Final Thoughts on This Year’s Mary Project

I spent the better part of this “Month of Mary” researching Marian apparitions.

While researching all these apparitions, one thing that struck me was the emphasis by Mary on penance and reparation for sins.  Our Lady of Lourdes even encouraged Bernadette Soubirous, “penance, penance, penance,” during one of her apparitions.

The messages of Our Lady of Fatima, from her apparitions in 1917 have been filling my Facebook newsfeed recently, and are referenced in various other research of apparitions since her appearance.  I suspect the chatter I keep seeing on Our Lady of Fatima is because next year marks the 100th anniversary of those apparitions.  If you are interested in learning more about the dire predictions of Our Lady of Fatima, you can read about it on the Vatican website.

As I researched apparitions, trying to determine whether or not I believe that Mary did appear to faithful members of the Flock, I was reminded that the Catholic church does not require me to believe in the apparitions.  As I stated in my earlier post on this subject, the Church in her infinite wisdom, allows me to maintain a healthy dose of skepticism.  At the conclusion of this month of Marian apparition research, I remain a skeptic.

I will concede I have enjoyed reading the messages – with all reported apparitions, there are messages given.  Most of them are filled with ways to make the receiver, and the world, more faithful and more vigilant against evils in the world.  Perhaps my favorite line from an apparition appeared in my post last week, with Our Lady of Good Help, when Mary called the United States, “…this wild country…”

I am struck by two opposing views between the apparitions, and the Divine Mercy message being touted during this Year of Mercy.  There are the warnings from Our Lady of Fatima, which make everything seem hopeless.  Contrast that message with Our Lady of Sorrows, encouraging everyone to atone for sins and seek God’s mercy.  Then, there is the message of Divine Mercy, where God’s mercy is likened to the depths of an ocean.

I have caught myself thinking, time and again this month, if the world were headed downhill, how could God continue to allow our civilization to procreate?  Would He inflict the end of the world on those who are the most innocent among us – babies and small children?

And, I am thankful that I am not told I must believe these apparitions and their messages, because I don’t know how to balance them, while maintaining the joy of proclaiming the Gospel.

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  1. Perhaps the Divine Mercy Message is the balanced response to the penetential nature of the messages from Our Blessed Mother. One of the most common themes in Our Ladies appearences is this theme of turning back to God and then recieving His Mercy. And penance doesn’t necessarily mean huge crosses and painful afflictions to satisfy an angry God. (Although, there are Saints who embraced heavy crosses but always out of a type of love in imitation of Jesus and His Cross) It does mean being reconciled to God while there is still time and remaining faithful to that call. We know not the hour and It is the most merciful and truly loving thing to call sinners to repentance, which is what she does. It’s also a spiritual work of mercy. And if you delve into the message of mercy from Jesus to St. Faustina, He demands deeds of mercy from those who would recieve it…like paying it forward, to put it in very simple terms. In other words, you receive Love (mercy) and because of that overflowing of love you recieve, you share it. It’s Mary’s way. She first recieved God into her womb an immediately afterwards shared Him with Sts. Elizabeth and John the Baptist. It can also be likened to the family as well as to the individual soul. Love always overflows, well, it should and could if we could just believe and accept it.
    I understand your difficulty in embracing Mary’s message. It’s frightening because I believe we always assume the worst when the word penance comes up. I struggled for years with Fatima until just this past year. I couldn’t find peace until I understood she came not to judge but to truly love us, not where we are at, but to where we need to be in order to be saved. That is the love of a mother. Hell is real, no doubts about that; and she showed the children of Fatima a vison of that hell. People really do go to hell. You’ll agree that the truths of our Faith have been watered-down and in some cases all together rejected by most of our modern society. I struggled with that vision but realize it was another form of mercy in order for souls to understand the importance of penance and prayer. It really is a matter of life everlasting or eternal damnation.
    The second theme of Mary’s is always prayer to God. Hence she brought Her rosary. The two are inseparable and support one another. Prayer and penance, penance and Mercy, Mercy and prayer, and in my case rinse and repeat. 😉 When I do laundry i often think of Mary and Jesus washing our Spiritual robes and offer my laundry to them in a sort of hope that others will recieve His Mercy. Its a little way i pray (Thank you St. Therese of Liseaux :).
    I could share more but i won’t have time to write it all down today. I respect your prudence in these matters of visions and the like. Prudence is a beautiful virtue. But so is Faith. Be open to the messages. Pray over them. Holy Mother Church has said they are worthy of belief and we now have Sts. Jacinta, Lucia, and Fernando to back up the Divine Nature of these visions. Oh…and there’s always the fruit to behold…miracles and healings abound. And the most important fruit or miracle is always true repentance and conversion of heart which to quote St. Faustina “IS love and mercy itself.” God is always reaching out to His children and it is always through the heart of His Mother. God bless you Anni!

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    • Thank you so much for your insights, Kimmi! I will continue to ponder this, as I continue working through my new spiritual quest… Haven’t posted about it, yet. 😉

      I will say, the messages from Our Lady of Kibeho, to me, are more palatable, I guess. She lovingly encourages everyone to turn to God, and to have a love for Him, and a conversion of heart. She did give warnings, to include a foreshadow of the Rwadan genocide, but the messages to me were more, “if everyone loves God enough, then it won’t happen!”

      So, there is the key – which, seems SO simple, and yet…

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