|Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic|
Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic regularly gives talks to pilgrims in Medjugorje. For those who are unable to travel there, his recent talk has been transcribed by Angela Callan.
There are a number of things I would like to share with you, and I don't know where to start. We are pilgrims, and in this pilgrimage, in this journey of life, everything is "fast forward." There are many surprises and many challenges, and we always wonder how we are doing in this art of living.
We always address ourselves to finding the best answers, the best solutions, the best avenue to get there; to accomplish things and sometimes to be good, to be victorious, to be sensible, to be useful. We answer our calling to be good human beings, to be a good worker, a good mother or father, a good friend, neighbor, brother or sister. So we always wonder and pray and think, "How can we be the best we can be?" And don't we make some terrible mistakes? Someone said, "God, help me to protect my friends from myself." And that is more critical than helping protect myself from others.
We Are Like Scientists-----Probably on a pilgrimage like this we want to answer some of those questions. We want to investigate - basically, we are scientists every day. Did you ever think of that? These scientists have the privilege that they know the formulas of physics and mathematics, to make machines. But how about the mother who is trying to be the best mother possible? She is using everything she has to be the best she can be. Every day she is a scientist investigating her own soul and the soul of her child, and the mysteries of the world, to be the best she can be. And that curiosity that will keep us curious every day to know that the secrets and mysteries have to be part of our living, every day. We will be the best when we are in the image of God. In this world, unfortunately, our basic mistake is that we create God and others in OUR image. That is where we go wrong - we would like to create God and the world, including every human being around us, in our image. That is where we go wrong and where we are broken. So we are becoming these curious scientists of the soul to investigate the mysteries of life, to become the best we can be, the best we need to be for the well-being of our brothers and sisters and for the glory of God.
What is the best way to do this? We all have to investigate our lives to know. When Our Lady comes to speak to mankind with the message of God, with the message of the Holy Spirit, she is addressing precisely that: our human, existential need to be the best we can be.
Pilgrimage is Prayer-----Basically, I would like to reflect on how we can improve our human relationships. Of course, God is very much apart of all this and He would like to help us to be active in these human inter-relationships. There is one message that comes from God the Holy Spirit (and Our Lady is at the service of this message), and that is prayer. It's as simple as that. She is calling us to prayer.
The purpose for us here today is to see what does it mean to pray. We are all called to enter into the business of prayer. I said earlier that we all create God and those around us in our own image, so we create our own prayer, our own beliefs. So we say, "I'm nice, really, I believe in God." - and we do it all wrong. So in pilgrimage Our Lady would like to actually teach us how to pray. In pilgrimage we are into the business of prayer.
Many people will be speaking to you, and people from all over the world are in the same position - we are all pilgrims. You don't come to me or anyone here, you don't come to the visionaries for them to make your pilgrimage -but we all involve ourselves in the business of pilgrimage. The other word for pilgrimage is prayer. Prayer or pilgrimage is a whole cultural way of living, a whole mentality, a whole approach to life. Prayer is something we need to be and prayer is the way to be. Pilgrimage is the way to be. Pilgrimage is basically when I say to God, "I am ready. I would like to be curious and ready. Whatever surprise you might have for me today, tomorrow... I am ready." That is the mentality the Holy Spirit would like to create in us! Without this 'l am ready for you my Lord,' I will do my own thing. But with this 'I am ready,' we say those words of Peter: "Speak to me, Lord, I am ready to listen." Those are the words in the Old Testament, the major words in the Old Testament and the New Testament: "Lord, speak to me, I am willing to listen."
Willing to Listen-----
So in pilgrimage you are basically coming to that attitude, 'I am willing to listen'. There are many things that need to happen in this process of becoming willing to listen. These things will happen in pilgrimage. So pilgrimage is the most profound, the best way of becoming a person of prayer. Actually, without pilgrimage we cannot become a person of prayer. In pilgrimage we are being thrown into a mill and crushed. Our old ways are crushed so that we can receive new ways.
In the Book of Revelation we have, "Behold, I am making all things new," so this is Revelation happening to you. So suddenly you are not reading about Peter, but Peter is you. You are not far distant and an observer of events, but you become the very center; this is happening to you. You become a biblical person, with biblical things happening to you. God is calling your name and bringing you on this long journey so that you can encounter Him.
This pilgrimage is tailored precisely according to your needs. Whatever your thoughts are in the process of pilgrimage, this is something responding to your situation. Your pilgrimage is the most unique, intimate that happened to you that only you and the Lord do know. It has absolutely nothing to do with Medjugorje. Your coming to this place is to deal with the drama in your own life. Medjugorje is just a challenge, a spark from God, that initiates this process in you.
So we are not investigating the mountain; the mountains are helping us to investigate our own soul. We are not investigating the Church's stand on Medjugorje; we are investigating where we stand with the Lord. We are not investigating whether the children are telling the truth or not because, after everything is said and done, there is only you and the Lord, face to face, to speak to. We cannot avoid that reality --in pilgrimage there is that intimate process, you and the Lord. I walk my walk, you walk your walk. I deal with my own stupidity and troubles, you with your own. We will answer to the Lord for these and we will be glorified or punished, but this is something intimate that each of us has to do.
Making Space in Our Lives-----In pilgrimage we create space in our lives for God. That is the basic. Suddenly, you leave your family, your brothers and sisters, your work, your friends, your power, your comforts. In the New Testament Jesus spoke about leaving brothers and sisters for His sake. In pilgrimage you do precisely that. You register these moments when your are packing your suitcase. You cannot take your car, you cannot put your kitchen into your suitcase, your friends, your jobs. You have to leave the props that support the whole system of your life. You have to leave your comfort and security zones and suddenly learn to live without all that, to learn a new art of living.
Suddenly you learn in pilgrimage that you can survive the mountain, and that you are able to climb the mountain. That's prayer. That's the process of surrender .We all have a kingdom of our own. Sometimes it's not large - it's as large, maybe, as your own kitchen. But we do have that kingdom, and suddenly that little we have is gone and lost. We don't have it anymore. It is surrendered. That's pilgrimage. That's prayer.
Walking in Prayer-----Through pilgrimage, prayer is something that is happening to your body and your soul. It's a total experience of your life. That is the way God likes us to pray. We usually pray in our ordinary life with portions of our being.
So we say a few prayers, even spend one hour in prayer every day, but then all the rest of the time we live in this secular world where God is not present that much any longer. We attend church on Sunday, but then we have our business as usual where God doesn't have much to say. In pilgrimage God would like to change that. Suddenly, God enters into all corners of your life. That is the way he would like to teach us to walk in prayer, to live in prayer by becoming pilgrims, to enter into this amazing journey of pilgrimage which is the business of God.
... to be continued in the next edition of The Medjugorje Star