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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Marian "Apparition" or Reminder?...

“It was through the Blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world.” (St Louis de Montfort)
After being away from blogging for such a long while but never losing sight and reflection of my simple journey, today, I share my reflection of a milestone as we cross over to the cosmopolitan town of Subang Jaya, in Malaysia, where the population of Roman Catholics remain a small minority, what seem like a tiny drop in the vast ocean…nevertheless, without this drop, the ocean would be incomplete.

There has been much talk about a supposedly “apparition” of Mary on the window pane of a private healthcare centre; Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC).  Only through the eyes of faith, can one can see the beauty of Our Lady and deep within the heart of faith knows that perhaps the Lord is reminding us and a stern call to the corrupt party of the day to change, or “ubah” as some would be more familiar.  

St Bonaventure asserts that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the way which leads to our Lord…where truth, justice, integrity and humility prevail.

In the holy scriptures, we know that Mary, a young Jewish woman from Nazareth in Galilee, remained hidden during her life, poor and lowly, such that God was pleased to conceal her from nearly every other human creature.  Nevertheless, Mary was chosen by God to become the earthly paradise of Jesus Christ.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church sheds more light that what the Catholic faith believes about the all-holy, Blessed Virgin Mary is truly based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary’s divine motherhood, illumines its faith in Christ.  Mary is the Mother of our Saviour, the Mother of God (in Greek, Theo-tokos)…full of grace and enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role. 

God had initiated the work of mankind’s redemption on the basis of her cooperation.  By virtue of this, Mary becomes the spiritual mother of every human-being…we, thus, becomes her children.

Echoing the words of St Paul that, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has the heart of man understood…” the beauty, the grandeur, the excellence of Mary, who is indeed a miracle of miracles of grace, nature and glory.

“Devotion to you, O Blessed Virgin, is a means of salvation which God gives to those whom he wishes to save.” (St John Damascene)
Amidst much publicity of this “apparition” in an Islamic-majority country, where much of Christian literature, publications and scriptural texts are banned by the ruling party of the day, some still remain positive, brave and hopeful that justice will prevail, whereas others are sceptical and doubtful...easily seduced by money influence.
St. Louis de Montfort also dealt with true and false devotion to Mary.  Speaking of his own era he complained how, “The devil, like a counterfeiter and crafty and experienced deceiver, has already misled and ruined many Christians by means of fraudulent devotions to our Lady.”  Obviously “fraudulent devotions,” also includes the possibility of false apparitions, and if that was true three hundred years ago, then it is even more the case today, especially in the case of Subang Jaya.
He then goes on to make an extremely important point, one which clearly indicates that some modern apparitions must be false: “A counterfeiter usually makes coins only of gold and silver, rarely of other methods, because these latter would not be worth the trouble. Similarly, the devil leaves other devotions alone and counterfeits those mostly directed to Jesus and Mary...because these are to other devotions what gold and silver are to other metals.” 
Yes, fellow pilgrims, the Roman Catholic church continue to possess much treasures and richness of the apostolic faith, in this case, devotion to the Mother of Christ, which many others, if not all, new Christian denominations have conveniently cast or filtered away.  Now, what disciple of Jesus Christ would cast their own mother aside and then call themselves good Christians?  Jesus, himself loved his mother till the very end; even entrusting her to all of us.  To this end, only the Roman Catholic church has been faithful to this...still praying to Mary, the holy mother of God for her intercession for all our needs and the conversion of sinners.
Thus, unless the devil has radically changed his method of operation, which seems unlikely if not impossible, given that his opposition to the divine remains unchanged, then some of the modern alleged apparitions of Mary today may be false.  As is indicated in the section on biblical prophecy and apparitions the devil's usual approach is to copy an authentic prophecy, writing, movement or devotion and: “flood the market” with forgeries, thus sowing confusion and causing problems for the Church.
Thus it is certain that the authentic Marian apparitions have been counterfeited and that in all probability many, if not most, of the modern alleged apparitions are false.  This may seem like an extreme statement, but ultimately, the facts will surely bear it out.
To those simple minded people who have simply been touched and strengthened their faith in Christ by virtue of this Marian “apparition”, it can only be by the grace of God that your hearts be moved and your faith increase.
Make no mistake that St Louis de Montfort has always stressed that, “Christ must be the ultimate end of all devotions.  Jesus, our Saviour, true God and true man must be the ultimate end of all our other devotions; otherwise they would be false and misleading.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end of everything.
“We labour,” says St Paul, “only to make all men perfect in Jesus Christ.”  For in him alone dwell the entire fullness of the divinity and the complete fullness of grace, virtue and perfection. In him alone we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing; he is the only teacher from whom we must learn; the only Lord on whom we should depend; the only Head to whom we should be united and the only model that we should imitate.  He is the only Physician that can heal us; the only Shepherd that can feed us; the only Way that can lead us; the only Truth that we can believe; the only Life that can animate us.
He alone is everything to us and he alone can satisfy all our desires.  We are given no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.  God has laid no other foundation for our salvation, perfection and glory than Jesus.  Every edifice which is not built on that firm rock, is founded upon shifting sands and will certainly fall sooner or later.  Every one of the faithful who is not united to him is like a branch broken from the stem of the vine.  It falls and withers and is fit only to be burnt.
If we live in Jesus and Jesus lives in us, we need not fear damnation.  Neither angels in heaven nor men on earth, nor devils in hell, no creature whatever can harm us, for no creature can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.  Through him, with him and in him, we can do all things and render all honour and glory to the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit; we can make ourselves perfect and be for our neighbour a fragrance of eternal life.”
The salvation of the world began through Mary and through her it must be accomplished. As true disciples of Jesus Christ, in union with Mary, our Mother, we will crush the head of Satan with our heel, that is, our humility, and bring victory to Jesus Christ.
For the community in Subang Jaya, as pilgrims through life on a journey back home, simply feel blessed.  Whether or not this “apparition” is true, only your eyes of faith can reveal the truth known only to you.  As we can only call Jesus Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit, so it is with the same Sancte Spiritus that has graciously revealed the same to mere pilgrims in Subang Jaya.
Again, St Louis de Montfort reminds us that no other Catholic devotion calls for more sacrifices for God, none empties us more completely of self and self-love, none keep us more firmly in the grace of God and the grace of God in us.  No other devotion unites us more perfectly and more easily to Jesus.  Finally no devotion gives more glory to God, is more sanctifying for ourselves or more helpful to our neighbour…then our simple devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To the pilgrims at Subang Jaya and this blog…just two simple words… Fiat (yes) and Amen (“So be it”…a simple expression of faith that God will hear and act on the prayer)...
Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum,
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus.
Sancta Maria mater Dei,
ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.
(to the gifted hands that took these phorographs, may the blessings of the Lord be with you)

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