The Apparitions of Our Lady in Modern Times
The Virgin Mary has demonstrated her trust in those to whom she has appeared, and her Son’s Church by these truly remarkable and extraordinary Apparitions.
1. The Initial Summary:
The known Apparitions: Fatima, Bernadette of Lourdes and La Salette. These are the modern verified and known appearances of Our Lady and all in 19th Century France save for Fatima which is 20th Century Portugal. Our Lady appeared to Catholic children under the age of 18 years on all these three occasions. In respect of each appearance the “event” has been venerated and marked by the faithful, and will be until the end of time so powerful is the hold of Mary over the believers in her Son.
2. The Appearances:
Why has she made these “entrances” into our seen World? She is the mild Mother of the Son of God and she conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, following the declaration of the Archangel to her – he being a messenger from God the Father’s Heavenly Kingdom. She always puts that Father first in her life on Earth and in Heaven. Such is her character she mirrors Heaven in herself in the Bible accounts and these Apparitions. She wishes to give heart to all Christians through Roman Catholicism by her visible part in our Modern World, and through her praying with us at these shrines. She is always building up her Son’s Church on Earth. She will not rest until she has finished – hence her conduct in these relatively recent miraculous happenings.
3. The Nature Of These Occurrences:
What is the nature of these occasions where the unseen has overridden the seen by the acts of Our Lady? They are neither illusions nor mirages in the sand, but verily true “appearances”. She has put in an appearance as the lawyers used to say. She is not bodily present and she was only clear to particular young persons who knew her name and prayers. She does not appear to non-believers, but do not think she limits her prayers to Catholics. She mysteriously prays and thereby transforms the whole Modern World with the power of Christ running through her words of prayer. This process is going on invisibly under our very eyes as these Apparitions were unseen by the people of the Earth at large.
4. How Does Our Lady Work?
She works tactfully not confrontationally – she is forgiving. She does not force us her sinners into a corner or pin us down as Her beloved Son was nailed to the Cross. She has the lightest and deftest of touches. She is the very opposite of gauche. For those who believe in Our Lady she is the essence of love, not divine, but feminine beyond our wildest hopes and imaginings. Yes she is a woman of the highest calibre and God the Father is no woman nor is His Son. Mary reserves to herself alone the ultimate womanly role she has been given of the Motherhood of Jesus, and her betrothal to His Father on Earth St. Joseph. Without Mary and her Apparitions we would be lost and struggling. These interventions by Our Lady are so plainly Mary and she is clothed in modesty literally and allegorically. Every woman will rejoice in Mary’s “victory” over death and corruption bodily – Mary underlines this “victory” with each time she steps on to our stage from her home in Heaven. She cannot be in two places simultaneously, make no mistake. There is only one Virgin Mary however many statues there may be of her. She does not duplicate herself or indulge in look a likes. However many times she has “appeared” it is always the one and the true and the same Mary Virgin and Mother. She is no philanderer. She proves her integrity and courage with each appearance consecutively.
5. Would The Hierarchy And The Faithful Back Those To Whom She Chose To Appear?
Even she is entirely human in outlook and being, yet she is Queen of Heaven. She could not foresee the result of her Apparitions. She was humble enough to admit this denouement was in the hands of the Trinity and the Catholic Church, as with everything in Heaven and on Earth. Our Lady is no deceiver or usurper – she is always at the service of this Holy Trinity and the Catholic Church and mankind in these Apparitions. Yes, she chose the moment, the place, the words, the clothes she wore, the expressions on her face and the persons she appeared to e.g. Bernadette of Lourdes. These are all the domain of the Virgin Mary alone as God sent his Archangel to herself at the Annunciation to declare to her - 2000 years ago. Our Lady is a good learner and listener and has put the Annunciation example to good effect.
6. The Meaning Of Our Lady By Her Apparitions To Men And Women.
This lies in her boundless love for the sad, the sick, the forlorn, those in the grip of hatred and the angry, but above all she brings life out of death: How? By her Son alone – He conquered death and she follows in His wake, yet she is only human in life and death. She mourns with us sinners as she wept over her lifeless Son in La Pieta after He had been taken down from the Cross by Joseph of Arimathea the rich disciple and Nicodemus. These Apparitions remind us Our Lady has not finished her work nor has she forgotten this eternal Gospel message. They tell us she will never desert her Son’s sheep. We may always reply on her prayers in our hearts.
Paradoxically France lost a lot of its Catholicism following the 1789 Revolution, yet two of these 19th Century “appearances” were in France and have been so revered ever since. Our Lady is so direct yet devoutly pious. She chose Bernadette who became a nun and thus in one sense she worked her “magic” on that young peasant girl, but always a Catholic believer. Our Lady is “working” with each one of us every minute of the day in our souls not just with Bernadette in South Western France, and in the place of pilgrimage at Lourdes as we now call it. Our Lady does not respect foibles or artificial divisions. She wields no sword. She is no street fighter or debater. She works so strongly in the hearts of men and women by the prayers of the faithful. The cry goes up “Thou art chaste!” Thou art fair! She cannot pardon us – that is for her Son and His priests. She will bring us to our “knees” and thus to the Communion rail and realization of our sinning and then to our contrition and sorrow for those sins. That is why she has appeared to her children and if we are not like one of those little children, we shall never enter the Kingdom of Heaven in the words of Jesus.