THERE ARE NO MASKS
WORN IN HEAVEN
God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God, he created them, male and female he created them... Genesis 1 : 27
One of the wonders of a pilgrimage to Medjugorje is to discover how quickly we discard the many masks we choose to don in life and hide behind. For first-timers this process may take a few days to happen; but most returning pilgrims seldom have need to masquerade anymore. Their hearts have already been exposed on previous visits having received the revealing light of knowledge that they are truly loved by God. They are not ashamed to be naked in front of each other. Everything is as God intended. What need is there for masks in heaven?
Hearts of all conditions, shapes and sizes are clearly visible and on display in Medjugorje, and even more prominently the hearts hiding their nakedness behind revealing fig-leaf masks.
First-time pilgrims arrive in Medjugorje for a number of different reasons. Often these reasons serve as a mask to disguise the real need to discover and meet with God in our lives. Whatever the pretence, whatever the colour and pattern of the mask, God does not disappoint. Rather, he surprises! We discover him in the most unexpected ways and places, especially in Medjugorje.
Of course there are places to hide in Medjugorje but God calls out: “Where are you” (as if he didn’t know already, but is asking only for us to acknowledge him and respond to his call). In Medjugorje, we find ourselves responding to God’s call big-time! We learn there is no longer a need to hide and be fearful because when God’s call comes, it is a loving call, not a call of condemnation or threat. It is the call of the Father. The Loving Father reveals himself to us. He does not allow the world to place him behind a mask, to disguise or hide him, to distort him in a way that the serpent desires to present. Our Father is a God of revelation. He is with us. He refuses to hide from his children. Seek and you shall find.
I experience a great and simple pleasure each time I visit Medjugorje. I always make a point of trying to be late for breakfast on the first morning. That way, when I leave my room to head down the tiled staircase, I can hear the wonderful and joyous sound of chattering and excited voices echoing from the breakfast room up the stairwell. And when I enter the dining room it’s like entering a classroom of young, happy children. There isn’t the silence broken only by scraping knives and forks on plates as one would hear in a normal hotel breakfast room. Already the masks are beginning to be discarded. Hearts are opening up to each other, and as the week progresses the communal sharing, excitement and joy at meal times continues, even after the most tiring of days.
I wore a mask, many in fact, for about four days on my first pilgrimage. On the fifth day I even used the cover of darkness as a mask. In fact, at the time of tears I was so grateful that no one could see me weeping that night at the Blue Cross. How naive I was to believe that darkness would protect me from others knowing that God had entered my life in such a special way at that moment, or even thinking that God shut shop when darkness descended. Such was my ignorance at that time, still trying to hide. There was no longer to be a hiding place for me. From the moment I was conscious of the wonderful gift of God’s love and understanding which immediately flowed into my heart and soul after the tearful awareness of my sinful nature, I have seldom felt the need to want to hide or mask myself anymore, certainly not to hide from God who knows me better than I know myself and daily teaches and reveals to me more about his never-ending love.
Now I know and accept that I cannot “hide” any more. I searched for the love of God for much of my life but without really knowing what I was searching for. I thank God for the souls and witnesses that led me to Medjugorje, a grace-filled garden where God walks and reveals himself to all who masquerade.