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Our Medjugorje Pilgrimage: The Calling.
A white rose for the mother of Jesus, Mary, Our Lady of Peace.
(Ignore the date above) This is a continuation/elaboration of the opening page:
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~ St. Augustine
In the spring of 2004, I embarked on an unexpected spiritual journey -- a pilgrimage --which appears far from over. I was called to a place where Heaven meets Earth. It is a place called Medjugorje. It is where Our Lady of Peace (also known as the Blessed Virgin Mary) calls her children to conversion. This is not converting to a particular faith or religion, mind you, but metanoia, turning your head toward God. That is what God wants of us: that we love Him. Jesus taught that lesson when he was asked much the same question, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart..." and .."your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Mt. 22:37)
>> A SHORT HISTORY OF OUR LADY'S APPARITIONS IN MEDJUGORJE
>> Testimonials of the Clergy that have been in Medjugorje
"Out of the blue," Medjugorje seized my full attention in March. Ten years before, I had vaguely heard of the name in passing when our cruise was rerouted because of the war in Yugoslavia. I had not given it any conscious thought neither then, nor in the intervening years.
"For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible." ~Franz Werfel
What I certainly did not know was that Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been visiting Planet Earth for the last 23 years, delivering messages for its inhabitants. I was far from alone in my ignorance. Most people have never even heard of Medjugorje. Yet, as I learned, there are millions of people who have been attracted, touched and/or influenced by this miraculous place, including Jim Caviezel (who played Jesus in the movie, THE PASSION OF CHRIST), Mel Gibson, Martin Sheen, Loretta Young, William E. Simon, Sr., Bill Simon, Jr., Lola Falana, Michael York, Morgan Fairchild and President Reagan.
These days, having been there and back, I can show you where Medjugorje is located on the world map; I can even show you how to get there. Most of all, I can reveal to you that although I went there as a cautious skeptic with equal measures of faith and doubt, I returned, a healed believer. Ever since, I have returned to that miraculous place in my thoughts and heart every day, several times a day.
>> What Pope John Paul II & others have to say about Medjugorje
Medjugorje is a little village that is "far, far away" in a Communist country called Bosnia-Hercegovina, formerly a part of Yugoslavia, which was torn apart into sovereign nations after a bloody civil war in the 1990s. On the map, Bosnia-Hercegovina is across the spur of Italy's boot and northwest of the sprawl that is Greece. Map-lovers, go here.
The journey there took over 24 hours of traveling via three planes from Los Angeles to Detroit to Amsterdam to Split, Croatia and one very long bus ride down the Adriatic coastline then inland to Bosnia-Hercegovina to a remote valley with the little village of Medjugorje snugly nestled in it.
These days, not only do I know how to spell it two ways (both Medjugorje and Medugorje are correct), I'm 100% certain that I'm not saying it as its inhabitants do. The closest that my ears hear is: "med - jew - go - ree - yah" with five syllables. Roll the "r" as you do in Spanish. The "gorje" part of the word sounds like "gloria" without the letter "l".
In the U.S., Medjugorje is commonly mispronounced, med-jew-go-ree with four syllables. (It's like misprouncing California as "cal-ee-for-nee" instead of ""cal-ee-for-nee-yah". )
After doing extensive on-line research on Medjugorje, I can even tell you how that short list of public figures are associated with Medjugorje. These are the "Medjugorje stories" behind them:
Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the movie, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, drew inspiration from Medjugorje to play the role by his visits to Medjugorje, saying, "In preparation, I used all that Medjugorje taught me." >> Interview with Fr. Mario Knezovic
Actress Loretta Young experienced a healing there.
President Reagan expressed interest in it.
William Simon, Sr., former Secretary of the U.S. Treasury visited and was a recipient of a miracle. When we were there in June, his son, Bill, Jr., who ran against Arnold Schwarzenegger for the GOP nomination for governor of California, was there.
Mel Gibson was also rumored to be there that week to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Mother Mary's appearances to the visionaries; if he was, he was kept under wraps (or movie makeup?), so we'll never know, yea or nay, for sure. If nay, we enjoyed the thought of the possibility that we were praying together there.
If you're curious about Medjugorje and have never heard of it either, I encourage you to do a bit of quick research on it, as I did, by "googling" it. Heck, I'll make it easy: just click here. It is also spelled: Medugorje.
You will quickly learn that it is where Mother Mary has established her home-away-from-Home when she leaves Heaven and visits Earth. She has been visiting visionaries and giving them messages to share with the world for the last 23 years! She has said that her visits to Medjugorje will be her last.
The visionaries tell us that ALL who go to Medjugorje do so by Mother Mary's invitation, not as tourists, but as pilgrims. No one goes there by accident. For me, it was while researching the place on the Internet that I received her clear invitation to "Come, come quickly." It was an urgent, "Close Encounter of the Third Kind" imperative. Three days after I knew I HAD to go, my husband got his own invitation from her. We went to Medjugorje together in June, 2004, just in time for their biggest day of the year, Mother Mary's 23rd anniversary of appearing to the visionaries there. This timing was wholly unplanned by us, but perfectly planned by the Powers-That-Be (we like to think: The Holy Family).
Yes, I'm back. So why this photo-journal? I've had some time to reflect and assimilate my experiences there. And, I am a sharing kind of person. Also, a very visual one. On the way home, I am keeping this photo-journal as a personal record, as well as a collection of remembrances, of this journey, for it is far from over.
Medjugorje was the portal that lead to my journey inward, a spiritual one. I am one of those, "I write, therefore I am" kind of people, and writing plays an integral part in my life and now in this journey. Having opened myself to the guidance of The Holy Spirit, I am not averse to sharing my journey with others. Although I am basically a shy person, I have "open-booked" parts of myself elsewhere September Morn and Hawaiian Eye.
I have no idea how long this journey will be. If I sound indefinite, well, yes, I am absolutely "up in the air" about where it will take me and when. Perhaps, I am on the first leg of a protracted journey, or near the end of a short jaunt. I've turned this spiritual journey's itinerary over to God. Everything is according to His Plan, His Timing.
Of one thing, I am certain: I know where I am headed. The destination. I am going home to God. Not in the physical sense, as I hope, God willing, it is not yet my time to die, but in the heart. I want God to dwell in my heart, and I, in His.
In the last few months, I've learned this: When you throw the reins into His Hands, God is just full of surprises. First, my journey took me across the world map, now it is taking me all over the spiritual map. This is a very personal journey, and putting it into words is a challenge, but I'm giving it a go.
As for keeping it viewable for visitors who might drop by, or as the spiritually-in-tune might say: for those who are lead here by The Holy Spirit, I'll see how it goes. I don't want to edit or censure myself. My hope is that -- maybe -- it will, in some small way or two, move others to embark -- or continue -- on with their own spiritual journeys. If it encourages just one person to question his/her spirituality, I think keeping this "public" will be a positive thing. After all, the words of others have definitely helped me find my way. To whom much is given, much is expected. If it doesn't work out, then I can change the settings to close this from visitors.
You are invited to share your thoughts and insights with me in the comments section. They will be an enhancing part of my journey. Like Jesus, who is my "main man" who has shown me the way, you, too, may help me along the way as a wayshower. Do know that I am not looking for approval (or disapproval) from anyone who reads my words. I may be on a spiritual quest, but this certainly doesn't make me holier than Thou.
Since Medjugorje, I have been made keenly aware of my humanity with all of the weaknesses that come with the species. I am a sinner, just like you and everyone else. I am also secure in knowing who my true Judge is, so please, no finger-wagging judgment from the peanut gallery. Hitting the delete key is just too easy.
Lord knows, reading this obscure photo-journal and/or your participation in it may just elicit an invitation to you from her... And if it happens, my message to you is clear: If Mother Mary calls you, go.
If money is a problem, I suggest that you pray on it DAILY. "Ask and ye shall receive." If it's important to you, it's important to Them. I should let you know that it was FAR less expensive to fly to and spend nine days in Medjugorje with room and two meals a day than it was for us to go to Hawai`i from California. The local family went out of their way to make us comfortable. Their meals were hearty and bountiful. The accommodations were spare, but adequate, clean and comfortable.
If you're open to them, the insights and graces that await you are certain to be worth the effort, and the journey to this holy site so thoroughly imbued with a divine character can be life-changing. In the early pre-dawn hours of June 24, 2004, we made the challenging climb up Krisevac, also called Cross Mountain. As it turned out, Mother Mary was leading us to Jesus as we stopped at each of the Stations of the Cross that dots the rocky's path ascent to pray and relive his last hours. It became the sacred trail that lead to our conversion.
At the mountain's summit is a cross, one that has a piece of the true cross embedded in it. At the foot of the cross, where it is said Mother Mary greets the new day, we paid homage to her and prayed to her Son, Jesus. At sunrise, our outward journey coalesced with our interior journey's reflection and rejoicing to become the uncovered jewel of our pilgrimage. We came to know what any pilgrim knows, the real pilgrimage is one that takes you to the true destination: your own inner sacred path to God.
Don't wait. Time is of the essence. Our Lady of Peace (Mother Mary) has said: "This is the last time I will be on earth in this way."
>> Back to the Introductory Page
* "When Mother Mary uses the word "convert," which she does quite a bit, she never says "convert to Catholicism," which may be why Rome has not officially sanctioned these apparitions. She is aware that she is speaking to a predominantly Catholic community, but a region of the world where Muslims and Christians have been fighting for centuries. To interpret 'convert' as 'convert to Catholicism', would, in my opinion, build a higher wall between the two faiths than the one that is already there. I believe that by "conversion" she means to be changed or transformed by knowing God. It is exactly this ecumenical message which attracted us to the story in the first place." ~Source
** Since apparitions with any negative content are quickly disavowed, the wait-and-see attitude of the Church is in itself a provisional kind of approval. Both the Pope and the Bishops are treating and indeed protecting Medjugorje as a legitimate place of pilgrimage and a shrine, although they cannot officially say that explicitly as yet. They are also giving great priority to the pastoral needs of people who are experiencing conversion through Medjugorje.
On Approvals and Catholic Validacy:
The official position of the Catholic Church remains as set down by Pope Paul VI in 1966, i.e., that in matters of private revelation, the faithful are free to promote and propagate the messages without any reference to Church authority:
1. Provided that in doing so they willingly submit themselves to the ultimate official pronouncement of Holy Mother Church on the matter.
2. Provided that the content of the messages does not constitute a danger to faith and morals.
Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644) gave this advice:
"In cases like this, it is better to believe than not to believe, for if you believe and it is proven true, you will be happy that you have believed, because Jesus and Our Holy Mother asked it. If you believe and it should be proven false, you will receive all blessings as if it had been true, because you believed it to be true."
In conformity with the decrees by Pope Urban VIII, I recognize and accept the final authority regarding the prophecies and messages as revealed in this text to the final judgment of the Holy See of Rome to whom I willingly submit. ~ Peace Pilgrim
*** Note: The spelling MEDUGORJE is the more modern, but the older Croatian spelling (Medjugorje) appears to be more common on website links. It may depend on when sites were started. When searching, try both spellings.
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The Journey Begins ~ Day 1 ~ Day 2 ~ Day 3 ~ Day 4 ~ Day 5 ~ Day 6 ~ Day 7 ~ Day 8 ~ Day 9 ~ We Return
Opening Page ~ Prayers ~ The Holy Rosary ~ Five Stones ~ Our Lady's Messages ~ Called: Medjugorje Pilgrimage ~ Called: Peace Pilgrim ~ Called: Dear Husband, T ~ Reasons to Return to the Catholic Church/Be Catholic ~ Medjugorje Pilgrims