February 20, 2019 A.D.
We need to witness our encounter with God. But, an encounter with God is not always pleasant, even if it is still a good encounter.
One of the many paths on the mountain in Medjugorje. Many of these paths were barely sheep trails when the apparitions began in 1981. With the passage of 37 years and millions of pilgrims, the paths are easier to follow. So too with conversion. Following in the footsteps of those who come before, makes it easier to navigate what otherwise would have been an impossible passage.
A Friend of Medjugorje had an incredible encouter with God in 1988. Praying behind St. James Church in Medjugorje, he tells of his experience, which was not necessarily pleasant:
“…I didn’t have to begin prayer as I felt as if I was already in prayer.” Immediately a question was posed to him and he understood it was from God. “Will you give up everything?” While the question was not specific, he interiorly knew exactly what God was asking: “Will you give up everything?” Though the word was “everything,” he distinctively knew that the most difficult thing for him to give up would be his business…”1
In this “showdown with God” he tells what the hardest part of God asking him to give up his business was:
“…I loved my business. My wife and I built it from the ground up. It was what we intended to give to our kids. I was funding Caritas through my business, so I reasoned with God that I should keep it for that reason. The hardest part of God asking me to give up my business is that I knew that I could say no. I knew that God still loved me, even if I chose not to walk away from it…”2
After 2 and a half hours of agonizing prayer, a Friend of Medjugorje gave God his 100% yes, and in doing so, set himself on a course, whereby he would go through intense suffering, many times not having a path to follow, but having to make a path in the jungle.
Today, tens of thousands across the world follow in his witness, on a path made easier for them by having been walked and cleared through much sacrifice. There would be no “Caritas” without this sacrifice. But, though a Friend of Medjugorje’s encounter with God was not pleasant, it has been a witness, a source of conversion for many, through God’s grace. A witness is not free, it costs. Make a choice in your life to follow the hard path, knowing that in doing so, you encounter God.
Caritas of Birmingham
Operated by the Community of Caritas