Monday, May 08, 2006

Susan's Message From Medjugorje

Dear Family and Friends,
I am a weary traveller just back from Eastern Europe. It took 26 hours to get home and three airplanes. It was grueling but I am safe and full of thoughts and remembrances of an incredible journey, a once in a lifetime experience that I never would have guessed I would make.

Medjugorje is situated in Bosnia - Herzegovina and is truly in the midst of some of the most beautiful country I have ever seen. It is a green, lush valley, surrounded by high rocky hills. The people are war weary and it is obvious they have been through alot. Yet they are kind, welcoming and always smiling. These are Croats surrounded by Serbs. The ethnic cleansing that was inflicted on them has left each family scarred and bereft at the loss of loved ones. That is why it is a gift for them to have the Blessed Mother always present in their community through her apparitions. You can feel the spirituality of the place and they have opened their hearts and homes to pilgrims from all over the world. Pilgrims of all kinds: young, very old, every ethnic group, religious, and clergy, all are there to profess their faith, or to be called back to their faith, or to pray for someone or for themselves. It it certainly not an experience I had ever expected to have, and yet, it is the most perfect gift I could have been given.

I told my family that I prayed more in these 10 days then I have over the last 30 years. I travelled with a remarkable group of believers who looked out for me, felt the pain I carried, and supported my desire to help Dan. We were fortunate to have a Benedictine monk, Benedict, travel with us. He is the brother of Jim Neenan who travelled there with his wife Nancy, son Chris and his pregnant and beautiful wife, Leah. I cannot even begin to tell you the comfort of having someone like Benedict with us throughout, leading us in prayers, saying Holy Mass and blessing us and every religious article we purchased. In addition to the Neenans I was also kept company by our long time friends, John and Jennie Amato.

It will take much time for me to sort out all I saw, experienced and wrestled with. I felt like I had returned to the Church of my youth and there was great comfort in that. I would always joke to Dan - "once a Catholic, always a Catholic" - but I knew deep down it was not a joke at all. I was always a Catholic and now I have been given the blessings of the sacraments and a group of people who live their beliefs and support one another in the kindest and loveliest of ways.

I have seen hundreds of people lined up for Confession, groups of people, all walking with their Rosary in prayer, a church filled to standing room only from 7 in the morning till 10 at night. Pilgrims were hiking up Cross Mountain in bare feet over huge, sharp rocks, praying the stations of the Cross and meditating on the Crucifixation with pain and sadness in their faces. I have seen old people going up those hills and mountains and I have meditated on the power of faith to keep us going literally as well as figuratively. I have seen Visionaries and listened to their words, tried to read their faces and feel what was in their souls. I have heard birds sing all night, and then be magically silenced as soon as one of the Visionaries experienced the presence of the Blessed Mother, saw the sun spin and witnessed a bronze statue of Christ drop water from his leg (as it has inexplicitly done for years) as people placed their religious objects on the spot and then kissed the object reverently. There are stories too numerous to relate, that would indeed fill a small book, but a book nontheless.

I will say I was in a place that is wonderous, devotional, pulsating with a spiritual consciousness, and at the same time difficult, even very difficult, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I found the life of a Pilgrim to be a daily challenge in comforts and belief. But at the end of the journey, the challenges were forgotton and the faith remained. I believe in my heart and mind that I was in a sacred, holy place that is filled with the presence of the Blessed Mother.

With that belief I left Dan's cancer at Mary's feet. I climbed up Apparition Hill where Our Lady first appeared to the children 25 years ago. There one finds her statue and I carried Dan's written intention with me and left it there for her to do as she decides. I have heard requests ring out twice in grand Churches; requests spoken by my friends on the trip, asking for Dan's health , once in a packed and beautiful service at St. James in Medjugorje, the other in Dubrovnik, in an old and inspiring place where Father Benedict said Mass for our small group of wear travellers at the end of our journey. Both times I said Dan is in good hands.

So I will remember, and try to understand, and accept on faith those things that my mind is incapable of comprehending. And most of all, I thank Mary for calling me to such a place. It is hard to believe it was only last October when I was first made aware of Mary's appearances at Medjugorje, and her statute visited our house, and now I have visited the place where she first appeared and stood on Apparition Hill. We are all on an amazing journey.

Love, Susan

3 comments:

Maria Jennett said...

Susan, your message is so inspiring to me and the love that moved you to make that incredible journey has touched me very deeply.

God works in ways that we can't comprehend, much less to articulate into words. What is remarkable is that your love for Dan led you to this journey and to place his cancer at the feet of Mary. That simple act speaks volumes because there is nothing more difficult and paradoxically soothing than to "let go and let God." That is a heroic act! Love is the mover of such acts. Susan, you and Dan are real heroes to all of us who journey with you. Thank you so much for sharing.

Dan's Mom said...

Susan,what an act of love for you to go on that long,tiring journey because of your love for Dan. I thank you for doing it. I especially liked the comment about accepting things on faith. In this scientific orientated world sometimes we forget that. I have heard people who went talk about the sun spinning and now that you said you saw it I can believe it.

I also want to comment on Dan's love letter to you. I think Eliazbeth Barrett Browning can take a back seat after reading that. The love you two have for each other is an inspiration to anyone. I cried when I read it. I thanked God that in this difficult time Dan has such a wonderful wife beside him encouraging him all the way. You two are magnificent. Love, Dan's Mom

B.J. said...

Dan we introduced BJ to Medjugorje and she has written to us about you. In this regard, I would like to share some very personal thoughts with you.

In reading your “Mysteries To Be Solved”, the magic lies in God. “Medjugorje, medicine, meditation, messages (spiritual and otherwise) from many family and friends”, as you indicate, and from people like me who do not know you but will keep you in their prayers, they all come from Him. Even the change in medicine, its effects on you and the improvement it might cause, these come from Him too.

Faith Dan… faith; this is what this is all about, faith in God’s plan and His infinite love to prepare us for eternal life with Him, during our entire lives. Remember His words time and time again when He was amongst us: “Your faith has saved you.” Of course you have an influence on what ultimately happens, except it is not small. We are all passengers in our journeys and have no control of anything, except we get to choose our bus and who rides in it. In our bus, we carry all the available resources that we think may help us in that journey. We let some in and drop some off at the different stations, orchestrate their utilization and give directions to the driver as we attempt to reach our chosen destination. Now, regardless of the bus we choose, we can always invite Jesus to accompany us in our journey. When we invite Him, we recognize His wisdom, His absolute control over everything, and most importantly, His infinite love for us as our Creator. With this in mind, we ask Him for directives; we listen attentively, and make ourselves instruments to assist in the fulfillment of His plan for our journey. How He will get us to our destination, and how our journey will impact and help others, we never know. But there are two things we know for sure.

1. He will make our journey a lot easier if we turn over control to Him. Remember when He said: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

2. Our ultimate destination with Him in the bus, beyond our own chosen destination, is eternity in His presence and He will do everything necessary to get us there. This is what we were created for and our soul does not rest until we are on our way there.

Rejoice Dan… because unless I am missing something, this is still your fight (phase of your journey) but you have invited Him into your bus and both you and Susan have asked Our Lady of Peace to deliver the invitation. You are right. There are no coincidences in such an organized universe created by a scientific God. After all, He created science too. He continues to bless you in many ways. Ask, accept His will and trust in Him… and all will be fine for you and for those around you.

God Bless,
Jorge