On the occasion of Ivan’s visit to Beauraing (Belgium), where Our Lady appeared to 5 children 33 times in 1932, Bishop Léonard of Namur held on August 25, before a huge crowd, a splendid homily of which we give the main points.
«… What are the most beautiful Churches in the eyes of the Lord? They are those so full that they seem to burst. He loves them because a crowded Church is for the Lord a prophecy of what will be at the fulfilment of all things, when the Kingdom of God will be all in all!
This vision of the Kingdom is proposed to us today in the 1st reading of Ap 22: 9 (Feast of St.
Bartholomew, 25.08.94): the Kingdom of Heaven is a gift of God that comes from above. The celestial city welcomes the earthly city and joins the history of our world.
The angel speaks of this city as a fiancee that he loves and that will be his bride forever. When we all together form this Kingdom, we will be this Bride. This is why the whole Church and the whole Kingdom are summarized and portrayed in a woman, the Virgin Mary.
As the Second Vatican Council says: When we look at Mary we see how humanity will be, how the Church will be when it becomes the Kingdom of God. Every Marian apparition is like an announcement of the holy city, the Girlfriend, the descending Bride from Heaven to God.
So what else is Mary when we see, if not foreshadowing, the sign, the anticipation of the Holy City that will come down from Heaven? Today’s Gospel has a similar language. You have grasped the skepticism of Nathanael: can something good come from Nazareth? (Jn 1:46).
We recognize that every time Mary appeared in the world, as well as in places where the apparitions were recognized, skepticism immediately spread. Always skepticism and doubt when the Madonna appears!
Such as? Maria appears to little Bernadette Soubirou who lives with her parents in Lourdes? Such as? Mary appears to those three shepherd children of Fatima? Maria appears in Beauraing in a small corner of Belgium? Here begins skepticism and doubt.
The good attitude is that of Nathanael when Philip tells him: Come and see! He goes and believes. Because the signs that God sends us are recognized, we must come and see. The definitive official recognition of the Church has not yet arrived on the apparitions of Medjugorje. We wait for it with trust and in prayer,
Personally I went there in 1984. I went to Medjugorje, I saw, I am
been convinced. Nathanael is shocked by what he has seen and understood and proclaims one of the most beautiful professions of faith in the New Testament: Master, You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel! (Jn 1:49).
He went from skepticism to faith, because he went and therefore allowed Jesus to touch his heart. Jesus tells him: You will see greater things than these … You will see the open skies and the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of Man (Jn 1,50-51): we can apply these appearances that happen in the world.
Maria appears too much and speaks too much? – I am very impressed by the insistence with which Mary comes to talk to us at this time. How many apparitions of Mary in this century? Rue de Bac in Paris, Pontmain, Lourdes, La Salette, Fatima, Beauraing, Banneux, Kibeo in Rwanda, Medjugorje …
People often ask me why Mary appeared in Medjugorje for 13 years; and again: «How chatty is Maria! In other places Maria has said a few words and only a few days! This does not conform to Mary’s discretion! “
Personally I have no idea about what is convenient or not convenient for Mary: what she has to say, or what she has to do! I know that if Mary knocks on our doors with such insistence and intensity and so long, it is because there is a particular urgency for our time.
Have you noticed the commitment of our Pope in his mission as a universal pilgrim?
Have you seen with what force, with what insistence, draw our attention to the burning problems of today’s world? On peace, on the conversion of hearts, on the crisis and the importance of the family? He intervenes with this insistence because he is convinced that the years we live are decisive for the history of humanity.
Personally I explain in this way the insistence of Mary in speaking to us, in calling us back to conversion. The fruits of Medjugorje are blessed fruits. I often witness these fruits through the confidences and testimonies I receive: conversions, rediscovery of prayer, love for peace, return to the sacraments, to the Eucharist, return to penance and fasting …
For peace in the world, in families and in our hearts, I would like to invite you to welcome in the
your life – and in mine – these pressing appeals, especially those for prayer and fasting. Jesus himself said that there are demons that can not be driven away by means of fasting and prayer (Mt 17.21). I make myself a simple repeater of what Mary says everywhere and I invite you to the conversion of the heart through prayer and fasting.
In this regard, the Bishop invites us to create a corner for prayer in each house
personal and family, and to keep open the churches, attending them for the visit, adoration, the rosary (it is also the best means to protect them from vandalism).
For fasting he was struck by the family that housed him in Medj. and that he invited him on Fridays to share bread and water with them: even today he finds one day a week to fast. «… If Jesus and Mary speak to us – concludes the Bishop – it is not to scare us, but to call us insistently to conversion.
Everything you do to grow in prayer and fasting, to open your heart and blessing for all of humanity. This will be a step towards peace of heart and towards world peace.Amen”.
Source: The echo of Medjugorje, no. 115