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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

MEDJUGORJE: FAITH OR FRAUD?

Three years ago, when I made up my mind to go to Medjugorje, it wasn't because I wanted to ask Our Lady to grant me my wishes. I don't need a healing. I am happy with my present state of health. Even if I were suffering from a terminal illness, it doesn't matter so much to me whether I can be healed or not. I am not the kind of person who clings on tightly to this material world. I don't need to ask Our Lady to make me rich. I am happy with my present situation. Contentment is the real happiness of life. I don't need to ask Our Lady to give me a husband. I would be happier with the Lord. I wasn't interested in the miracle of the sun either. And I didn't go there to ask the visionaries to prove to me that the Gospa is indeed really appearing to them. So why did I go to Medjugorje? Because Our Lady invited me to be with her in this place of grace. Because I wanted Our Lady to tell me what she wanted me to do with my life. Because I wanted the Lord to let me know how I could serve Him. And I found all my answers in Medjugorje right in front of the Krizevac Cross.

What is the purpose of our visit to Medjugorje? To look for miracles? To ask for favours for ourselves and our family members??? What if our requests remain unfulfilled? Are we to come home disappointed and then start blaming Medjugorje for deceiving us to go there? Where is our faith? To those who lack faith, this is where the tales of the Medjugorje hoax begin.

Let's consider the following prayer requests from a typical Malaysian aunty. Gospa, I pray that my husband will get a promotion soon. And of course I would like to have a promotion myself. I am tired of being just a store clerk. We really need the money badly to pay off the housing loan. Oh, I forgot to tell you that my mom is suffering from AIDS. Can you please heal her? Oh yes, my son will be entering university soon. Can you please grant him a scholarship to study abroad? My daughter has a lot of pimples on her face and this may deprive her of the chance of becoming an air hostess. Can you please make those pimples disappear from her face? What if this aunty returns home from Medjugorje and finds that none of her prayers is answered? Is she supposed to go around telling everyone that Medjugorje is a fraud? If she lacks faith, this is exactly what she is going to do.

This kind of prayers may sound a bit funny but we cannot deny the fact that this is the way many of us would pray. My grandmother used to pray this way. My aunt is no exception. This shouldn't be the way we pray. The majority of us live from day to day asking for this and for that for ourselves and our family members. Our requests are unending. But have we ever asked ourselves, "What is the purpose of life? How does the Lord want us to live this life? How can we serve Him?" Life is fleeting. Why ask for so many things? Instead of asking for favours why not ask ourselves what we have got to offer to the Lord? Many of us would remember Saint Bernadette of Lourdes. She never asked for a healing for herself even though she was sick all her life. She did not take the apparitions as a stepping stone to make herself rich. She died as poor as the Lord.

To me, Medjugorje is a place of deep prayer, a place of self-discovery, a place of reflection. But why Medjugorje and not elsewhere? Those of us who have been to Medjugorje would agree with me that the atmosphere there is different. When you are there, you become extremely religious. You will discover things that you have never discovered before. You will discover your real self. You will discover what you really want in this life. When you come back from Medjugorje, you will see life from a different perspective. This is because you have found the real meaning and purpose of existence. And the people there are different. They are so caring and loving quite unlike the situation in the churches in Malaysia. Here in Malaysia, we may go to the same church and sit in the same row with the same people every Sunday but we may end up not knowing each other. But in Medjugorje, everyone is our friend. In Medjugorje, everyone is helpful, kind and honest.

Although miracles do happen in Medjugorje, I feel that it shouldn't be a place for us to look for miracles and end up disappointed if we can't find any. If we say that Medjugorje is deceiving us because our prayers remain unanswered, in a way we are also saying that we are disappointed with the Lord for not answering our prayers. Not every prayer will be answered. Sometimes we have to learn about life the hard way in order to become a better person. All shine no rain would only make a desert out of us. The Lord knows what is best for us. He has His ways that we do not know of. Let us have faith in Him. The most beautiful smile in this world is the smile that shines through tears.

1 comment: