Tag Archives: Our Lady

Death is not always the best possible outcome – but for those who die in God it doesn’t get any better!

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mk 5:21-24,35-43

I couldn’t help but notice that they laughed at Jesus.

That hasn’t changed, they laugh at us too because we have faith. We’re ridiculed often.

And when Jesus had made his point no doubt they said, “she wasn’t really dead, we made a mistake!”

These things don’t change.

In last Sunday’s Gospel the disciples fear death by drowning Mk 4:35-41

So Jesus calms the storm, the disciples fear of death disappears to be replaced by “even the wind and the sea obey him”

They’re awestruck – their focus changes from the fear of death to his power over the the storm, over wind and rain…

So what happens next? Where does Jesus lead them?

To the encounter recorded in this Sunday’s Gospel… where Jesus leads his disciples back to confront death in the death of a little girl 👧

The loss of someone close to us always plunges us into grief, dark and heavy grief, horrible.

But who told us that death is the worse possible scenario for the deceased?

Jesus doesn’t fear death, he doesn’t consider it as the worse possible event – in last Sunday’s Gospel he’s asleep, in this Sunday’s Gospel he demonstrates his absolute authority even over death – on the contrary he fears sin, he fears offending his Father. According to Jesus there’s something much worse than death – offending God unto hell.

But for those who die in Christ death is the best possible scenario and anyone who dies in Christ is consumed by love; of which even the greatest human love is a dim – very dim – reflection. They have only one all consuming desire; to stay with God, and the desire to return is non-existent. They’re being totally consumed by loving fulfillment.

The best contemporary example I can give is Mirjana’s experience of Our Lady in Medugorje. It is important to grasp that when Mirjana sees Our Lady it’s not just a visionary experience, rather, Our Lady brings Heaven with her – after all she is of Heaven – and Mirjana is caught up in Heaven. The consequences are illuminating; Mirjana has only one desire, to stay with Our Lady which means to go with Our Lady (death). Mirjana says that when she’s with Our Lady not even the love she has for her daughters would bring her back, and when the experience ends Mirjana collapses into a deep darkness. It takes her weeks to recover… and she really struggles to go back to ordinary life, to ordinary love, to love that’s a very dim reflection of divine love.

It’s all consuming nature is like having a son or daughter in love with someone of whom you do not approve – try getting your point of view through to him or her! It’s all-consuming.

On the other hand those who do not die in Christ long to come back and un-do and re-do so much. This desire at that level, a burning desire incapable of being fulfilled, is more than enough punishment!

Medugorje – the significance of the secrets

Like Fatima, at Medugorje Our Lady has entrusted secrets to the 6 visionaries; each visionary is to receive 10 secrets.

As far as I know 3 of the visionaries have already received the 10 secrets; 3 have received 9 of the 10.

When all ten have received the ten secrets, the secrets will start to unfold in our life experience.

One of the visionaries, Mirjana, has been instructed to reveal each secret to the priest of her choice – Fr. Peter – and he is to reveal it to the world shortly before it happens (starts to unfold). All 10 secrets will be revealed in this way – before each happens.

This suggests that the secrets will unfold in Mirjana’s life-time, which means their unfolding is imminent because Mirjana is now 55 – or thereabouts – and she can’t live forever!

This is supported by the fact that three of the visionaries are one secret each short of receiving all ten secrets.

What do we know about the secrets?

Like Fatima, they’re highly likely to be the broad outline of the future of the world, and at the same time, they’re the working out of Our Lady’s victory in human affairs – Our Lady is reported as saying that she will finish in Medugorje what she started in Fatima. In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph. Triumph suggests a struggle.

Our Lady has permitted the visionaries to reveal that the third secret is a visible and permanent sign on the hill in Medugorje – a sign that will lead many to belief and to conversion.

It will mark a radical and dramatic return to belief, possibly to the Church, to Mass, and to the Sacraments. It’s possible it’ll look like the spiritual life of Medugorje but on a world-wide scale.

We also know that the seventh secret troubled the children greatly and that they repeatedly asked Our Lady about the possibility of it being softened. Our Lady’s response was always the same – pray! We now know that it has been lessened but Our Lady also told the children to never ask about it again saying that God’s Justice was already offended enough!

We can say with some confidence that the unfolding of the 10 secrets will be the working out of Our Lady’s victory in human affairs, in the flesh and blood of human beings, in our history, just as the prophecies made in Fatima became the lived experience of a number of generations.

But, the further we are from God, the more difficult will our journey be… which is why Our Lady has been repeatedly asking us to pray and fast now, that our path and her victory may be eased.

Fatima: God is very democratic!

Pope Benedict XVI visits Fatima, May 2010.

Pope Benedict XVI visits Fatima, May 2010.

I’ve always been fascinated by the details of Fatima.

While watching the various DVDs about Fatima it becomes very obvious that this attempted intervention of God in human affairs caused great suffering; for the children and their parents and for the local ecclesiastical and civil authorities.

Having watched the DVDs it’s the trauma caused by the apparitions that jumps from the screen. What was it all for? What did Our Lady and ultimately God want to achieve? The answer takes most people by surprise.

Firstly, Our Lady asked that people stop offending God. So much trouble just for that! One must conclude therefore that offending God is a very serious matter.

Secondly, as if to emphasize the point, Our Lady then went on to request reparation, the repair of the hurt caused to the heart of God by human offences.

How are we to do that?

Papa17This is very striking. We are to appreciate Holy Mass. We are to partake of the Eucharist, to believe, adore, trust and love her Son Jesus Christ truly present there. Fatima clearly indicates, without room for doubt, that neglect of Holy Mass and the proper worship of the Blessed Sacrament amounts to neglect of the person and the work of Jesus Christ, and causes great suffering in the Heart of God. When working with children (using an animated DVD) I always remind them that when the Angel came to visit the children in Fatima, the Angel didn’t come with a can of coca cola and a bag of crisps! No, the Angel came with the Sacred Host and a Chalice. Why? Because that’s how God decided to remain with his people. In the message of Fatima the Eucharist is central because God intended Eucharist to be central until the end of time. The Eucharist is God-self and God’s work in Jesus Christ – it can’t be any more central than that!

Furthermore Our Lady taught the children to offer sacrifices (particularly the difficulties and sufferings of life) in reparation. This is a common theme in the lives of all the great Saints – they offered their sufferings in reparation while working tirelessly to relieve the suffering of others.

Reparation sounds difficult but it’s not – not even for children. Again, when working with children I ask them to imagine if one of them clobbered me. Then I ask them to imagine another child apologizing on behalf of my attacker and offering to make a cup of tea for me; one child is hurting me, the other is making reparation, trying to repair the damage.

But the full meaning of Fatima goes much further and connects the state of human affairs directly to humankind’s relationship with God.

During the apparition of July 13th Our Lady said that if people do not stop offending God another and more terrible war will break out – obviously meaning the Second World War.

We understand the Second World War to have been the result of Hitler coming to power in Germany. However, Our Lady suggests that the Second World War happened as a result of people offending God. In other words, when we choose against God we choose to put in place a chain of events that eventually, ultimately, causes great suffering to ourselves, to the body of humanity.

Thus during the 20 odd years between the world wars people are given ample opportunity to change or set the course of world events. This of course makes God very democratic – certainly not a dictator or a tyrant. We’re free to choose life or death, good or evil. We make the choices. At the very least Fatima implies that humankind’s well-being depends on an intimate Communion between the creature and the Creator.

Now, if offending God or otherwise determines our common human future then there arises a critically important question; what kind of a future are we creating for our children?

Indeed we might ask; what kind of a future are we creating for Irish children when a religious ethos is considered to have no place in the schools of a modern republic?

More generally, what hope is there for a culture that attempts to exclude religion from public life?

FATIMA, RELIGION IN SCHOOL AND OUR COMMON FUTURE

For many years now I’ve been troubled by the quality of the religion programme taught in primary school, the Alive O programme, particularly when it comes to sacramental preparation. However, it’s possible that the greater problem is the prevailing culture and I’m misappropriating responsibility. As a direct result I have developed my own programme of preparation for First Communion and Confirmation as a supplement to the ongoing work of the school.

It consists of meeting the children once, sometimes twice weekly. While together – with at least one other adult present (the teacher) – we view DVDs about Fatima, Lourdes, St. Margaret Mary, St. Pio, St. Faustina and Blessed John Paul.

This is followed by a children’s Mass on Sunday mornings. I usually tell the parents: Holy Mass is for the children – the homily is for the parents!

As a young seeker of Truth I was struck by the details of Fatima and my recent work has simply brought Fatima to the forefront of my thoughts once again.

While watching the various DVDs about Fatima it becomes very obvious that this attempted intervention of God in human affairs caused great suffering; for the children and their parents and for the local ecclesiastical and civil authorities.

Having watched the DVDs I generally point to the trauma caused in Fatima and ask; what was it all for? What did Our Lady and ultimately God want to achieve?

The answer takes most people by surprise.

Firstly, Our Lady asked that people stop offending God. So much trouble just for that! One must conclude therefore that offending God is a very serious matter.

Secondly, as if to emphasize the point, Our Lady then went on to request reparation, the repair of the hurt caused to the heart of God by human offences.

How are we to do that?

This is very striking. We are to appreciate Holy Mass. We are to partake of the Eucharist, to believe, adore, trust and love her Son Jesus Christ truly present there. Fatima clearly indicates, without room for doubt, that neglect of Holy Mass and the proper worship of the Blessed Sacrament amounts to neglect of the person and the work of Jesus Christ, and causes great suffering in the Heart of God. I always remind the kids that when the Angel came to visit the children in Fatima, the Angel didn’t come with a can of coca cola and a bag of crisps! No, the Angel came with the Sacred Host and a Chalice. Why? Because that’s how God decided to remain with his people. In the message of Fatima the Eucharist is central because God intended Eucharist to be central until the end of time. The Eucharist is God-self and God’s work in Jesus Christ – it can’t be any more central than that!

Furthermore Our Lady taught the children to offer sacrifices (particularly the difficulties and sufferings of life) in reparation. This is a common theme in the lives of all the great Saints – they offered their sufferings in reparation while working tirelessly to relieve the suffering of others.

I explain reparation by asking the children to imagine if one of them clobbered me. Then I ask them to imagine another child apologising on behalf of my attacker and offering to make a cup of tea; one child is hurting me, the other is making reparation, trying to repair the damage.

But the full meaning of Fatima goes much further and connects the state of human affairs directly to humankind’s relationship with God.

During the apparition of July 13th Our Lady said that if people do not stop offending God another and more terrible war will break out – obviously meaning the Second World War.

We understand the Second World War to have been the result of Hitler coming to power in Germany. However, Our Lady suggests that the Second World War happened as a result of people offending God. In other words, when we choose against God we choose to put in place a chain of events that eventually, ultimately, causes great suffering to ourselves, to the body of humanity.

Thus during the 20 odd years between the world wars people are given ample opportunity to change or set the course of world events. This of course makes God very democratic – certainly not a dictator or a tyrant. We’re free to choose life or death, good or evil. We make the choices. At the very least Fatima implies that humankind’s well-being depends on an intimate Communion between the creature and the Creator.

Now, if offending God or otherwise determines our common human future then there arises a critically important question, a question I place before every parent presenting a child for sacraments in 2012 – what kind of a future are we creating for our children?

Indeed we might ask; what kind of a future are we creating for Irish children when religious ethos is considered to have no place in the schools of a modern republic?

More generally, what hope is there for a culture that attempts to exclude religion from public life?