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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

IS MEDJUGORJE A SATANIC CULT?

I don't understand why there are people who keep saying that Medjugorje is a cult and at the extreme end there are even those who say that it is a Satanic cult. I find that they are not doing justice to this holy place. Even though they do not believe in the apparitions there is no reason why they should say such a thing. Maybe they do not know what a Satanic Cult really is. If only they would take the trouble to find out more about it they would realize that they have misinterpreted its meaning. A Satanic Cult is a fearful thing - certainly NOT what you can see and experience in Medjugorje. Is Medjugorje really a Satanic cult? This will be the issue of my discussion tonight.

First of all, it is necessary to understand what a Satanic Cult is. The Cult of Satan or Satan worship is in part a survival of the ancient worship of demons and in part a revolt against Christianity or the Church. It is absolutely evil and in complete antithesis to God. Their central feature is the Black Mass, a corrupted and inverted rendition of the Christian eucharist. Practices are said to include animal sacrifice and deviant sexual activity. Worship is motivated by the belief that Satan is more powerful than God and is more capable of bringing about the results sought by his adherents.

Now to go deeper into the meaning of Black Mass characteristic of the Satanic Cult. The Black Mass is a magical ceremony and inversion or parody of the Catholic Mass that was indulged in ostensibly for the purpose of mocking God and worshipping the devil; a rite that was said to involve human sacrifice as well as obscenity and blasphemy of horrific proportions. Other stories of the Black Mass include:
  • mocking screams of "Beelzebub! Beelzebub! Beelzebub!" instead of speaking the holy words of consecration;
  • a wine that may be either urine or blood drunk from a human skull;
  • feasts on roasted human flesh;
  • naked bodies being used as altars;
  • black candles made from human fats;
  • frenzied sexual orgies and newborn babies being crucified alive or baptized in holy oil, strangled and offered as a sacrifice to Satan;
  • young boys' throat being cut to provide blood for the chalice, with prayers to the demons Asmodeus and Astaroth;
  • "Satan" being substituted for "God" and "evil" for "good";
  • crosses being tattooed on the soles of the feet so that the symbol of Christ is continually trodden under food.
Have the Medjugorje priests ever celebrated the Black Mass? Have they ever preached anything about Satanic worship? Have they ever taught the pilgrims how to worship Satan? In Medjugorje, Satan's name is never mentioned. Evil does not exist. Everyone is kind, honest and helpful. Even those who are not normally kind, honest and helpful would embrace these characteristics for a short while during their stay in Medjugorje. Why is it so? How can one choose to do evil in a place where evil does not exist? There is no such thing as the Black Mass in Medjugorje. The words 'Black Mass' do sound fearful, don't they? These fearful words do not exist in Medjugorje. In Medjugorje we do not see darkness. We can only see the light of God.

I have been invited to other non-Catholic churches before. Not that I wanted to go. It was just that my friends were too persuasive to the extent that they kept calling me unendingly - almost to the extent of dragging me there by force. In the Catholic Churches we do NOT look for new members like this. Once there was a friend who told me that she wanted to introduce a lawyer who graduated from the UK to me. I wonder if this is one of the tactics which her church employs to bring in new members. Any woman wouldn't be able to resist such temptation but definitely NOT me. I never like the idea of hunting for a husband especially in such an unnatural way. I have other more important things to do in my life. Well, he has all the 3Cs - career, condo, cash. Couldn't blame the ladies for competing so desperately for him! What is the purpose of going to church? To pray or to hunt for a husband?

Out of curiousity, I went to the other non-Catholic churches to see what was going on and being an extremely picky person I felt uneasy throughout my presence in those churches. I am the kind of person who cannot accept the slightest deviation from the Catholic practices. If I have ever attended the Black Mass in Medjugorje I will never ever mention this place again in my life. The reason why I am so supportive of Medjugorje is because it is more Catholic than the Catholic Churches in Malaysia. Frankly speaking, in Malaysia, I cannot find the kind of Catholic life that I yearn for. I can only find it in Medjugorje and Lourdes.

Human sacrifice, animal sacrifice and deviant sexual activities are never a part of the Church practices in Medjugorje. I haven't seen the priests killing people and animals in the church as offerings to God. And Medjugorje is certainly the last place to go for those who enjoy deviant sexual activities. People are smart nowadays. They know where to go for these activities. Medjugorje is NOT the place for them. In Medjugorje we do not drink urine or blood from a human skull nor do we feast on roasted human flesh. We fast on bread and water.

So, what can we see in Medjugorje? I saw people praying all the time even while walking. Back home, they probably wouldn't do such a thing in public because no one is doing it. But in Medjugorje, even godless people would pray all the time because everyone is doing it. Even those who seldom go to church would find themselves attending mass everyday or possibly twice a day. To a greater or lesser extent, we are influenced by our surrounding environment and by the people around us. So, if we want to live a holy life, Medjugorje is the best place for us. Why accuse Medjugorje of being a Satanic cult? Do you think people who worship Satan would do what the Medjugorje pilgrims are doing each day?

A few months back, a church member who is not very bright was invited to a non Catholic church in Kuala Lumpur. He went there with the purpose of getting a free meal. As I have said earlier, anyone in Malaysia can rent a flat or a shoplot and call it a church and then call himself a pastor. When this church member entered this particular "church", he was given a very lucrative offer i.e to marry a beautiful China woman. Irresistible, isn't it? Any guy would simply say "yes". Why not? The wife is free of charge. Better than taking a Vietnamese bride. To marry a Vietnamese bride one would have to pay RM15000. Well, this guy said that he couldn't afford to support himself and he did not want a wife. Next, he was given another offer i.e. he would be paid RM1000 for marrying this China woman. This was supposed to be a faked marriage. The China woman only wanted the marriage certificate so that she could stay here. He was told that this China woman would not give him any problems. She only wanted to work as a maid here. When he asked for the advice of another church member in my church, this church member told him that since Malaysian wives do not want China maids for fear that they will destroy their families there is the likelihood that this China woman may come here to work as a prostitute instead. So, this not-so-bright church member declined the marriage offer by that non-Catholic church. Why offer him RM1000 when he declined the first offer? The reason is very obvious. There was the intention to cheat this not-so-bright man. Needless to say, this China woman would disappear with the marriage certificate after marriage and he would be left without a wife. Just imagine how heart-broken he would be if he really wants a wife? If he really wants to get married one day, he'll find that he cannot do so because he is legally married to this China woman. Goodness knows where she'll be then. Only after he declined the first offer that he was being told about the truth of this transaction. They had no choice but to give him money to lure him into doing something illegal. The people in that church even told him that he should help people whenever he could. Does it mean that to be kind he must marry that China woman?

The marriage offer aside, how come no one ever says that this particular church is a cult? In fact it is regarded as a respectable church by many. Quite a prominent one too! If such a church cannot be regarded as a cult, then why is it that Medjugorje is accused of being a Satanic cult? Whatever the situation may be Medjugorje will NOT do this kind of marriage transaction business to promote prostitution. Which is more Satanic? The rented-flat church or Medjugorje? Think of it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

GOING UP PODBRDO HILL (APPARITION HILL)

Podbrdo Hill, also known as Apparition Hill, is the name of the place where the visionaries first saw Our Lady. Be it day or night, pilgrims can be seen climbing towards the place of the first apparition. This place has been marked by a pile of rocks, with a simple cross placed in the middle.


A photo of Podbrdo Hill taken while I was walking towards the hill.

The Blue Cross at the foot of Podbrdo Hill. There are two of them. Below is another one. Those who cannot afford to climb the arduous hill can sit and recite the rosary in front of the blue cross.
How did the story of the Blue Cross begin? On 27 July 1982, on his way to the apparition site, Ivan (one of the visionaries) suddenly knelt down. Our Lady warned Ivan that the communist police were waiting for him there. The place where Ivan knelt became the site of today's Blue Cross. A second blue cross was later placed close to the first one. Instead of going to the apparition site, Ivan and his prayer group met at the foot of the hill - the place where the Blue Crosses are now. The Blue Cross had since became the secret meeting place for Ivan's prayer group. There have been many apparitions at the Blue Cross.

See how steep and rocky Podbrdo Hill is! Certainly NOT an easy climb.


Above are two of the bronze reliefs of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary on Podbrdo Hill sculpted by Carmelo Puzzolo from Italy. (The reliefs of the Joyful and Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary were placed along the path leading up to the hill in 1989).


Two beautiful Medjugorje postcards. These are the scenes that you can see on Podbrdo Hill. In honour of the 20th anniversary of the apparitions, a statue of the Queen of Peace was placed at the very place of the apparitions. At first sight, this statue looks like the one in front of St. James Church. However, if you look at it carefully, you will notice that the features are slightly different.

I climbed Podbrdo Hill only once. When I went there for the second time with the intention to climb the hill again, it looked like it was going to rain. I changed my mind and after snapping some photos at the foot of the hill, I went to do some shopping before I went back to my hotel to prepare for church. Anyway, if I had climbed Podbrdo Hill that day, I would be late for church. That was also one reason why I decided not to climb Podbrdo Hill that day. I have never missed the Croatian Rosary (6.00 pm) and Croatian Mass (7.oo pm) at St. James Church during my stay in Medjugorje. In fact, every pilgrim feels that it is compulsory to be there in the evenings.

Friday, October 1, 2010

THE MESSAGES OF MEDJUGORJE

According to the unanimous testimony of the visionaries, during the apparitions Our Lady gave them specific messages to be delivered to the world. Although there are many messages, they can be summarized into five fundamental ones because all the others imply, request and promote these five.

Peace
Already on the third day Our Lady gave as the first of all messages: "Peace, peace, peace and only peace!" She also repeated twice: "Peace must rule between man and God and among the people." Since visionary Marija saw the cross behind Our Lady while she was giving that message it was obvious that such peace comes only from God who became "our peace" (Epf 2,14) in Christ through Our Lady. The world cannot give that peace (Jn 14,27), and that is why Christ commanded His disciples to be the ones to bring it to the world (Mt 10,11) so that all people may become "sons of peace" (Lk 10,6).

That is why Our Lady as the "Queen of the Disciples" introduced Herself in Medjugorje as the "Queen of Peace". No one else is as capable as She to convince successfully the modern world faced with so many threats, that peace is the greatest and the most needed possession.

Faith
Our Lady's second message is faith. She speaks about it on the fourth, fifth and sixth day of the apparitions and generally repeats it often, which is understandable.

Without faith it is not possible to achieve peace. Furthermore, faith by its nature is an answer to the Word of God through which God not only reveals Himself but also gives himself to mankind. Through faith man receives the Word of God that has become "our peace" (Eph 2,14) in Christ. Receiving it, man becomes new with a new life of Christ within him. He becomes an inheritor of God's nature. (Pet 1,4; Eph 2,18).

In this way man is assured of peace both with God and his fellow man. No one knows the significance of faith and how much modern man needs it as Our Lady does. That is why on every occassion She emphasizes this message to the visionaries and entrusts them to spread it to others. She places it above everything that people seeks and sets it as the first condition for the fulfillment of all pleas, desires and requests, whether they pertain to health or any other need.

Conversion
Conversion is also one of the most frequent messages on the basis that people today have a very weak faith, if at all. Without faith it is impossible to achieve peace. True conversion means to cleanse the heart (Jer 4,14) because a corrupt heart creates and sustains bad relatiopnships and social systems. It creates and sustains unjust laws and vassal establishmensts. Without a radical change of the heart and conversion there is no peace. That is why Our Lady calls for frequent confession. This call applies to everyone. "There is no one just, not one... All have gone astray, all alike are worthless." (Rom 3, 11-12).

Prayer
Since the fifth day of the apparitions, nearly every day Our Lady recommends prayer. She calls all the people yto pray without ceasing just as Jesus asked. (Mk 9,28; Mt 8,34; Lk 11,5-13).

Prayer either awakens or strengthens faith, which enables man to have a proper relationship with God and his fellow man. Furthermore, through prayer, man manifests his life's connection with God: recognizes Him, gives him praise for received gifts and with confidence relies on him for all his needs, especially salvation. Prayer strenghthens this attitude and helps man achieve a proper relationship with God. Without a proper relationship it is not possible to keep and promote peace with God or one's fellow man.

The justification of prayer is especailly evident in that the Word of God is directed to man and there is a need for man to respond to it by word. The answer is verbalized faith or prayer, through which faith encourages, restores, strengthens and supports itself.

Furthermore, through prayer man convincingly proclaims God and the gospel, enflaming faith in others. The word of prayer at the same time purifies and shapes human life.

Fasting
Already since the sixth day of the apparitions Our Lady has started recommending fasting because it serves faith. Fasting helps man to examine, confirm and ensure self-control.

Only a self-controlled person can be free and capable of serving God and his fellow man as faith demands. Fasting warrants that man's serving in faith is sincere and certain. It helps man to be liberated of all enslavement, in the first place of sin. Whoever cannot control himself is a slave. Furthermore, fasting helps man restrain his desire for excessive pleasure, which easily lead to inconsiderate spending of temporal goods needed by the poor for mere survival.

Fasting makes it possible to obtain the goods that can become living signs of love for the needy and poor and reduces the differences between the poor and rich. Fasting heals the lack of some by the excess of others and vice versa.

So in its own way, fasting helps establish the form of peace that has been especially endangered by the enormous differences between the rich and the poor (south and north). Consequently, form Our Lady's messages it is obvious that peace is our greatest good and that faith, conversion, prayer and fasting are the sole means through which it can be achieved.

Fasting on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays is Our Lady's message. Many have really learned to fast in Medjugorje.

Special Messages
Along with the five main messages Our Lady has given at the beginning for all mankind, since March 1, 1984 She has started to give, mainly through Marija Pavlovic, special messages for the Medjugorje parish and the pilgrims.

Besides six visionaries Our Lady has chosen the whole parish and all the pilgrim for Her witnesses and collaborators. This is evidenced in Her first message: "I have chosen this parish in a special way and I want to lead it." She confirmed this again later: "In a special way I have chosen this parish, one more dear to me than the others, in which I have gladly remained when the Almighty sent me." (March 21, 1985) She even mentioned the reason of Her choice: "You in the parish, be converted" (March 8, 1984) "I beseech you especially those from this parish, to live my messages." (August 16, 1984).

The parishioners and the pilgrims are the ones who must become the first witnesses of Her apparitions and messages so that they may join Her and the six visionaries in realization of Her plan of the conversion of the world and its reconciliation with God.

Our Lady knows very well the weaknesses of the parishioners and pilgrims She wants to work with in the salvation of the world. She is aware that supernatural strength is needed to achieve this goal. That is why with Her messages She directs and leads them toward the sources of that power. Prayer is in the first place. She recommends prayer fervently in almost all Her messages.

(This article is written by Father Ljudevit Rupcic, O.F.M. in the book entitled MEDJUGORJE.)