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Studying Medjugorge has been a true odyssey. If I've learned one thing from my research it's that you can't delve into this without being personally effected. I have watched videos of the sun moving, the visionaries in states of ecstasy, and read medical reports and psychological assessments. I've wandered into stories of other apparitions, such as the one in Eastern Oregon, of which I had no knowledge, but also found myself re introduced to the controversy surrounding Christina Gallagher in Ireland. It seems that wherever Mary goes, controversy is sure to follow.
I did find some things very useful in my own analysis and questions about the site. My first question is why hasn't the Vatican stated it's opinion on Medjugorge one way or the other. The reason for this seems to be the same reason they have been reluctant to deal with Padre Pio. The Vatican Commission for Causes of the Saints only deals in medical miracles. They don't get into issues of personal mysticism or paranormal behavior. Padre Pio's personal talents are of no concern to the commission, only recognizable medical miracles which have happened after his death. He may have been a saint on earth, but they don't care. Their job is to prove he's operating from heaven--now. The same sort of reasoning is happening with the visionaries of Medjugorge. They happen to still be alive and some of them are still having visions. This still having visions thing doesn't fit with officially approved Marian shrines.
The Vatican is essentially caught between a rock and hard place. Yes, there is tons of fraud surrounding the phenomenon of Medjugorge, but there are also tons of personal conversions and reported healings. As one Bosnian bishop stated early on in the phenomenon, there have been more conversions in one year at Medjugorge than in the past forty years of all our sermonizing.
I suspect for some clerical types, this is more truth than they want to admit. For me it's the only truth that really counts. In some respects I can see Benedict's recent trip to Lourdes as bowing the this truth. Exposure to Marian sites convert more people than exposure to Papal encyclicals---especially some Papal encyclicals.
The Mary of Medjugorge speaks of conversion in Catholic terms and stresses prayer, fasting, penance, and the Eucharist. These are all Catholic rituals and prayer systems which foster and enhance her main message which is one of personal conversion to the Love taught by her son. In other traditions one gets the same message, but expressed in different terms regarding ritual.
The Roman Catholic's trip to the confessional, is somewhat the same as the Native American's trip to the sweat lodge. In both cases the idea is to face your deficiencies in your spiritual path. Personally, I prefer the sweat lodge because it's both personal and communal, fully recognizing that my own Church would say, "that's nice, but your sins weren't forgiven." I don't repeat them either, and that's basically the whole idea of conversion.
One of the things I find interesting about Marian apparitions, is that Mary seems to appear mostly to teenage women. I've often wondered if that's not a connection she makes because her first intersection with beings of light happened as a young teen age woman. I've also wondered if she ever made the mistake of talking about Gabriel's visit with temple authorities, because it seems to me the purity of her messages start to get diverted when the visionaries are subjected to the foibles of clerical spiritual advisers.
Medjugorge is exhibit A for the phenomenon. It is most likely for this reason that the Vatican has come down with a vengeance on the Franciscan priests who were the original mentors for the six visionaries. Too often it seems the message gets lost amongst all the interpreters and all of their personal agendas. This is not to imply the individual Franciscans the Vatican has censured didn't deserve it. So did Fr. Maciel even if the Legionaires can't admit it.
I've written in a previous post (now lost in cyberspace) that when I first started hearing from a light being I call Michael, one of the first things I was asked to do was to research and learn as much about quantum physics as I could. The reason for this is that the messages I was getting about his/her reality made no sense to me. I had enough of a biological and scientific vocabulary to have useful words, but no useful knowledge behind the words. The fact was I hadn't studied any physics or genetics for thirty years and my understanding of the words Michael was using was almost useless.
Bringing myself up to date meant letting go of spiritual metaphors which were too locked in to the Catholic piety of my youth. Believe me it was hard to let go of childish understandings of the myths surrounding guardian angels. It was hard because part and parcel with the myths surrounding guardian angels were the equally ingrained myths about demons and the devil.
These childhood metaphors for the battle between good and evil might make sense in a religious context but they were hugely detrimental to my understanding of the science behind the myths. More than that however, they were hugely detrimental to my understanding of the power of free choice and what it means in terms of the observer effect spoken of in quantum physics. In other words, the religious metaphor encourages a sort of victimized dependence, while the scientific understanding encourages empowered self responsibility.
Over the years I have come to understand that this notion of conversion to love and empowered self responsibility is crucial to the understanding of who we are as individuals and what our effect is on our environment.
In Medjugorge, one is exposed to a huge energy matrix which fosters conversion and so people experience profound conversions. The matrix which was laid in place by Mary is now self supporting and getting larger. I suspect if we had the ability, we would find that the actual physics of the site has changed. It's now some sort of higher energy portal. I hate to keep using New Age terminology, but it seems they've almost cornered the market on the quantum physics vocabulary. Just because it's New Age doesn't mean it's wrong.
The energy of Medjugorge is a very good thing, just as is Fatima, and Lourdes, and all the other places in which this Marian energy has appeared. It's also not surprising that narcissistic manipulators are taking advantage of the phenomenon. There is always the process of seeking a balance while new energy is stabilized. Eventually the fraud and commercialization will reach a zenith and then recede. In the meantime the fruits of conversion and healing will continue.
A last personal note. As I was reading the personal experiences of assorted visionaries with their sudden new found fame, I was sincerely glad that neither I nor the other assorted psychics and spiritual people I am closely associated with were tempted to seek explanations or validation outside of our group. This is probably why most of us actually practice different religions while combining for specific requests or tasks. In this way we stay under the radar, and while the people who have experienced healing may belong to a particular religion, they can't claim what happens as a product of their own particular religious bent. On the other hand neither can any of us.
I was kind of chuckling as I wrote that last sentence because in the interests of self disclosure, I have to admit I was kind of taken aback when I realized I was working side by side with a Mormon, and a pentecostal. Native American healers are just as baffled by the fact that their own energy beings are truly seen to be working with white Christians. As Mary emphatically states in some of the Medjugorge messages, the Divine Love embodied in her son is truly non denominational, and so apparently are a lot of the other disembodied forces working with other spiritualities.
From where I write, it looks like we're all being driven to the same understanding. This understanding seems to be that none of us has a real clue, except the certain knowledge everything really meaningful has to do with a conversion to practicing unconditional love. This is the unconditional love as Jesus taught it, and just as He and His mother lived it. Once you've done that, the rules of Newtonian physics no longer control all aspects of your existence. The quantum door opens, 'miracles' happen, and your old world view can no longer contain your experiences.
That's why I find the Marian appearances so wonderful, the Vatican can claim they aren't relevant to believers because they are private revelations, but in so doing they are missing out on some very important universal facts. One of them is that we are not alone in this universe.