View complete fotopage
View complete fotopage
|Monday, 28-Jun-2004 00:00
||Email | Share | Bookmark
Amazing Grace: I'm back from Medjugorje!
Original artwork by Marilyn Hamann*
"Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see."
With its tight, confined spaces, multiple flight transfers, passport checks, and hours of waiting in airports, a journey as long as the one from Medjugorje to Southern California would ordinarily seem to be an interminable, torturous one. But this was no ordinary journey home.
This trip was strictly by Our Mother's, (MOLIM's*) invitation. For reasons she had not made patently clear at the outset, she made certain that we joined Ana and Steve Shawl's 23rd Anniversary of the Apparitions Pilgrimage.
Through them, MOLIM took care of every detail, including the length of the journey home. Success is in the details; God is in the details.
* MOLIM = M-ary, O-ur L-ady i-n M-edjugorje, an acronym that was given to me the week before, again upon awakening, when I could not seem to recall the Croatian word for "please."
Turns out MOLIM (also known as, MoM, for short, for "Mary our Mother") did not say good-bye to us in Medjugorje, but accompanied us all the way home. She graced us with a journey home that was just long enough for undisturbed time for a restful, restorative nap, followed by the thoughtful perusal of a large rosebud-pink book with gold lettering by Father Jozo, which graced me with the quiet contemplation of its sweet reflections of Medjugorje moments, places and faces of the people that we had journeyed so far to see with our own eyes.
She allowed me the luxury of still time to assimilate the most spiritually savory experience of a lifetime.
Out of the darkness of the night, we arrived to the glare of the hub (bub) that is LAX, and although outwardly we may have looked bedraggled and travel weary, inwardly, I disembarked curiously refreshed and rarin' to do as MoM has asked. I did what I was asked to do. I went, without question and expectation. It was to be my leap of faith. Ever since, the heavenly graces have been raining upon me, non-stop. To do all that she asks of me, my journey continues -- to use Father Svet's beautiful words last week -- in that "endless sea of love."
Allow me to "rewind" to the first minutes of this remarkable journey: nine days ago, here in this room, I awoke with eyes wide open and mind, keen and alert. In the moments just preceding that instantaneous awakening, in that netherland between sleep and wakefulness, I was given this crystal-clear instruction:
"Do what you are asked to do."
I was of lucid mind, as I found myself questioning, "MoM said, ASKED; she did not say, "Do as Jesus TELLS you to do," as she has instructed the servants at the wedding in Cana. Yes, the word she used was: "asked." She is not telling me what to do; instead, she is gently asking me to do something.
For the next few minutes, I repeated her words over and over, not wanting such an explicit instruction to slip away as it could so easily do in that filmy, dreamy state. I needn't have worried. As I was busily committing her words to conscious memory, the alarm rang. I marveled at her timing. I was then able to immediately verbalize her words to my husband. MoM did not intend her words to be forgotten.
The graces since have been nothing short of AMAZING! I am a bibliophile. I love books. Forget jewelry and money in the bank. Books are my earthly treasures. Yet a pilgrim to Medjugorje must travel lightly, out of consideration for one's back and those of others'. Out of the plethora of Medjugorje books, MoM made certain I picked up that certain one LARGE book that she had picked for me. She also made certain I had consumed enough water that I had to excuse myself in the middle of Father Jozo's talk to find my way to a very-out-of-the-way bathroom at the church at Siroki Brieg.
In the long vestibule on the way there, my eyes quickly glanced upon the words, AS SHE ASKS, in gold lettering on a rosebud-pink book on a table laden with books. The rosebud-pink color made me think of the pink rosebuds of our wedding, thirty years earlier. I smiled at the recollection and took that as a sign. After taking care of business, on my hurried way back to the pew and Father Jozo, I made my purchase in the still-empty vestibule. Short minutes later, that same table, manned by a single brother, would be surrounded by the masses of pilgrims. Finding that book would have been like finding that needle in the haystack -- impossible.
And now we "fast forward" back to last night at LAX: If I had any doubts of the whys and wherefores of this trip, this book exactly spells out what she asks of me. MoM made certain that I would not be uncertain in any way, for in certainty, there is peace.
With spiritual eyes that were cleansed, divinely refracted and healed in Medjugorje, I found myself seeing effortlessly with a pristine clarity and a bright vividness not previously experienced. Although I was back in Southern California, my view of the world was -- and will henceforth be -- filtered through Medjugorje lenses.
We arrived home to our ebulliently joyous "kids" -- our dogs. So infused were we with energy that between dog-hugs, we unpacked every bag and knapsack, unwrapped and readied every gift for our family and friends and even checked for phone and e-mail messages before we finally put ourselves to bed at about midnight. Each of YOU in this, our prayer group, were in my thoughts, as my head hit the pillow. I think God will understand that I prayed for you in the horizontal position, rather the preferred posture that Father Danko spoke about... and so began my intercessory prayers for you that you will go home to Medjugorje soon, be it your first or return trip there, so YOU may do what she asks you to do.
Immediately upon awakening, we cleared off a bookshelf and set up our home altar as "prescribed" by Father Jozo. It is to the right of me as I write. Our family Bible is now placed there within arm's reach alongside a Medjugorje Crucifix and red Medjugorje Rosary beads from the sweet, spirit-filled brothers at Charly's. I've embellished the basics with mounted pictures of God the Son, Jesus (the Divine Mercy depiction), and MoM -- acronym for Mary, Our Mother -- (the Miraculous Miracle depiction), both crafted by the inspirational young men at Cenacolo, each flanking the Bible. A wooden carving of God the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove, is appropriately placed just above the Bible.
And so, after I hit the Send button, we will kneel before our brand-new altar and initiate it with our prayers. We will pray for YOU, that YOU will be in Medjugorje soon, if that is her desire and yours. Back to the mundane: All of this has (amazingly) been written without that cup of coffee that ordinarily began my day, BM (before Medjugorje).
AM (after Medjugorje), I now begin my day at God's altar, right here in our home. Who would have known that this was possible: to have God's Home and Medjugorje, Mary's home on earth, right here in our own home and more importantly, in our hearts. We are doing what we are being asked to do.
God bless you, EACH and EVERY one of you. "If you knew how much I love you, you'd cry of joy," said MoM. She loves us. All of us. You, too! I shall return and, as the Holy Spirit moves me, write some more about this journey of graces. There is so much to share with you.
A found wretch, in God's Light,
D/ Peace Pilgrim
* On the bus on the way from Medjugorje to Split, Croatia, Ana revealed to me that MOLIM not only means "please," but "to pray." How appropriate. We please her by praying.
Introductory Page ~ The Journey Begins ~ Day 1 ~ Day 2 ~ Day 3 ~ Day 4 ~ Day 5 ~ Day 6 ~ Day 7 ~ Day 8 ~ Day 9 ~ Archives
* More of Marilyn Hamann's artwork may be found here: http://home.hiwaay.net/~bochte/MH/