Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Don't Shoot the Messenger
I've been stewing around about this question from a reader several days ago:
I am really interested in your comments about Medjugorje. Do they mean that you don't believe the visions are authentic?
Medjugorje represents a big problem for me. I have been there 3 times, but am still unsure about it. My husband is however totally convinced and loves the place so much. His faith has been totally renewed because of it.
The visionaries I have seen seem genuine people and the faith of the pilgrims is awesome. There is still something not quite right for me though......
Let me explain that the reader is referring to my statement that the Church has suppressed the Medugorje visions when the reader asks if I don't believe the visions are authentic.
I think I don't. The church agrees with me.
Medjugorje is a great example of why, in my opinion, the Church sighs a heavy sigh of dread whenever a new sighting of Mary rears it's head. It's the reason that Catherine LaBourre's confessor tried to ignore her pleas for him to have a medal made. Next thing you know, it's Mary at the chocolate factory, Mary on the turtle belly, Mary in the tree stump. I think there is a woman in Georgia who saw Mary in her dryer. Not in the lint trap, made out of lint, either. If memory serves me Mary was on the dryer door when she opened it.
Relating the facts of Medjugorje has always made my head hurt. There are a bunch of kids of various ages, pre-teen through teen. Mary comes every day with messages. As they grow up some of them don't see Mary anymore, some leave town. This continues for something like 13 years. There are one or two kids left who still talk with Mary every day. I may not have it all straight. Google it on the internets.
Whenever Mary shows up somewhere with something to say the Church assigns someone to go have a look to see if the sighting is authentic, meaning, "is it worthy of belief?" How do they decide? Did Mary say anything that does not jibe with Catholic doctrine or dogma? That's the main criteria.
The church has been studying the Medjugorje sightings all this time. Since the 80's. In my humble opinion, that what has caused the Church to hold off on any pronouncement all this time is how the faithful have reacted to the whole thing, with renewed faith. I've talked to many people who have been there and come back with their eyes aglow.
Hard to argue with eyes aglow. We love your eyes to be aglow. We don't want anything to unglow your eyes. We really really don't. And we love Mary. If your eyes are aglow because of Mary, that's just excellent.
I also have never heard of anything specifically that Mary may have said, during all this time, that is counter to the teachings of the Church.
But in the end the Church simply found it unbelievable that Mary had to spend 13 years talking with teenagers every day to get her point across.
Here's the thing: no one ever has to believe anything that comes to us through personal revelation. Not Fatima, not the mystic marriage of St. Catherine, not the visions of daily life in Purgatory....nothing. Believe It Or Not!
The Church gives a vision Her blessings and after that you're on your own.
The problem comes when the Church doesn't give Her blessing. That causes the whole incident to fall into the category of crystal balls and Ouija boards. Perhaps that is too strongly worded....but I don't think so. Why can't you consult a crystal ball? Because, not only are you putting your faith in Madame Blotsnefad instead of Jesus, you could be talking right to the devil.
The reason the Church bothers to authenticate a personal vision is to make sure everybody is not just falling into the devil's tricky trickery.
So I am very sad to hear that we the faithful have to toss Medjugorje. It seems to me that much good has come from it. I understand the town transformed...in a good way, not in a 'selling glow in the dark rosaries' kind of way. (Although a glow in the dark rosary is great when you have insomnia. I highly recommend picking one up.) I know people have been transformed. I understand the visionaries themselves were transformed. It doesn't seem right to toss out all that good.
But there you have it. It's not Believe It or Not! anymore. It's just Not!
Thank goodness it's Lent and we're of a mind to give things up.