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 8, 2010

MEDJUGORJE'S IMPACT ON MY LIFE

The day before I left for Medjugorje, I went to Ocean to buy a torchlight. What would I do with the torchlight in Medjugorje? That was because I intended to climb Mount Krizevac in the morning of my birthday. That was also my last day in Medjugorje. I knew that if I wanted to climb Mount Krizevac on my birthday, I had to do it in the wee hours of the morning because I had to leave for Sarajevo Airport latest at 8.00 am if I did not want to miss my flight. Sad to say, I did not manage to climb Mount Krizevac that day. It was too cold for me. To be frank, I am very clumsy whenever it comes to doing outdoor activities and I knew that the rocks on the mountain (Mount Krizevac is very rocky) would be very slippery in the morning and I wouldn't be able to make it. Anyway, despite my clumsiness, I managed to climb Mount Krizevac twice during my stay in Medjugorje. Come to think of it, Father Slavko Barbaric used to climb Mount Krizevac every morning at sunrise because he loves Our Lady. Our Lady has said that She prays at the foot of the Krizevac Cross at 5.00 a.m. every morning and Father Slavko wanted to join Her in prayer every morning. Yet, there are people who say that he is a disobedient Franciscan. Surely, this isn't fair for him. Try climbing Mount Krizevac at sunrise and see how it is like!

Well, that was probably the saddest birthday I ever had because that was the day I left Medjugorje. Now, three years later, I still miss this place very much. Since the day I left Medjugorje, there isn't a single moment in my life that I do not think of this place. In fact, I am trying to relive my Medjugorje experience every day of my life.

So what did I do after I returned to Malaysia? Well, when I got off the plane at KLIA, I wasn't happy at the idea that I am no longer in Medjugorje. The first thing I did when I got home was to decorate my room with the souvenirs that I brought home with me from Medjugorje. I wanted to create the atmosphere of Medjugorje in my room to get the feeling of being in Medjugorje all the time.

For weeks, I felt homesick (as though Medjugorje is my home) and found it very difficult to adjust to my life back here in Malaysia. I immediately wrote to the University of Sarajevo to inquire about the PhD programs of this university. All that I ever wanted then was to be as near to Medjugorje as possible. But circumstances wouldn't allow that. So, instead of proceeding with my PhD program, I spent all my time praying and reading the books that I brought home with me from Medjugorje. I just did not want to do anything else. Since I came back from Medjugorje, I have been saying the Croatian rosary. As though the few Croatian words that I learnt in Medjugorje wasn't enough, I started learning the Croatian language. I wanted to go beyond words like molim (please), hvala (thanks), dobro jutro (good morning), dobar dan (good afternoon), danas (today), and kako ste (how are you) because they are too simple. I bought Collins' Croatian phrasebook that comes with a CD and did self-study. This provided me with the basics of the language. I don't believe in memorizing blindly. I then proceeded to learn more of the language on my own including Croatian grammar. Learning a language without knowing its grammar can be very confusing. For instance, what is the difference between 'moj', 'moja' and 'moje' in these three sentences when these three words mean 'my' in English? 1. Moj hotel je tamo (My hotel is there). 2. Moja torba je ovdje (My bag is here). 3. Moje selo je malo (My village is small). Croatian nouns are divided into 3 genders - masculine, feminine and neuter gender. The usage of these words depends on the gender and number of the nouns they modify. To date, I have learnt quite a number of Croatian words, phrases and sentences. I am also quite familiar with Croatian grammar. To me, Croatian is a very beautiful language. However, learning Croatian isn't as easy as French due to the lack of reference books.

For six months, that was what I did. Then my priest friend suggested that I should go to Lourdes the following year. The year 2008 was the 150th anniversary of the apparitions. I immediately agreed. I thought that maybe I could go over to Medjugorje if I had the time. The next few months, I was busy preparing for my pilgrimage to Lourdes. On 15 March 2008, I consecrated my virginity to the Lord - a promise I made right in front of the Krizevac Cross. And in less than 3 months' time, I would be going for my honeymoon with the Lord in Lourdes. What a great excitement!

I spent two weeks of my school holidays in Lourdes. There were so many things to do there that I couldn't find the time to go over to Medjugorje. In my heart, I wished I could visit Medjugorje that year. There were so many things that I wanted to buy in Medjugorje. I did ask myself the question - If I had not been to Medjugorje, would I go to Lourdes? Probably not. Well, in Medjugorje I learnt to live a religious life. I discovered my real vocation and my real self. Prayer life suddenly became very important to me. The presence of the Lord and His Blessed Mother in my life is of utmost importance to me now though I have never thought of seeking their presence in my life in the past.

After my visit to Lourdes, I spent the next eight months praying and learning French. I began to say my rosary prayers in French and Croatian. I went to Kinokuniya and bought all the French books that I could get hold of. I actually spent more than RM2000 on the French books alone. The Grotto of Massabielle - that was where my French story began. Then, I realized that it was time to go back to reality. There were so many things left undone in my life. I had to proceed with my PhD program. I had to write my proposal and I had to do a lot of reading before I could write. I actually do not like the idea of doing a PhD because it interferes with my prayer life and deprives me of my time with the Lord. I can't give all my time to Him anymore. I am always too busy to do anything now. But then, Father Slavko Barbaric has a PhD. Pope Benedict XVI has a PhD. Never mind, this is the last thing I will do before I give all my time to Jesus. Let's look at it this way. Maybe I should equip myself with better knowledge so that I can serve Him better. Since I came back from Medjugorje, I couldn't help feeling that my life does not belong to me anymore. I will live the rest of my life for the Lord.

What is my greatest regret now? If only I had been to Medjugorje before the year 2000, I would get the chance to help Father Slavko Barbaric with his work. What would I really like to do now? Life would be perfect if only I could spend the rest of my life in Medjugorje and in Lourdes. That's why I have to learn Croatian and French. No one knows what may happen in the future. But one thing is for sure. I have to rewrite the story of my life because I went to Medjugorje. The way I perceive life is different now and because of that my plans for the future would be different too.

2 comments:

  1. U can always go back to Medjugorje. Anyways, have u thought of actually migrating to Medjugorje?

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  2. I am very busy right now with my research. When it is done I can have more time to do the things that I love to do. I look forward to this day. Yes, I can always go back to Medjugorje. I have always prayed that I'll have the chance to stay for a long, long time in Medjugorje. If circumstances would permit, I would like to spend my retirement years there. Wow, there's a long time to go but the day will come.

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