Friday, June 26, 2009

28th Anniversery Of Medjugorge

The reported apparitions at Medjugorge continue to this day, twenty eight years after the first apparition. To detractors, this consistent continuous experience is reason enough to dismiss Medjugorge because other Marian visionaries did not have the same kind of long term relationship. To other people this same relationship is only indicative of Mary's sense of our need for her continuing personal involvement in today's world. Her message almost always focuses on the power of love and opening ones self up to the love of God in order that His love will flow through one towards others. Here is the message from yesterday:

Message of the Queen of Peace, June 25th, 2009.

“Dear children! Rejoice with me, convert in joy and give thanks to God for the gift of my presence among you. Pray that, in your hearts, God may be in the center of your life and with your life witness, little children, so that every creature may feel God’s love. Be my extended hands for every creature, so that it may draw closer to the God of love. I bless you with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

What makes Medjugorge interesting to me, aside from conversion stories from my friends who have made pilgrimages there, is that Mary's messages tend to be very positive, focused on peace, love, and joy. She frequently speaks to the necessity for a conversion of the heart which transforms personal trials into compassion for others. It is in a sense, a more universal message than other apparitions, not solely concerned with underscoring Catholic identity issues. To be sure though, there is an emphasis on the Rosary, Mass, and Reconciliation, but these are presented more as a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves. These can be pointless exercises if one's heart is hardened to the core message of becoming a vessel of love in the lives of others. Medjugorge is about conversion, not necessarily obedience.

The Vatican has neither condemned nor endorsed the apparitions at Medjugorge. Part of that is because of the attitude of the local ordinaries, and part of it because it's still an ongoing phenomenon, but it's also because it's hard to argue with the positive experiences which so many people have expressed. Something is going on in Medjugorge and for the vast majority of people it's a positive something.

Yes, there have been issues, and all is not peace, love, and joy. Yet, this is true for any spiritual site which draws these kinds of numbers--an estimated 40 million in these 28 years. That's a lot of money and money draws all kinds of predators and some of them wear Roman collars. Mary speaks frequently about praying for them too, and extending compassion where it may most be needed. So while Medjugorge may indeed by a site of supernatural phenomenon, it's also most certainly a human phenomenon.

My own take is positive. Over the years the messages from the seers have evolved from a somewhat literal interpretation of what is said and what they have seen to a far more nuanced message. This is to be expected if the visionaries themselves are evolving as spiritual beings. It's been my own path as well, which has gone from a more Catholic centered experience of sacramental spirituality to one which is open to the foundational experience of love found in all valid spiritual systems. I've moved from the need for a group religious cohesiveness to an understanding that my task is to take my Catholic understanding of spirituality and meld it with others. This melding has not lessened my Catholicism, it has enhanced my understanding of the power of human consciousness when it's dedicated to the highest spiritual aspirations.

It doesn't really matter if the seers say Mary asks us to become hands of God's love for fellow humans, or or the Sioux elder Fool's Crow says we must become as hollow bones so the love of the Great Spirit will flow through us unimpeded. The message is the same. God is love, we are made in that image, and we are here to be empty vessels of that love. It is in that state that the Holy Spirit's action is made manifest in this reality because the real power of the Holy Spirit is love. As it was in the beginning, so it is for ever. (no matter how difficult this is to live.)


  1. One of Achilles' heels of Catholicism is Mariolotry and its associated superstitions.

    Jim McCrea

  2. I would agree with you that Mariolotry can be superstition if it disempowers one, but if it empowers one to conversion and a deeper spirituality than maybe it's not superstition.

  3. Surprised by your lack of research on this subject. The local bishop has repeatedly tried to stop and end this "episode" for years. It has never been recognized by the "official" church. The kids supporters are a couple of Franscican priests who have both had their faculties suspended - one for getting a nun pregnant and asking her to get an abortion; both for repeatedly ignoring the results of professional and church investigations of this "episode". The money collected has been stolen or diverted to enrich a small, limited group of folks. This is really an active church scandal - but, because of lack of information and the huge initial groudswell + the current groups that worship Mary, this thing contines - it will eventually die of its own corrupt weight.

    I am saddened for all those people who were well intentioned and eventually found out that they were played like a gambling game.

  4. Annonymous, I have done a great deal of research on Medjugorge. I am well aware of the situation with the Franciscans and have written on the subject previously in which I brought up some of what you write here.

    As I wrote in this thread, I believe Medjugorge has something real going on, and like all such sites it has drawn it's share of predators.

    As to the visionaries, they've undergone extensive scientific testing, which I have explained in another posting. Their brains do exhibit the fact they are seeing and experiencing something, and it doesn't originate in the visual cortex.

    Try this link to a previous posting:

    In the comments section a reader posted a number of links to detractors of the phenomenon. I had already read the Phil Kronzer material, and now that I think about it, I had intended to write on his experience with the frauds in Colorado, but had to leave on a trip which didn't end the way we anticipated and I forgot all about it.

    Every Marian site has it's Gruners and it's Colafrancesco's perfectly willing to cash in on people's piety and need. The difference in Medjugorge is that some of the visionaries are available and willing to work with people of questionable motivation.

    I just don't believe this necessarily invalidates the experiences of so many people who have had positive life changing experiences.

  5. Thanks, sorry I missed your earlier posts. Guess we can take this on a number of levels:
    a - after so many years of the kids hearing voices, I could suggest multiple psychiatric and scientific reasons for why tests might reveal the brain activity you cite....not sure it indicates an appearance?
    b - my concern is more around the type of attraction that this brings - piety vs. sacrament church; it preys on folks who are looking for an easy answer; it could positively or negatively impact a vulnerable person of the faith; it is predicated on folks who believe that they will get a miracle - not sure church or prayer is about that; it is based on an immature understanding of church shifting the focus to Mary and as many of the attributes of a cult.
    Can not deny your point that over 25+ years, some folks have come away with faith strengthened. Probably not much different from the Virgin de Guadalupe and Mexico City - we will never know exactly what happened there but the impact has changed the church in the Americas.

  6. Colafransesco is a millionaire--I know him personally--creepy and up to no good. He manipulates innocent and devout people, including Maria Lunetti.

  7. I saw that Maria Lunetti had quite the connection with him. I'm sure he's deferrential and charming as hell with her, while entirely the opposite with his own followers.

    Why am I not surprised to hear he's a millionare. Gruner does quite well for himself as well.

  8. There is one test that has been forgotten. One of the seers said she was allowed to see and speak to her dead mother. Yet Scripture says that a barrier has been placed between this world and the next which no one can cross (the parable of Lazarus and the rich man)

  9. One doesn't actually cross the barrier between life and death. The dead do to some extent, or some psychics say there's a kind of middle ground in which one consciousness intersects with the other.

    It doesn't involve physically going into another reality.

  10. Medjugorje is not a fraud, it is pure evil. The site was built by the Ustasha & Franciscans to celebrate their massacre of Serbs there during the Second World War. The Franciscans are being sued for their part in this due to money laundering laundering. See the lawsuit Alperin v. Vatican Bank and OFM.

  11. What better place to proclaim God's love for all people.....