Medjugorje needs no defence
“If this enterprise, this movement of theirs is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God you will not only be unable to destroy them, you might find yourself fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39).
Jesus was only a little baby when Herod planned to kill him in Bethlehem. From age 30, he was targeted for destruction by those who did not really know him. The worshippers at a synagogue in Nazareth tried to throw him off a cliff. Later on, many leaders of his own religion persecuted him, laid traps to catch him with tricky questions, and plotted to arrest him for crimes punishable by death. They told lies against him by twisting the facts. They insulted and beat him. “But he remained silent and made no reply” (Mk 14:61). Before his death, he prayed, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). When they crucified him they thought he was destroyed. On the third day, he rose again. His followers increased and multiplied by leaps and bounds over the centuries.
Similar persecutions have been waged against the apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje – from the beginning by Communist officials and then by members inside the Church. The Franciscan priests in Medjugorje do not verbally defend Mother Mary’s apparitions. They do not have to, for it will come to pass that “nothing is covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known” (Mt 10:26).
When will this happen? A hint to the answer is found in the book Our Lady Speaks from Medjugorje, page 18. “Remember: on the first day of her apparitions in Medjugorje in 1981, Our Lady was holding in her arms an infant whom she showed to the visionaries, and whom she kept covering and uncovering with her veil. How old would this child be today, in terms of earthly years?”
In 2010, a member of Our Lady’s prayer group, a man whom I knew since the 1980’s, talked to me about the baby that Mother Mary was holding. He was deeply aware that the beginning of fulfillment was close at hand – in this decade. He then told me that he himself expected the daily apparitions to end near the 100th anniversary of Our Lady’s appearance in Fatima. “Medjugorje is the continuation of Fatima,” said Pope John Paul II to Bishop Pavao Hnilica in 1984.
When I met the person who wrote The Medjugorje Message blog, I asked him about the prospect of the Vatican granting “international shrine” status to Medjugorje. (See www.medjugorjeca.org: “Medjugorje and Shrine status.”) He told me he was unable to get definitive answers from the parish staff. So I asked a top official among the Franciscan priests. He did not answer my question specifically either, but said, “Medjugorje is very well protected by the Vatican!” Twice he asserted it.
Since the early years, another high-ranking Franciscan priest in the parish began corresponding with a man in the Vatican about the apparitions, a man whose previous title was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
Towards the end of the week during Cardinal Ratzinger’s visit to the University of Toronto in 1986, he delivered a brilliantly erudite speech to a packed house at Varsity arena, followed by tough audience participation questions – which he answered most admirably. The next day, Saturday, he celebrated Holy Mass at St. Basil’s Church on campus. After the Mass, a reception was held in his honour at Charbonnel hall. There was food and drink, but he did not partake of any. Instead, for two hours, he graciously stood to greet and speak with each person who came to meet him.
Half way through the reception, I was given enough courage to get in line to ask him about Medjugorje. When my turn arrived, I asked, “Your Eminence, what is your opinion on Medjugorje?” He answered unequivocally, “Many good spiritual things are happening there.” That made me extremely happy. I went back to my chair and sat down in sheer delight. Then the thought came: Why don’t I give him a copy of The Way to Medjugorje? So I went to the car, got the book, and waited in line again. The Cardinal was obviously interested in the little book. He looked at it for quite a long while, opening up to several pages. I had feared that he would toss the book onto a nearby sofa. But instead, this was what took place: he put it carefully inside his left inner suit pocket!
In 2012, I again spoke with the high-ranking Franciscan priest in the parish and asked about Pope Benedict’s commission of inquiry into Medjugorje. He said it was a high-powered commission consisting of very well educated cardinals and professors of theology and related subjects. He said that the Vatican usually did not authenticate apparitions until after they were finished (as in Fatima which took till 1931 for final approval – 14 years later). But he added that Pope Benedict would announce pastoral directives soon.
In the Gospel, Simon of Cyrene, without uttering a single word, helped Jesus on the way to redeem the world. As the hour draws near in Medjugorje, how can we be Simon of Cyrene to Jesus’ Mother?
She says, “There are many people who do not want to understand my message and accept with seriousness what I am saying, and therefore I call you and ask that, by your lives and your daily life, you witness my presence” (06/25/1991).
“Today I invite all of you who have heard my message of peace to realize it in your life with seriousness and love. There are many who think that they are doing a lot by talking about the messages but do not live them” (05/25/1991).
“Little children, let holiness be for you always in the first place in your thoughts and in each situation, in work and in speech” (08/25/2001).
“Especially live the fast, because by fasting you will achieve – and cause me joy – the fulfilling of the whole plan which God is planning here in Medjugorje” (09/26/1985).