Saint John of Damascus on the Assumption

Sunday, August 14, AD 2016

THERE is no one in existence who is able to praise worthily the holy death of God’s Mother, even if he should have a thousand tongues and a thousand mouths. Not if all the most eloquent tongues could be united would their praises be sufficient. She is greater than all praise. Since, however, God is pleased with the efforts of a loving zeal, and the Mother of God with what concerns the service of her Son, suffer me now to revert again to her praises. This is in obedience to your orders, most excellent pastors, so dear to God, and we call upon the Word made flesh of her to come to our assistance. He gives speech to every mouth which is opened for Him. He is her sole pleasure and adornment. We know that in celebrating her praises we pay off our debt,  and that in so doing we are again debtors, so that the debt is ever beginning afresh. It is fitting that we should exalt her who is above all created things, governing them as Mother of the God who is their Creator, Lord, and Master. Bear with me you who hang upon the divine words, and receive my good will. Strengthen my desire, and be patient with the weakness of my words. It is as if a man were to bring a violet of royal purple out of season, or a fragrant rose with buds of different hues, or some rich fruit of autumn to a mighty potentate who is divinely appointed to rule over men. Every day he sits at a table laden with every conceivable dish in the perfumed courts of his palace. He does not look at the smallness of the offering, or at its novelty so much as he admires the good intention, and with reason. This he would reward with an abundance of gifts and favors. So we, in our winter of poverty, bring garlands to our Queen, and prepare a flower of oratory for the feast of praise. We break our mind’s stony desire with iron, pressing, as it were, the unripe grapes. And may you receive with more and more favor the words which fall upon your eager and listening ears.

What shall we offer the Mother of the Word if not our words? Like rejoices in like and in what it loves. Thus, then, making a start and loosening the reins of my discourse, I may send it forth as a charger ready equipped for the race. But do Thou, O Word of God, be my helper and auxiliary, and speak wisdom to my unwisdom. By Thy word make my path clear, and direct my course according to Thy good pleasure, which is the end of all wisdom and discernment.

To-day the holy Virgin of Virgins is presented in the heavenly temple. Virginity in her was so strong as to be a consuming fire. It is forfeited in every case by child-birth. But she is ever a virgin, before the event, in the birth itself, and afterwards. To-day the sacred and living ark of the living God, who conceived her Creator Himself, takes up her abode in the temple of God, not made by hands. David, her forefather,  rejoices. Angels and Archangels are in jubilation, Powers exult, Principalities and Dominations, Virtues and Thrones are in gladness: Cherubim and Seraphim magnify God. Not the least of their Praise is it to refer praise to the Mother of glory. To-day the holy dove, the pure and guileless soul, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, putting off the ark of her body, the life-giving receptacle of Our Lord, found rest to the soles of her feet, taking her flight to the spiritual world, and dwelling securely in the sinless country above. To-day the Eden of the new Adam receives the true paradise, in which sin is remitted and the tree of life growl, and our nakedness is covered. For we are no longer naked and uncovered, and unable to bear the splendour of the divine likeness. Strengthened with the abundant grace of the Spirit, we shall no longer betray our nakedness in the words: “I have Put off my garment, how shall I put it on?” The serpent, by whose deceitful promise we were likened to brute beasts, did not enter into this paradise. He, the only begotten Son of God, God himself, of the same substance as the Father, took His human nature of the pure Virgin. Being constituted a man, He made mortality immortal, and was clothed as a man. Putting aside corruption, He was indued with the incorruptibility of the Godhead.

To-day the spotless Virgin, untouched by earthly affections, and all heavenly in her thoughts, was not dissolved in earth, but truly entering heaven, dwells in the heavenly tabernacles. Who would be wrong to call her heaven, unless indeed he truly said that she is greater than heaven in surpassing dignity? The Lord and Creator of heaven, the Architect of all things beneath the earth and above, of creation, visible and invisible, Who is not circumvented by place (if that which surrounds things is rightly termed place), created Himself, without human co-operation, an Infant in her. He made her a rich treasure-house of His all-pervading and alone uncircumscribed Godhead, subsisting entirely in her without passion, remaining entire in His universality and Himself uncircumscribed. To-day the life-giving treasury and abyss of charity (I know not how to trust my lips to speak of it) is hidden in immortal death. She meets it without fear, who conceived death’s destroyer, if indeed we may call her holy and vivifying departure by the name of death. For how could she, who brought life to all, be under the dominion of death ? But she obeys the law of her own Son, and inherits this chastisement as a daughter of the first Adam, since her Son, who is the life, did not refuse it. As the Mother of the living God, she goes through death to Him. For if God said: “Unless the first man put out his hand to take and taste of the tree of life, he shall live for ever,” how shall she, who received the Life Himself, without beginning or end, or finite vicissitudes, not live for ever.

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One Response to Saint John of Damascus on the Assumption

  • Splendid discourse…St. John Damascus.
    What a fitting vessel to give tribute to a woman who changed our lives forever. What an incredible discourse.

    Paragraph 7; “When I had reached this point in my discourse, I was obliged to give vent to my own feelings, and burning with loving desire, to shed reverent yet joyful tears, embracing, as it were, the bed so happy and blessed and wondrous, which received the life-giving Tabernacle, and rejoiced in the contact of holiness.”

    The entire treatise is glorious, and the continuation of this paragraph, #7, is a pure delight to devour.

    Thanks Donald. What a joyful reflection on Our Immaculata’s feast day ahead.
    My 16th anniversary as a Knight of the Immaculata in St. Kolbe ‘s Militia Immaculata.
    I’m forever in debt to our brother, #16670.
    Feast Day… August 14th.

    Peace, and thanks too for putting up with my poor grammar. You and the majority of your contributors on TAC are very patient with my undisciplined use of words and sentences.
    Thanks everyone, and please keep me in your prayers tomorrow. You are all in mine.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori on the Assumption

Saturday, August 15, AD 2015

Fly, my soul, with Mary fly,
Soar beyond the golden sky,
Mount to Mary’s throne on high.

Bright the queenly crown she won,
Sweet the reign she has begun,
As she stands beside her Son.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

How endure this long delay?
Living here how can I stay
From such beauty far away?
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Sad my lot is here below;
Who can hope or life bestow?
Who will help or pity show?
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

But though far away from me,
Still our sovereign Queen will be
Full of love and clemency.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

With a mother’s loving care
She will lift those hands so fair,
And will save us by her prayer.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Mother’s heart can ne’er forget
That we are her children yet,
By such dangers fierce beset.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Gently, still, she bends her eyes
On the soul that longs and sighs
For her love, the heavenly prize.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

Blest the soul who, like the dove
Borne upon the wings of love,
Follows her to heaven above.
Fly, my soul, with Mary fly.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori

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Queen of Heaven and Queen of Men

Friday, August 15, AD 2014

The King looked up, and what he saw
          Was a great light like death,
          For Our Lady stood on the standards rent,
          As lonely and as innocent
          As when between white walls she went
          And the lilies of Nazareth.

          One instant in a still light
          He saw Our Lady then,
          Her dress was soft as western sky,
          And she was a queen most womanly—
          But she was a queen of men.

          Over the iron forest
          He saw Our Lady stand,
          Her eyes were sad withouten art,
          And seven swords were in her heart—
          But one was in her hand.

GK Chesterton, Ballad of the White Horse

****************************************************

 

And he saw in a little picture,
          Tiny and far away,
          His mother sitting in Egbert’s hall,
          And a book she showed him, very small,
          Where a sapphire Mary sat in stall
          With a golden Christ at play.

          It was wrought in the monk’s slow manner,
          From silver and sanguine shell,
          Where the scenes are little and terrible,
          Keyholes of heaven and hell.

          In the river island of Athelney,
          With the river running past,
          In colours of such simple creed
          All things sprang at him, sun and weed,
          Till the grass grew to be grass indeed
          And the tree was a tree at last.

          Fearfully plain the flowers grew,
          Like the child’s book to read,
          Or like a friend’s face seen in a glass;
          He looked; and there Our Lady was,
          She stood and stroked the tall live grass
          As a man strokes his steed.

          Her face was like an open word
          When brave men speak and choose,
          The very colours of her coat
          Were better than good news.

          She spoke not, nor turned not,
          Nor any sign she cast,
          Only she stood up straight and free,
          Between the flowers in Athelney,
          And the river running past.

          One dim ancestral jewel hung
          On his ruined armour grey,
          He rent and cast it at her feet:
          Where, after centuries, with slow feet,
          Men came from hall and school and street
          And found it where it lay.

          “Mother of God,” the wanderer said,
          “I am but a common king,
          Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
          To see a secret thing.

          “The gates of heaven are fearful gates
          Worse than the gates of hell;
          Not I would break the splendours barred
          Or seek to know the thing they guard,
          Which is too good to tell.

          “But for this earth most pitiful,
          This little land I know,
          If that which is for ever is,
          Or if our hearts shall break with bliss,
          Seeing the stranger go?

          “When our last bow is broken, Queen,
          And our last javelin cast,
          Under some sad, green evening sky,
          Holding a ruined cross on high,
          Under warm westland grass to lie,
          Shall we come home at last?”

          And a voice came human but high up,
          Like a cottage climbed among
          The clouds; or a serf of hut and croft
          That sits by his hovel fire as oft,
          But hears on his old bare roof aloft
          A belfry burst in song.

          “The gates of heaven are lightly locked,
          We do not guard our gain,
          The heaviest hind may easily
          Come silently and suddenly
          Upon me in a lane.

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2 Responses to Queen of Heaven and Queen of Men

  • The words put together in poetry are potent. His phrase, ‘through the door of the darkness fallen ajar’, gently thunder the existence of reason for hope.
    .
    ‘And seven swords were in her heart—
    But one was in her hand.
    .
    “Mother of God,” the wanderer said,
    “I am but a common king,
    Nor will I ask what saints may ask,
    To see a secret thing.
    .
    And a voice came human but high up,
    .
    “And any little maid that walks
    In good thoughts apart,
    May break the guard of the Three Kings
    And see the dear and dreadful things
    I hid within my heart.

    “The meanest man in grey fields gone
    Behind the set of sun,
    Heareth between star and other star,
    Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
    The council, eldest of things that are,
    The talk of the Three in One.”

  • The Fourth Glorious Mystery, the Assumption: desire a holy death.

    Think of Mary’s glorious assumption into Heaven when she was united with her Divine Son.

Cardinal Newman on the Assumption

Wednesday, August 15, AD 2012

AS soon as we apprehend by faith the great fundamental truth that Mary is the Mother of God, other wonderful truths follow in its train; and one of these is that she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals, which is not only to die, but to become earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Die she must, and die she did, as her Divine Son died, for He was man; but various reasons have approved themselves to holy writers, why, although her body was for a while separated from her soul and consigned to the tomb, yet it did not remain there, but was speedily united to her soul again, and raised by our Lord to a new and eternal life of heavenly glory.

And the most obvious reason for so concluding is this—that other servants of God have been raised from the grave by the power of God, and it is not to  be supposed that our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to His own Mother.

We are told by St. Matthew, that after our Lord’s death upon the Cross “the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that had slept”—that is, slept the sleep of death, “arose, and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection, came into the Holy City, and appeared to many.” St. Matthew says, “many bodies of the Saints”—that is, the holy Prophets, Priests, and Kings of former times—rose again in anticipation of the last day.

Can we suppose that Abraham, or David, or Isaias, or Ezechias, should have been thus favoured, and not God’s own Mother? Had she not a claim on the love of her Son to have what any others had? Was she not nearer to Him than the greatest of the Saints before her? And is it conceivable that the law of the grave should admit of relaxation in their case, and not in hers? Therefore we confidently say that our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by His Passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.

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Saint John of Damascus on the Assumption

Sunday, August 14, AD 2011

Thy blessedness was not death, nor was dying thy perfection, nor, again, did thy departure hence help thee to security. Thou art the beginning, middle, and end of all goods transcending mind, for thy Son in His conception and divine dwelling in thee is made our sure and true security. Thus thy words were true: from the moment of His conception, not from thy death, thou didst say all generations should call thee blessed. It was thou who didst break the force of death, paying its penalty, and making it gracious. Hence, when thy holy and sinless body was taken to the tomb, the choirs of angels bore it, and were all around, leaving nothing undone for the honour of our Lord’s Mother, whilst apostles and all the assembly of the Church burst into prophetic song, saying: “We shall be filled with the good things of Thy house, holy is Thy temple, wonderful in justice.” And again: “The Most High has sanctified His tabernacle. The mountain of God is a fertile mountain, the mountain in which it pleased God to dwell.” The apostolic band lifting the true ark of the Lord God on their shoulders, as the priests of old the typical ark, and placing thy body in the tomb, made it, as if another Jordan, the way to the true land of the gospel, the heavenly Jerusalem, the mother of all the faithful, God being its Lord and architect.

Thy soul did not descend to Limbo, neither did thy flesh see corruption. Thy pure and spotless body was not left in the earth, but the abode of the Queen, of God’s true Mother, was fixed in the heavenly kingdom alone. O how did heaven receive her who is greater than heaven? How did she, who had received God, descend into the grave? This truly happened, and she was held by the tomb. It was not after bodily wise that she surpassed heaven. For how can a body measuring three cubits, and continually losing flesh, be compared with the dimensions of heaven ? It was rather by grace that she surpassed all height and depth, for that which is divine is incomparable.

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At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

Monday, August 23, AD 2010

Marian apparitions have always been a sign of God’s love. It truly is one of His greatest graces, which physically shows us the Blessed Mother along with her love, words of encouragement and warnings about the world in which we live. Sometimes the Church Militant heeds her call, but sadly often it doesn’t. This article will only cover a handful of Church approved apparitions (this can be a little tricky, more on this later,) but what it will show is that often the Blessed Mother appears in lands that have experienced great suffering with often more suffering to follow. Her message to bring the world closer to her Son and live according to Jesus’ teachings is one of God’s greatest graces, something that is often met with violent, evil attacks. The miraculous events surrounding her appearances often take place in the presense of great vistas; a window of sorts into God’s loving handiwork. The said could be said about Jesus at The Transfiguration and the Sermon on the Mount.

Something to keep in mind before we begin; during the early days of the Church investigative bodies were the last thing the Church was worried about at a time when the Church was trying to literally stay alive during an array of persecutions. Following the Protestant Reformation, a more detailed structure emerged for investigating appartions. They often took a long time to investigate in order to prevent any hoaxes. Most reported modern day apparitions are not approved. In the 20th Century only 8 of the 300+ reported apparitions were approved. This link from the University of Dayton, a Marianist institution, which houses the largest collection of Marian Apparitions, might be a helpful.

The year was 1300. Though parts of Spain remained under Islamic control, a liberated area, near the Guadalupe River would reveal an amazing find. A cow herder named Gil Cordero would be told by the Blessed Mother to dig, and there he would find holy treasure. Though laughed at by his fellow villagers, his faithful dig yielded a secret burial vault that would house many relics including that of a lifelike carving of the Blessed Mother. It was said to be carved by St Luke and transported to Spain in the sixth century by Bishop Leander, a relative of Pope Gregory the Great.

The vault had been placed there as Islamic armies were making their way to Spain.  The lifelike carving, which still exists today, was said to have been processed through the streets of Rome around the year 590 AD, at the direction of Pope Gregory the Great. He had been given the famous carving while he was Papal Legate in Constantinople.

The famous pontiff had ordered this procession during a terrible plague and famine that had engulfed the city, some one hundred and fifty years after the Roman Empire had collapsed.  As the procession ended, the assembled crowd saw the Archangel St Michael sheathing his sword, signifying that the famine and plague were over. (One can still see the statue of the Archangel St Michael atop the Castel Sant Angelo which commemorates this momentous event.)  The carved statue of the Blessed Mother was then sent to Spain where it remains today, seemingly unscathed after spending years underground during the Muslim conquest.

Years later a young Italian navigator named Christopher Columbus would come to pray at this now famous shrine. He was at the end of his financial rope in seeking backing for a “new way to India.” Soon after his prayer, he was granted an audience with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and the rest is history. Few know about this religious side of Columbus. Even fewer know that when he first caught sight of what would be known as the Americas, he had minutes before ordered his crew to pray the Rosary. In gratitude, he named one of the islands he discovered for the site at which his prayers were answered back in Spain, the isle now known as Guadeloupe.

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41 Responses to At Marian Apparition Locations, Great Trials & Tribulations Often Occur Before & After

  • Thanks for that excellent post David.
    I had not heard of those earlier apparitions of Our Lady, so that’s very informative.

    God Bless your work.

  • Guadalupe, Mexico, near present day Mexico City. Though the modern day mainstream media may glorify the Mayans and especially their doomsday prediction of 2012, living under their thumb often resulted in death; ritual human sacrifice was very common in Mexico and the neighboring countries to her south.

    Are you perhaps confusing the Mayans and the Aztecs? Both practiced human sacrifice, but the Aztecs were more concentrated around Mexico City; the Mayans were more to the south and the Yucatan peninsula (as well as further south of Mexico itself).

  • No C Matt I am not confusing the two. Both civilizations power bases were essentially destroyed by the time the Blessed Mother appeared at Tepeyac Hill. True the Aztec power base was in the north, however, their influence was not greater than the Mayan people. In the south of Mexico even though the Mayan Culture’s power base was dead their descendants still numbered more than the Aztecs. At the peak of the Mayan Civilization, their numbers were over 20,000,000.

  • Nice article, but I’m surprised you didn’t mention Medjugorje, especially given how profoundly connected Kibeho is to Medjugorje. I assure you that Medjugorje is the real deal, and one of the most important Marian apparitions in history. The fruits of Medjugorje are worldwide, the conversions are in the millions, and if you take a look at the medical testing done on the visionaries by some of the world’s top doctors and scientists, you will be very surprised. Of course, the devil HATES Medjugorje and has done everything he can to plant the seeds of confusion among God’s children. But look around you and you will see that we’re in battle! God bless you.

  • Dave,

    This is the best article I have of yours yet!

    Wow.

    In the church in Zeitoun where Mary appeared, that church has a high concentration of saint’s relics. In addition the apocryphal story states that Jesus, Mary, & Joseph, stayed in or near Zeitoun during their time in Egypt.

    These two facts alone can help explain why the Blessed Virgin graced her presence there.

  • Sean, I would think that Medjugorje wasn’t mentioned because it is not an approved apparition.

  • Yes, Mary, nor is it unapproved. What the world needs now, more than ever, is the message of peace and reconciliation that is flowing from Medjugorje. I’ve been to Kibeho, and I’ve been to Medjugorje many times, and they are the same message. The Kibeho visionary Alphonsine actually went to Medjugorje in the nineties, and the priests at the Kibeho shrine believe the two apparitions are linked. I just would have liked to see Dave mention Medjugorje, even with a caveat of it still being under investigation, because it has, after all, become one of the most visited Marian shrines in history.

  • Sean, the author mentioned in the beginning of the article that he would only deal with approved apparitions. Medjugorje is not approved. Your reaction and defensive stance makes it seem more like a cult with cult-followers. There are many reasons as to why Medjugorje can be seen as unauthentic, which I won’t go into here. Perhaps its popularity is just a sign of the evil times that we live in and the weak-faithed.

  • I concur with Sean. But I think it is out of prudence that Medjugorje should be treated in a future article. Dave, I’ll be waiting on this one.

  • I concur with Katherine. There are many reasons as to why Medjugorje can be viewed with skepticism and may not be authentic. Peace and reconciliation not rooted in truth has no foundation. The last thing the world needs right now is any false concept of peace and reconciliation possibly rooted in and further promoting a worldwide ‘Dictatorship of Relativism.’

  • Medjugorje is not an approved apparition…

  • The apparitions at Cuapa, Nicaragua, May 8 to October 13th, 1980, fully demonstrate that when apparitions like those that took place then occur, trouble is ahead. The country had just gone through a bloody uprising against an entrenched dictator, and 50,000 casualties.
    When the apparitions took place, the so-called “Contra War” was getting underway, and before it was over a decade later, another 50,000 had died. The purported messages of the Most Holy Virgen were of much comfort to Nicaraguans throughout, and a continuing sign of the merciful presence of God. I was there then.

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  • kATHERINE:
    Though Medjugorje is as yet not been approved I, for one, can truly say, without a doubt, that I know Our Lady is appearing there. I was there in 1987. One only has to go there to understand that truth. I would stake my life on it. Her presence is so apparent that no one leaves that place without believing it. Of course, I know that we need to wait for total church approval. It was also said, concerning these apparitions, that when they totally end that decision will be made. Pope John Paul II, said, in many interviews, that if he were not Pope he would have already been in Medjugorje.That is not hearsay, it is documented.He met many times with some of the visionaries.Anything that you think could be used against these apparitions is most probably wrong information that you have heard.

  • I don’t know about the legitimacy of that medjugorje apparition. I do know about the negative comments and rebellion by its followers when a statement by the commission possibly restricting or rejecting begin to rumor. There were no presence of humility or obedience rather defiance and arrogance displayed. More than fruits will need to be considered for legitimacy. There is no spirit of poverty surrounding the visionaries like at Fatima…we must wait til the church makes a decision. I am concerned about one message that says don’t pray for others nut pray for yourself…that’s not like Mary our Mother who say forget your brother when you come before God in prayer! It is neither here nor there that you bet your life on medjugorje nor does your belief or disbelief assures its legitmaticy…only the church can do such…

  • Like Anita, I know what I have experience in Medjugorje is sincere and pure. Our Lady has given me to her son, Jesus through his presence in the Blessed Sacrament. I have come to know God’s love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I have seen, heard and know the fruits of Medjugorje. It is all about Jesus and being Roman Catholic who loves our Holy Father in Rome.
    For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation is possible. God bless everyone!

  • I have seen Marija and Ivan in person and I can say that they are as human as anybody else, but yet very humble and prayerful. My understanding is that the visionaries have been obedient to the Church. My family and I have been to Medjugorje and stayed there for 5 days, and though I have not seen any startling natural phenomena except for the water that constantly flows from the knee of the Resurrected Jesus (at the time, I thought it was moisture on the bronze statue forming every day), I always have believed in the apparition there, yes, even long before we visited the place, back in the late 80s when I first heard about it.

  • Excellent article. Only one comment: Christopher Columbus was from Spain

  • The saddest part about the Medjugorje episode is that so many Catholics, who should know better, are ignoring it. It reminds me of how many Jews, who should have known better, ignored both John the Baptist and Jesus.

    Medjugorje is the most important apparition of Blessed Mary in history, and I will say flat out so as to be unambigous, it is heralding the Second Coming of Jesus.

    For those who don’t listen to their Mother and turn back to God now, it will be too late, as Blessed Mary herself says. She said those waiting for the sign – for many it will be too late. She means that the sign is a ways off yet, and so before then many will die of natural deaths etc. w/o having converted or turned back to God because they were waiting for the sign. It is very possible that Jesus will return BEFORE the Church rules on Medjugorje and many will not be ready.

    But alas, I also believe when the warnings come, many will convert and the Church will urge them to do so too – the Church will finally approve the apparition, but it will be too late for those who have not converted between 1981 and then.

    Sad, really. God bless you.

  • “The saddest part about the Medjugorje episode is that so many Catholics, who should know better, are ignoring it. It reminds me of how many Jews, who should have known better, ignored both John the Baptist and Jesus…”

    Seriously? You’re going to compare the rejection of the Messiah (God incarnate, whose coming was essential for salvation) by His own chosen people to skepticism over an unapproved apparition, belief in which (regardless of whether the Church ever decides to speak to its authenticity or lack thereof) is NOT essential to the faith?

    It’s the over-the-top certitude of such statements with regard to Medjugorje in the face of the Church’s caution that (1) causes many to remain skeptical and (2) makes me glad that assent to private revelation is not essential for one to be a faithful Catholic.

  • Jay, maybe you don’t “need” Medjugorje because your faith is already so strong and you are on the right path. That’s awesome for you, and I commend your devotion. But, as I’m sure you know, you are the minority in this world. There are so many lost and faithless people out there (I, myself, was one of them) and Our Lady is trying to reach them through Medjugorje. I’m certain that if you ever go there, you would agree with me. Just as Jesus himself said that He came not for the righteous but for the sinners, Our Lady has come to lead the nonbelievers and the lukewarm to her Son. What happens in Medjugorje? It’s not some crazy place where fanatics are running around looking for miracles. On the contrary, it is a shrine filled with people praying, confessing and worshipping God through the Sacraments. It is a place of conversion. You can FEEL it when you’re there. I’ve traveled to approved apparition sites all over the world, but no where is there such a sense of peace and holiness as there is in Medjugorje. Again, it sounds like your faith is strong enough that you don’t need Medjugorje, but I urge you, and everyone who shares your viewpoint, to be patient and not persuade anyone from going there to see for themselves. It could be the difference between life and death for that person, eternally speaking of course.

    Have a look at this video of an apparition:

    http://www.medjugorjevideo.com/mirjanavisionary.html

    I challenge anyone to show me someone — an actress, perhaps — who can cry on command while staring up at thin air, without any wavering of the focal point of her pupils for five minutes straight, and who can turn her voicebox on and off inexplicably (scientifically impossible), and whose brain waves go to such a heightened sense of awareness in a split second (during the apparition) that doctors have never seen it before.

    Medjugorje is 100% real. I’m no fanatic and I don’t believe many things, but this I’m certain of, and one must only go there with an open mind to see God’s work in action. I am incredibly thankful to Our Lady for leading me and my entire family to the Catholic Church. My wife (also a convert after going to Medjugorje) and I are raising our little children in a strong Catholic setting, something that would have been inconceivable to us before Medjugorje ever came into our lives. Our story is no exception. There are millions of us out there. WE NEEDED MEDJUGORJE, and thank God no one told me not to go before I did that first time. God bless you all.

  • Sean, you forgot to mention about the Adoration of the Holy Eucharist from sunset till late evening. Aside from long lines of Confession and full-packed Masses, this devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is one undeniable proof that God is Present among His people in Medjugorje. Who else will know the sure way to lead us to Christ? Who, but the one who nursed Him and lulled Him to sleep while yet He was a baby, and who was there at the foot of the Cross during the last moments of His life?

    All these are tangible manifestations of God’s love for us, while yet we have time. Let’s help bring conversion of everyone to the LORD! Our Lady is here to help us. According to St Louis de Monfort, Mama Mary is the surest way to Jesus. She’s bidding everyone of us to come and go to Him!

  • It’s not about whether I “need” Medjugorje for my faith to be strong or not. I’m as much a weak and sinful person as any other Catholic. But the depth of no one’s faith should be made dependent on whether or not they assent to any private revelation.

    I make no judgments about the authenticity of Medjugorje, other than to note (1) that the Church has not yet spoken on it and (2) that statements like those Bob made comparing skepticism over Medjugorje to the rejection of Christ as the Messiah are WAY over the top.

    I have great respect for many who do believe in the authenticity of Medjugorje. In fact, one of the priests I most admire – the Dominican priest who brought me into the Church and who just so happens to be the Prior Provinical of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph – has been to Medjugorge on a number of occasions. That fact, alone, is enough for me to give some credence to its authenticity.

    But I’ll wait for the Church before giving full assent.

  • Sean,

    You said, “because it has, after all, become one of the most visited Marian shrines in history.” Sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t allow you to mislead anyone reading these comments. You are sadly misinformed or purposely being misleading. Medjugorje is NOT A MARIAN SHRINE, the Catholic Church has not currently raised the status of any Church in Medjugorje to ‘Shrine’.

    Anita,

    You said, ‘Pope John Paul II, said, in many interviews, that if he were not Pope he would have already been in Medjugorje.’ Did JPII say that, or did someone else say he said that? Please produce the article showing the direct quote. Let me also remind you it is a well known fact that Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, was a stalwart supporter of Fr. Marcial Maciel, the disgraced, recently deceased founder of the Legionaries of Christ religious order and its lay arm, Regnum Christi.

    For anyone truly interested in discerning the ‘fruits’ of Medugujorje, I recommend the following links. In the meantime, LETS BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!

    http://medjugorjedocuments.blogspot.com/2010/02/ecclesial-disciplinary-actions-against.html

    http://www.rickross.com/groups/caritas.html

    http://unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/MedjugorjeIndex.html

    http://www.cbismo.com/index.php?menuID=98

  • A few points before this thread winds down. I will be happy to write about Medjugorje once the Church takes an official stand on it. In the meantime, perhaps the prudent thing to do is for those who hope the Church rules favorably on the apparition is to politely say “for your discernment.” I believe this is the approach Michael Brown uses. The evil one loves drama and disunity in the Church. I think we can all agree that whatever we believe, we don’t need to give the evil one any new ammunition. We should trust the Holy Spirit.

    In addition, I believe someone corrected me by saying Christopher Columbus was a Spaniard, no he was an Italian born In Genoa. Finally, what the disgraced Father Maciel has to do with Pope John Paul’s view on Medjugorje is immaterial to this thread. Father Maciel was an evil deceiver who fooled many, so we can’t condemn all those who might have liked the Father Maciel they thought they knew.

  • Dave,

    Please understand, my reference to Father Maciel was not a condemnation of anyone. The purpose of the reference was to highlight how easily we can be deceived and the illogic of using an uncomfirmed JPII quote as evidence of authenticity, an idea I stole from Patrick Madrid:

    http://patrickmadrid.blogspot.com/2010/04/medjugorje-and-maciel-effect.html

  • No problem Dismas. God Bless, take care and have a nice weekend!

  • Dave,
    You’re right in saying that Medj supporters should include “for your discernment”. That would help diffuse things. It would also help diffuse the inflated rhetoric if Medj opposers would also not pull out the “Cult Card” every time the topic comes up. Can we agree?

  • Great article.
    You may want to research the first apparition of the Blessed Mother in the last millenium.Our Lady appeared the last saturday of April 1001.
    The structure of the present church was approved by St. Pio and Pope John Paul II visited there both before and after his election.
    The shrine is outside of Foggia in so. Italy and is the site of many pilgrimages.
    Your article is very eye-opening and very necessary in our “morality deprived” depraved society.

  • Joseph Forina, sounds like something I will have to research. GB, I certainly agree with your post!

  • Dismas, to me and to many other people, Medjugorje is a shrine. Please note that I didn’t capitalize the word shrine. You capitalized it, out of context, and then claimed I was being misleading (or misinformed). Please look up the definition of the word ‘shrine’ and I think you might reconsider your harsh words towards me.

    Please understand that Medjugorje changed my life incredibly, and I’ve seen it change the lives of so many others, so I am passionate about it. I wish everyone could go there to see for themselves.

    Those links you presented from Unity Pub. are not even journalism. They are tabloidism. They’ve been proven wrong many times. Would you like to be judged by the same measure as the people who penned those articles (ie, Unity Publishing)? The one about Caritas is about a group that claims to be related to Medjugorje, but please note that they have no official connection to the parish and should be judged on their own.

    As for documents about what John Paul II said about Medjugorje, please see the book “Medjugorje and the Church” by Denis Nolan, which contains photocopies of actual signed letters written by John Paul to some Polish friends, in which he expresses his belief in Medjugorje. Those letters are available for anyone to see. The book also contains letters from Mother Teresa which indicate her belief in Medjugorje, as well as quotes from numerous priests, bishops, cardinals and clergy — all stating their belief in Medjugorje. If nothing else, it’s an interesting read.

    I will end with this: don’t be so quick to condemn Medjugorje without knowing enough first-hand about it. Be a first-hand witness if you choose to talk about it. Only then will you know.

    God bless you all. Oh yes, this post is for your discernment.

  • Sean,

    I appreciate you considering the evidence I presented and bringing the conversation back into the realm of the rational. I ask for your prayers.

    I have no doubt that Medjugorje has changed your life incredibly and many others as well, that is not the issue of most importance here.

    The fact of the matter, regarding Medjugorje, is the Catholic Church by the local Bishop of Mostar has declared it Non constat de supernaturalitate. The Commission prepared a draft “Declaration” in which were listed the “unacceptable assertions” and “bizarre declarations”, attributed to the curious phenomenon. The Commission also stated that further investigations were not necessary nor the delaying of the official judgement of the Church. The bishop duly informed the Bishops’ Conference and the Holy See, and he then informed the public during his homily in Medjugorje in 1987.[19]

    For the sake of converstion lets throw out the Unity Publishing evidence as well as the Caritas Articles. Let’s soley focus on the Official Bishop of Mostar documents which I notice you conveniently avoid? http://www.cbismo.com/index.php?menuID=98

    Based on these findings and statements of a Bishop in good standing in the Catholic Church and faithful to the Magisterium, anyone in opposition to his statements and teaching is in grave spiritual danger. Anyone enticing or tempting anyone else to disobedience to the Bishop of Mostar’s statements not only puts themselves in grave spiritual danger but is now responsible for the demise of others as well.

    Pax et Bonum

  • Sean,

    I neglected to respond to your Shrine argument. A Shrine defined within the confines of the Catholic Church is:

    In the Roman Catholic Code of Canon law, canons 1230 and 1231 read: “The term shrine means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary, is by reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims. For a shrine to be described as national, the approval of the Episcopal Conference is necessary. For it to be described as international, the approval of the Holy See is required.”[11]

    I have to point out to you that neither the local Ordinary or an Episopal Conference has raised any church in Medjugorje to the status of Shrine.

    I apologize that you found my words harsh, however they are truth. Once again I have to point out the grave spiritual dangers of pride, ego and disobediance that allows anyone to put themselves outside or above the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the safe Barque of Peter.

  • Again, you capitalize the word shrine, thus taking my comment out of context.

    Still, I’m confident that I’m on the right side of things here. This may be of interest to you:

    Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, Archbishop of Zagreb, a member of the Bishop’s conference that studied Medjugorje, said: “After three years of studies by the Commission, we, the bishops, have accepted Medjugorje as a Shrine, as a sanctuary. This means that we have nothing against the veneration of the Mother of God in accordance with the teaching of the Church and our faith… This is why we leave this question to further studies of the Church. The Church is not in haste.”

    So, if this cardinal, a member of the Bishop’s Conference, calls Medjugorje a Shrine, then why can’t I?

    Here’s more on that:

    http://www.medjugorje.org/tenyrzadar.htm

    You accuse me of pride and ego, and yet in the preceding sentence you classify your words as “truth.” Maybe you should write a letter to the cardinal who called Medjugorje a Shrine and give him the “truth.”

  • Thank you for bringing this article to my attention. I advise you give this article further discernment and reflection. In response to your question: ‘So, if this cardinal, a member of the Bishop’s Conference, calls Medjugorje a Shrine, then why can’t I?’ If not solely for the sake of prudence and caution, then because both local Bishops of Mostar; Bishop Zanic and his successor Bishop Peric are not in agreement with the Conference of Yugoslavia and have the support of the Holy See. Please see the excerpt from your article refuting the findings of the Conference of Yugoslavia:

    Nevertheless, Mgr Pavao Žanic, Bishop of Mostar, interprets the Declaration of Zadar as a negation of the supernaturality of the events of Medjugorje, and as a document forbidding pilgrimages. The Ordinary of Mostar continues to uphold this position: “The Ordinary has on several occasions warned that the supernatural character of the apparitions cannot be spoken about nor announced publicly in churches, as it was not possible to state that Our Lady is appearing. This is why official pilgrimages to Medjugorje are not allowed”, writes Mgr Ratko Peric, successor of Mgr Pavao Žanic. (See Prijestolje Mudrosti, Mostar 1995, p. 282) And he continues: “Neither the diocesan bishop, as head of the local diocese and Church of Mostar-Duvno, nor any other competent person, have until now declared the parish Church St James of Medjugorje as a Marian shrine, nor confirmed the “cult” of Our Lady based on the supposed apparitions. On the contrary, because of its contestability, he has on many occasions prohibited to speak on the altar or in the church about supernatural “apparitions and revelations”, and to organize official pilgrimages in the name of parishes, dioceses, and generally in the name of the Church. These and similar warnings were published also by our former Bishops´ Conference and by the Holy See itself. Anyone acting in an opposite manner, is acting expressly against the official position of the Church, which, after 14 years of supposed apparitions and developed commercial propaganda, are still valid in the Church”. (Ibid, p. 285-286)

  • I urge you, go see for yourself, and in the meantime, don’t squelch the fruits that continue to flow from Medjugorje.

    This will probably be my last post here because I’m off to La Salette and Medjugorje. All the best and God bless. Please pray that I have a safe journey, and I will in turn pray for everyone here. God bless.

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MUNIFICENTISSIMUS DEUS

Sunday, August 15, AD 2010

1. The most bountiful God, who is almighty, the plan of whose providence rests upon wisdom and love, tempers, in the secret purpose of his own mind, the sorrows of peoples and of individual men by means of joys that he interposes in their lives from time to time, in such a way that, under different conditions and in different ways, all things may work together unto good for those who love him.[1]

2. Now, just like the present age, our pontificate is weighed down by ever so many cares, anxieties, and troubles, by reason of very severe calamities that have taken place and by reason of the fact that many have strayed away from truth and virtue. Nevertheless, we are greatly consoled to see that, while the Catholic faith is being professed publicly and vigorously, piety toward the Virgin Mother of God is flourishing and daily growing more fervent, and that almost everywhere on earth it is showing indications of a better and holier life. Thus, while the Blessed Virgin is fulfilling in the most affectionate manner her maternal duties on behalf of those redeemed by the blood of Christ, the minds and the hearts of her children are being vigorously aroused to a more assiduous consideration of her prerogatives.

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Saint John Damascene: First Sermon on the Assumption

Saturday, August 15, AD 2009

The Assumption

The first sermon of Saint John Damascene on the Assumption of the Mother of God:

[147] THE memory of the just takes place with rejoicing, said Solomon, the wisest of men; for precious in God’s sight is the death of His saints, according to the royal* David. If, then, the memory of all the just is a subject of rejoicing, who will not offer praise to justice in its source, and holiness in its treasure-house? It is not mere praise; it is praising with the intention of gaining eternal glory. God’s dwelling-place does not need our praise, that city of God, concerning which great things were spoken, as holy.† David addresses it in these words: “Glorious things are said of thee, thou city of God.” What sort of city shall we choose for the invisible and uncircumscribed God, who holds all things in His hand, if not [148] that city which alone is above nature, giving shelter without circumscription* to the supersubstantial Word of God? Glorious things have been spoken of that city by God himself. For what is more exalted than being made the recipient of God’s counsel, which is from all eternity?

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