Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Mary Circles France
There was a method in my madness bringing up Catherine Laboure the day before her feast day. (Happy Feast Day Catherine! We're jealous!)
Now that you are aware of her story and the story behind the medal, I want to run this by you. This is a theory I read a few years back and it caused me to stew in my own juice ever since.
I'm not sure if I've discussed before that Mary's visits so often have a political bend to them. Fatima, for example, was a warning about what was going on with Communism and Russia. At Lourdes, Our Lady confirmed the long held doctrine that Mary was conceived without sin. The church has always maintained that Mary was conceived without sin but it wasn't officially dogma until Vatican I and there was a big fight over doing that. So Mary coming along and introducing herself by saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception" was quite a big deal. It confirmed another decision made at Vatican I: Papal Infallibility. The Church was always infallible, but the Pope was not personally infallible until Vatican I and then it became retroactive for all the Popes, even the teenage ones and the Borgias.
Mary is no slouch.
Here's a little more background for this theory: Mary appeared to Catherine in 1830, warning (she must have been reading the papers) that France was about to be in hot water again. The clergy came under attack in the very same month. The rise in popularity of the Miraculous Medal was in no small part due to the fact that Catholics were driven to hide their faith.
So here's the theory. Mary circled France to save the world because France was the source of all the evils of the 20th century.
I know a lot of people are thrilled to hear this.
I'm not thrilled. I don't care much for it when a whole bunch of people, like an entire country, are blamed for the evil of the world. You can't blame Great Britain for the Beatles. You can't blame America for "Girls Gone Wild". On second thought, maybe you can.....
The idea here is that the French Revolution spawned Deism, an idea that glorifies man and human reason, which led to Rationalism, which gave birth to secularism in the US and Communism in Russia.
So let's not argue that right now. (Because I think we can argue that, since the American Revolution inspired the French Revolution. The American Revolution had some things to do with economy and religious suppression and the British....who gave the world the Beatles.....)
Here's the part of the theory that spins my top: Mary circles France.
She starts in Paris with St. Catherine Laboure to pour out her grace to everyone because, boy, are they going to need it. She next appears in LaSallette in 1846. Two years later all hell breaks loose. Karl Marx writes the Communist Manifesto, the Pope had to flee Rome, there were riots in London and as if that wasn't enough, the Potato Famine!
So Mary stops in at Lourdes in 1858 and asks that everyone do penance and say the rosary. The Franco Prussian war starts in 1871 and Paris falls. Luckily Mary comes to Pontmain where the peasant children of the day (I can't think that Mary ever appeared to any non-peasants) report that Mary increases in size when they pray the rosary. Eleven days later the war ended.
At Pontmain Mary has 43 stars surrounding her. (Stars from the sky, not Mary Pickford and Judy Garland.) They signify the 43 years France has to get it's act together. Instead France secularizes the schools. So 43 years later the First World War began. Russia's fledgling democracy is overtaken by Stalin 3 years later.
Mary dips down to Portugal and appears in Fatima in 1917. Apparently no one ever prays enough and we have WWII, so Mary goes to Medjugorie. In 1981.
You can see this theory is just falling apart like reasons to invade Iraq. Although I must admit to you when I first read it I was sucked in. I had wanted to do a presentation about the whole thing while on my next speaking engagement, because I love talking about Mary's help for the world. I got out a big map of France so I could show her path, circling the country.
I was undaunted by not being able to find LaSalette or Pontmain on the map. They are teeny places. Perhaps France would like us to forget they exist. When I finally managed to find them, guess what? Those places are by no stretch of the imagination in a circle. If Mary was trying to create a circle she only managed to zig zag around France like Matt Talbot after he sold his shoes for a bottle of booze.
I was so disappointed.
I was even sort of okay, when I read the theory, of the dip into Portugal. It's not that far from France. Really...
But Medjugorie is really problematic. Not only is it way way out of the 'circle', it's more than 60 years later. The icing on the cake is that Medjugorie was recently officially dubbed not worthy of veneration or belief. The church official deciders decided that Mary just wouldn't have to repeat herself that much as what has gone on at Medjugorie. I concur.
What a shame. It would have made such a great presentation. I could have made a giant felt banner with a map of France and little felt Mary cutouts and a little Stalin head.
Back to the drawing board.