have been seen in various occasions, the most noted of which is the miraculous protection of Our Lady during the Swedish invasion. For centuries it has been possible for all of Poland’s population to see close up this special protection of the Virgin over their country, and various Polish kings declared her “Queen of Poland.” Pope Pius XI instituted the feast day of the Virgin Mary, Queen of Poland, on the 3rd May, and Pope John XXIII proclaimed Mary as the main patron saint of Poland after the saints, Stanislaw and Wojciech.
So, here we had this invasion of Polish pilgrims upon Medjguorje, and the Polish language could be heard ringing out in songs of praise and thanks upon the hills that surround this blessed land. Here then: a wave of pilgrims come from afar…
I think that whoever has been to Medjugorje would have noticed that every period brings a wave of pilgrims from various countries. When you live here one gradually learns to recognize the typical features of the various nationalities, so that it becomes easy for you to recognize a group of pilgrims simply by their behaviour, their aspect, their way of dressing, or even by their countenance.
Medjugorje truly is dynamic, and the differences in the various peoples makes it even more dynamic.
May, time of preparation
The tradition of devotion to the Mother of God during the month of May goes back to the fifth century. It is the month during which blossoms and blooms abound, and the faithful of all generations have loved to deposit flowers at the feet of Marian images in churches, chapels and street shrines. True devotion to the Blessed Virgin always leads to Jesus – the Fathers teach us. In this sense, May precedes the month of June which is dedicated to the Divine Heart of Jesus, from which gushed forth blood and water for our salvation. Mary, the “humble maidservant”, is “Queen of Heaven and Earth” precisely because her only concern about herself is that she be a signpost for us, the sole scope of which is to guide our steps towards God.
The beauty of the children
What a joy to see the children dressed most solemnly for the first holy communion. They have come to receive the Lord present in the Eucharist, and are loaded with the innocence typical of their age, with a sprinkling of seriousness and a dusting of impatience. “If you do not become as children, you cannot enter heaven’s door.”
Their little hearts are more easily struck with amazement than “grown up” hearts before the mystery of our God who is “so great that the world cannot contain Him, yet He makes Himself so little and humble as to enter into our hearts.”
The sight of the little ones who receive holy communion for the fi rst time is really quite moving and ought to incite us to approach with greater faith and love this Sacrament, source of life and every grace.
Mary visits us daily
I wonder if we are aware of this truth: that the Mother of God, the Full of Grace, visits us every day just as she visited St. Elizabeth?
Fr. Ljubo often says to the pilgrims: “I’ve been here in Medjugorje already for seven years, but I’m afraid to say that I know Medjugorje, because one can only know Medjugorje if he gets down on his knees and prays.”
This expression of his came to mind one evening on Podbrdo when I saw a group of young people - it was the day of the Visitation
- who were at the feet of Our Lady. My heart leapt with joy when I saw them and heard them praying in very colloquial terms typical of youth. In the light of the full moon they had come to receive the Mother of God’s visit. As I looked I couldn’t help thinking of the many other young people lost perhaps amid city night lights, and I offered them up in prayer to their Blessed Mother.
Feast of His Body
Our Lord in person is passing along the streets of Medjugorje: Jesus’ Eucharistic body, true body! And with His blessing He reaches out to every corner of our abodes and our hearts.
I couldn’t help noticing, with disappointment, how quite a few of those taking part in the Corpus Domini procession seemed to think they were merely taking a walk through the town… here in this place where Our Lady has been appearing to call us to conversion for the past 26 years!
I’m sorry about the criticism, but it is inevitable: inevitable because our God is so good, patient and merciful, and we men barely ever notice Him, not even when He’s so close to us!
There were, however, many sincere hearts which showed true love towards the meek Lamb who, “as good as bread”, remains with us in the little wafer for ever, as He promised.
(from notes by Sr. Halina)