August 7, 2009
Last week I wrote about my skepticism towards the Medjugorje apparitions, while acknowledging that God has clearly worked through the events in that town for good (even in my own life). Austin Ruse, the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), has just written an article with similar conclusions for The Catholic Thing.
Read it here.
July 28, 2009
This week it was announced that the pope has laicized the priest who was at the center of the Medjugorje apparitions. Tomislav Vladic was a Franciscan priest who was the spiritual advisor to the six “visionaries” who have claimed that the Virgin Mary has appeared to them since the early 1980′s. Vladic has been surrounded by controversy for years and there are even allegations that he has fathered a child with a nun.
Medjugorje has been a central event in the lives of many orthodox Catholics over the past thirty years. I have met countless good and holy Catholics who have visited Medjugorje and believe that the Virgin Mary is truly appearing there. Many of these people have had their lives changed for the good through their connection to Medjugorje. Even my own journey to Catholicism is wound up in the events in the tiny Bosnian town, as it was the conversion of Wayne Weible – a major proponent of Medjugorje – that was instrumental in getting me to consider my own conversion.
Yet I have come to the conclusion over the years that it is extremely unlikely that the Blessed Virgin Mary is truly appearing to the six “visionaries.” I do not know what actually happened to start the claims of apparitions – whether it was a hoax that got out of control, whether it was demonic influences, or whether there were deep psychological factors involved. But the fact that many good people support the apparitions and even my own conversion is partly a “fruit” of Medjugorje does not change my mind. What I have found over the years is that God will work in any situation, even those that begin against him. There are very few cases in the history of salvation in which man’s motives are completely pure and holy. Do you not think Peter had a least some pride when Christ appointed him head of the apostles? But that did not disqualify him, as God does not need pure instruments to affect His Will in our lives. He works with what He is given: broken, sinful men and women who often act out of selfish and prideful desires.
Nothing that has occurred at Medjugorje is beyond God’s ability to redeem and use for His glory. I have to imagine that the work of Satan is very frustrating: even when he gets people to follow his evil designs, God steps in and still is able to work them for His glory. And this is a good thing, for if God waited to work only when we were pure and holy, He would never come into our lives to change us.
March 25, 2009
Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that the Son of God would become a baby in her womb. Mary’s obedient “yes” reversed the disobedience of Eve and brought about our salvation.
This day, March 25th, is very meaningful in a number of ways. There is a tradition that this is the day in which Adam and Eve were created, and there is another tradition that March 25th was the day of the crucifixion. On this day the events of our salvation have played out in a most wonderous way. Let us rejoice in God’s saving work!
Today is the beginning of our salvation,
The revelation of the eternal mystery!
The Son of God becomes the Son of the Virgin
As Gabriel announces the coming of Grace.
Together with him let us cry to the Theotokos:
Rejoice, O Full of Grace,
The Lord is with You!
Troparion – Annunciation of our Most Holy Lady
February 2, 2009
Over at the Catholic Answers forum, there is a thread asking people to tell the story of their conversion. Obviously, every convert could write a book about their own journey to the Church, but in an internet forum, you want to keep it short. Here is what I wrote:
The story of my conversion in two words: the Rosary.
I was an Evangelical in college and very active in my prolife group. I was, however, the only non-Catholic in the group, which led to many discussions (i.e. arguments) about theological topics. After about two years, I had come to accept intellectually the teachings of the Church, but was adamant that I would “never” become Catholic.
Then one Sunday morning, I picked up my roommate’s Rosary and decided to pray it (actually, I read the prayers from the Rosary booklet he suspiciously left on his desk). It was a dare to myself: I would pray the Rosary every day for a week and see what happens.
Two days later, I decided to become Catholic. I told my Catholic friends: you guys had two years and couldn’t get me to convert. Mary had two days and did it.
Amazingly, I resisted for years praying the Rosary regularly. About once a year, I would pray it daily for a few weeks. Each time my life would become more peaceful and something amazing would happen in my life, yet I would always drop the habit and it would take another year or so to try again. It is only in the past year that I have been able to stay with it regularly.
So based on my experience with the Rosary, it was no suprise to me when Our Sunday Visitor called to tell me they were interested in publishing my book and I saw the date was October 7th- the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.