SUNDAY READ

‘I Am the Ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God’

15

Ricardo Saludo

Filipinos venerate Our Lady of Guadalupe as a patroness of the Philippines. Yet most do not know that she spoke the above-quoted words to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in the first of her four apparitions to him on Tepeyac Hill near Mexico City in 1531.

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That apparition asking Juan Diego to tell his bishop Mary’s wish for a church to be built on the mount is one of ten major Marian encounters in modern times approved by the Vatican, among hundreds of claimed sightings throughout the centuries, and dozens validated by local bishops.

With the centenary this year of Our Lady of Fatima’s apparitions to three shepherd children in the countryside parish 123 km north of Portugal’s capital Lisbon, claimed visions of the Virgin Mary will gain interest among believers and media.

Where and when did these Marian encounters happen, and how were they validated? More important, what were the reasons and messages that were believed to be behind our Lady’s appearances? And what might be their import for our time?

One good resource is “See How She Loves Us: Fifty Approved Apparitions of Our Lady,” by the best-selling Catholic author Joan Carroll Cruz (1931-2012). In her 15 books, the New Orleans-born wife and mother of five, and lay member of the Discalced Carmelite Order carefully validated supernatural events, including miracles involving the Eucharist, saints, images of Jesus and Mary, and the incorrupt bodies of deceased holy people.

Is it for real?
While countless apparition devotees swear by the veracity of these events, the Catholic Church is extremely careful before declaring them “worthy of belief.”

Even after such affirmation, the Church does not require the faithful to accept approved apparitions or the messages and devotions they impart. For one thing, Catholic dogma holds that all the fundamental truths of Christianity were fully contained in Scripture and the early Church tradition, with no additions needed after that public revelation.

Apparitions and visions, on the other hand, are private revelations, which may convey edifying messages for enlightenment and salvation, like the prophecies, prayers, warnings, and devotions given by Our Lady of Fatima to visionaries Lucia Dos Santos, 10 at the time; her cousin Francisco Marto, 9; and his sister Jacintha, 7.

The Church follows a strict process in validating apparition claims. First, of course, is to investigate the event, based on tangible evidence and criteria.

What exactly happened, as told by credible witnesses, and indicated by verified facts and material proof? Are the visionaries morally upright, spiritually sound, and psychologically balanced? And are the messages imparted in accord with Church doctrine and teaching?

If there is grave error or abuse, the Church has to address them. On the other hand, authorities value any increase in devotions, prayer, and good public morals resulting from the event. And they are wary of any profit-making from the devotion.

If a public cult emerges, the local authority, normally the bishop, may permit or promote it, while taking care that ecclesiastical permission is not seen as affirming that the event was supernatural.

Lastly, the event is subjected to the test to time, by taking no action or decision on it after the investigation. Over months or years, if the event is not divinely inspired, public devotion may wane, and the purported apparition is forgotten.

Besides the prelate of the diocese where the event happened, the national conference of bishops may also intervene. So can the Vatican, under the Pope’s supreme authority, as well as the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the highest Catholic body advising the Holy Father on dogma.

In modern times, the Vatican has approved ten apparitions: one in Mexico: Our Lady of Guadalupe (1531); five in France: Our Lady of Laus (1664-1718); Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Rue du Bac (1830); Our Lady of La Salette (1846); Our Lady of Lourdes (1858), and Our Lady of Pontmain (1871); one in Portugal: Our Lady of Fatima (1917); one in Ireland: Our Lady of Knock; and two in Belgium: Our Lady of Beauraing (1932-33), and Our Lady of Banneux (1933).

There have been apparitions in Asia affirmed by local bishops: Our Lady of Good Health in Vailankanni, India (1580); Our Lady of Manaoag in the Philippines (1610); Our Lady of La Vang in Vietnam (1798); Our Lady of China in Dong Lu (1900 and 1995); and Our Lady of Akita in Japan (1973). There is a second Philippine apparition approved by Filipino bishops — Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace in Lipa (1948) — but the Vatican voided its affirmation — more on this in a future column.

Why Mary?
We will also leave for coming articles the paramount messages of the many Marian apparitions. For now, we address one question that many, especially non-Catholic Christians, may ask: Why would God send the Blessed Virgin to impart His messages?

While one cannot presume to divine Divine motives, one can hazard some reasons for Mary to appear instead of Jesus, who also made many appearances in two millennia.

First, God sending Mary affirms the veneration accorded to her by the Catholic Church. Protestants argue that there is no line in the Bible naming her as Mother of God. But if our Lord disapproved of that title, why would He keep sending her? Indeed, at Guadalupe, she explicitly identified herself as “Madre de Dios.”

Another reason may be the need for certain messages, especially terrifying ones, to be conveyed in a motherly way, full of warmth and caring, while still stressing the urgency and peril being imparted. Thus, Our Lady of Fatima showed Lucia, Francisco and Jacintha a vision of Hell, urging repentance and reparation for sins.

A third reason is suggested by our Lady’s warning imparted by Blessed Jacintha: “The sins that bring most souls to Hell are the sins of the flesh.” Our Immaculate Virgin Mother would hopefully inspire purity among women and men, sparing them from the sin that sends the most sinners to eternal fire.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

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15 Comments

  1. My comment that was occasioned by “Samuel’s” quote from Jeremiah to “fit” the Black Nazarene ended with the Babylonian captivity. “Samuel” is again giving me occasion to continue my comment because of his disdain for Mary while focusing on her Divine Son, Jesus.

    What is the core issue with the Babylonian captivity? The fact that Nabuchadnezzar took the boy king Jehoiachin captive and put his uncle, Zedekiah, in his place. Zedekiah rebelled and Nabuchadnezzar took him captive as well. So what is the picture? The END of the King David’s dynasty. And yet the people who were convinced that the Lord would not destroy the Temple because he was in the Temple were also banking on the Lord’s promise to King David through the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:16 “You will always have descendants, and I will make your kingdom last forever. Your dynasty will never end.” We all know that the Lord’s promises are true. Right? Of course.

    Through the prophet Isaiah the Lord gives us the real picture: “The royal line of David is like a tree that has been cut down; but just as new branches will sprout from a stump, so a new king will arise from among David’s descendants” (Isaiah 10:1). Isaiah 7:14 “Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a virgin whois pregnant will gave a son and will name him ‘Immanuel’.” Nabuchadnezzar’s cutting down the Davidic tree simply left a stump from which would arise “Immanuel” or “God is with us.”

    Matthew 1:20-23 The angel said to Joseph in a dream, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus –because he will save his people from their sins.” Now all this happened in order to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, “A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called “Immanuel” (which means “God is with us”). Luke 1:26-27 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. He had a message for a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David.” Luke 1:31-33 “You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

    Jesus is King forever. What does that make his Mother Mary? Queen Mother naturally. How could anyone dare look down on the Queen Mother of the King of Kings?

    Matthew 27:55 “There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee.” Mark 15:40 “Some women were there, looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joseph, and Salome.” John 19:25-27 “Standing close to Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, “He is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “She is your mother.” From that time the disciple took her to live in his home.”

    The brothers and sisters of Jesus like James and Joseph were sons of a different Mary– the Mary who stood at a distance from the Cross. Jesus left his mother to the care of his beloved disciple, John the Evangelist. Both his Mother Mary and John the Evangelist were standing close to the Cross. Get the picture? Just like today, there are so many women named Mary. And the word “until”? When you say to your girlfriend, “Don’t look at another man until I return”, are you saying that it is ok with you for her to date other men after you return?

    It is crucial to get the full picture of Jesus’ reign. He has a kingdom. He has a Queen Mother. Is it strange that the King would remind us now and then of this reality? This King is Head of His Church or Kingdom; the Church is his body. And the Queen Mother is the mother of the Head and the Body.

  2. Notice that these Marian prophecies of the last 100 years are inferior compared to Biblical prophecies made thousands of years ago, from Jesus Christ, the Disciples and the Prophets, that are consistently proven true even now.

    Lets see a few chilling examples.

    -Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:7 (increased world conflict and natural disasters now happening and the UN can do nothing about it)

    -That is why your land is in mourning, and everyone is wasting away. Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky, and the fish of the sea are disappearing. Hosea 4:3 (mass animal die-off, environmental and climate catastrophe, also increasingly in the news)

    -There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Hosea 4:2 (note escalation of every social injustice reported, moral decay everywhere)

    -Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. My people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path. Isaiah 3:12 (the youth culture and feminist revolution is the norm and popular religion of today)

    -‘Look, Damascus will disappear! It will become a heap of ruins. Isaiah 17:1 (Damascus in Syria, the worlds oldest continuous inhabited city is now in current times become an inhabitable heap of ruins due to war.

    Why not just rely on the Biblical prophets who speak far more clearly, accurately and authoritatively, than these questionable and vague Marian posthumous prediction.

    The Bible named many women Prophetesses like Miriam the sister of Moses, Deborah the warrior and judge, Isaiah’s wife – Huldah. When Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus to the temple a prophetess named Anna saw into their fate, so Mary was never ever herself a Biblical prophet period!

    Who then is this usurper Marian “queen of heaven,” “mother of god”? she is actually Semiramis, the ancient deified queen of Nimrod (meaning the rebellious one) builder of the tower of Babel, founder of the worlds ancient mystery occult religions, she is the world church harlot mentioned clearly in the Book of Revelation by John.

  3. The Great Defiant on

    wrong…
    the bible doesn’t need any interpretations.
    let the bible interpret itself….

    why should I call priest my father in the first place?…

  4. The Great Defiant on

    Mary is not a mother of God…
    She is simply a mother of Jesus…

    Don’t get me wrong.
    Mary is only a chosen vessel and I respect her sacrifice, hardship and obedience to God.
    But just like you and me, she is just human and she needs Jesus as well to be saved.

    Worship belongs only to God.
    Even the angels were just servants like us believers.

    Don’t be deceived, know the truth and truth will set you free.

  5. No one has ever seen how the Virgin Mary looked like; no one has ever seen how Jesus looked like, either. Absolutely no one, not even he Pope himself knows. What the Church and the Catholics have been claiming to be the real Mary and Jesus are mere representations of them in pictures and statues, created and drawn by painters and sculptors. How dd they know that Mary wears a veil and Jesus is sporting a long hair? Could Mary lose the veil and still be Mary? Or Jesus without the long hair still be Jesus? How could they claim, without a doubt, that the mother and son that appeared to them are really Mary and Jesus, in the flesh?

  6. Ric, saludo ako sa iyo. Pls continue writing such beautiful articles on Mama Mary. But I have to warn you as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, one of the greatest theologians of the Middle Ages did. St Bernard who was renowned for his love of the Blessed Mother, coined the phrase, “De Maria Nunquam Satis”, translated, “About Mary, one can never say enough.” Look also at master Marian devotee St. Louis de Monfort’s awesome treatise on the true devotion to Mama Mary, the secrets of the Rosary, etc. True enough (in my humble case) this happened as I prepared a presentation on the topic “Mariology” for our spiritual community. I started planning on a one-session thing simply based on what I learned from my Religion class lessons in elementary and high school At some point when I Googled the topic I realized that what I know was so limited. Then since the number of slides that continued to spring up in my mind and the prodigious online research will exceed the allocated one-hour time plus Q&A, I requested from our Prayer Group Head a second session which was granted. Still the Part II emerged as not really enough. Now I am on Part III yet I feel I have not said fairly enough about Mama Mary. So what I did was just to print the “excess” materials (easily 50 pages per set) for dissemination to the members of the Prayer Group after my talk. Solved ? Am still not sure. The talk will happen just 3 days before the Centennial of the Fatima Apparition.

    God bless !

  7. If you believe Jesus Christ is true God and true Man, then deep in your heart, you believe Blessed Mary is the Mother of God.

    The Holy and Apostolic Catholic Church is the Church which was established by the Holy Spirit more than 2,000 years ago, still existing today, and will continue to exist until the the Last Judgement of the living and the dead by our Lord jesus Christ.

    Why would you risk your soul by not being a Catholic?

    Read the book entitled “The Catechism of the Catholic Chuch” to give you the light and know the Church.

    It was the Catholic Church who originally set-up the canon of the Bible. The bible being used by Protestants is different and unfairhful to the Catholic Bible.

    The Orthodox Church uses the same canon of the bible of the Catholic Church.

    World peace won’t come about until all Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) will celebrate Easter on the same one date. People of goodwill should pray for this celebration of Easter

    God Bless.

  8. Mary became pregnant. God has made her pregnant.The good news was brought to her by the Angel Gabriel. And she was to name him Jesus. Mary bore Jesus in her likeness, flesh and bones, a mortal. Jesus grew up, became a man, ate, slept and did all humans would do. Yes, Mary is indeed the mother of Jesus. A mortal mother giving birth to a mortal son. Yet, this mortal son is not just the son of God but is God. He was put on the cross, shamed and ridiculed. And God the father allowed this to happen. He allowed mere mortals to shame and ridicule his son. Then he died, slain by the same mortals ,like him, who shamed and ridiculed him on the cross. Why would God let mere mortals kill his son? He is supposed to be God. And a dead God is being venerated and worshipped.

    • John 2:18-22 “The Jewish authorities came back at him with a question, ‘What miracle can you perform to show us that you have the right to do this?’ (to whip animals and merchants out of the Temple). Jesus answered, ‘Tear down this Temple, and in three days I will build it again.’ ‘Are you going to build it again in three days?’ they asked him. ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple!’ But the temple Jesus was speaking about was his body. So when he was RAISED FROM DEATH, his disciples remembered that he had said this , and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had said.

      What makes you think that Jesus remained dead? His RESURRECTION that He predicted makes Him so alive today that nothing could destroy his Church which is his body. The same can be said of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe: The Mexican authorities tried to destroy the Image with a bomb. It remained intact. The material the Image is embedded is the poncho of the indian Juan Diego. The poncho should have decayed with time. But it is so fresh that you can even see images on the pupils of the eyes of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

  9. I will be saying this out of love to all.

    I am praying too that you who read – receive this with Jesus presence and leading of the Holy Spirit and be at right heart. I understand, the truth can hurt or offend -even shake us to our core. But if at the end, we’ll all get saved – then it’s worth it.

    Please check these truths for yourself too and ask guidance from Holy Spirit.

    This life has taught me a lot and this includes a true relationship with the only One – Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the King of kings, Lord of lords and the Name above all names. The Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. He is the Bright Morning Star the soon and coming Messiah.

    I am not religious person. I only have relationship with Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and Saviour and the only religion I do is to abide in Him and do His will.

    Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

    It’s only by the name of Jesus Christ that we all can be saved. And we do not need to pray to anyone else as Jesus Christ is sufficient.

    Matt 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. John 14:13-14 And I will do whatever you ask in My Name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask Me for anything in My Name, and I will do it.

    It’s very clear in this Scripture that Jesus is asking us to pray to Him directly.

    I refuse to believe and call on this “mother” spirit for it is idolatry and abomination in the eyes of One True God. The true Mary, because of her obedience has already earned and what’s written about her in the Bible is true -that she is “blessed among women”.

    See what Mary’s only instruction to people about Jesus in wedding in Cana.

    John 2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you.”

    The true Mary points us toward Jesus Christ, not to herself.

    This spirit/image of woman (sometime depicted carrying a child in pictures and statue) or the one called “mother” is an impostor and demonic spirit- a memorized kilometric prayer utter to her and grabs all glory, time and attention that is supposed to be given only and rightfully belong to Jesus Christ. Those apparitions and bleeding eyes in statue are demonic manifestation to deceive.

    And in honor to the true Mary, I refuse to call this age called “mother” spirit same name as hers. As the true Mary is in heaven with Jesus and she doesn’t know what’s happening in the world.

    The Mary of the Bible doesn’t remain a virgin.

    Matthew 1 :25 “But he (Joseph) had no union with her (Mary) until she gave birth to a son.

    This meant that after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary consummated their marriage and born Him half biological brothers and sisters you can see in Mark 6:3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph,[fn] Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.

    The words “brothers” and “sisters” used by people here cannot be spiritual brothers and sisters as some believed; but a biological one as they are talking about His mother and siblings. Prophesied of Jesus is Ps 69: 8 “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children;” – another verse that proves Mary have other children post virgin birth.

    Again, this message is sent out of LOVE that eyes will open. As the Scripture says ”The truth shall set us free”. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says. And him who have heard heed Your call!

    If your heart is ready, pray with me this prayer below:

    Father God. Thank you for sending Jesus Christ. Thank You that You have made a way. I was lost but now I’m found, I was blind, but now I see! Jesus, come into my heart, be the Lord and Savior of my life. Forgive me from all my sins. I commit to you my life and everything and help me to follow You always. Holy Spirit, help me, empower me, lead me to know and be more like Jesus as I journey in this newness of life. Grant me a spiritual fervor of a strong finisher as I joyfully walk in Your ways. All in Jesus name I pray. Amen

    Welcome and Congratulations! If you genuinely accepted Jesus in your heart , You just entered a relationship with Him.
    Enjoy His presence, guidance, blessing and protection in your life.

    Heavenward in Jesus!

    • Dear Samuel, a friend and a brother, s friend because I am sure am not an enemy to you, I am more than willing to share my knowledge of the faith within my ability to enlighten you in some of these areas, also a brother, because you also believe in Christ despite some of your objections Christ teachings, so I can call you a brother in Christ only in body but not in soul or spirit.

      I am sure, I respect your beliefs you mentioned above including your many objections about the teachings of the Church as your right of free expression, which also I respect them even it sounds like not in accordance to my beliefs, but this is necessary to obey scripture and for the sake of our unity despite diversity in beliefs, that our friendly relation will not diminish.

      Evidently you are writing to bare out your objections to Church teachings indicating you saying this out of your love of truth in Christ presence and your sure guidance of Holy Spirit, the church is wrong and you are right, directing the church or the body of Christ which I am part of it, apparently directing to check the truth. (I will argue in general but not specific and if you want to pursue, please write me a note in my email: josesamilin181@yahoo.com. I am a lay Catholic believer) First thing I notice Samuel, you apparently made a personal interpretation of the Bible in which you are not entitled to according to the Bible, the apparent reason you are wrong in understanding of church teachings. In other words, you violated Christ teaching or even rejected Christ, therefore, upon writing the above, apparently Christ is not with you (He is gore because you rejected Him) and your guidance of the Holy Spirit is not any more the true Holy Spirit, now, it becomes suspect? Secondly, you believe the church is wrong because you believed yourself to know it all, which no human can claim to know the whole truth of the mystery of man, since the dogma of Christ entrusted to the church cannot be based on mere human knowledge or any field of expertise, as in mathematics, science, philosophy, etc.,etc. Firstly, the church is right in its proclamation of doctrines of the church, because these are teachings the church received it from Christ through the Apostles. Only the Catholic church has that claim among others. The four unique characteristics of a true church founded by Christ, follows: The church is One, the church is Holy, the church is Catholic (heralded throughout the world, the church is Apostolic.

    • What akilometric take merely declaring (sans avowed love… kuno) that the Theotokos belief is utterly false. Sola scriptura in action !

    • What a kilometric take merely declaring (sans avowed love… kuno) that the Theotokos belief is utterly false. Sola scriptura in action !

    • The Great Defiant on

      Jude and James who wrote part of the New Testament.
      They are half-brother of Jesus.

      In fact, they became believers only when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven.

  10. Are you sure its God the Father who sends her? The original Mary of 2000 years ago was innocent, but somebody else could be misusing her today. Is that unthinkable?