Posts Tagged With: Mary

Visions and Doubts

 But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and spoke to them: Ye men of Judea, and all you that dwell in Jerusalem, be this known to you, and with your ears receive my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day: But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon my servants indeed, and upon my handmaids will I pour out in those days of my spirit, and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come. –Acts 2:14-20

In two months and 6 days, it will be a full 6 years before I officially converted to Catholicism and 4540497839_211250edb3came into full communion with the Catholic Church. It has been much longer since I fell away from the Protestantism that taught me all of these visions were hogwash, despite the fact that scripture clearly tells us to expect visions and dreams as the final days draw nearer. No, I’m not going all doomsday–it’s a fact. The final days certainly aren’t drawing further away (if that’s even good grammar).

When I converted, I looked at Lourdes and Fatima, and the Divine Mercy and I told myself these things didn’t matter. If they were hard to believe, I didn’t have to believe. These things are best viewed with a skeptical eye, after all.

As time goes on, these visions bother me more and more, because I do look at them with doubt and downright disbelief sometimes. I doubt in my mind what my heart is starting to believe.

In April 2009, my sister and I decided to make mission rosaries. I was working at a call center at the time, and I was able to make knotted twine rosaries as I worked. As I became more skilled, I was able to make 3 or 4 a day. Since I was churning out rosaries at such a fast pace, purchasing crucifixes at Walmart got expensive quickly. I found a seller on ebay where I could get crucifixes for 10¢ each. Outstanding! I ordered 100 liturgy and 100 old fashioned bronze. When the liturgy crucifixes came, I was a little put off. In addition to the familiar design on the front, the back had a strange mark. It read “MEDUGORJE MIR MIR MIR.” I remember wondering what that meant.

And then thinking nothing of it again.

Every day, I made my rosaries and finished them off with a crucifix. Every day, I saw the strange words but didn’t take 10 seconds to type it into Google. Then I quit working at the call center and wasn’t able to make rosaries at work anymore. I still had dozens of crucifixes and they ended up in my purse and everywhere.

EC362Sometime around late August/early September 2010, almost a year and a half after first getting the crucifixes, I was at work looking in my purse for who-knows-what when I saw one of the crucifixes and took a look at it. It had been in my purse for well over a year, and I’d looked at it often. That day, however, it was like it was brand new. Why have I never looked up what this meant? My gosh, I sent off 100 mission rosaries to a charity and half of them had this crucifix on them. What if it meant something vile?

That’s how I learned about Medjugorje. I was stunned, to say the least. These visions started up a few months before I was born. This has been happening my entire life, but somehow, I’d never heard of it. I spent some time at work looking into it, and when my lunch break was over, I forgot about it entirely.

It wasn’t time for me to forget, though. When I went home that evening, I headed straight for our office to get online. Scott had EWTN streaming on the computer. The instant I sat down, I mean precisely the instant my tush hit the chair, a news bulletin came on.

The Vatican had announced an official investigation into Medjugorje.

I told Scott what happened and he was just as flabbergasted as I was.  We both started to wonder if this was something we should be looking into.

As I recall, it was that very night that Scott was looking at a book of short stories about the rosary and he came running to show me that the first story he pulled up mentioned Medjugorje. The very next chance we got, we went down to the Catholic book store and picked out a book about Medjugorje, Medjugorje: The Message by Wayne Weible. I’m not going to sugar coat it, I was just as skeptical as ever when I put the book down, but I started to open my mind up to the possibility that these visions were real. After that, I briefly studied the miracles at Lourdes, and I found the evidence to be strikingly convincing.


I should have kept researching, but I didn’t. Perhaps the time had not come for me to do so, but it’s definitely time now. As I was searching for an Amazon Lending Library pick for February, I stumbled upon Blessed Pope John Paul II, The Diary of St. Faustina and The End Times by Susan Crimp. Why? Because I love the Divine Mercy prayer. I love the message. I’ve carried the Divine Mercy booklet around with me for years. But I have a hard time believing it was given to Faustina in a divine vision. There’s still a big part of me that just doesn’t want to believe that these kinds of things happen. I downloaded the book, and as soon as I started reading it, I knew I’d picked the right one. It feels as if the author is speaking directly to me and knows me all too well.

I started this post with a Bible verse for a reason. We like to believe that the Bible has the words THE END written on the last page, but it doesn’t. In fact, it promises that there will be more miracles, more prophesies, more dreams, more revealed along the way. Not everyone who says or thinks they saw a divine vision has seen one; that I will not argue. However, when it comes to Faustina, “Why would the most famous Pope that ever lived and one of the world’s greatest theological scholars dare to stake his impeccable reputation on these messages?” That’s a question s worth finding the answer to and what better time to go chasing for answer than the Year of Faith?

Categories: Chasing After God, Year of Faith | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A.L.L. Book Review: The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception

When I bought Scott’s Kindle Fire for Christmas, I had a fair amount of $$$ in my shopping cart, which I suppose is what prompted Amazon to offer me 20$ off a yearly Prime subscription. In addition to free shipping and Amazon Instant Video, I receive one book each month to read for free on one of my Kindle devices from the Amazon Lending Library(A.L.L.). As of the date of this posting, this book is available for free to any Amazon Prime members with a Kindle device.

 

The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception

by Dan Quinn & John Quinn

Back in September, I shared with great delight that my sister was starting RCIA classes! Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, Betsy advised me that she could not accept the Immaculate Conception. She is continuing RCIA classes for now (it goes without saying–please pray for her!) but will not be joining the Church at this time. I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic with her, so imagine my delight when I stumbled upon The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception!

For those of us who are Protestant converts to the Catholic Church, our relationship with Mary can feel more like a mother-in-law relationship. It’s awkward and strange, and sometimes it just feels wrong. After all, we were raised to believe that veneration of Mary is sinful. The Immaculate Conception did not become dogma until 1854, which leads many people to believe that is a new theory propagated by the Catholic Church, but that couldn’t be further from the truth, as this book reveals.

 The Ultimate Saints Guide to the Immaculate Conception is really just a wonderful compilation of writings from Saints. The Quinn brothers begin by defining what the Immaculate Conception is (which far too many of us confuse with something else entirely), then telling the story of St. Joachim and St. Ann, taking from the revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Elizabeth of Shenau, Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich, and Ven. Mary of Agreda.

Next up, a defense of the dogma of the Immaculate conception by St. Robert Bellarmine. St. Robert dishes up the usual fare: Mary declares that all generations will call her blessed, the woman clothed with the sun of God’s radiant grace can be no one else, and so forth. My favorite scriptural reference, of course, is the foreshadowing in Genesis 3:15:

“I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed, and she shall crush thy head.” 

It was, in fact, the Lady of Grace statue at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral in Oklahoma City that I was gazing upon when I suddenly, completely out of the blue, understood the “whole Mary thing.” There she was, her foot on the serpent, crushing his head, and a light bulb went off. I had read books, prayed, and finally just resigned myself to uncertainty, but in that moment of quiet reflection, I just got it.

My favorite section by far is the writings of Church fathers on the Immaculate Conception. Going back to the first century, to St. Andrew, the Apostle, we have writings of Church fathers supporting the dogma that Mary was full of grace and therefore did not fall into sin. While the idea that Mary was withheld from sin from the moment of her conception is not universally acknowledged, there is evidence that although she was capable of sin, because of the grace given to her, she did not succumb to it.

I especially liked this quote:

“Purity is understood by the absence of what is contrary to it, and, therefore, a creature may be found, than which nothing can be more pure in created things, if it be defiled by no contagion of sin; and such was the purity of the blessed Virgin, who was exempt from original and actual sin. But she was beneath God, inasmuch as there was in her the power to commit sin.”

St. Thomas (8th Century Church Father)

The Quinn brothers also dive into the visions of St. Bernadette at Lourdes, and St. Catherine Laboure of the Miraculous Medal. The story of Lourdes is particularly important to me because that was the story that helped me to accept Mary as Mother and advocate, along with my light bulb moment. It’s very difficult to deny the events at Lourdes, and if the events are true, then what Mary said there was true. St. Bernadette was so poorly educated, and so sickly, but she was also so devout. I just find it difficult to doubt her story.

Overall, I think this is a marvelous little reference on the Immaculate Conception, especially for converts who need a little help with getting to know Mary a little better. As far as being just the thing I needed to convince Betsy….No. I’ve been there. She needs an AHA! moment, a light bulb experience. No one can contrive that for her. Arguing with her won’t change a thing (trust me, you don’t want to try). So, if you’re trying to convince a Protestant, this is a must-have tool, but there’s no magic bullet as far as I’m concerned. Of course, with all matters of faith, sometimes our hearts just have to find a quiet spot where they can sort it out for themselves.

Categories: Amazon Lending Library Reviews, Saints | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

guadalupe_rosas2

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, who blessed Mexico and all the Americas by your appearance to Juan Diego, intercede for the holy Church, protect the pope, and help everyone who invokes you in their necessities.

O mystical rose, hear our prayers and our petitions, especially for the particular one we are praying for at this moment (mention your request).

Since you are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from your most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance.

Amen.

Categories: Daily Prayer | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.