Saint Dominic

Found in the very well-known book, De Dignitate Psalterii, by Blessed Alan de la Roche, is the account of how Saint Dominic acquired the Rosary in the year 1214.  St. Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people’s sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse, where he prayed continuously for three days and three nights.  During this time he did nothing but weep and do harsh penances in order to appease the anger of God.  He used his discipline so much that his body became lacerated, and, finally, he fell into a coma.  Our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and said,

“Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?”

“Oh, My Lady,” answered Saint Dominic, “you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.”

Our Lady replied, “I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament.  Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”

So he arose, comforted, and burning with zeal for the conversion of the people in that district, he made straight for the cathedral.  At once, unseen angels rang the bells to gather the people together, and Saint Dominic began to preach.  At the very beginning of his sermon, an appalling storm broke out, the earth shook, the sun was darkened, and there was so much thunder and lightning that all were very much afraid.  Even greater was their fear when, looking at a picture of our Lady positioned in a prominent place, they saw her raise her arms to heaven three times to call down God’s vengeance upon them if they failed to be converted, to amend their lives, and seek the protection of the Holy Mother of God.  God wished, by means of these supernatural phenomena, to spread the new devotion of the holy Rosary and to make it more widely known.

At last, at the prayer of Saint Dominic, the storm came to an end, and he went on preaching. So fervently and compellingly did he explain the importance and value of the Rosary that almost all the people of Toulouse embraced it and renounced their false beliefs.  In a very short time a great improvement was seen in the town; people began leading Christian lives and gave up their former bad habits.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, instructed by the Blessed Virgin — as well as by his own experience, Saint Dominic preached the Rosary for the rest of his life.  He preached it by his example as well as by his sermons, in cities and in rural places, to people of high station and low, before scholars and the uneducated, to Catholics and to heretics.  The Rosary, which he said every day, was his preparation for every sermon and his little tryst with our Lady immediately after preaching.

One day he had to preach at Notre Dame in Paris on the Feast of St. John the Evangelist. He was in a little chapel behind the high altar, prayerfully preparing his sermon by saying the Rosary as he always did, when Our Lady appeared to him and said,

“Dominic, even though what you have planned to say may be very good, I am bringing you a much better sermon.”

Saint Dominic took in his hands the book Our Lady offered, read the sermon carefully and, when he had understood it and meditated on it, he gave thanks to Her.  When the time came, he went up into the pulpit and, in spite of the feast day, made no mention of Saint John other than to say that he had been found worthy to be the guardian of the Queen of Heaven.  The congregation was made up of theologians and other eminent people, who were used to hearing unusual and polished discourses; but Saint Dominic told them that it was not his desire to give them a learned discourse, wise in the eyes of the world, but that he would speak in the simplicity of the Holy Spirit and with his forcefulness.  So he began preaching the Rosary and explained the Hail Mary word by word as he would to a group of children, and used the very simple illustrations which were in the book given him by Our Lady.

Blessed Alan, according to Carthagena, mentioned several other occasions when Our Lord and Our Lady appeared to Saint Dominic to urge him and inspire him to preach the Rosary more and more in order to wipe out sin and convert sinners and heretics.  In another passage, Our Lady revealed that after she had appeared to Saint Dominic, Her blessed Son appeared to him also and said,

“Dominic, I rejoice to see that you are not relying on your own wisdom and that, rather than seek the empty praise of men, you are working with great humility for the salvation of souls.  But many priests want to preach thunderously against the worst kinds of sin at the very outset, failing to realize that before a sick person is given bitter medicine, he needs to be prepared by being put into the right frame of mind to really benefit by it.  That is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a love of prayer in people’s hearts and especially a love of my Angelic Psalter.  If only they would all start saying it and would really persevere, God in his mercy could hardly refuse to give them his grace. So I want you to preach My Rosary.”

All things, even the holiest, are subject to change, especially when they are dependent on man’s free will. It is hardly to be wondered at, then, that the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary only retained its first fervour for a century after it was instituted by Saint Dominic. After this it was like a thing buried and forgotten.  Doubtless, too, the wicked scheming and jealousy of the devil were largely responsible for getting people to neglect the Rosary, and thus block the flow of God’s grace which it had drawn upon the world.

Science tests the visionaries

MEDJUGORJE:  A team of physicians from the University of Montpelier conducted the most complete scientific study of an alleged supernatural event in the history of Catholicism when they traveled to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzogovina in 1984.  The leader of the French doctors was Dr. Henri Joyeux, an internationally renowned cancer researcher.  Six months earlier, he had already been videotaping the six visionaries with an electronics engineer to investigate whether their synchronized movements were in any fashion orchestrated.  Close scrutiny of those films greatly impressed this medical researcher, leading to the call for his whole team of experts.

The most eminent of these specialists was Dr. Francois Rouquerol, an ear, nose, and throat specialist.  He was able to demonstrate a clear “disconnection of the auditory pathways during the ecstasy” of each visionary.  He proved, most convincingly, that no visionary reacted to the blaring of ninety decibels of engine noise into their ears during their apparitions.  Sensations travelled in a normal manner to the brain of the Medjugorje seers, but the findings of evoked auditory potential tests and screening tests showed that the cerebral cortex did not perceive the transmission of the auditory and visual neuronal stimuli received from the surrounding environment.  This indicates a disconnection located somewhere in the cortex, and it can be thought of as functional dualism, comparable to a motorcar being functionally divided into two by pressing the clutch.

Dr. Rouquerol also reported that his instruments indicated their voices had become completely silent during their supernatural experience, but their tongues, lips, and facial muscles had continued to function exactly as when speech is audible.  The larynx or voicebox of each visionary had somehow ceased to operate – an inexplicable condition unknown to medical science, according to Dr. Rouquerol.  With an impedanceometer the medical team carefully studied the visionaries’ uncommon voice activity, distinguished by unmistakable axiomatic articulation without phonation.  Their tests revealed a number of exciting findings.  The instrument’s needle showed extensive movements of larynx muscles while the seers recited the rosary before the apparitions, but as soon as the apparitional episode began and the voices became inaudible, the larynx stopped moving and the needle was still.  During the conversation with the apparition, the seers’ lips moved without phonation.  As the voices returned, in the middle of the apparition, to recite the “Our Father,” which, according to the visionaries, had been initiated by the Virgin, the needle moved again.  Articulation without phonation occurred once more during the final phase of the apparitional experience, as the visionaries voice was replaced by silence, although their lips were moving.  As the seers began to speak, at the end of the apparition, the movements of the larynx resumed, showing that the vocal extinction experienced at the beginning of the apparitional experience is linked to the absence of movement of the larynx, and although the lips were moving quite normally, the act of exhaling did not vibrate the vocal cords.  The visionaries themselves have admitted to hearing their own voices of verbal communication as normal during the apparitional experience and are surprised that others cannot hear them.  This observation itself rules out manipulation and psychogenic aphonia.

The team’s opthalmologist, Dr. Jacques Philippot, confirmed a profound inhibition of eyelid reflexes to brilliant dazzling lights in all visionaries.  He also discovered that the gaze of all six children during their experience remained fixed on exactly the same fixed point in space several feet above their heads.  Dr. Philipott’s tests demonstrated that Ivanka and Marija’s eyelid movements during the apparitional experience were two times slower than before and after.  Even when he blocked their vision with an opaque screen, none of their eyes reacted or shifted at all.  What he considered most impressive was that he had measured a simultaneity of eyeball movement among the visionaries of less than one-fifth of a second using electro-oculogram readings at both the beginning and the end of their shared apparition.  This is so far beyond the capacity of normal human functioning that no form of collusion or manipulation could account for it.  After the apparition, however, eye and muscular movements resumed at exactly the same time.  Electro-oculographic recording demonstrated that their eyes converged at the same point.  During the apparitional experience, blinking reflex was absent but was normal before and after.

Heart specialist, Dr. Bernard Hoarau reported that electrocardiogram, blood pressure, and heart rhythm examinations of the visionaries during their ecstasies “allow us to exclude totally the existence of dreaming, sleep, or epilepsy.”  Neurologist Dr. Jean Cadhilac added that his tests “formally eliminate all clinical signs comparable to those observed during individual or collective hallucinations, hysteria, neurosis, or pathological ecstasy.”

Dr. Joyeux was most impressed by the electroencephalogram tests that had measured activity in eight distinct areas of the brains of these six children.  All states of consciousness known to neuroscience involve some mix-ratio of alpha and beta impulses.  Dr. Joyeux found these ratios to be normal in all the children prior to their apparition experiences.  Going into a sleep or trance state would have increased beta cycles while decreasing alpha cycles.  But, exactly the opposite actually occurred: their beta impulses stopped completely!  They were considered to be “hyper-awake” in a state of pure meditation – an extremely rare condition only observed in a few Buddhist monks while deeply in prayer.  Dr. Joyeux and his team concludes,

“The ecstasies are not pathological, nor is there any element of deceit.  No scientific discipline seems able to describe these phenomena.  The apparitions at Medjugorje cannot be explained scientifically.  In one word, these young people are healthy, and there is no sign of epilepsy, nor is it a sleep, dream, or trance state.  It is neither a case of pathological hallucination nor hallucination in the hearing or sight facilities … It cannot be a cataleptic state, for during the ecstasy the facial muscles are operating in a normal way … It is more like a state of deep, active prayer, in which they are partially disconnected from the physical world, in a state of contemplation and sane encounter with a person whom they alone can see, hear, and touch.  We cannot reach the transmitter, but we can ascertain that the receivers are in a state of sane and good working order.” (8:201-204)

The assembly of seventeen renowned natural scientists, doctors, psychiatrists and theologians in their research came to a 12-point conclusion on January 14, 1986 in Paina near Milan. (131a)

  1. On the basis of the psychological tests, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible with certainty to exclude fraud and deception.2. On the basis of the medical examinations, tests and clinical observations etc, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude pathological hallucinations.

    3. On the basis of the results of previous researches for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude a purely natural interpretation of these manifestations.

    4. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, for all and each of the visionaries it is possible to exclude that these manifestations are of the preternatural order, i.e. under demonic influence.

    5. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, there is a correspondence between these manifestations and those that are usually described in mystical theology.

    6. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, it is possible to speak of spiritual advances and advances in the theological and moral virtues of the visionaries, from the beginning of these manifestations until today.

    7. On the basis of information and observations that can be documented, it is possible to exclude teaching or behavior of the visionaries that would be in clear contradiction to Christian faith and morals.

    8. On the basis of information or observations that can be documented, it is possible to speak of good spiritual fruits in people drawn into the supernatural activity of these manifestations and in people favorable to them.

    9. After more than four years, the tendencies and different movements that have been generated through Medjugorje, in consequence of these manifestations, influence the people of God in the Church in complete harmony with Christian doctrine and morals.

    10. After more than four years, it is possible to speak of permanent and objective spiritual fruits of movements generated through Medjugorje.

    11. It is possible to affirm that all good and spiritual undertakings of the Church, which are in complete harmony with the authentic magisterium of the Church, find support in the events in Medjugorje.

    12. Accordingly, one can conclude that after a deeper examination of the protagonists, facts, and their effects, not only in the local framework, but also in regard to the responsive chords of the Church in general, it is well for the Church to recognize the supernatural origin and, thereby, the purpose of the events in Medjugorje

    .

Shortly after Dr. Joyeux left Medjugorje in 1985, the Italians dispatched their own all-star team of medical specialists from Milan’s Mangiagalli Clinic.  Dr. Michael Sabatini, a psychopharmacologist specializing in pain research, applied his algometer to the six visionaries.  This device measures the intensity of pain created by applying pressure to particularly sensitive areas of the body.  The results showed that the six visionaries entered a state of “complete analgesis” during their apparition ecstasies – that they could feel no pain.  This proved, beyond any doubt, according to Dr. Sabatini, that the visionaries “do not fake and do not deceive.”  The head of their medical team, Dr. Luigi Frigero, added that the visionaries “were not simply awake, but hyper-awake during their ecstasies.  This cannot be explained naturally, and thus can be only preternatural or supernatural.” (8:204)

Dr. Enzo Gabrici, a neuropsychiatrist, spent four days examining Ivan, Jakov, Marija, and Vicka.  In his report he excluded any possibility of “hallucinatory phenomena, epilepsy, or post-hypnotic suggestion.”  He saw no indication of neurosis or psychosis.  Unlike spirit mediums, the visionaries retain “perfect consciousness of their identity.”  He also noted,

“The apparition does not tire Vicka as is the case with hysterical trances; on the contrary, she feels more invigorated.  Jakov would run outside to play soccer immediately after his apparition; such normal behavior simply is not an aspect of hysterical or hallucinatory visions.” (8:162-163)

Dr. Lucia Capello, a neurologist, was not only impressed but deeply shaken by the “three synchronizations” in the visionaries’ behavior.  First, the visionaries dropped to their knees and their voices became inaudible in the same instant – without even a split second of separation.  Second, without any observable awareness of one another, their voices again became audible at exactly the same moment – on the third word of the Our Father prayer.  Finally, the head and eyes of each visionary were raised simultaneously in the same instant at the end of the apparition (when the Virgin ascended), as all five uttered the word “Ode.”(“There she goes”)  They justify this movement by explaining that “the Virgin Mary disappears upwards.”  Their eye movements reflect those of a person looking at a real moving object – which is different from those of a person looking at an imaginary moving object.  The eyeballs of the visionaries are converging toward an external point indicating true objectivity and do not follow the established eye movement patterns associated with remembering or visualizing.  He concludes that there is no natural explanation that could account for such perfect simultaneity. (8:163)

Heart surgeon Dr. Mario Botta’s electrocardiogram of Ivan’s heartrate revealed that he maintained a perfect rhythm without any fluctuations before, during, and after the apparition.  Given the extraordinary level of activity indicated by Ivan’s brain waves at the same time, Dr. Botta concluded that the visionary’s experience “transcends normal physiology.” (8:163)

Dott Santini, the Italian investigator, used an estesiometer to confirm the absence of corneal reflex; the hundred-watt bulb used during his tests failed to make the seers blink.  The most aggressive tests performed on the visionaries were conducted by Dr. M. Frederica Magatti, who tried shouting at, jabbing, and pinching them during an apparition – without obtaining any observable reactions.  After noting that the eyes of each child had become “hugely dilated,” Dr. Magatti used a film projector with a 1,000-watt bulb to blast their pupils with light.  None of them reacted; not only did their pupils remain unusually dilated, but the eyelids of each child continued to blink at a normal rate.  There was no change in alpha rhythm in the brain to the 1000 watt light.  This is scientifically inexplicable and never seen before.  FOR THE PUPIL TO RESPOND, THE BRAIN MUST REGISTER THE LIGHT — BUT NO BRAIN WAVE CHANGE TOOK PLACE.  Additionally, such intense stimulation normally causes a significant cortical response, but none occurred during the apparition period. (131a) Dr. Magatti asserted that the Medjugorje visionaries “were demonstrating the most complete suspension of consciousness of their relationship with the exterior world” that she had ever observed. (8:163) The medical observations and synchronisms suggest that the Medjugorje visionaries are responding to an outside power and not to internal stimuli.  The dual modes of perception also suggest that there is a “nonphysical agent in front of the visionaries.”

Dr. Giorgio Sanguinetti, a prominent psychiatrist, makes the following report:

“The ‘visionaries’ sit down on little stools, and recite the Rosary in a thoughtful, recollected manner.  Suddenly, at exactly the same time, which is amazing, the young people stand up and line up in front of one of the walls of the room.  All of them gaze upwards at the same time, without ever looking at each other, and they seem to stare intensely at something that is outside the room and very far away.  They keep their hands joined in prayer, and some of them move their lips, but their voice cannot be heard.  After approximately one minute of time, on the occasion I was there, and again, amazingly all together, they give signs of a fleeting bodily tremor, and all withdraw from the place where they were standing.  The expression on their faces becomes like ours.  Behaving quite normally and with no haste — but deliberately, they go towards a table, do not speak to each other and each taking a pen and a notebook wherein their names are written, they sit down, and again without talking to each other, write down quickly, without pausing, the message which was given to them during the ‘vision.’  The length of the text differs from one to another.  When they have finished, they leave the notebook and the pen, and with a quick handshake they greet us and leave the room, each going about his or her own business.  I know that this description of the ‘vision’ has already been given by other witnesses; however, I considered it useful to describe it after I had sketched pathological mystical behavior so that the reader can compare these and take account of the psychic normality of the young ‘visionaries.’  Something unusual, extra-ordinary exists but it seems to be strictly limited to the short period of the ‘vision.’  However, nothing authorizes us to say that the visionaries, because of this experience, manifest any personality disorders.  They seem to be in a world beyond the perception of others and, for what concerns them, to have left our sphere of perception.” (131a)

Fresh medical teams from Poland, Austria, England, Italy, and America continued to replicate and validate these scientific findings.  Father Rene Laurentin, who closely watched over these efforts, concluded:

“The best explanation is that the visionaries are in living, personal, and normal contact with a person from another world.” (8:204)

Further testing on June 25, 2005 by Dr. Philippe Loron, a colleague of Dr. Henri Joyeux, indicated that the visionaries were not transcending into an altered state, but rather that they transcend into a deeper state of reality.  The apparition and any views of “eternal life” are seen by them as more real than what they would experience in everyday life.  This depth of reality which they perceive is superior to any known reality of life on earth.  Afterwards, they return to a lesser state of reality or “ordinary level” that the rest of us in the human race are accustomed to.  Through science, we now can say, empirically, that what they are seeing is not of this world.  We cannot confirm what they are seeing – only that they are able to do so with how their brains are functioning.  With three visionaries as subjects on this day, electroencephalograms recorded alpha rhythms on the whole brain during ecstasies.  These examinations capture on the surface of the scalp minimal electricity produced by the activity of brain cells.  The alpha rhythm (between 8 and 13 Hertz) is a normal rhythm of wakefulness, mainly of rest.  It occurs essentially in the posterior regions of the brain when the eyes are closed.  Similar results are usually obtained when listening to soothing music or when one is in a state of contemplation, meditation or prayer, especially with eyes closed.  It also corresponds to the intermediate state between wakefulness and the first stage of sleep: when one relaxes with the light off, but is not yet asleep.  Therefore, in Medjugorje, the results are remarkable since the alpha rhythm occurs preferentially at the moment of ecstasy with a tendency to spread to anterior regions of the brain, while the eyes remain open and oriented towards the apparition.  Of course, science can’t demonstrate that these are apparitions of the Virgin Mary, but it can support the absence of deception. (131a)

GARABANDAL:  Dr. Celestino Ortiz Perez of Santander, a pediatrician specializing in child psychology, examined the four girls when they were in a state of ecstasy during the apparitions.  He concluded,

“In this state of ecstasy they gave proof that they are beyond the explanation of medical science and all natural laws.  They showed no reaction to pain, pin pricks, et cetera.  Once out of their trances however, they reacted immediately.  From a pediatric and psychiatric point of view, the four little girls have always been and continue to be normal.  The trances in which we have observed these young girls do not fit into the framework of any psychic or any psychological pathology presently known.  Our conceit falls apart when we are faced with this kind of dilemma which God bestows on us in order to point out our own medical limitations.” (68:249)

Dr. Ricardo Puncernai, a neuropsychiatrist and Director of Neurological Services at the University clinic in Barcelona has also examined the visionaries during their ecstasies.  He concluded,

“Even though we try to explain only part of these extraordinary phenomena, the truth is that we do not find any natural scientific explanation which could explain the whole affair.” (68:250)

A Tour of Heaven

For centuries, man has pondered the existence of an afterlife.  Is there really a Heaven?  Are there pearly gates, streets paved with gold, angels playing harps, and eternal happiness?

Is there actually a Hell?  Is it truly governed by Satan and filled with fire and misery?  Are there any other realms that exist between these two extremes?

People who have described near-death experiences report glimpses of these realms in the precious minutes during which they were declared clinically dead.  One of the more recent and intriguing accounts was publicized in the book “Heaven is for Real.”  As an assertive, matter-of-fact, no-nonsense, four-year old, Colton Burpo confidently described seeing beautiful views of Heaven:

“Heaven is more amazing than you can imagine.  I could hear beautiful music and see lots of colors.  Big, bright rainbows are everywhere you look.  The streets are gold, the gates are made of pearl, and shiny jewels are on the walls.” (64:9)

Are these the fanciful wishes of a four-year old’s imagination?  Perhaps – that is, until you read Revelation 21:19, 21 –

 “The foundation stones of the city walls had every kind of jewel in them … The twelve gates were twelve pearls.  Each gate was made from a single pearl.  The street of the city was made of pure gold.  The gold was clear as glass.”

Don Piper was on his way home from a conference when his car was crushed by a semi-truck that crossed into his lane.  Medical personnel said he died instantly.  While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music.  Ninety minutes after the wreck, while a minister prayed for him, Piper miraculously returned to life on earth with only the memory of inexpressible heavenly bliss.  He describes the gates and walls of heaven as well as the streets within — and the glorious music:

“Looming just over the heads of the loved ones who had come to greet me stood an awesome gate interrupting a wall that faded out of sight in both directions.  It struck me that the actual entrance was small in comparison to the massive gate itself.  I stared, but I couldn’t see the end of the walls in either direction … The gate wasn’t made of pearls, but was pearlescent – perhaps iridescent … To me it looked as if someone had spread pearl icing on a cake.  The gate glowed and shimmered.” (65:50-51)

“I paused just outside the gate, and I could see inside.  It was like a city with paved streets.  To my amazement, they had been constructed of literal gold.  If you imagine a street paved with gold bricks, that’s as close as I can come to describing what lay inside the gate.  Everything I saw was bright – the brightest colors my eyes had ever beheld – so powerful that no earthly human could take in this brilliance.” (65:51)

“It was the most beautiful and pleasant sound I’ve ever heard … I felt awestruck, wanting only to listen … It seemed like I was part of the music – and it played in and through my body … I felt embraced by the sounds … As I became aware of the joyous sounds and melodies that filled the air … I felt as if the heavenly concert permeated every part of my being … I call it music, but it differed from anything I had ever heard or ever expect to hear on the earth.  The melodies of praise filled the atmosphere … the praise was unending … Praise was everywhere, and all of it was musical, yet comprised of melodies and tones I’d never experienced before.” (65:46-47)

Four-year old Colton also describes,

“Heaven is not scary – ever!  There is no sun, but it never gets dark in heaven because the light of God is so bright.  No one ever cries or is afraid in heaven.  No one ever gets sad or mad.  Everyone is happy there!” (64:10)

 Don Piper adds his impression of the light in heaven:

“Coming out from the gate – a short distance ahead – was a brilliance that was brighter than the light that surrounded me, utterly luminous … Everything I saw glowed with intense brightness … as far ahead as I could see, there was absolutely nothing but intense, radiant light … The light engulfed me, and I had the sense that I was being ushered into the presence of God.” (65:44)

Revelation 21: 23-24 –

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it.  The glory of God is its light, and the Lamb is the city’s lamp.  By its light the people of the world will walk.”

If we can accept that the visionaries who have encountered the Virgin Mary are credible, honest, and genuine witnesses to supernatural visits, can we also believe their accounts of visiting or seeing Heaven, Hell, and other realms?  Hesitate before you answer that question – because first you need to hear what they are actually reporting.  Here are some excerpts from their testimonies:

CUAPA, NICARAGUA  (1980)

On June 8, 1980, Mary appeared again, giving Bernardo four visions – “which were like movies in the sky.”  The first vision was of the first Christians, singing and marching towards Heaven.  They were dressed in white – their bodies glowing with light.  The second vision was of another group of people also dressed in white.  They held illuminated rosaries in their hands.  The leader read from a book, and after meditating on the reading, they prayed one “Our Father” and ten “Hail Mary’s.”  Mary explained that they were the first ones to whom she had given the Rosary.  She wanted everyone to pray the Rosary like they were doing.  In the third vision, Bernardo saw a group of men dressed in brown robes.  Mary explained that these were the Franciscans.  “They received the Rosary from the hands of the first ones.”  In the fourth vision, he saw a large group, as big as an army, of people in normal dress, all holding rosaries.  Light radiated from their bodies, and they were beautiful.  He wanted to join them and go with them even though he was not illuminated, himself.  The Virgin replied,

“No!  You are still lacking.  You have to tell the people what you have seen and heard.  I have shown you the glory of Our Lord, and you people will acquire this if you are obedient to Our Lord, to the Lord’s Word – if you persevere in praying the Holy Rosary and put into practice the Lord’s Word.”

Bernardo only shared these visions with the priest, knowing that the church must approve them first.  The priest gave Bernardo approval and permission to spread the visions. (2:159-161)

MEDJUGORJE, BOSNIA-HERZOGOVINA (1981-present)

In early October of 1981, Vicka received a surprise while visiting Jakov at his home.  The Virgin Mary suddenly appeared and announced that she was going to take them to see Heaven.  Jakov became frightened, thinking that they would not return and said, “Why don’t you just take Vicka?  She has many brothers and sisters, but I am the only child of my mother.”  The Virgin just smiled sweetly and took the two of them by their hands.  Vicka describes the experience:

“I was wondering how many days we would be traveling (to get to heaven), and whether we would go through the sky or the ground.  Our Lady took my right hand and Jakov’s left hand and took us with her.  We saw the ceiling opening, giving us just enough space to go through, and within the wink of an eye, we found ourselves in heaven.  Heaven is one huge endless space.  It has a brilliant light which does not leave it.  There is a special kind of life that does not exist on the earth at all.  We saw people dressed in pink, yellow, and gray gowns.  Nobody was older than 33 years old.  They were walking, praying, and singing, and there were small angels circling around.  We saw people praying and singing, together in groups, but we could not understand what they were saying.  It must have been some heavenly language.  We experienced a special indescribable joy.  Our Lady told us to have a good look at how overjoyed all those who were in heaven were.  It was a special kind of joy that cannot be experienced on the earth.  Everything is definitely so much more beautiful.  When you are entering heaven, you experience an enormous feeling of separation from this life and enter a special new life.” (48:65-66)(45:135)

Mary:    “All those who are faithful to God will have thatI did this so you could see the happiness which awaits those who love God.” (45:135)

The children were not dreaming this, nor were they just given visions.  They were physically absent from Jakov’s house for exactly twenty minutes.  Jakov’s mother saw them in the home right before they departed.  When she couldn’t find them a moment later, she frantically searched everywhere for them, inside and outside of the house for twenty minutes.  She was becoming very fearful when they suddenly reappeared within the home, telling her where Blessed Mary had just taken them. (45:135)(52:61)

Speaking of Heaven, Ivanka was granted a special request by Our Lady on May 7, 1985.

“I never saw Mary so beautiful as on this evening.  She wore the most beautiful gown I have ever seen in my life.  Her gown, veil, and crown had gold and silver sequins of light.  There were two angels with her – I don’t have words to describe this!  Our Lady asked me if I had some wish.  I told her I would like to see my earthly mother (recently deceased).  She smiled, nodded her head, and my mother immediately appeared.  She was smiling.  Our Lady told me to stand up.  I did, and my mother embraced and kissed me, and said, ‘My child, I am so proud of you.’ Then she kissed me and disappeared.  After this, I asked Our Lady if I could kiss Her.  She nodded her head, and I kissed Our Lady.  She blessed me, smiled, and said, ‘Go in God’s peace.’” (52:234)

Ivanka said later that her mother looked the same but much prettier with no evidence of the suffering that she had gone through in the last years.  But her body was no longer like our earthly bodies.  Ivanka added that touching Our Lady’s body was different than that – and that her dress had a “metallic” feel to it. (52:33) Ivanka adds,

“Many people do not believe there is life after this life.  But I am here as a living witness, and I can say there is life after life because I was able to see my Mom.  This witnessing was not just for me, but for all mankind.” (45:127)

Vicka said that “nobody is older than 33 years old” in Heaven.  Colton Burpo validates her perception as he further describes his views of heaven from his four-year old perspective:

“One of the most wonderful things about heaven is that no one ever gets sick or hurt there.  No one ever has bumps or bruises or skinned knees.  No one needs glasses or wheelchairs.  In heaven, no one is old; everyone is young and healthy.  And no one dies in heaven.  In heaven, you live forever with God!” (64:20)

Young Colton had never met or seen a picture of his great-grandfather, “Pop,” who had died years before Colton was born.  Yet, he reports that this great-grandfather came up to him and greeted him while he was in Heaven.  When Colton’s parents showed him a recent picture of “Pop” before he died, Colton did not recognize him.  Then his parents remembered that Colton had said that everyone was young in heaven.  They found a picture of the great-grandfather at age 29 in 1943 (that Colton had never seen), and he immediately recognized him this time. (63)

Colton also described a young girl about age seven running up to him and hugging him.  He did not recognize her either, but she said that she was his older sister.  She knew about Colton and was so glad to finally meet him in person.  Colton says,

“My big sister was so excited to see me that she wouldn’t stop hugging me!” (64:13)

Later, Colton confronted his mother on not telling him that he had had an older sister.  His mother was stunned and in tears; she had never revealed that she had had a miscarriage of a female fetus several years before Colton was born.  How could he possibly have known about this?  When shown a picture of his mother as a young girl, Colton stated that she looked just like that older sister in Heaven! (63)

Visionary Geraldine from Australia had a very similar experience in November of 1989.

“Many things had been going wrong … I needed my grandmother who had partly raised me and was missing her very much.  I needed advice, and I was still grieving for her (she had died in 1982).  With tears streaming down my face, I was thinking of how we used to talk – and of her loving ways – my heart breaking as I wished she was still here.”

“Then, to my surprise, I heard a woman’s voice speaking inside of me clearly.  She said, ‘I am your Blessed Mother.  I am speaking to you from within.  Your earthly mother is not here with you right now so I have come to comfort you during your trials.  However, your other mother (grandmother) is here with Me.  Would you like to speak to her?’  At that moment I thought I was losing my mind … but yet … I felt peaceful and calm and very comforted and loved by this voice.  So, I said, ‘Yes, I would.”

“The next thing I knew, somehow, I was flying in spirit through the sky.  By my left side was an Angel guiding me, and I felt it was my Guardian Angel – and it was nighttime.  I saw in the distance a city.  As we approached this city, it was like a warm and peaceful Sunday afternoon because there was a holiness about it.  I saw white stone houses with flat roofs and park bench seats outside.  There were people sitting on the seats.  As we got closer, I recognized some of the people.  My grandmother was sitting on the right side and my (deceased) sister, Karen, opposite her.  My grandmother looked younger, and there was a beautiful glow about her.  I could see she was looking forward to my being with her.”

“Then I found myself looking towards my sister.  It was like looking through a camera as the focus moved from place to place.  My sister looked about thirty years old now; she was twelve years old when she had died.  Yet, her features were the same.  She was beaming and so happy and smiling.  She said, ‘I have someone very, very special here who is really looking forward to meeting you.  Don’t worry, I am looking after her for you.’  At that moment my view shifted down to see that she was holding the hand of a little girl about nine years old.  She had long hair tied back in a ponytail, and she wore a plain gray dress.  I didn’t know who she was.”

“Then my sister said, ‘This is Geraldine Margaret.’  At that moment I nearly fainted with shock.  I felt the hair stand up on the back of my head, and I felt hot, then cold, as I realized it was the little baby I had miscarried nine years earlier, and it was a girl.  I was going to call her Margaret Geraldine after my grandmother, but instead, they called her after me.  Then this experience ended.  As I came out of the room, my husband said, ‘What’s the matter?’ as he could see by the look on my face that something had happened.”

“I cried continuously at the thought of having a daughter and not knowing her.  Again, I was so upset – not knowing what to make of all this.  Again, I heard this beautiful, soft, loving woman’s voice:  ‘Do not be sad at what you have seen.  Rejoice, rejoice, for your Father in Heaven has given you a wonderful gift.’  I stopped crying and was comforted, feeling a great peace.”  (14:29-30)

The last three examples have suggested that everyone appears younger in Heaven, perhaps no older than 33, the age at which Jesus Christ died.  Maybe nobody is allowed to appear older than Jesus?  In any case, the last two examples suggest that miscarried babies continue to grow up in Heaven, consistent with the age that each would have been if still living on earth.

 

Messages for Mankind

Thousands of messages have been given to visionaries and prophets over hundreds of years.  Most of the time they were face-to-face with the Blessed Virgin or Jesus.  Remember that these visionaries have been established as sane and normal in their lives – not psychotic or delusional.  Having worked in the psychiatric field for over 36 years, I can assure you that these inspiring messages are not typical of any auditory hallucinations or psychotic delusions.  Moreover, they reveal a great consistency with each other – despite the fact that they are shared from different personalities from vastly different cultures and countries around the world — as well as hundreds of years apart in time!  As even bewildered scientists have proclaimed, “These individuals are in contact with a supernatural and unseen presence.”

Mirjana Dragicevic of Medjugorje asked the Blessed Virgin, “Why are you appearing to us? We are no better than others.”  The Virgin smiled, paused, and then answered,

“I do not necessarily choose the best.” (June 26, 1981) (45:33)

“Pray!  Pray a great deal and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell for not having someone to pray and make sacrifices for them.”
(Mary to Lucia (9), Jacinta (6), and Francisco (8), Fatima, Portugal, August 19, 1917) (32:41)

“Today, I am calling you to prayer.  You know, dear children, that God grants special graces in prayer … I call you, dear children, to prayer with the heart.  Without unceasing prayer, you cannot experience the beauty and greatness of the grace which God is offering you.  May prayer reign in the whole world.  You know that I love you and am coming here out of love, so I could show you the path of peace and salvation for your souls.  I want you to not permit Satan to seduce you.  Dear children, Satan is strong enough!  Therefore, I ask you to dedicate your prayers so that those under his (Satan’s) influence may be saved.  Give witness by your life; sacrifice your lives for the salvation of the world … Therefore, do not be afraid.  If you pray, Satan cannot injure you, not even a little, because you are God’s children, and He is watching over you.  Pray, and let the Rosary always be in your hands.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(48:77-78)

“You must begin your prayers by offering God all that you conceal in your soul.  God sees your every action and knows your every thought.  You can hide nothing from Him.  Hold back nothing.  Admit all your bad deeds and thoughts.  Then you must ask for God’s forgiveness from the bottom of your heart.  Then your sins will not distract you from praying sincerely. … Then pray to forgive all of those who have trespassed against you. … Pray for the spiritual and physical welfare of your relatives. … You must ask God for strength to do His will.  Pray for courage and wisdom to stay on the right path.”
(Mary to Valentine Nyiramukiza, Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, May, 1982)(39:121-122)

“Have them believe and pray; I cannot help him who does not pray and does not sacrifice.  The more you believe firmly, the more you pray and fast for the same intention, the greater is the grace and mercy of God.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, August 18, 1982)(45:170)

“I don’t want it (Rosary) prayed only in the month of May.  I want it to be prayed permanently, within the family, including the children old enough to understand – to be prayed at a set hour when there are no problems with the work in the home.  Love each other.  Fulfill your obligations.  Make peace.  Don’t ask our Lord for peace, because if you do not make it, there will be no peace.  Renew the Five First Saturdays.  You received many graces when all of you did this.”
(Mary to Bernardo Martinez (50), Cuapa, Nicaragua, May 8, 1980)(102)

“Jesus prefers that you address yourselves directly to Him rather than through an intermediary.  In the meantime, if you wish to give yourselves completely to God, and if you wish that I be your protector, then confide to me all your intentions, your fasts, and your sacrifices so that I can dispose of them according to the will of God.  I beseech you, pray to Jesus!  I am His Mother, and I intercede for you with Him.  But all prayers go to Jesus.  I will help, but everything does not depend solely on me, but also your strength, and the strength of those who pray.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, September 4, 1982)(45:171)

“Teach the children to pray.  Teach them to live in truth and live yourselves in truth.  Say the Rosary.  It is the weapon against Satan.  He fears the Rosary.  Recite the Rosary at any gathering of people.”
(Mary to Marina Kizyn (12), Hrushiv, Ukraine, 1987) (2:275)

“The Rosary is the most powerful tool of prayer and conversion to fight evil and receive God’s Love.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“Dear children!  I am calling you to begin to pray the Rosary with a living faith.  Only in that way will I be able to help you.  You wish to receive many graces, but you do not pray.  I cannot help you if you do not undertake the task of prayer seriously.  Dear children, I am calling you to pray the Rosary.  This prayer is a must, and you should pray it with joy.  Only then will you begin to understand why I am with you for such a long time.  I wish to teach you how to pray.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, June 12, 1986)(52:174)

“Pray the Holy Rosary — Satan will be defeated because he hates hearing the name of My Son and my name.  Teach your children how to pray the Holy Rosary …”
(Mary to Judiel Nieva (15), Agoo, Philippines, July 4, 1992)(98:4)

Do not be afraid.  Satan cannot harm you as you have My motherly protection.  But you must still arm yourself with prayer, especially My Holy Rosary.  My daughter, please be guided by Me.  Do not be deceived by the world … Oh, My daughter, why do they not listen to My words?  I want only to save them from eternal perdition … Thank you My child for listening.  Go in peace!”
(Mary to Geraldine, Australia, April 24, 1992)(14:55)

“The most beautiful thing is to believe.  All prayers are good if they are said with faith.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(45:174)

“You have forgotten that with prayer and fasting you can ward off war and suspend natural laws.”
(Mary to teens in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(52:201)

As a good mother I come here each and every month to encourage you, to guide you in wisdom and truth.  Learn the true faith of the Church.  God will never fail you.  God is in control of all things, and He knows all things.  He sees the hearts and minds and souls of all of you.  God sees good here.  If you saw what your prayers are doing – and the power of your prayers, you would never cease praying.”
(Mary to Neal (42), Perryville, Missouri, USA, May 13, 2013)(84)

“Dear children!  You are not aware of the importance of the messages which God is sending you through me.  He is giving you great graces and you don’t realize it.  Pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment.  If you only knew how many graces God is giving you, you would pray without ceasing.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, November 8, 1984)(52:157)

“I have come to prepare the way for Him for your own good – and yet, you do not want to accept.  You do not want to understand.  There is so little time remaining, yet you still allow yourselves to be distracted by earthly goods and desires – which will soon all pass away.  I see so many of My children going astray.  And so I come to plead with them and to show them the correct way.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“If you want to pray better, you always need to pray more.  Time is not a problem.  The problem is love.  Because, if you love something and care about something, you will always find the time for it.”
(Mary to Ivan Dragicevic, Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(48:214)

 “You must renounce your preoccupations and be ready so that the Spirit can lead and guide you interiorly.  Only in this way can you advance spiritually.  When you do this, you will discover that you have the time to complete all your duties and also have time left over.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, 1984) (52:99)

“Praying for your departed loved ones is of great comfort to them and of great help for the souls in purgatory, but people still must work to earn a place in heaven.”
(Mary to Marie-Claire Mukangango, Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, 1982)(39:64)

“There are many souls in Purgatory.  Pray for their intentions … There is a large number of souls who have been in Purgatory for a long time because no one prays for them.  These persons wait for your prayers and your sacrifices.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(45:168)

“The one who turns to God in this world and lives according to God’s Will, can, through Divine Mercy, shorten and even avoid his time in Purgatory.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“Do not work on Sundays.  Blessed is he who believes and unhappy the man who does not believe.”
(Mary to Auguste Arnaud (30), Herault, France, July 8, 1873)(3:135)

“Why do you gladly accept the worldly material privileges which God grants you?  And yet you won’t accept the trials which leads you to God.  Which of these ways, do you reckon, will lead you to God?  You, who carry the cross without even knowing that you are doing so, accept the cross and the one for whom you are carrying it.
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)
(39-CD)

“Jesus gives you His graces in the Mass.  Let the Holy Mass be your life.  Mass is the greatest prayer of God.  You will never be able to understand its greatness.  That is why you must be perfect and humble at Mass, and you should prepare yourselves for it … for an hour at least.  May the Mass, the most exalted and most powerful act of your prayer, be the center of your spiritual life.  Receive Holy Communion with an open and pure heart …”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(48:82)

“It saddens me the most to see that people have no respect for My Son in the Eucharist, and the way people pray whilst their minds are on other things.  I say this to those who pretend to be pious.”               (Mary to Estelle Faguette (33), Pellevoisin, France, February 18, 1876)(137)

“Do not walk indifferently near churches.  I am waiting for you in the Blessed Sacrament.  I ease every suffering.  I console every dejected heart, if the heart turns to me with the trust and confidence.”                 (Jesus to Wladyslawa Papis (12), Sierkierki, Poland, September 26, 1943)(150)

“I am waiting for you, hidden in the tabernacle.  Kneel before the altar and pray.”
(Jesus to Wladyslawa Papis (12), Sierkierki, Poland, January 19, 1944)(150)

“I am wounded by those who insult me.  Make amends for them.”
(Jesus to Wladyslawa Papis (12), Sierkierki, Poland, September 8, 1949)(150)

“I am with you, but I am leaving now.  Pray to My Holy Mother.  She listens to your prayers.  She hears you.”
(Jesus to Wladyslawa Papis (12), Sierkierki, Poland, September 15, 1949)(150)

“I do not dispose all graces.  I receive from God what I obtain through prayer.  God has placed His complete trust in me.  I particularly protect those who have been consecrated to me.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(45:171)

“Bring many sacrifices and offerings to me. Offer your prayers to me as sacrifices.  Be not seekers of self.  That honor be shown to the Eternal and atonement be made to Him is required of these times.  If you consecrate yourselves without reserve, I shall take care of all the rest.  Crosses weighty and deep as the sea I shall lay upon my children, because I love them in my Sacrificed Son.  I beseech you, be prepared to carry the cross that peace may soon be achieved.”  (Mary to Barbara Reuss (12), Marienfried, Germany, June 25, 1946)(130)

“Man is chasing the wind.  Some people do not believe in the existence of Heaven.  They say that the only heaven is on this earth.  Yet, on this earth, all are poor, and all need the gifts of God.  Poverty is not a lack of money, nor is it a lack of food to eat.  The only real poverty is the lack of the grace that leads to the Lord.  Possessions of this world are only ashes, while the only real riches are the riches of the heart.”
(Jesus to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

Wherever I appear, My Son is with me – but Satan also follows.  You have unwittingly allowed him to take charge of you and rule over you.  Sometimes you understand that some of your deeds are not allowed by God — but you soon suppress those thoughts.  Do not give in, dear children.  Wipe away from my face the tears which I shed as I watch what you do.  Look around you.  Take the time to come to God in the church.  Come into your Father’s house.  Take the time to meet for family prayer and ask for God’s grace.  Remember your deceased; make them happy by offering Mass.  Do not look down your nose at the poor man who is begging for a crust of bread.  Do not send him away from your rich table.  Help him and God will help you. … Do not fool yourself into thinking, ‘I am good – but my brother who lives next to me is not good.’  You will be mistaken”  (Mary to the world through Mirjana Dragicevic (22), Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzogovina,   January 28, 1987)(52:231)

 “Your every action must be born of kindness, your every word spoken with love.  Live as God would have you live, and others will be inspired to do the same.  By walking the world as a shepherd, you will show My earthly children that the walk to heaven is a long and narrow road that is not easy to travel.  But the road leading to Satan is wide and easy to follow, because the Devil puts no obstacles on the road to darkness.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)
(39-CD)

“In other places where I have appeared, the Lord has been present.  My children, without the hand of God, nothing is possible.  I make you listen to things that you had listened to before, but did not practice.  Now the Lord gives you a new chance.  The answer is in you.”
(Mary to Gladys Quiroga de Motta (47), San Nicolas, Argentina, April 12, 1984)(149:2)

“Make your peace with God and among yourselves.  If confession does not mean anything for you, really, you will be converted with great difficulty.  Pray, pray!  It is necessary to believe firmly, to go to confession regularly and likewise, to receive Holy Communion.  It is the only salvation.  One must invite people to go to confession each month, especially on the first Saturday … Do not go to confession through habit.  Confession should give an impulse to your faith.  It should stimulate you and bring you closer to Jesus.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(48:81)

“Daughter, children, here I am as I announced before; some will feel Me … others will see Me between the shrubs … others will perceive the perfumed roses of My garden from Heaven … and even more, some, who are sick, drinking from the water of My grotto of prayer, will be relieved; others, will be healed, attaining health and peace..!  Daughter, wherever I place My Feet, it is as sowing the seed … and behold, the Doctrine and the Gospel are enacted through the faith that comes forth from the heart of those who seek Me!  And I tell you, all of you will be saved … for the Church renews and calls to a burning faith … when her children draw close to the flock of My Divine Son … to nourish themselves with His Mystical Body … and daughter, today many will be nourished!”
(Mary to Maria Esperanza (57), Betania, Venezuela, 11:00 a.m., December 8, 1986)(9)

“Take mud into your hands.  Wash yourself with water!  This is to teach the sinners that sin makes the soul dirty, yet the soul will be cleansed again through the water of grace.”
(Mary to Pierina Gilli (40’s), Fontanelle, Italy, April 17, 1966)(134:6)

“Fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays.  The best fast is on bread and water.  Through fasting and prayer one can stop wars, one can suspend the natural laws of nature … Works of charity cannot replace fasting … Everyone except the sick has to fast … There is only one path – prayer, strong faith, and fasting …”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(48:79)

Father De Marchi lists a number of teachings from Blessed Mary that Jacinta (from Fatima) shared with Mother Godinho during Jacinta’s hospital stay in 1919:

“The sins which cause most souls to go to hell are the sins of the flesh.”

“The world is perishing because the people do not meditate.”

“Many marriages are not of God and do not please Our Lord.”

“Wars are punishment for sin.”

“Priests must be very, very pure.”

“Confession is a Sacrament of Mercy, and we must confess with joy and trust.  There can be no salvation without confession.”

“The Mother of God wants more virgin souls bound by a vow of chastity.”

(Mary to Jacinta Marto (8), Fatima, Portugal, 1919) (29:260)

 

“My little white dove, do you know what I find most lacking in the world today?  It is Faith.  There are so few souls that believe in Me and My love.  They profess their belief   and their love, but they do not live this belief.  Their hearts are cold, for without faith there can be no love.  Pray and sacrifice yourself, My Child, that faith may once again find entrance into the hearts of man.”
(Jesus to Sister Mildred Neuzil (38), midwest USA, May 29, 1954)(144:Part II)

“There are many lights in the world to follow, but there is only one True Light – that of God.  Live with your Faith throughout your life.  Don’t wear it like a coat that you put on and take off, since this won’t save you when you die.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“I know that many will not believe you, and that many who have an impassioned faith will cool off.  You remain firm, and motivate people to instant prayer, penance, and conversion.  At the end, you will be happier.  When you suffer difficulties and need something, come to me.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(45:173)

“The first and greatest commandment is Love.  One who possesses love will honor one’s Lord and Creator in His creation.  One who possesses love will do nothing dishonorable towards one’s neighbor.  That is what this world lacks: Love of God, Love of neighbor.”
(Mary to Ida Peerdman (45), Amsterdam, Holland, July 2, 1951)(13:40)

 

When a Croatian Catholic priest doubted the healing of a Serbian gypsy child, he asked one of the Medjugorje visionaries how the Mother of God could intercede for the healing of a child of the Orthodox faith of the despised ethnic enemy, the Serbians?  The visionary stated that Mother Mary gazed at the priest for a long time “with long-suffering tolerance” before answering:

“Tell this priest; tell everyone, that it is you who are divided on earth.  The Muslims and the Orthodox, for the same reason as Catholics, are equal before my Son and me.  You are all my children.  Certainly, all religions are not equal, but all men are equal before God, as St. Paul says.  It does not suffice to belong to the Catholic Church to be saved, but it is necessary to respect the commandments of God in following one’s conscience.”
(January, 1985)(45:23-24)

“My little white dove, if the world is dying, it is because it will not let Me give it life.  I am the resurrection and the life, and unless souls seek their life in Me, they will   find only death and destruction.  They fear man-made destroyers of life, yet destruction is in themselves.  Man destroys himself through the evil that is in himself.  Implements of war kill only that which is without.  Man kills that within himself which none but he can kill.  God is light; man is darkness, and unless he comes into the light, he will be forever darkness.  The Voice of My Heart is the Voice of Mercy.  If man will not listen, there is no more I can do, for he ties My hands.”
(Jesus to Sister Mildred Neuzil (38), midwest USA, May 22, 1954)(144:Part II)

“You should love your enemies.  You should not judge, nor bear rancor, nor curse anyone, but bless and pray for them.  I know that you are not able to love your enemies, but I beg you to pray every day at least five minutes to the Sacred Heart and to My Heart and we will give you the divine love with which you will be able to love even your enemies.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, 1984) (52:98)

“You must love each other and not hold on to anger.  Many in this country have hatred in their hearts.  You must cleanse your own heart with My Son’s love.  Pray, children!  Pray to me and I will help you.  A small seed of anger can grow into a great tree of hatred that can block God’s light and cast you into darkness.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“Many souls err, are lost, waiting for somebody to save them.  The sin of impurity greatly offends Our Lord.  A big part of the clergy – that is priests, bishops, and cardinals – are stepping on paths of perdition, and it is because of them that many souls are condemned.”
(Mary to Luz Amparo Cuevas, El Escorial, Spain, 1980-1992)(107)

“Dear children!  I wish to call you to grow in love.  A flower cannot grow without water.  Neither can you grow without God’s blessing.  You should pray for His blessing from day to day so that you can grow normally and carry out your activities with God.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, April 10, 1986)(52:172)

“I do not ask you to give money to churches.  I ask you to love.  Those who give money to the poor and to the churches but yet have not love, have lives of no value.  I will visit the homes of my children more frequently, because those who go to church do not always go there to pray.   Give.  Do not deprive anyone who asks for help.  Be humble, my children.  Do not insult the proud.  Forgive them.  Then you will be forgiven.”
(Mary to Myrna Al Akharas (18), Damascus, Syria, December 18, 1982)(2:252)

“For the world is not saved by force.  The world will be saved by the Spirit.  For it is nothing other than ideas which rule the world.”
(Mary to Ida Peerdman (45), Amsterdam, Holland, April 29, 1951)(13:41)

“Pride leads to every other sin in the world.  You must be humble and answer with humbleness every possible offense.  With humbleness you can achieve anything and be less likely to fall into temptation.”
(Mary to Luz Amparo Cuevas, El Escorial, Spain, 1980-1992)(107)

“Don’t cover the soul with a mask of hatred, resentment, and pride.  Remove the cancer of pride because it is killing your souls.”
(Mary to Patricia Talbot (17), Cuenca, Ecuador, December 12, 1989)(23:55)

“Great events and painful riots are growing around the world; countries and nations are being shaken by bad times..!  Men have lessened their potential, in regard to their spirituality … behold they are navigating against the divine current of peace, love and brotherly unity!  That is why, I am letting you feel Me and My Divine Son … so My children feel in their hearts Our soft touch and so they may listen to the announcement that: ‘The time of their freedom has arrived’ … may they make themselves present through sanctifying love … and may they continue their way seeking the light … and thus, their thoughts may receive the grace of the Holy Spirit, so they may be worthy of that light and music of the universe!  Think that It is sufficient to enter into the constitution of men’s structure, to find an immense forge … with the mission to fulfill an inevitable duty, that is to say, to build love in each deed which represents divinity!  Much willpower is needed!  That is why, humbly obey the teachings of the Commandments of My beloved Son, so men may ascend to the stage of the Great truth of God meeting with His children!”  He comes to give life again!  Anyone, regardless of his race, caste, religion for Him all are the same … the only existing truth should be to practice what is good … and to lead a generous life!  I keep you here in My Heart!”
(Mary to Maria Esperanza (61), Betania, Venezuela, 6:00 p.m., January 5, 1990)(9)

“Dear children!  You are now preoccupied with material things, and in the material things you lose everything that God wants to give you.  I invite you, dear children, to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that you need now, in order that you may give witness to my presence here and to everything I am giving you.  Dear children abandon yourselves to me so that I can lead you totally.  Do not be preoccupied with the material things of this world.  Thank you for your response to my call.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, April 17, 1986)(52:172)

“Do not work for the things of this world, since they do not belong to you. And you won’t be here forever.  You are only temporary travelers.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“My dear daughter, how sadly lost youth is!  Drug addiction and easy life is the picture the evil one has set for the young!  Sin, committed in very different ways, makes them stray further and further from God!  If only they turn their eyes toward the Mother of God, the Mother will make them find God again.  If only they penetrate the Mother’s Heart will they be able to hear the Lord’s voice.”
(Mary to Gladys Quiroga de Motta (50), San Nicolas, Argentina, September 21, 1987)(149:3)

“I have already given many signs and spoken often to the world, but people have not taken them seriously.  On account of these outward signs the greater multitude do not even grasp the essential things.  Outward signs only succeed in distracting many, who do not draw the necessary conclusions from them.”
(Mary to Barbara Reuss (12), Marienfried, Germany, June 25, 1946)(130)

“Why do you insist on miracles?  There are miracles every day, but you do not believe in them.  Rather, ask for the light because you are blind … Happy is he who believes without waiting for miracles, since those who wait for miracles will have difficulties in believing when the miracles no longer take place.  Their faith will disappear.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“Children are not taught to love Me, because those who have charge over them have no time or patience to do so.  My Heart grieves over My children in the world.  Their hearts are being driven farther and farther away from Me.  They will not even listen to My Mother, because they have never been taught to listen (to Her).”
(Jesus to Sister Mildred Neuzil (38), midwest USA, July 11, 1954)(144:Part II)

 

Jesus had decided to save Estelle Faguette from death with a miraculous healing, but she humbly admitted to the Virgin Mary that it was okay if she died.  An astonished Mary said, smiling:

“Ungrateful, if My Son gives you life, it is because you need it.  What other more precious thing can He give the people on Earth other than life?  Don’t think that you will be free from suffering. No!  You will suffer and not be free from troubles.  This is what life brings.  You have touched My Son’s heart by your self-denial and patience.  Don’t lose those fruits by making the wrong choice.”
(Mary to Estelle Faguette (33), Pellevoisin, France, February 15, 1876)(137)

“My children, in truth, I am not staying as long as I used to do as I have told you all that was necessary … I am happy with the fruits that were born in Rwanda since I came here.  Don’t worry about the difficulties you have.  Nothing is better than having God.  My dear children, problems exist everywhere, but the most important thing is to have an accepting heart without complaining.”
(Mary to Alphonsine Mumureke (24), Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, November 28, 1989) (36:98)

Mother Mary also told the visionaries that suffering is “a part of our daily bread while still on earth.”  She taught them how to accept and suffer well – and that suffering leads to heaven.  Suffering teaches us many things that we would not otherwise learn.  “Each person carries a cross, but what is important is to offer our sufferings to God and live through them without complaining.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, 1981-1989)(36:44)

“It is not mankind who is abandoned by God, but God who is abandoned by mankind!”
(Mary to Gladys Quiroga de Motta (51), San Nicolas, Argentina, December 10, 1988)(149:3)

At a time when AIDS was becoming an epidemic in Africa, Jesus told Agnes,

“They should not use their bodies as an instrument of pleasure.  They are using all means to love and be loved, and they forget that the true love comes from God.  Instead of being at the service of God, they are at the service of money.  They must make of their body an instrument destined to the glory of God and not an object of pleasure at the service of men.  Young men must seek to satisfy the hunger of their spirit, not feed the desires of their flesh.  They should pray to Mary to show them the right way to God.”
(Jesus to Agnes Kamagaju (21), Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, August 18, 1982)(39:118)

“Do not expect everything from God if you do nothing for Him.  Awaken and return to the Lord.”
(Mary to Gladys Quiroga de Motta (50), San Nicolas, Argentina, May 10, 1987)(149:3)

“The sick who want to be healed must trust me more and sanctify their suffering if they want to earn Paradise.  If they do not do this, they will not be awarded and will be severely punished instead.  I hope that all those who get to know my words will make every kind of effort to earn Paradise.  Those who suffer without complaining will obtain anything they ask from my Son and me.  Pray a lot for those who have a sick soul; my Son Jesus died on the cross to save them.  Many people do not understand these words of mine — that is why I suffer so much.”
(Mary to Adelaide Roncalli (7), Ghiaie di Bonate, Italy, May 29, 1944)
(110)

“All of you who are sick with incurable diseases, a good heart surpasses all; there are no riches that are beyond a clean heart.  All of you who have had difficulties of all kinds, there are difficulties everywhere, in all walks of life.  When they don’t go away, offer them to God.  Every good Christian is requested to offer a sacrifice.  All of you who have problems in your families, think of the Holy Family, who lived in poverty, and who lived among those who didn’t like them nor understood them, and with the problems you have, come close to them.”
(Mary to Alphonsine Mumureke (24), Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa, November 28, 1989) (36:97)

“Dear Lady, the people told me to ask you whether their sick children must be carried here for being healed,” stated Adelaide.  In a heavenly voice, the Blessed Virgin answered,

“No, it is not necessary for everybody to come here; those who can afford it may come and they will be healed or remain sick according to their sacrifices, but they must not commit great sins anymore.”
(Mary to Adelaide Roncalli (7), Ghiaie di Bonate, Italy, May 19, 1944)(110)

“After my ascension into Heaven, I have always acted as Mediatrix between my Son Jesus and the whole of mankind.  How many graces I have been able to obtain in all these centuries!  How many graces were shown.  How much punishment was prevented.  How many dialogues did I hold with souls.  How often have I visited Earth to bring my messages to the people – but people continue to offend Our Lord.  I have chosen this place of Montichiari because there is still the humility of poor Bethlehem among my sons who till the soil.  Because so many prayers are said continuously, this place will be transformed into a source of rich blessings.”
(Mary to Pierina Gilli (40’s), Fontanelle, Italy, August 6, 1966)(134:8)

Dear children!  Give thanks with me to the Most High for my presence with you.  My heart is joyful watching the love and joy in the living of my messages.  Many of you have responded, but I wait for, and seek, all the hearts that have fallen asleep to awaken from the sleep of unbelief.  Little children, draw even closer to my Immaculate Heart so that I can lead all of you toward eternity.  Thank you for having responded to my call.”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, June 25, 2011—the 30th anniversary)(45:11)

“My children, be mindful of God because God is with us.  You know much, but you really know nothing.  Your knowledge is incomplete.  One day you will know everything as God knows me.  Do good to evil-doers.  Do not mistreat anyone.  Repent and believe!  Be mindful of me in your joy.  Announce my Son Emmanuel.  He who announces Him is saved.  He who does not … his faith is in vain.  Love one another.”
(Mary to Myrna Al Akharas (18), Damascus, Syria, December 18, 1982)(2:252)

“My little daughter, tell my children of all races, of all nations, of all religions, that I love them.  All of my children are the same.  There do not exist rich ones or poor ones, ugly ones or beautiful ones, black or white.  I come to gather all of them to help them so that they can be saved.  I love all of them … to the youth I am directing myself so that they will really serve me and make me happy… to save the world.  Little daughter, you are beholding me with my hands outstretched with graces and wrapped in the splendor of light to call all my children to conversion.”
(Mary to Maria Esperanza (47), Betania, Venezuela, March 25, 1976)(9)

 

When asked about Protestants praying the Rosary, Blessed Mary replied,

“I do not look at religion.  All people are My children regardless of their beliefs.  Pray the Rosary – not as Catholics – but as My children.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, 1981-1989)(39-CD)

“Before, the world was saved by means of Noah’s Ark; today the Ark is My Mother.  Through Her, souls will be saved, because She will bring them toward Me.  He who rejects My Mother rejects Me!  Many are letting the grace of God pass by in these days.”
(Jesus to Gladys Quiroga de Motta (52), San Nicolas, Argentina, December 30,            1989)(149:3)

 “Children, today you have truly come to discern My message and at the same time, you have heard at daybreak, the song of the birds … in order to see My Image at the foot of a tree at My grotto … you saw the water of My spring flow over the stones, singing to the Lord … O children! My mystical eye, has observed each one of your faces and has been able to see in the bottom of your hearts the desire of an inner renewal, to analyze and contemplate all the beautiful things this temple of nature holds, temple I have chosen to receive all of My children ..! Thus, sons and daughters, henceforth you will be enabled to understand the wonderful and heavenly gamut that exists here … and with will power you will be able to take part in the banquet of love My Divine Son and this Mother offer you … so you may lead a life, singing to the Lord His psalm of love ..!”
(Mary to Maria Esperanza (60), Betania, Venezuela, 9:30 p.m., June 21,  1989)(9)

“You, who rely on your intelligence, stop and take time to ponder – that this intelligence comes from nowhere but from the kindness of God.  God has proved His Mercy by giving you the possibility of using His creation as you wish.  If he had deprived you of your own free will, he would have created all of you equal.  No one would have been able to think or understand.  You would have perceived but not been able to distinguish between good and bad.  Thus God has granted you freedom so that each man may choose.  God shows you what is good, and He shows you the true road.  Choose then, with His help, the road that you wish to follow.”
(Mary to teenagers in Kibeho, Rwanda, December 24, 1983)(39-CD)

“My daughter, how beautiful is the earth.  In this place I shall establish my Kingdom and My peace.  I shall give you My Heart in order to have yours.  Your sins are forgiven because you are looking for Me.  He who looks for Me, I shall imprint My image in him.  Tell My children to come for Me, for I am with them at all times.”
(Jesus to Myrna Al Akharas (22), Damascus, Syria, October 15, 1986)(2:256)

 

“Dear children, if you knew how much I love you, you would cry without ceasing!”
(Mary to teenagers in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzogovina, 1981-present)(45:176)

“Children, I speak to all of you who have seen Me seconds ago… ascending into Heaven with My Arms opened, with a rain of roses … and you have had the proof in those petals, red fire, which represent the Heart of My Divine Jesus … He, as Christ Redeemer and Savior … renewing and purifying all men on earth!  Sons and daughters, all this seems like a dream to you … but it is a lively truth, and unique in these times of great calamity for men!  On this day when My Assumption into Heaven is recalled … I want to leave you My roses of love … so keeping them in your hearts, you will have Me present with My Beloved Son!  I keep you here in My Heart!”
(Mary to Maria Esperanza (60), Betania, Venezuela, 5:00 p.m., August 15, 1989)(9)

“Dear daughter, I am sorry I must leave you, but my time has passed.  Do not lose heart if you do not see me for a while.  Think of what I have told you; I will come back in your hour (of death).  You will be a little martyr in this valley of real sorrows.  Do not get discouraged, I wish my triumph to happen soon.  Pray for the Pope and tell him to act quickly, because I want to be solicitous to everyone in this place.  If anything is required from me, I will intercede with my Son for it.  I will be your award if your martyrdom is cheerful.  These words of mine will be of great comfort to you in your trials.  Endure everything patiently and then you will reach me in Paradise.  Those who make you suffer intentionally will not come to Heaven if they do not make amends for their wrongs and do not repent deeply.  Cheer up, because we will meet again, my dear little martyr.”  I felt a sweet and gentle kiss on my forehead.
(Mary to Adelaide Roncalli (7), Ghiaie di Bonate, Italy, May 31, 1944)(110)

 And, finally, here is one more example of a clear message coming from the Virgin Mary while miraculous and supernatural signs were occurring simultaneously for all who were present.  These corresponding occurrences are unlikely to be coincidental – but rather a validation of the real presence of a divine being, accompanied by supernatural and inexplicable events.  On this particular occasion, March 25, 1978, on this farm in Betania, Venezuela, many saw a radiant mist coming from the woods.  As the mist settled on top of a large tree, visionary Maria Esperanza — with fifteen others — saw Our Lady materialize with hands on her chest.

Maria heard, “Little daughter, this is not a dream. My presence among you is real.”

“Then her hands opened up, and I saw what appeared to be rays coming from her hands. They came directly toward us, bathing us with light — and one man cried out, ‘Everything is burning up!’ The whole area appeared to be on fire.  It was beautiful. The sun began to gyrate, and everyone was shouting with emotion.”
(Maria Esperanza (49), Betania, Venezuela, March 25, 1978)(11:276-277)(68:201-202)

Angel caught on film?

There are many accounts of miraculous healings that defy medical or scientific explanation.  Doctors often refuse to discuss them because they cannot even begin to explain how such remarkable changes could happen.  Others believe that the power of suggestion and strong beliefs can produce such “mind over matter” transformations.  But, what if the person was not even praying?  What if they did not have any strong belief?  What if they were unconscious and unable to pray?  What if they were totally unaware of anyone else praying for them?

One such event was actually reported on the national CNN news and NBC’s Today Show.  This report was taken more seriously because a photo of “an angel” or supernatural light that was witnessed accompanied the miraculous healing.  The story was presented as this:

In September of 2008, 14-year-old Chelsea Banton lay dying of pneumonia in a hospital room in Charlotte, North Carolina.  She had been born prematurely with developmental disabilities and had battled serious health problems all of her life.  Doctors had exhausted all treatment; the family had told her their goodbyes.  All they could do now was pray for her as her life support was removed.  Mother Colleen waited for her dying daughter to take her last breath.  It was at that moment that a bright light appeared in the room – but only seen by people on the television screen of the room monitor.  Quickly, a picture was taken of the supernatural light on the TV screen – and immediately the young girl began making a full and miraculous recovery.  The doctors and nurses could not begin to explain her amazing improvement.  The medical staff on duty at that time agreed that the three vertical shafts of light that suddenly appeared were not a reflection or glare from within the room.  Everybody felt that an angel had appeared and saved her life.

Angel caught on film?
Angel caught on film?

Prayer to St. MICHAEL

Saint Michael the Archangel — defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all other evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have Mercy on us.

The Shroud of Turin

This very fine linen is allegedly the burial cloth that was wrapped around the dead body of Jesus Christ.  It has been studied intensely by many scientists since 1978.  There has been much controversy and many misunderstandings.  So why is this artifact so important?  First of all, it would validate the Biblical account of Jesus being scourged, tortured, beaten, and finally crucified – giving much credibility to the Biblical story with physical evidence.  Secondly, it also would provide physical evidence toward validating a supernatural event – the resurrection of his body and how he mysteriously disappeared from his tomb.  It strengthens the faith for many people when we actually have physical evidence to confirm the details of such Biblical stories.

Luke 23, verses 50-53, describes the body of Jesus being wrapped in a fine linen shroud from the wealthy Joseph of Arimathea – who had also donated a wonderful tomb for the body.  This exquisite “dining table cloth” measures 14.3 inches long by 3.7 inches wide – or exactly four cubits by one cubit in the ancient method of measurement for that time period.  It was considered a table cloth because of its dimensions and the drip patterns found on one side.   Jewish custom had people recline at the table on one side as they were to be served from the other side (as pictured in the Last Supper painting).  Textile experts established that its distinct “triple herringbone weave” is consistent with fine, first century weaving. (77:10) Some researchers even theorize that since the drip patterns of sauce or wine had not been cleaned from it yet, that, perhaps, this was the dining cloth from the Last Supper.  In any case, it was definitely one of the finest and most expensive linens of its day. (76)

Researchers reveal that the man’s image on the cloth indicates that he was 5’11” tall, about 175 lbs., and approximately 30-35 years old.  Due to the publicized Carbon 14 dating test performed in 1988, many began to believe instead that this was some kind of medieval artistic creation — since the test suggested that the shroud was no older than 1290-1360 A.D.  However, that carbon-dating analysis failed to pass peer-review of fellow scientists and was never published in any scientific journals due to serious flaws in the testing procedure (The results were actually published, instead, in Nature Magazine).  Here are the reasons that scientists listed for questioning, challenging, and rejecting this Carbon 14 testing: (76)

  1. Proper sampling of the material was to have three postage-stamp size pieces removed from three different areas of the shroud. This protocol was violated as all three pieces were taken from a single site – a site that was later found to be a rewoven and repaired section of the shroud not typical of the rest. (76)
  2. On January 20, 2005, a paper by Ray Rogers, published in “Thermochimicaacta,” a highly-respected, peer-reviewed, scientific journal concluded: “The combined evidence from chemical kinetics, analytical chemistry, cotton content, and pyrolysis/mass spectrometry proves that the material from the radiocarbon testing area of the shroud is significantly different from that of the main cloth.  The radiocarbon sample was thus not part of the original cloth and is invalid for determining the age of the shroud.” (77:22)
  3. In August of 2008, Robert Villarreal and a team of eight researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory analyzed Roger’s samples and corroborated all of Roger’s conclusions. (77:23)
  4. The shroud survived three fires over the centuries. The most intense fire in 1532 reached 920 degrees centigrade and melted the silver casket that contained the shroud.  The melting silver burned holes in the linen.  Since intense heat could affect the results of a carbon-dating process, Russian scientists set out to determine how much it could throw off test results.  Simulating the heat intensity from that 1532 fire, the Russians determined that carbon-dating tests could be in error by as much as 700 to 1,300 years!
  5. Studies examining the burial linens of mummies found a strange anomaly. Despite being the same age as the mummy, carbon-dating suggested that the linens were anywhere from 300 to 600 years younger.
  6. Microorganisms, bacteria, and fungi found on the shroud could also throw off the carbon testing results by as much as 300 years.
  7. Because the image appears to be oxidized or “burned into” the fibers, this, too, would affect the linen and subsequent carbon-dating tests. (76)

It is important to understand those serious flaws and potential contaminations for any carbon-dating test.  That was the only scientific test in over thirty years that cast any doubt upon the shroud’s authenticity.  Sadly, it seems to be the most publicized because it suggests a hoax and gave skeptics and atheists the “evidence” they desired.  However, the above facts are certainly more than enough reasons to discard the infamous 1988 carbon-dating tests – and thus eliminate the only known challenge presently to the shroud’s authenticity.

On May 28, 1898, Secondo Pia photographed the shroud and was stunned to see a positive, three-dimensional image on the negative plate in his darkroom.  Until the technology of photography had reached this level, nobody knew that this was a negative image.  In the 1960’s Leo Vala, a professional London photographer, was also impressed by the three-dimensional, negative image:

I have been involved in the invention of many complicated visual processes, and I can tell you that nobody could have faked that image.  Nobody could do it today with all the technology we have.  It’s a perfect negative.  It has a photographic quality that is extremely precise.” (78:198)

In the late 1970’s an electronics engineer, Peter Schumacher, developed a sophisticated topographical device for NASA’s space program called the Interpretation Systems VP-8 Image Analyzer.  It translated a monochromatic tonal scale of the photographed surfaces of planets into layers of vertical relief.  In other words, it could examine a flat photograph of a three-dimensional object and convert it into a three-dimensional image.  When a regular photograph is analyzed, it “collapses and distorts.”  But when Dr. John Jackson analyzed the shroud image with the VP-8 device, it was consistently and uniquely three-dimensional:

The results are unlike anything I have processed through the VP-8 Analyzer before or since.  Only the Shroud of Turin has ever produced these results.  One must consider how and why an artist would embed three-dimensional information in the grey shading of an image when no means of viewing this property of the image would be available for at least 650 years.  Would an artist produce this work before the device to show the results was even invented?  No method, no style, and no artistic skills are known to exist that can produce images that will induce the same photogrammatic results as the shroud does …” (78:199)

Other details validate this image as truly being the image of Jesus Christ: (76)

  1. Max Frey, a Swiss criminologist, found 58 species of pollens on the shroud. 45 of them could have come from the Jerusalem area; 18 of them could ONLY come from the Holy Land and from flowers blooming in early April — around Passover / Easter!
  2. Scientists have found no pigments, paints, dyes, stains, or brush marks to suggest an artist’s creation. The image color would not dissolve with the 25 solvents tested.
  3. Ultraviolet light tests reveal blood serum halos for each scourge mark and the wound in his side from when a spear lanced his side after death. These “invisible” details are further proof that a hoax is unlikely; what artist would add invisible attributes?
  4. A visible wound in his side between the ribs correlates with the scripture’s reporting of a Roman guard’s lancing his dead body to verify death. The blood stains from this wound confirm that the wound was inflicted post mortem.  Present also are stains from a clear bodily fluid such as pericardial fluid or fluid from the pleural sac or pleural cavity.  These findings indicate that the man was stabbed near his heart after he died.
  5. Common to crucifixions are the breaking of legs to hasten death. Jesus reportedly died too quickly for that to happen, and the shroud image indeed shows that no leg bones had been broken.
  6. From the angles of the blood stains the forensic experts have determined that this blood flowed while the man was upright with his arms angled like the hands of a clock at ten and two – as in a crucifixion on a cross.
  7. Fifteen puncture wounds encircling the top of the head correlate with the crown of thorns reportedly jammed onto the head of Jesus Christ. Thorns in that region were most likely from two to four inches long.  No other crucified men were known to have worn a crown of thorns.
  8. The visible shoulder abrasions are consistent with injuries sustained while carrying the cross piece of the cross. The tip of his nose as well as his knees were scraped badly.  These injuries would be consistent with falling face first while carrying the cross.
  9. The soldiers had struck blows on Jesus’s face; the shroud reflects blows to the forehead, brow, right cheek (swollen), right upper lip, jaw, and nose.
  10. We believe that the reported scourging of Jesus was horrible.  Jewish law only allows 39 lashes, but it was the Romans who did the torture.  Approximately 120 scourge marks are present on the shroud’s image of his body, indicating that two Romans were striking him, one on each side, according to the directionality of the lash-marks.
  11. The shroud depicts clear nail holes in his wrists and one through his feet.  The wrist holes would have severed the median nerve, causing the thumbs to draw inward.  The shroud depicts the thumbs as drawn in, hidden behind the other fingers.
  12. The wound in his side is between the 5th and 6th ribs and measured on the shroud as one and a half inches long and ¾ of an inch wide – the exact size and dimensions of a Roman lance.  There was no swelling – which is consistent with a post mortem wound.
  13. Frederick T. Zugibe noted that travertine aragonite dust taken from the bloody foot area of the shroud was a very high and significant match to Jerusalem dirt samples when using a scanning ion microprobe of high resolution. (77:18)
  14. As there are no signs of decomposition or decay with the shroud image, the body was still in a state of rigor mortis – which lasts only for about 48 hours.  All bodies would be expected to be still wrapped at that time, but the body of Jesus departed in some fashion on Sunday morning about 40 hours after his death.  The image depicts his feet still angled downward as if still nailed to the cross.  He “left” the shroud before his body could begin decaying.
  15. The 3-D imaging analysis also revealed other images on the shroud.  Hundreds of flower petals and leaves are evident around his body – and match the blooming flowers of springtime in the Holy Land.  Coins had been placed on his eyes.  Through computer analysis, polarized image overlays of ancient coins found an exact match – the Lepton, produced around 29 A.D. under Tiberius Caesar and Pontius Pilate!

Were the blood stains real human blood or added later by artists?  Pathologists and scientists all agree with the following summary:

Microchemical, fluorescence, and spectrographic tests reveal that the stains are human blood, type AB.  They resulted from real bleeding from real wounds of a real body that came into contact with the linen.  The distinctive forensic signature of clotting (red corpuscles around the edge of the clot and a clear yellowish halo of serum) is clearly present.  Some of the blood flow was venous and some was arterial.  Most of the blood flowed while the man was alive, and it remained on his body.  Some, however, clearly oozed from a dead body.” (78:200)(77)

All of these scientific and medical facts present overwhelming evidence to suggest that this is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.  But the Shroud of Turin also documents a supernatural event that confirms the foundation of the Christian faith – the Resurrection of the Son of God.  If the Bible story is valid, then the Shroud MUST provide clues to this supernatural event.  Here are what the scientists discovered: (76)

  1. They cannot determine, despite all of their scientific studies, exactly how the image was created on the linen cloth. Efforts to recreate such an image with chemistry and physics on old linen cloths have all failed.  Science cannot explain how the image exists.
  2. It is not burned as there is no evidence of scorch marks – as if the linen was subjected to a heated, three-dimensional statue. The material does not fluoresce under ultra-violet illumination.
  3. Scientists have determined that the top layer of linen fibrils have been oxidized to a depth of only six microns – half the thickness of a human hair. They theorize that a brief blast of energy like radiation could cause such a reaction.  When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the shadows of the vaporized residents were imprinted on the side of any building left standing – as if a dark image on negative film had been created from this burst of radiation.
  4. In the 1980’s a chemist at Michigan University, Dr. Giles Carter, discovered that the shroud displayed properties shared with long wave X-rays. A skeletal structure of bones, hands, and two rows of teeth were uncovered.  Even the thumbs which were drawn in from the piercing of the median nerve in the wrist can be seen through the other parts of the hand.  What kind of energy would produce a negative image with X-ray quality on this cloth?
  5. This was not just a contact phenomenon between the body and the shroud. Parts of the body not in contact with the linen (and as far away from contact as several inches) still show up in the imprinted image.  It is like the body has passed through the cloth.
  6. The lack of any blood smears on the shroud suggests that the body made a very strange exit from within the shroud. Lifting the shroud off the body would have smeared the blood in areas where it had collected, possibly reopening wounds.  To state it simply, the man disappeared from within the wrapped linen.  The apostles Peter and John found the burial cloth “flattened” – and “they saw and believed.”  The current theory is that His glorified body passed through the cloth, and it collapsed on to itself – which would have been an incredible sight to behold afterwards.  The apostles would have seen the linen still in a wrapped position, but now emptied.  Luke 24: verse 12: “he saw the linen cloths positioned alone, and he went away, wondering to himself about what had happened.”  Like a magic trick, the body vanished from within the shroud without the linen being unwrapped from the body.  Remember that it was reported later in the scriptures that Jesus’s glorified body also passed through solid walls and doors to meet with his apostles.
  7. Another bizarre finding that scientists determined was that the image depicts “a weightless body” because there are no marks of pressure on certain parts of the shroud when the image was made. If the body had had weight at the time of the light burst, then the image would have appeared differently with pressure points.  Instead the image is “evenly photographed” by the flash without obvious pressure points.
  8. It was also determined that at the time of the light burst, the man was in an upright position with his long hair falling straight down due to gravity. If he had been lying down, his shoulder-length hair would have fallen back and away from his shoulders.
  9. Many tests were run to precisely determine what direction this light source was coming from that illuminated his body in a totally dark tomb. Assuming from the evidence that he was upright and probably suspended slightly above the ground, the light would have been coming from directly overhead.  This was confirmed by numerous photographic tests to determine the direction of the light source that created this image blast onto the shroud like a photo negative. (76)

What kind of supernatural light appears in a totally pitch-black tomb?  How does anybody disappear from within a wrapped linen without unfolding it and smearing blood everywhere? 

Matthew 28: verses 2-4:  “For an Angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and as he approached, he rolled back the stone and sat down on it.  Now his appearance was like lightning, and his vestment like snow.  Then, out of fear of him, the guards were terrified, and they became (immobilized) like dead men.”

The majority of the scientists involved with all of the testing and analyses with the Shroud of Turin were generally atheists or agnostics.  According to Father Francis Peffley, by the time their research ended, 95% of them had become Christians. (76) And yet, there is still another artifact that validates the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin …

 

Damascus, Syria, 1982-1990

Myrna (Maria) Al Akharas was just 18 years old when she married her husband Nicholas in 1982. In November of that year her sister-in-law, Layla, became quite ill. While praying fervently for her on November 22, 1982, without any warning, her hands began to exude oil. Two other ladies present insisted that she place her hands on Layla, and when she did, Layla was instantly healed. Myrna was totally confused.

Myrna (Maria) Al Akharas
Myrna (Maria) Al Akharas

Five days later, a small, three-inch tall picture of Mary with the Christ child in their bedroom began oozing enough oil to fill a saucer! Confused, family members were summoned – and they all began praying. Within one hour, four more dishes of oil came from the small icon. Suddenly, Myrna could not hear any sounds around her – as if mysteriously blocked by some presence. Then a most beautiful voice said to her,

Mary (Myrna), do not be frightened. I am with you. Open the doors and do not deprive anyone from seeing me. Light a candle for me.

Then she could hear sounds around her again. The icon poured forth oil for the next four days. The clergy and civil authorities all investigated for any evidence of a fraud or trick. They could only conclude that oil was indeed coming from the picture. When they asked Myrna to pray in front of them, having washed her hands well, the oil would flow from her palms again. They were impressed that she was not more religious than most others. She prayed very little, only went to church once a week, and loved to dance, swim, and laugh like other young people.

One day a priest was kneeling near Myrna while she was praying, and he heard her say, “Father, I feel like the Virgin has entered into me!” Then he saw a “brilliant liquid” flowing abundantly from her palms. A bishop who was also present in the room noted that the oil had the scent of myron – or holy oil. Medical doctors and scientists gathered to decipher the origin of the healing oil that continued to exude from Myrna’s hands when she prayed. Thousands of people began to visit the icon in her home. The sick gathered in her courtyard, asking to be anointed with the healing oil. Phenomenal cures resulted for many of them.

Home of Mirna and Nicolas Nazour
Home of Mirna and Nicolas Nazour

On December 15, 1982, at 11:37 p.m., while a huge crowd of people were praying in front of Myrna’s little picture, she felt an invisible being tug at her arm and firmly escort her to the roof garden. She was afraid and knelt on the tile floor. When she looked up, she saw the Virgin Mary in front of her! “She shined as if she were covered with diamonds. I was afraid, and I ran away screaming.” Her husband and family were overwhelmed and confused. What was going on?

On December 18, 1982, Myrna was once again mysteriously escorted by an invisible being to the roof garden. But this time her husband and nine others followed. From the roof Myrna observed something strange across the street in the upper part of a tree.

“There was a large, luminous, white globe – like a large diamond ball – sitting on a tree limb. The ball opened, splitting from the top and dividing into two half-moons. As the halves opened, a bow of light appeared over the top, and inside was the same Beautiful Lady. As the ball disappeared, the Lady seemed to be standing on the branch of the tree. She had a white veil that covered her hair. The veil was a part of her dress. Over her right shoulder was a sky-blue cape that wrapped around her back and over her left side. The white dress covered her feet, and only her hands could be seen. The dress and cape seemed to be made of white and blue light. From her right hand hung a long Rosary.”

Holy Face
Holy Face

The vision floated toward Myrna along a stream of pure light that formed like a path through the sky from the tree. The Virgin passed right through the railing of the terrace, stopping just two feet away from where Myrna knelt. Then Mary spoke,

My children, be mindful of God because God is with us. You know much, but you really know nothing. Your knowledge is incomplete. One day you will know everything as God knows me. Do good to evil-doers. Do not mistreat anyone. I have given you oil, more than you have asked for. I give you something stronger than oil. Repent and believe! Be mindful of me in your joy. Announce my Son Emmanuel. He who announces Him is saved. He who does not … his faith is in vain. Love one another.

I do not ask you to give money to churches. I ask you to love. Those who give money to the poor and to the churches but yet have not love, have lives of no value. I will visit the homes of my children more frequently, because those who go to church do not always go there to pray. I do not ask you to build a church for me but rather a shrine. Give. Do not deprive anyone who asks for help. Be humble, my children. Do not insult the proud. Forgive them. Then you will be forgiven.”

Then Mary raised her right hand (which held the Rosary). A brightness enveloped her as she disappeared into the dazzling light. The Virgin continued to appear to Myrna after this, frequently emphasizing church unity and humility.

On December 19, 1982, a man carried his paralyzed nine-year old son into Myrna’s bedroom where the icon was kept. Oil poured from Myrna’s hands while she and the boy’s father prayed over him. As she anointed his legs, the twisted limbs straightened out, and the boy stated excitedly that he could feel his legs for the first time in his life! The father screamed praises for the miracle, and his son ran and jumped and danced with great joy and many tears.

On December 31, 1982, an official declaration was made by Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, who had studied the supernatural events carefully. Recognition was spread throughout the Greek Orthodox churches in Damascus. Approval was granted by the Syrian Catholic Church.

Soufanieh smudgestick
Soufanieh smudgestick

On January 5, 1983, a Muslim woman, who was completely blind, was healed and recovered her eyesight completely. It is estimated that 100,000 people have witnessed these miracle healings from the oil with their own eyes. It is also estimated that over a million people have seen filmed documentation of these miracles. Even in 1988 as she traveled to speak about the apparitions and messages given to her, the healing oil continued to flow and heal others.

On June 18, 1990, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Damascus attested to being an eyewitness on several occasions to oil exuding from Myrna and her little icon.

Myrna has also bore the stigmata on the Fridays preceding Easter. One video clearly shows the bloody outline of an unseen crown of thorns on her forehead. Her hands exhibit gaping wounds in each palm. She is seen in the video, writhing in pain, on her bed. Her husband, mother, and clergy are with her for those three hours.

On May 31, 1984, at 3:00 p.m., oil began to flow from her forehead, face, neck, hands, and eyes. The pain in her eyes was excruciating. Then she went into an “ecstasy” and heard the voice of Jesus for the first time,

My daughter, I am the beginning and the end.”

On October 15, 1986, Myrna received a message for the world from Jesus:

My daughter, how beautiful is the earth. In this place I shall establish my Kingdom and My peace. I shall give you My Heart in order to have yours. Your sins are forgiven because you are looking for Me. He who looks for Me, I shall imprint My image in him. Tell My children to come for Me, for I am with them at all times.

Although Myrna has no idea why she was chosen for these spiritual gifts, she treasures them and accepts her “assignment.” She encourages others to take these messages given to her very seriously. It is not known if the oil ever stopped flowing from her palms, so she may be still offering the healing oil to this present day.

SOURCE:  “Meetings with Mary” by Janice Connell

Manila, Philippines, 1986

The events in the Philippines began in February, 1986, as the virtual twenty-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos came to an abrupt and unexpected end through a series of strange events. Corazon Aquino, the widow and reluctant political replacement of slain opposition leader, Ninoy Aquino, had won the presidential election in a stunning upset by an overwhelming margin. President Marcos had actually called for this election as a means to put an end to the efforts by the opposition, but it backfired! However, through illegal actions and total control of the media, Marcos, instead, flagrantly lied and declared himself as the winner.

The rigged election results were blatant and obvious to everyone, sending millions into the streets to protest and triggering an unexpected coup attempt by a dissatisfied faction of the military. The saga of EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) culminated in a four-day tension-filled event when the rebel group in the Armed Forces of the Philippines was discovered by the Marcos troops and was ordered to be arrested. The Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jaime Sin, enjoined the people to go out in the streets to protect the rebel leaders. The Catholic faithful heeded the call and massed along EDSA, fronting Camp Crame where the rebel leaders — headed by then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Fidel Ramos — were holed and thus escorted by the people against impending bombs from the Marcos loyal troops.

The people milled around the rebel leaders, bringing nothing with them but rosary beads, flowers, food and images of the Blessed Virgin. Hundreds and thousands of religious priests and sisters, parish priests and their parishioners including onlookers and curiosity seekers stayed on the whole of EDSA, immobilizing the tanks sent out to crush the rebel leaders and, according to reports, even the people. The masses of people in the streets continued to pray the Rosary endlessly. Some offered garlands of flowers to the soldiers who stood guard. Some brave nuns climbed up on the tanks that were approaching. Those who stayed in their homes sent supplies of food and drinks to the streets.

President Marcos had sent a full army — with tanks and armored vehicles — to Manila in order to control the seemingly unstoppable public demonstrations against his administration. He planned to stop at nothing in order to gain control – even if that meant massacring the crowds on the streets. The civilians continued their protests, notwithstanding the danger when they would lie down in front of the tanks to stop them from penetrating the crowd.

Tanks in the streets of Manila 1986
Tanks in the streets of Manila 1986

As the soldiers tried to advance, they saw up in the sky what appeared to be a cross-like figure, but this did not hinder them from pursuing their goal, and they continued to press on toward the crowd. The Rosary was recited continuously; the melody of Ave Maria sounded after each decade.

All of a sudden, the soldiers were awestruck, stopping dead in their tracks. A “beautiful woman encased in immense bright light and dressed as a nun” became clearly visible, standing in front of the tanks. The light was dazzling as the crowds saw her appear. According to these soldiers, a beautiful woman dressed in blue with heavenly eyes appeared in front of them, extended her arms outward and spoke in a voice that was clearly audible to everyone,

Dear soldiers, stop! Do not proceed. Do not harm my children. I am the queen of this land.”

The soldiers then dropped their weapons, withdrew from pressing forward and joined the throngs of people to turn and fight with them against the Marcos regime.

The soldiers claimed that the woman who appeared to them was the Virgin Mary. A television station was covering the event which prompted thousands of residents of the Philippines to run out of their homes in celebration: “Mother Mary is with us!”

Crowd in Manila 1986
Crowd in Manila 1986

President Marcos and his family left for Hawaii that night.

Cardinal Jaime Sin vouches for the veracity of the apparition and said:

Yes, my heart was telling me that this was indeed Mary. And since they obeyed this woman who appeared to them – and did not follow orders to fire upon the people, then President Marcos had nobody to give him any power or support. This is when he fled from the Philippines. That was the end of him.

The Cardinal added that he did not know the soldiers – but that they came in tears to him, awestruck by the “beautiful heavenly lady.” The Cardinal also revealed that he met with Sister Lucia, the only living visionary from Fatima, just before he was to travel to the United States to first tell of the Virgin’s visit at a press conference. Although Sister Lucia had no access to newspapers, radio, television, or magazines, he was amazed that she knew and recounted every detail to him of what had happened. She then added that Corazon Aquino was a gift to the Philippines from God, and that if she could maintain peace and democracy there for at least two or more years, that nation would be influential in leading China to Christianity.

It was on a historic day, February 25, 1986 when the concept of a special shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived. On that date, the political dictatorship of the late President Ferdinand Marcos ended with him, family and close associates fleeing to Hawaii to escape the angry but peaceful uprising of the Filipino people who were tired of his one-man rule.

It was a shining moment for the faith of the people in a God who listens. It was also the people’s faith and trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, which gave the people persistence in patiently waiting for the end of this unlamented regime.

Our Lady of ESDA Shrine, Manilla
Our Lady of ESDA Shrine, Manilla

Ten years later, on the same site where the rebels were met by the protective group of political activists to safety, a church was built, aptly named Our Lady of EDSA Shrine, in commemoration of that glorious moment in the history of the Filipino people where love and faith towered over the might of guns and goons and propelled the Republic to continue its political history of freedom and respect for the constitution and the will of the people.

Mary, Queen of Peace, the Patroness of EDSA Shrine, stands guard as a large statue atop the beautifully crafted roof of the EDSA Church, fronting the busy crossroads of EDSA and Ortigas Avenue. It is a fitting place for Our Lady of Peace to look over her children and keep them hopeful of a more joyous and peaceful life now and in the future.

Apparitions Table of Contents

NORTH AMERICA

United States

Mexico

CENTRAL AMERICA

Nicaragua

SOUTH AMERICA

Argentina

Brazil

  • Itapiranga (1994-1998)

Colombia

Ecuador

Venezuela

EUROPE

Belgium

England

France

Germany

Ireland

Italy

Netherlands

Poland

Portugal

Spain

EASTERN EUROPE

Albania

  • Scutari (1467)

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Lithuania

Slovakia

  • Litmanova (1990)

Ukraine

MIDDLE EAST

Syria

AFRICA

Egypt

Rwanda

South Africa

ASIA

China

India

Japan

Russia

South Korea

Vietnam

SOUTH PACIFIC

Australia

Philippines