The State of Virginity

The State of Virginity
I should like you to be free of all worries. The unmarried man is busy with the Lord's affairs, concerned with pleasing the Lord; but the married man is busy with this world's demands and occupied with pleasing his wife. This means he is divided. The virgin - indeed, any unmarried woman - is concerned with things of the Lord, in pursuit of holiness in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has the cares of this world to absorb her and concerned with pleasing her husband. I am going into this with you for your own good. I have no desire to place restrictions on you, but I do want to promote what is good, what will help you to devote yourselves entirely to the Lord. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

Thursday, December 31, 2009

MEDJUGORJE? WHAT THEY THINK!

"Medjugorje? What They Think!" is a book filled with testimonies from around the world. The inteviewees are archbishops, bishops, priests and lay people from various countries and cultures. One thing they all agree upon is: Our Lady is leading us to her Son, Jesus, and She is helping us to open our hearts to God and to His grace. To read these testimonies is to share in a number of Medjugorje experiences, which the pilgrims have expressed in their own personal and unique ways. Readers are likely to find in them echoes of their own experiences. Above is a photo of this wonderful book which I snapped on my bed. Below are excerpts taken from this book.

From the very beginning, I was convinced that Our Lady was present here. My wish for all priests is that they receive the grace to believe in Our Lady's apparitions and the grace to do what she is asking us. Our own priests are convinced. They have "touched" her presence here. For me, the conversion of the pilgrims is one of the noteworthy proofs. Some pilgrims, who had not been to confession for 40 years, have finally done so here, and they continue to live their faith on their return to Lebanon. Many physical healings also occur. One young man, who came here with brain cancer, was completely healed. He is married for two years now, and they have a baby. There are many healings. We are preparing our reports.There are many signs. Medjugorje is a joy. It is heaven on Earth! (Fr. Boulos Fahd, Spiritual Counsellor of the Catholic Television "Telelumiere" Lebanon.)

It is an experience of the Christian faith lived to the full. People here are believers and they live the faith as can be plainly seen. The faith permeates their whole being, heart and soul. We are all part of the same family. We are all brothers and sisters. (Mons. Thomas L. Dupre, Bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts USA).

Concerning the actual apparitons, the presence of Our Lady here, I would say that it is difficult to give a precise opinion after so short a time. I do not possess all the elements necessary for discernment. What I can say is that something is happening here. I had the grace to meet the visionary Marija and to be present during her prayer. Something happens that goes beyond my reasoning. An analytical intelligence always wants to explain everything, but I think that we simply have to admire all that is happening. Our Lady challenges us here. To those who doubt, She may shed some more light with time... (Mon. Jean-Vincent Ondo, Bishop of the Diocese of Oyem, Gabon.)

There are many conversions here, which can lead to spiritual vocations: priestly vocation, religious vocation, active lay vocation ... There is an atmosphere of pilgrimage, order and prayer. I do not see anything negative. I am positively impressed. We have seen people praying in deep recollection. The ambience is good. (Mon. Julio Ojeda Pascual, OFM, Bishop of San Ramon, Peru.)

Many Austrians have come to Medjugorje during recent years. Many speak about it positively and with enthusiasm, because they experience personal change. In this place of grace and of Our Lady's presence, they had deep experiences of Jesus Christ in the sacraments, especially in confession and in the Eucharist. This atmosphere of liberation impresses them. They speak about peace, about harmony between God and men and between men. Harmony brings peace, and the most beautiful fruit of peace is joy. From the very first moment, I was impressed by the pilgrims, as well as by the atmosphere of prayer, of inner joy and peace that radiates from everywhere. As Christ himself says, I believe that the good tree can be recognised by good fruits.(Mons. Dr. Ludwig Schwarz, Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna, Austria)

Since 1998, I have been coming to Medjugorje every year with a large group of pilgrims from Switzerland. What I experience with them here, I have never experienced anywhere else. Almost all of them make a personal confession, almost all of them have a deep personal experience, which - for most of them - has a profound impact on their lives. Not only does it change their professional and personal environments, it changes their very lives. (Fr. Roman Gruter from Switzerland)

I try to live the messages of Medjugorje. I meditate the Scripture, I go to monthly confession, I revere the Eucharist and pray the Office, I try to fast, and I noticed a difference in my homilies after fasting. I have embraced the "Medjugorje Spirituality"as far as you can call it that. It is important for me to read the message every day, and to listen to tapes of Fr. Slavko and Fr. Jozo, more than anything else. And all the time you get new insights. There is a great depth in the messages. When the monthly message comes, I write it sentence by sentence and I meditate on it, and I feel a deep inner joy from doing so. They make me very happy. Medjugorje is here to strengthen our faith in God's Word. For western society, this is the critical thing. Do not prejudge Medjugorje. Come and see! (Fr. John Cooper, Pastor of St. Robert's, Morpeth, England.)

The basic message of Medjugorje is absolutely solid. We are living in 2002, but men and women are still made of body and soul. We all have traces of original sin. Our needs are the same as they were in the time of the apostles and in any other generation. Basically, we are God's children and our cries are as loud as in any generation. Therefore, the message has to be the same! We cannot do without God. This is the marvellous thing about Medjugorje. We find here a Divine oasis, and this is the living Church as it should be. Tradition is not a dirty word, although it seems so to some people! The life of a priest consists in bringing people back to God, people who have wandered away because they thought religion was irrelevant. Thank God that he is God and provides places like this. I have been to other places, but Medjugorje is the shining light today in our society. (Mons. Pearse Lacey, Retired Bishop of Toronto, Canada)

I came to Medjugorje for the first time in 1983. I have been here about seven or eight times. Each visit is always a great grace. I have heard hundreds of testimonies of people who have experienced conversion, and who found faith in Medjugorje. What impresses me most as a priest is that you have no problem here with empty confessionals! In Vienna, in some parishes, we have one or two confessions per month, while here, a priest has to be careful not to begin hearing confessions too early in the morning, because he will not be able to get out of the confessional until evening! The grace here is tangible and visible even to the blind! (Fr. Leo Maasburg, a priest of the Diocese of Vienna who was working on the Cause of the Beatification of Mother Teresa)

Living in this way, abandoning oneself to God, is madness in the eyes of the world. I don't live like this because otherwise I wouldn't have anything else to do! This way of life involves swimming against the stream. Why? Because of whom? For what reason? I carry Jesus and Mary in my heart, and "the world" does not know them. I live this kind of life purely for Them. Living in Medjugorje on a permanent basis is not at all the same as coming here on pilgrimage, which can lift some to the seventh heaven! Rather it is a laborious daily journey through the desert where we have to seek the source of life and the meaning of our existence. Every day is full of both joy and tears, happiness and suffering. I know that God's reward is great. The prayer rhythm here in Medjugorje melts hearts. Even the most hardened hearts open here. (Melinda Dumitrescu, violinist from Romania living in Medjugorje.)

After coming here, I met Fr. Svetozar who knew that one of my college degrees was in English, and that I had taught some English before, so he asked if I could help with that in Mother's Village. I also started to help by doing some music in the church for the English Mass. In May 2001, I became the director for English Mass and the English liturgy, and now, I have been doing precisely that for two solid years It has been an incredible blessing. Living here in Medjugorje for two and a half years, has been like going to school. I have learned so much about human relations, about the beauty and the frailty of the human heart. (Jamie Marich, a student from the USA)

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