This essay’s cover photograph was taken at the well-known apparition site of Medjugorje. While certain miraculous claims deserve little credence, this familiar photo has all the earmarks of being authentic and captures some of the Virgin’s radiant beauty as described by the visionaries. Yet, why is Mary coming to Medjugorje?
Each apparition has its own character, but Medjugorje is very unique. To explain, let’s start with a lesson from history: the account of the Indian sale of Manhattan Island. One historian wrote: “He then called together some of the principal Indian chiefs, and offered beads, buttons, and other trinkets in exchange for their real estate. They accepted the terms with unfeigned delight, and the bargain was closed at once.”
This happened repeatedly, over a handful of decades, until their land was gone. Yet today, the selling of one’s birthright is more than rampant. Europe squandered its “land” years ago and now is only marginally Christian. In certain respects, America is heading in the same direction. The moral degeneration and headlines can make one shutter, though there are many encouraging bright spots as well.
But periods of decline are nothing new. Yet there is something very new here. Medjugorje will be the
last Marian apparition.
“I have come to call the world to conversion for the last time. Afterwards I will not appear any more on this earth.”
The Blessed Mother said this on May 2nd, 1982 at Medjugorje, and it raises the question of what “last” exactly means.
Betania and Kibeho are two approved apparitions that began after Medjugorje. Hence “last” doesn’t restrict an apparition concurrent with Medjugorje.
The Medjugorje visionaries whose daily apparitions have ended still receive a yearly apparition, which will continue for the rest of their lives. So the Virgin will still come for them.
And possibly, Mary may still appear to various mystics until the end of time though that could end as well with the death of Medjugorje visionaries.
In a 2004 interview, Marija clarified the May 2nd message, which included the claim that "In other apparitions - people have spiritual experiences - but not like us."
This is apparently a case of a visionary speaking what they know, but not what they don't know. Or in other words, Marija doesn't know what she is talking about as she isn't an expert in the field, regardless of how many apparitions she was privileged to receive. In particular, there is nothing to suggest Medjugorje has anything over Garabandal in anything including physical access, for example when the visionaries there were allowed to try on the Queen of Heaven's crown.
But Marija insists "this is the last where we can touch..." which implies "apparition" verses "a vision." And when considering Marian apparitions as a whole, which is anything but a simple topic, this assertion does makes perfect sense.
This is quite amazing and significant. The history of Marian apparitions that spans nearly two thousand years will soon come to an end. (Note: the Church has not yet made a
decision regarding Medjugorje.)
Note: the Church has not yet made a decision regarding Medjugorje.
The latest commission investigating Medjugorje submitted its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on January 19, 2014. We await the Church’s decision in the matter.
However as there is much misinformation on this topic, it should be pointed out that the Church has not banned the reported apparitions in Medjugorje. Everyone (including the clergy) is free to go there on pilgrimage. For groups, this means a private pilgrimage organized by laity but it can include clergy members.
Strictly speaking, apparitions are not necessary. While Mary’s intercession has “saved the world” on numerous occasions (e.g. the Battle of Lepanto to name just one), God could have chosen other means (but didn't).
Yet, the verbiage the Queen of Peace used to explain why She will no longer come is precisely “it will no longer be necessary.” The post Medjugorje world will be such that the aid provided by Marian apparitions won’t be needed. What will have changed? The Virgin’s answer is simple:
“What I have started in Fatima I will finish in Medjugorje. My heart will triumph.”
“What I have started in Fatima I will finish in Medjugorje. My heart will triumph.”
Technically, this isn’t one of the Virgin’s messages. She told this to Mirjana Dragicevic, who subsequently revealed it during an interview. But the visionary added: “I cannot go into details.”
The Virgin’s apparitions form a great tapestry: they are all connected. But they are also autonomous, so explicit links such as that mentioned are relatively rare.
This means a major victory over sin and Satan. To understand this triumph within the entirety of history, let us quickly examine the key victories. The first was the devil being cast out of heaven: a victory by the angelic order commanded by Michael. The next two were prophesied by Genesis 3:15 starting with Mary’s Fiat, the crushing Yes by the human order. The other was the Incarnation itself and all that Christ accomplished within the human/Divine order.
Two major victories remain in the future. The first culminates with the beast and the false prophet being cast alive into the pool of fire: a victory by the glorified Christ. The final victory is when the devil is also cast into the pool of fire. The Apocalypse only says per “heaven” which could mean the Trinity or perhaps the entire court of Heaven as the order of the victory.
In any case, Scripture alludes to one additional major victory. The Woman who will crush the head of the serpent does so through Her seed. Jesus is the primary seed with His victory having primacy over all.
Yet seed also refers to Mary’s spiritual children. Saint Louis de Montfort described these as Mary’s humble servants and poor children, comparing them to the heel, lowly and downtrodden, accounted as nothing by the world. However Montfort further states:
“They will be superior to all creatures by their great zeal and so strongly will they be supported by divine assistance that, in union with Mary, they will crush the head of Satan with their heel, this is their humility, and bring victory to Jesus Christ.”
Genesis 3:15 is packed with meaning and Mary’s role cannot be reduced to a single event. And Montfort was writing particularly about the “latter times” which does include today, but also the post era of peace though not necessarily primarily.
But let us return to Medjugorje, through the eyes of Genesis 3:15. While prior apparitions are partial fulfillments, this last apparition is the final crescendo. One could say the Marian victory of order of Her glorified state, a fitting prelude to Christ’s forthcoming victory. In other words, Medjugorje is
the definitive fulfillment
In other words, Medjugorje is the definitive fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 in terms of Mary having the primary role.
This is not to say that Medjugorje is the end all, be all apparition. For example, the messages of The Lady of All Nations are of great importance for these times. There are many others not to mention Fatima itself.
So in terms of fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, it is really all of these combined, though Medjugorje will play a significant part in these events.
of Genesis 3:15 in terms of Mary having the primary role.
This is an immense prophecy: the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that will usher in the mysterious period of peace where the hearts of men will reflect the Heart of Mary, and live in the Reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It also sounds very improbable (if not impossible to the worldly). Thus we need to be reminded that ‘good’ will win, that “love will win”, which the Virgin said on two separate occasions in 2014 because She knew “that many of you are losing hope.”
But the victory is assured. Things could get worse, though surely not of necessity, for the Triumph will come and the Holy Virgin desires the smoothest possible transition and transformation of the entire world.
So with this hope in mind, what is our part? The messages from Medjugorje are readily available. (To subscribe to the monthly messages, goto signup, a free service that sends Mary’s messages via email.) In summary, Mary is calling for conversion and prayer as in prior apparitions, but with an intensity that matches the troubles of the present age. Yet despite this increase, the Blessed Mother is really just requesting what Christians should have been doing all along.
Unfortunately, it is very easy to trade our heavenly homeland for the “beads, buttons, and other trinkets” of this world. Incidentally, Manhattan was sold for 60 guilders: there is no evidence beads were involved.
Continuing that analogy, bartering was common back then, and the Indians did obtain trapping equipment, hatchets and hoes, and other such things in exchange for their land. There are various comparisons that one could make, but the parable of the seed and sower seems to stand out (though only a Marian context will be exemplified here).
For example, an inspiration of the Holy Spirit that was pushed to the wayside, or the request for monthly confession going in one ear and out the other. Or former devotions, such as reading the Bible or reciting the Rosary, that withered away. Or the ubiquitous thorns of the cares of the world that crowd out the spiritual life in general.
The power of Scripture is that Christ speaks through it ever anew to anyone who takes the time to listen. Does Mary similarly speak through Her messages? Private revelation, of course, is in a completely different category than Scripture.
Yet, Jesus told Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque: “thou shalt possess the treasures of My Heart… and I will permit thee to distribute them as thou wilt, in favor of souls that are ready to receive them.” The unction coming with private revelation can be stronger than Scripture at times, if the Lord so wants His grace distributed in that way and under the condition of being “ready to receive,” which many are not.
So yes, the Virgin’s messages can go beyond the printed page via the grace given in conjunction with it. And by definition, the Mediatrix of All Graces knows precisely how to distribute all grace. This brings us to the final section: the life story of the Blessed Mother.
primarily to Vicka
It was primarily to Vicka that the Queen of Peace narrated Her life story.
Specifically, Mary dictated the account first to Jakov, then to Ivanka and next to Marija, over a seven month period; and finally to Vicka for nearly two years. Yet all told, it is Vicka who is most closely associated with the book: she was given the majority and speaks the most about it.
The account is awaiting the Virgin’s directive to make it public so it is not yet published. Though as it comes directly from Her hands, presumably in the same simple language as used in Medjugorje, it undoubtedly will prove to be a tender work of love to be cherished by us and generations to come.
that the Queen of Peace narrated Her life story. While yet unpublished, Vicka says the account was given to provide a role model and good example. The immaculate version of the good soil, so to speak. The biography covers Mary’s entire life, from Her birth to Her Assumption. The only other known detail is its title. The account will be called Life.
As a side note, in the early days Vicka made the intriguing statement that God Himself names each person and the Biblical meaning of a person’s name reveals something of their being: something of their inner character and personal mission. In case you’re curious (or have forgotten), the name Vicka derives from Vida, which means life.
In closing, let us briefly consider Life from Mary’s perspective. This is the last time the Blessed Mother will be permitted to leave Heaven to be with Her children. She has many children, an uncountable number of children. Yet Mary loves each one personally, individually, uniquely and deeply. Or to use Her words: “If you knew how much I loved you, you would cry.”
Further, the office of Mediatrix requires that Mary knows and understands Her children completely, seeing clearly their life and toils from Heaven. But we don’t see Her. We know little about Her.
So the Blessed Mother makes a gift of Her life, in written form. To bring us there with Her when She walked in this world. To accept us, to encourage us and to give us Her precious love even as when Her Son hung dying on the Cross and said to the beloved disciple: “Behold your Mother.”