Thursday, August 03, 2006

Medjugorje


"Miraculous" photos and vague messages.

The photo here is over St. James Church in the hamlet of Medjugorje. It is called "Our Lady's Eyes" a supposed miraculous photo showing Our Lady's eyes in the clouds. It's a stretch if you ask me. As an artist I can see faces in any pattern, from wood to marble to ceiling tile in a Dr.'s office, and especially clouds. I used to do a lot of "smoking" when I was younger - I could make out entire tableaux in clouds.

Medjugorje is a phenomenon I have a lot of trouble with. For how many years did Our Lady visit every day? Now I think she only appears once a month to one seer with pretty much the same message. This visionary will stop receiving apparitions after she receives the tenth secret. Here is the latest message from July's apparition:

"Mirjana reported that Our Lady gave the following message: 'Dear children! In these peaceless times I am coming to you to show you the way to peace. I love you with an immeasurable love and I desire for you to love each other and to see in everyone my Son – the immeasurable love. The way to peace leads solely and only through love. Give your hand to me, your mother, and permit me to lead you. I am the Queen of peace. Thank you.' "

If the communication is from Our Lady, it is a nice message, yet remains enigmatic. At Fatima the Holy Virgin also repeated herself saying, "Pray the rosary everyday." Nevertheless there was much more to it. In addition, Fatima is an approved apparition, verified with a miracle, as well as prophetic fulfillment. Even Pope Benedict has purportedly expressed incredulity at the apparitions going on for so long with very little content to the messages. However both Popes, JPII and Benedict, have expressed themselves favorably in regard to those who have had their faith revitalized as a result of the influence of the Catholic Church and her ministers at Medjugorje. Regardless, that unofficial approbation would only be in regard to people returning to the sacraments and prayer with no tacit approval of the events at Medjugorje.

Devotees of Medjugorje have returned to their homes and some have had their own locutions and apparitions. We have a woman in the suburbs of Minneapolis, actually a few of them, who claim supernatural revelations. Many people attend the prayer meetings of these mystics and look forward to the messages. In the spring, on Rome-ing Catholics, I did a post on some of the imminent things that were to happen. For one, the "warning" was supposed to occur this year by May. It did not. That whole warning thing emanates from the Garabandal apparitions in Northern Spain from the late '60's; it is expected to be some sign that will illuminate the consciences of all mankind, revealing their sins and causing mass conversions, followed by a chastisement within the year of the warning. It could happen. Many saints and mystics have foretold the same event. When prophecies do not happen, devotees of the apparitions and locutions claim the events were mitigated by prayer and penance. I worked with one fellow who every year said that would be the year for the warning and chastisement - for years he said this.

As a pilgrim in Europe I visited my share of sites where apparitions were said to have taken place. The approved ones, Fatima and Lourdes certainly are authenticated. Garabandal seemed reasonable and I experienced only peace there. I went to San Damiano in Italy and actually met the seer, Mama Rosa. She and the entire place seemed false, there was a disturbing lack of peace I felt there. People claimed to see the miracle of the sun there, I looked, I could look straight at the sun. It is in the Po valley where mists sometimes allow one to do so, while the sun appears as a silver disk. No one said it danced, they were just impressed that they could look directly at the sun.

When I met Mama Rosa, she was being wheeled to the apparition site for her appointment with the Madonna of the Roses. I asked her to pray for me and she waved me away rudely saying "I pray for the whole world." I wasn't impressed.

People simply cannot base their spiritual life upon revelations and apparitions, nor mystics with spurious communications. (And watch out for dates and times with complicated details. "No one knows the date or the hour.") Founding one's spiritual life upon extraordinary phenomena is like building one's house upon sand. I do not believe God is ever pleased with curiosity, nor is He pleased with extraordinary communications needed to warn people to repent - "We have the law and the prophets" - the Gospel, Jesus and the Church. I love the story of John of the Cross on an outing with the novices who were excited to visit a local stigmatist. St. John gave them permission to go see the mystic saying he would rather stay away and read scripture. This anecdote is very much like something from the wisdom of the Desert Fathers.

I am not saying that we should ignore possible mystical revelations or purported apparitions or locutions, rather we ought to be careful and discerning, guided by the Church. God does speak to us, to each soul, while common sense enables us to read the signs of the times. The Church is our ark of salvation, we ought to listen to Her and wait for approval of purported apparitions and miracles, in obedience, humility and charity. We must be obedient to our Bishops, our pastors, without argument or defiance. Some of these modern 'seers' and 'hearers' and their followers seem to want to circumvent the cautions expressed by their local Bishops.

"Obedience is better than sacrifice."

7 comments:

  1. Terry, I'll just address one or two small things. ..When you say that that particular message is "enigmatic" (without a clear understanding), I'm not sure what you mean. I read it when it came out and accepted it in faith. It says very specific things on the level of love.

    She could have said that Syria would launch a nuclear attack on Israel or that the Pope should implement this or that in the church. But I think the will of the Lord is that she speak of heavenly things mostly.

    When I heard that she appears every day I thought that this must be an important apparition. I never thought that this must not be true if she appears every day. I probably thought that that makes alot of sense considering the secular world we live in today as opposed to the time of Lourdes, etc.

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  2. p.s. What she says is probably more than it appears at first. She's probably explaining the meaning of what's going on in the mideast crisis in part, the spiritual reasons.

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  3. Dear Juan, Thank you for helping me understand a bit better - I have always been perplexed about how continuous the same message seemed to be repeated. Thank s much, pray for me that I may be open to Our Lady's call.

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  4. Will do. Alot of it is on the level of Love.

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  5. Medj. has been condemed by the local bishop. Regardless of whether it's true or not, (I think it's of the devil) Catholics are currently bound by that bishops decision. Disobedience is of Satan.

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  6. Anonymous1:24 PM

    You say some great things here, and I share your reservations about Medjugorje. I have some wonderful friends who have gone there, but I fear they are too involved and base too much of their faith upon this experience, versus Church teachings, ie the Gospel and Sacred Tradition.

    I really got a "warning flag", though, when one of my friends, with regard to a certain new technology, stated, "I'll wait to hear what the Blessed Mother says about it."

    What!? I could have made an argument against the technology solely on the basis of civil rights and logic...we do not need the Blessed Mother to tell us what to do when things are obvious.

    I tried expressing my concern to some other friends, and they are into the local mystics. They were extremely defensive, and apparently didn't like the fact that I referred to private revelation as "dessert", as does Fr. Pacwa. (In terms of a meal: The Eucharist is the bread, the Gospel is the Meat, the writings of the Saints are the vegetables, and private revelation, in light of all of the above, is dessert. WE cannot subsist on dessert or base our meal around it. ))

    Granted, the mystics are saying great things and leading people back to the sacraments, but some of those people don't see that they are also relying heavily on the next word of the mystic...and this is idolatry. They are using the messages as a form of divination.

    This is alarming.

    AdoroTeDevote

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  7. It's almost a case of loving the gift, & forgeting the Giver.

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