GUA MARIA TRITIS
Spritual Refreshment on a Barren Hill
Updated on 12/7/2016
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Gua Maria Tritis becomes one of the natural caves in a line of karst hills in Gunungkidul which turns out to be a sacred place for Catholic people for praying. The name tritis is taken from Javanese language, tumaritis which means water drop. In this cave, there are always water drops from the stalactites from the above. It used to be a very quiet and spooky area, so only few people dare to come. In the past, this cave was used as a place for asceticism practice of some princes from Mataram Kingdom. It started to be known by the Catholic people in 1974 when it was used for Christmas Eucharist. No longer after that, its name, Gua Tritis, was also given name Maria. In other words, Gua Maria Tritis becomes a favorite place for the pilgrims to pray or do meditation, especially to worship mother Marry.
To get to the cave, we need to walk across hardwood plantation through curve path between the barren rocky hills. You may have two routes to reach the cave, they are the long route (1.5 kilometers) and the short one (500 meters). For those who want to do Jalan Salib (a Catholic rite in a form of short trip to commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion), they usually choose the long route with 14 stops of Jesus Christ's misery journey before being crucified. In the 12th stop, there are 3 crosses as a sign that Jesus was crucified with 2 criminals.
I was almost in the dusk when YogYES arrived at the parking lot. There was such a quiet place and only the sound of insect and the wind blow accompanied us. We went through the long stony path in front of us until we could see the cave. A huge statue of mother Marry in praying position was located on one of the corner of the cave. In the middle, there was a stone altar with flower decoration on it, and there were also no chairs for the visitors, only carpet on the floor. We could really feel the sense of nature and simplicity there.
During May and October, Gua Maria Tritis will be so crowded of visitors who want to pray to mother Marry since those months are special months for her. Furthermore, for those who want to conduct Novena, a form of worship consisting of special prayers or services on nine successive days for respecting mother Marry, it will be held on the first week in every month. The day had been dark when I bent my knees in front of the statue of mother Marry. There was only the candle light that sometimes quivered because of the wind blow. It seemed giving a little hope for us in the middle of darkness. The sound of water drop from the stalactites was like a beautiful music instrument that accompanied us during our mediation, and we could feel that there was peace in the deepest of our heart.
Photography DANIEL ANTONIUS KRISTANTO
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