December 10, 2014 A.D.
The first days of the Five Days of Prayer are purposely penitential to encourage reflection and the need for personal repentance. This time of year is conducive to reflection with barren trees, shriveled leaves covering the ground, and cold temperatures. It also brings a silence that helps lead souls into communion with God as one walks through His creation on the grounds at Caritas. The climb to Our Lady’s grotto each year is a highlight for pilgrims for many reasons. Despite the difficult terrain for some, it is a joyful time as children laugh and scramble with ease up the path, but who always are ready to reach out a young hand to help older ones, while the older ones catch a little bit of their exuberance. The beauty of the Appalachian Mountains refreshes the soul weary from life’s burdens. But, mostly, the climb, offered to God in reparation for personal sin and the sins of our nation helps to release the heart of the guilt incurred from those sins and repair the distance sin has caused in their relationship with God. Pilgrims are encouraged to climb to Grotto La Pluie for these reasons. The following was spoken to Caritas pilgrims yesterday morning during Morning Prayer to help them understand how physical sacrifices help to open the heart to divine grace:
“In order to have your heart emptied so that it can be filled with graces as these days of prayer continue, you have to have some effort, and Our Lady knows that physical effort is connected in some way also to the spiritual, that will help us to loosen our hearts of the sin, of the things that we are bounded to that make us unbound to God. She says that She wants to be bound to us, our hearts bound to Hers.
Our Lady of Medjugorje said on July 25, 1993
But we have so many things that pull us away from God and this climb is a cleansing of some sort. It’s a gift from the Spirit of God that gives us the ability just to do something a little difficult, but do it out of love for Him, do it out of recognition that we are sinners and that we want to be rid of sin and just that action gives us the grace when we climb to be able to leave behind those things that we want to leave behind that are keeping us away from a deep relationship with God.
We see this in Medjugorje very profoundly that the climbing of Apparition Mountain and Cross Mountain help this process. And so we have been given the gift at Caritas to have grounds where we have two mountains ourselves; the Grotto of Our Lady and now Cross Mountain on the other side of us. This is part of the spirituality of Our Lady. She knows what we need in order to get rid of the things that burden us, weigh us down, give us guilt and all of those things. And then to formalize all that through the Sacrament of Confession, by making a good confession and being absolved from our sin. This is the process of conversion that Our Lady has laid out in Medjugorje. So we always highly recommend going up to the Grotto. If you are not able to do that physically, to do other things that are difficult to do, choose the hard way, because that is the fastest and most productive way to make headway in your spiritual life.
A Friend of Medjugorje grasped these principles early on in the witness and messages of Our Lady of Medjugorje. He foundationed Caritas’ mission and Community upon this witness. He wrote:
“We always have to remember if there is ever going to be revival, you have to have repentance. You have to seek forgiveness. Medjugorje is where God sent Our Lady to do the things to change the hearts of the villagers that He wished to be emulated throughout the world. From communism to peace, bondage to freedom, sin to salvation, the world is in need of repentance to bring revival.”
A Friend of Medjugorje
From his writing, What in the World is Medjugorje
Pilgrims cross over a flowing waterfall before ascending a steep hill that leads up to Our Lady’s statue in Grotto La Pluie, and a landing above the grotto offers a breathtaking view of the entire valley that Our Lady has blessed in a multitude of apparitions over the past 26 years.