In his recent pilgrimage to Fatima, the Holy Father, in canonizing two of the young seers, Jacinta and Francesco, delivered a fine homily on the mysterious woman the children saw, whom they, in their innocence, knew to be the Mother of God:
We have a Mother!” Pope Francis exclaimed, continuing, ‘So beautiful a Lady,’ as the seers of Fatima said to one another as they returned home on that blessed day of May 13, 100 years ago. That evening, Jacinta could not restrain herself and told the secret to her mother: ‘Today I saw Our Lady.’”
They had seen the Mother of Heaven, the Pope stressed.
On the other, in a subsequent ‘flying presser’, as the Pope answered questions on his journey back to Rome, he also had some very cautionary, even disapproving, words on the purported ongoing revelations at Medjugorje:
Medjugorje, all the apparitions, or the presumed apparitions, belong to the private sphere, they aren’t part of the public, ordinary magisterium of the Church.
Well, that we have always known, and, as I wrote the other day, also applies to Fatima and every other private revelation. But the Holy Father continues:
The apparitions, the presumed current apparitions: the report has its doubts. I personally am more nasty, I prefer the Madonna as Mother, our Mother, and not a woman who’s the head of a telegraphic office, who everyday sends a message at such hour. This is not the Mother of Jesus. And these presumed apparitions don’t have a lot of value. This I say as a personal opinion. But, it’s clear. Who thinks that the Madonna says, ‘come tomorrow at this time, and at such time I will say a message to that seer?’ No. The two apparitions are distinguished.
We may have our reservations about how Pope Francis puts things (Pope Benedict, who did not comment much on Medjugorje, would have phrased this same truth a bit differently, but every Pope brings his own humanity to the office). The Holy Father does hit on a truth here, that the two revelations are very different, in ways that do not reflect well upon the ongoing controversial ‘visions’ in the mountain village of Medjugorje, continuous now for three decades and counting.
That said, I still wonder about all the confessions and conversions, along with all the prayers and sacrifices, offered through the influence Medjugorje, whether or not the apparitions are real. Whoever is behind them, whether divine or natural or a mix of both, God must have a plan in all of this, somehow, someway, and I hope it is revealed sooner than later.
Today is the feast of Saint Brendan the Navigator, a travelling monk who supposedly sailed the Atlantic and discovered Canada in the sixth century, well before the ‘historical’ first discoverers of this land, a fitting Irish-Canadian connection. Brendan’s voyage was long held an impossible mediaeval legend, until the intrepid Tim Severin re-traced the saint’s journey in a hand-made leather boat in 1976, as Brendan would have had a thousand years earlier. So have faith!
Saint Brendan, ora pro nobis!