Seven Months with Gospa!
God Alone Suffi ces!
It was the 20th October 2005. I was with two friends and prayer companions when my Medjugorje voyage began on the day I joined the “Kraljice Mira” community. It all started in 1998, the year our Blessed Mother prepared me for two special encounters with her and her Son. The first was a pilgrimage to Spain, to the tombs of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and to Garabandal where Our Lady appeared between 1960 and 1964, and only a few weeks later I went on pilgrimage again; this time to Medjugorje where I had not been before.
During the return voyage of the latter pilgrimage my heart swelled with emotion as I contemplated the truth of St. Teresa’s words “Sólo Dios basta” (God alone suffi ces). I returned to Medju a second and a third time; and it was then that I encountered Mary, the Woman I had prayed to since I was a child. The Queen of Heaven left her throne to be with me, to embrace me, as the most humble and simple of mothers. I discovered that Mary is mother; my Mother! And I didn’t want to leave her tender embrace.
The day I entered the Community, we stopped in front of St. James’ and entered for a brief visit. Eucharistic Adoration was underway, to the sound of “Nada te turbe… sólo Dios basta”. I considered it further motherly encouragement on Mary’s part; so delicate of her as she alone knows how to be. It was as if a fine golden thread was connecting the past with the present, and with trepidation I responded: “Here I am!”
So began my period as a candidate in the community which allowed me to remain in Medjugorje for about seven months. I found that my experience of being there for a lengthy period was different to what I had experienced during my brief 4-5 day pilgrimages. There was not the down-pouring of graces that one experiences in a brief pilgrimage, but it was rather an opening up to daily grace, administered as though in drops, and of allowing it to penetrate through contemplation and meditation.
I noticed Medjugorje as it changed along with the seasons. Autumn was still full of pilgrims, with a lot of movement, almost like in spring and summer. The winter months, however, were the ones that I found most favourable since little goes on in the parish and the town becomes unusually quiet.
I have three special memories. The first one is evening Mass. Here, I noticed the presence of pilgrims – never many – but always present. From various parts of the globe, they profess “I believe in ONE… Church”, and discover that though they come from lands far apart they belong to the one Body, the body of Christ, and are all gathered under the mantle of Mary, Mother of the Church. I am certain of her presence; one can perceive the universality of her intercession. United to the sacrifi ce of Jesus, she offers herself to the Father for the world, for her Son’s immense ﬂ ock.
The second memory is the morning Mass, at which I noticed the almost total lack of pilgrims. In the winter St. James belongs to its parishioners, to the women in their dark clothes and black veils, to the local folk whose hearts abound in authentic faith. Also in this case Our Lady prays and petitions together with them, and offers herself for the people of Bosnia-Hercegovina. She loves all of us, and each of us. Every day and in every country of the world Mary offers herself to God for each nucleus of the great human family.
The third memory is tied to a Saturday afternoon. I was standing outside the confessional waiting for the priest. I was all alone. Even the esplanade behind the church was empty. With my mind I tried to imagine the crowds that usually fill these spaces: the young and the not so young… I thought of the songs that accompany Eucharistic Adoration, almost as if to exorcise that feeling of abandonment that was attempting at my heart.
Then, I began to see what it was that Our Lady was wanting me to understand. I began to see how Mary’s motherhood is also very much exclusive, here inside the room of the heart, in the solitude of the dark corners of the soul where it is difficult to remain with the Lord face to face. Without experiencing this personal love, without knowing that I am loved personally, my prayer would have little effect, and the offering of myself for my family, my country, my Church and the world would resemble a “clanging cymbal”. I can thus say without shame, and with immense gratitude that that day Medjugorje was all for me; the loving gaze of the Queen of Peace was on me alone.
I pray that this loving gaze of our blessed Mother may be on all those who in various ways have known and have responded to the Gospa’s call; on all those who’ve been to Medju, or who live Medju within the walls of their homes and hearts. Mary speaks to her children through this gaze, as if to say: ‘All this is for you: the goodness of God who entrusts to me this mission, my gestures, my messages, the twenty fi ve years of apparitions… just for you; because God wants you to know that all of Heaven loves you. And you, my child; will you respond to my Jesus in a unique and personal way? Will you accept with courage and humility the mission that He is entrusting you with, and give yourself up to Him?’
Whether we spend several months or a few days at Medjugorje, it is not important for the Lord who can touch hearts and souls in an instant with His love. The yearning of the Holy Spirit within us - imploring us to surrender ourselves to God’s will - does not go unheeded by Mary, who comes to call us to decide to become a living miracle of His love.