Blessings dear friends. Since the 1980s, when I first learned about the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, I have felt drawn to make a pilgrimage there. It has taken over 30 years, but this autumn I am going! Our Lady seems to have had a hand in the arrangements as it all came together quite quickly and easily. There is even a pilgrimage group leaving from the city I just moved to, so what can I say but thank you Mama! Fiat!
That being said, I want to add the disclaimer that the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje have not been fully approved at this time, although pilgrimages are allowed and even encouraged, given the spiritual fruit that has come from that little place. While I happen to personally believe in their authenticity, I submit to the Church in all things, and if they are later declared to be inauthentic, I will comply fully with the decree. However, in order not to impede the flow of this blog post, I have limited my use of the word “alleged” in reference to the apparitions.
In preparation for my upcoming pilgrimage, the organizers suggested reading the book, “The Visions of the Children” by Janice T. Connell. I “happened” to have it on my bookshelf and I must say reading again it has renewed my desire to visit the place Our Lady has left the glory of heaven to visit. As I read the book, some 20 years further along on my spiritual journey than the first time I read it, I am finding that the Holy Spirit is giving a different insight on some passages.
Early in the book, in the chapter which features the experiences of visionary Mirjana, this passage appears:
According to the visionary, a great cosmic battle is in full fury now for souls. The battle rages between the “seed” (children) of Mary and the “seed” of the serpent (satan). The Eternal Father gave satan one last challenge at His church, the twentieth century, and even some time preceding it. According to Mirjana, there were three things satan did not know:
- The Eternal Father would send Mary, the “woman” of His covenant with His people, throughout the century to warn, encourage, and mother the souls struggling in this time of great darkness.
- The Eternal Father would permit such vast amounts of grace in the world as has never before been known in the history of mankind.
- The Eternal Father would send chosen souls who would remain faithful no matter what the allure or attack of satan.
(Visions of the Children, Ch. 5 Mirjana, p. 40)
I certainly find this passage comforting as events in the Church and the world continue to spiral out of control. It helps me to keep firmly in mind that God has a plan and he always wins. I love that he is pulling out all stops in this battle. We no-account humans he is arming with unprecedented graces such as The Divine Mercy devotion as given to St. Faustina, the Flame of Love Grace as given to Elizabeth Kindelmann, and above all the Divine Will grace given through Luisa Piccarreta. Those, in addition to the countless unnamed graces that will come to us as we need them, will be instrumental in Our Lady’s triumph. Gideon’s army multiplied to the infinite.
Another of God’s graces for our time is the number of spiritual giants of the last century: St. Padre Pio, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Mother Teresa, St. John Paul II, and so many more, some of whom have not yet been canonized, such as Mother Angelica. What warriors they were and still are! All the saints and angels are waiting to be asked for help. They too are part of the heavenly treasure chest of graces being showered to those who are willing to use them.
Which brings me to the third point in the book excerpt above. If the Eternal Father is handing out unprecedented graces in our day through our Blessed Mother, let us beg him also for the grace to be a chosen soul who remains faithful no matter what. Jesus Christ is with his Bride the Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against her. Amen! Fiat! Maranatha!