From Our Lady of the Pillar to Our Lady of Medjugorje: How Mary tries to bridge the gap between us and God.
Relationships: the basis of our co-existence in this world. They require trust, patience, hard work and good communication for peace to rule our relations with others. In the same vein if we want a good relationship with God we need trust, patience, hard work and good communication with Him.
Jesus Christ, being God and man, is the perfect intermediary between the Heavenly Father and us. In the beginning we spoiled the relationship with God (Gen. 3:11) and it takes Someone who resisted breaking away from divine order (Matt 4:10) to reestablish for us a good relationship with our Father based on obedience, trust and love.
The first person to have had the opportunity to respond to such a gift was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Fully a person she had what Eve had: the opportunity to start out with carte blanche (Lk 1:28, 30). In the same way that Eve was tempted, but failed, Mary had temptations, but did not run away from truth. Mary obeyed. In all humility and in the midst of fear and pain Mary accepted God's will (Jn 19:26-27).
How many mothers who truly love and participate in their children's lives cry with them, laugh with them? How many foresee any harm that may come to their children and try to prepare them for it at whatever the cost? Even as adults those children know they can count on their elderly mother. Is it so difficult to imagine Mary not getting involved in Jesus' redemptive work?
In the relationship equation between God and us Jesus does not need Mary. We do. She is our translator in the language of love. She teaches us the ultimate words to unselfishly love Jesus Who is the only intercessor between the Father and us. Jesus, being man and God, obeyed the Father's will until death; Mary proves to us that as simple human beings we can also obey and follow Jesus in His obedience to rekindle a once-had perfect walk with God.
St. James and St. Mary
St. Mary was assigned by Jesus to the apostle St. John in the midst of Jesus' agony (Jn 19:26-27). The relationship of son and mother is here transferred to John who takes her into his house. She developed a relationship with all of Jesus' apostles since they did not push her aside in their hour of fear from persecution as they locked themselves away after His resurrection (Acts 1:14).
There are oral traditions and writings that place Mary just outside Ephesus in modern day Turkey. St. James, John's brother, as well as other apostles who journeyed out of Jerusalem to spread the Good News first to the Jewish communities outside Judea and then to the gentiles, would often stop at her house for guidance, blessings and prayer as they did in the days of the cenacle.
In the year 40 A.D. James did travel past Turkey before embarking on a long journey to the iberic peninsula. Tradition has it that Mary promised her prayers and intercession with her Son for James' journey. Once in Iberia James had great difficulty converting Jews and pagan alike to Jesus' Way. Disillusioned he rested by the river Ebro in what today is the city of Zaragoza. He prayed. Some of his companions suddenly heard angelic choirs and beautiful unrecognizable sounds. James saw the Heavens open and Mary descend on the hands of angels. An opening to Heaven that echos St. Stephen's vision (Acts 7:56) as he is stoned to death by order of the future St. Paul.
Mary explained two things to James: how she wished for a church to be built on that spot and how her gift, a pillar in which she stood, would remain until the end of times for the benefit of people's faith. A statue of her image with the Christ child on her arm now stands atop that pillar.
Miracles abound to strengthen faith.
- Since that mystically-touched day when heaven opened a portal to earth numerous miracles and events linked with Mary's intercession have strengthened the people of Spain's faith and relationship with God. One such event occurred in 1492. Christopher Columbus is said to have had great devotion to Mary. He had his sailors pray a daily rosary as part of their discipline. Just as his sailors, after months of longing to see land, were about to mutiny his watchman Rodrigo de Triana cried, "Tierra! Tierra!". This happened on October 12, 1492. The feast day of Spain's patroness, Our Lady of the Pillar.
- In 1637 a young Spaniard lost his leg to gangrene due to a road accident. At the hospital in Zaragoza doctors saw no other hope but to amputate the leg. This was well documented. The young man remained in Zaragoza to recuperate his health and adapt to his new life without a leg while begging. Everyone pitied this poor young man who had done nothing to deserve such misfortune. He often visited the sanctuary of Our Lady of the Pillar and anointed his aching stump with oil from the lamps burning around the pillar. More than a year had passed and he returned to his family to continue his new life as a beggar. Many saw him and pitied him. One night he dreamt he was at the sanctuary anointing his leg. His parents woke him from a deep sleep and discovered his leg had been restored.
Medjugorje: One last call.
Since that first visitation of Mary to Jesus' faithful every country claims to have been graced by her presence, often appearing to the young, the poor, the infirm and the meek.
Today, miracles of dead people coming to life, broken marriages restored, drug and alcohol addicts suddenly stopping their vices without delirium tremens, illnesses such as AIDS and cancer cured abound in a place between Spain and Jerusalem.
In 1981 in a small town in Bosnia Herzegovina called Medjugorje six children saw a woman carrying a little bundle that she covered and uncovered. They were systematically drawn towards her in what witnesses describe as a flight over brambles and rocks traversed in seconds. They were stopped on their knees and stared simultaneously at the same place. The lady's name is Queen of Peace, Mary, and the amount of messages given here are the most numerous she has ever divulged. They all center, however, around the themes of conversion, fasting and prayer: ways to best reconcile our dysfunctional relationship with our Father the Creator.
According to the Gospa, as she is known in the region, when these apparitions cease all true visitations from Mary will also cease. Have we worked on reestablishing our relationship with God yet? Warnings and secrets of impending punishments are yet to be fulfilled and can be mitigated through prayer and sacrifice. Mary's messages teach us how.
One of the messages she incessantly repeats is prayer. Communication between people who wish to have a good relationship is imperative. Communication between God and us is necessary for our relationship to improve and continue beyond this earth.
Amazingly, the village's Catholic church is named St. James. In the same manner that James represented the beginning of the struggling Church, Medjugorje's parish represents all the faithful within the universal Church. Mary never left her original apostolate as advocate and mediatrix between human beings and Jesus. She is fulfilling it in our times: today, Mary calls all of us to return to the faith at the foot of the cross. We must leave a true testament of faith with our lives, not in a stone pillar, but in living, breathing pillars of faith and renew a beautiful, divine relationship.
Michael Brown's book details the Virgin of the Pillar's apparition and accompanies the research with novena prayers
- Amazon.com: Seven Days with Mary (9781579182168): Michael H. Brown: Books
Amazon.com: Seven Days with Mary (9781579182168): Michael H. Brown: Books
Jakov Colo, the youngest of the six visionaries, speaks about Mary's messages
Mej.com publishes Mary's messages within hours of the apparitions.
- What in the World is Medjugorje? - Medjugorje.com
What is Medjugorje ? Medjugorje is extremely important not only for you, but for your family, your country, and the whole world.
Mirjana Soldo, one of the six visionaries puts secrets in perspective.
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Sufi mystic Hasan Shushud predicted the apparitions in Medjugorje for me in detail one year before the apparitions began, an experienced pilgrims leader tells.