It is almost thirty-five years since I came to live in this great city – Mumbai. But, I haven’t been to Mount Mary church during the weeklong festival time (popularly hailed as ‘the Bandra Fair’). Yes, even once!
So many of my friends, particularly non-Catholics, find it strange. Come cyclone or come tsunami, these faithful will never ever skip a Mount Mary ‘dharshan’… and, I truly feel that’s something remarkable!
Prayer and worship are what they are only when you perform them with all your faith… My friends, including the non-Catholics, find tremendous amount of peace by a visit to the Bandra shrine during the frantic rush… I respect that. In my case, it just works the opposite. I have been to Mount Mary shrine umpteen times… when my soul felt the thirst to be there… I have been there both in my good times and bad times… to thank Mother Mary for her help or to plead Her to have mercy on me, the sinner. But, I have gone there on week days… when there was total calm… I have sat there, all alone, for hours and just surrendered my concerns to Her… I have come back a lot relieved, healed… yes, by just being there!
“Why should I make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land?” I, often, ask myself, “Is this very land, upon which I now stand, not a ‘Holy Land’?”
I seriously feel that I need to light a small candle inside my heart – yes, right inside here – before I go to the Shrine, miles and miles away, to place a bunch of them…
And yes, this scares me even more… I mean, what Mary’s son, my Hero, had reminded:
“If you are at God’s altar with your offering, and there, you remember your brother against whom you hold a grudge, go back to your brother, make peace with him, and then come back and do God your offering.”
Maybe, that’s the reason why it is taking me a longer time to reach the shrine!