Monday, August 29, 2011

Pilgrimage 2011 Part II: The Breaking Point

Where was I? Ah yes: 2 rosaries back-to-back can be uncomfortable, if you aren't used to it. But after my spasm upon realization that we WERE saying a second rosary before mass, I squeezed out a "Thank you God, for this second rosary. I want this." And I prayed the Sorrowful mysteries, albeit a bit distracted, along with the 60,000 other faithful in Medugorje.

Makani had told us that the first week or so would be particularly tricky. He warned us that our words of "I want this, God" would not be matching what our hearts really felt. But he told us to persevere. And I didn't always have a rebellion towards my circumstances...it was a bit of a rollercoaster.
The day before delving into pilgrimage in Medugorje, we spent the day just relaxing at a Croatian beach, and I lost my glasses. Immediately, I said, "Thank you God, for making my lose my glasses. I'm going to respond now by trying to find them." When we had to leave, and I still had not found them, I again said, "Thank you God, for making me lose my glasses." I was actually rather calm. I realized later that these trials helped me physically conform to God, so that I could spiritually conform to Him when those second rosaries came around. What else...(to varying degrees of acceptance):

-I got a crazy sunburn (right after healing from another sunburn)
-Bus rides were uncomfortable
-nasal congestion was rampant
-I am extremely allergic to mosquitoes, and I got two bites on my hand and arm. Kept me up at night.
-Sessions for the festival were held outside, and it was very hot.

And to all of them, I said, "Thank You Lord. I want this." In a way, I was forced to focus on these problems, and how I dealt with God in regards to them. I had no music, phone, or computer to distract me. The breaking point came when our group was walking up Cross Mountain in Medugorje. It's a beautiful mountain with giant bronzen images of the Stations of the Cross, and there is a massive cross at the peak. We were told that as an extra penance, we could walk up barefoot - so I did. And it hurt.
The smooth rocks felt amazing...the rocks with sharp edges, not so much. At one point I was considering putting my shoes back on...and then an image of Jesus, suffering under the weight of the Cross, came to my mind. Yes, I could put my shoes back on, be comfortable, and get up the mountain much faster. The suffering would end. But if Jesus had wanted, he could have made his Cross disappear too. So I trekked on.

I was reminded of Cross mountain as I said that second rosary. I was distracted, but as the week went on, things got easier; that second rosary really was "the beginning of the end." The end of me! Making myself decrease so that He could increase. Sessions became easier to sit through, and I started to get more out of the different speakers. I began to be comfortable with letting loose, as the two dancing nuns led everyone in actions for all the praise and worship songs (yes, you read that sentence correctly. Sister Act lives!). I felt myself becoming more patient as we prayed, and prayed...and prayed. Grace was being poured out onto Medugorje, and I was slowly becoming more able to receive it. By the time the last night of the youth festival came around, the two rosaries and mass were pure bliss. I was so focused, and I felt a renewed sense of spirit. Of course, the bending and moulding of my heart was far from complete, but at that moment I knew that I would eventually become sweetly broken.

And only the Holy Spirit could inspire this:
video

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