I just prayed the Rosary and, right after, felt inspired to write this blog post. It doesn't surprise me to get these moments of inspiration anymore. I've come to learn they're for a reason, just like how this whole "Medjugorje" business came to be important to me in the first place. I'm writing this the night before we set flight on our first pilgrimmage there.
For those who don't know my Medjugorje story (and everyone who comes to have Medjugorje be important to them has one), you can read it here. But I'm not writing this post to tell you the entire story all over again. I'm writing to tell you how I feel now.
I feel blessed.
I'm blessed to have a wife who supports my interest in all of this. Without her I think I would have considered myself a lunatic a long time ago. But she believed in why this was important to me. And while I've wanted to go to Medjugorje for close to 10 years, we're going now because she brought it up about a year ago. She knew I always wanted to go. And I didn't want us to go until she wanted to, and now we're going. And it just feels right to go.
And I feel blessed to have had the support of family. I know, deep down, it's not an accident I met my wife and that, only after I learned about what was happening at Medjugorje, did I find out members of her family have been there, which means I've had people to talk about this whole thing with (which means more than anyone will ever realize). And, because I've had people to talk about this with, I've been able to gain confidence in bringing it up with other members of my family. Everyone - and I mean everyone - in my family has just been 100% supportive of my interest in this .... I don't want to state "controversial" .... but .... different .... topic.
So thank you to all of you who have supported my interest in this. That support has meant more than anyone will ever know, because my interest in this stuff comes at a price, especially as a 30-something guy.
I'm an intense sports fan. I love the occasional craft beer. I love yardwork, home ownership, shooting hoops, going to the gym, a good steak. Guy stuff.
But, despite that, you tell people you pray the Rosary a few times per week and you're into apparitions of the Virgin Mary and you sometimes get some funny looks from friends and the guys at work. It doesn't stop my interest in it - it's just become too important to me - but I think you get the point. It's not something I bring up with many people. In fact, I'll be honest and say I skirted the question of "Why are you going to Bosnia?" with most of my coworkers this week. I know I shouldn't, but it's not easy. I was concerned about them distancing themselves from me and losing that camaraderie of being in the trenches at work with them.
And the toughest part about all of this is that I feel compelled to bring it up with people. I feel a calling to do it. So I look for little opportunities, when it feels comfortable. But, man, it's a little weird sometimes. I can talk for hours about how the Boston Bruins were successful breaking down the 1-3-1 trap by the Tampa Bay Lightning (something that isn't really that important to me), but I sometimes struggle with words to talk about something (Medjugorje) that is central in my life. This blog is my outlet.
And that doesn't mean I think I'm some totally holy person, who was chosen to spread the messages because of how wonderful I am. I'm pretty tough on myself. I have tons to work on. I need to be better in many areas of my life. Which often led me to wonder if I was crazy with my interest in Medjugorje, because I didn't feel deserving of a calling to spread these messages of Our Lady to friends and family.
What I learned from the "visionaries" of Medjugorje, who feel the same way about themselves, by the way, and, thus, asked Our Lady "Why us?", is that God doesn't always choose the best people. He just chooses the people who will help Him get the job done.
I'm excited to go on this trip. This thing that has been very important to me, and I know - beyond the shadow of a doubt - is a calling to help others come to know about what is happening through Medjugorje, is coming to a head because I'm going on my first trip there.
I hope all of you come to understand what Our Lady is asking of us. There is a reason she has appeared for 30 years, and why many thousands of people, like myself, have felt this "calling" to learn and spread her messages. She said these are her last apparitions on Earth. She said things in this world are going to change before these visionaries pass, and drastically. This is a fulfillment of the promises she made to the children of Fatima. She said she is using this time God has granted her to appear to us and give us messages and bring us back to God because there are punishments coming to the world, because the world, as a whole, is very far from God. She says the world in shrouded in a "cloud of darkness" and that we need to pray, fast, and do acts of penance. She wants to bring as many of us back to God as possible now, because we need to, now. Not later. Now.
Sound dramatic? I think it does. But I also believe it. And if you question who these "visionaries", who are supposedly giving messages from Heaven, are, you should know each and every message they give is heavily scrutinized by the church. Not a single message, out of the thousands the visionaries have given, has ever been found to be contrary to scripture. They've undergone intense psychiatric and medical tests and have been found to be completely healthy, mentally and physically.
The thing is, none of us is being forced to return to God. Even Mary said to the visionaries she can't make us return to God, in a way which is pleasing to Him. It's our choice. We choose each and every action we make and word we speak.
My one hope for all is that we heed what is happening here. God expects more of this world than we give Him now. That is the message. There is too much materialism in society. We put too much of our love into "things". There is too much sin. Too much anger. Mary's first message to the visionaries was "I have come to tell the world God exists ..." She is trying to help us understand our life is eternal, and that our very, very short time on Earth is intended for preparing us to earn Heaven. What we do on Earth is important, but it's got to be with the end game in mind.
Ugh. I don't like preaching, especially 'cause I could point to 4,500,301 things I need to improve upon in my own life. It's not what I set out to do with this post.
I'll end with this: God loves us, and he wants us to love Him and everyone else in a way that pleases Him. Mary is coming to us now, to give us messages from God on how to live, because, as a whole, we've lost our way. And if we listen to her, and implement what she is asking, we will all be in great shape. Look within yourself. Are there areas you could improve upon? Instinct will tell you. And Mary will lead us home. That's her job, and why she's here with us now.