#Medjugorje

Apparently I am hopeless once I have no one to mother.

No more than a day after my mom got back on her plane to America did I miss not one, but TWO trains therefore missing my ferry to Croatia. The plans I had carefully set went flying into the trash can.

After spending about half an hour disappointingly scouring Google for alternate travel plans, the light at the end of the tunnel appeared. I booked a flight for the morning and bought my ticket back to Rome for the night. One perk of my previous job was the points earned while spending almost of every week in a hotel. Using those points I stayed within walking distance of the airport. God has a way of granting you little joys if you have the heart to be grateful for them. That night I slept on a bed rather than the floor of a ferry, took a hot bath, and used products actually designed for hair, like conditioner instead of body wash.

After the morning breakfast buffet, one flight, and two buses; I had successfully added four stamps to my passport and was finally in Medjugorje!

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Only 7 hours later than my original plan, so things were back on track, praise the sweet baby Jesus who was looking out for me. I quickly walked into a hotel once I was in sight of the church, dropped my bags and followed the sound of prayers being blasted over loudspeakers all around the church. This wonderful sound led me to adoration behind the church.

I wandered further behind adoration following the masses to the back parking lot. There were five large scale mosaics of the luminous mysteries of the rosary along this path. These are reflections on Jesus’ life, the mysteries of light!

Further along the route I saw green bushes that seemed to be drawing in many of the other people. And there in the middle of a star shaped path with the stations of the cross I saw the Risen Christ statue. Crowds of people were in line to step up, say a prayer, and wiping away the healing liquid “bleeding” from His right knee.

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My time in Medjugorje was very short. I only had that one night and the next day. So that morning after participating in an Italian mass I headed up Apparition Hill with a new friend. We prayed the rosary while hiking to the top of the hill where six young children claim is the spot Our Lady first appeared to them with a message of peace.

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Pilgrims draw close to pray, take pictures, or leave petitions

In Croatia and Bosnia&Herzegovina the hills are all craggy but so beautiful. The towns are nestled between large hills and mountains. One such hill is “Krizevac” meaning “Mount of the Cross.” That afternoon I set out to reach the top alone. The way is fairly steep and the rocks are merciless. However the Stations of the Cross along the path reminded me of one who made a walk much worse than mine. He did it for Love of you and me. Jesus carried a cross up a mountain such as that one. He was beaten, bruised, and bloody. All we carry are the burdens and sin that we carry in our hearts. He carried each and every one of us in His merciful heart.

I cannot explain simply why I chose to go. Medjugorje is a plain and simple town. There was no great view or attraction drawing in tourists and pilgrims. It was a place that made me look inward. Silence and contemplation of the heart are things that often escape us. But in this peaceful corner of the world, they were abundant. So take a walk alone sometime, look inward and leave the headphones behind. Maybe you’ll learn something about yourself or your Creator.

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-S

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