These are difficult times. Wars and rumors of wars. Troubling times with the world economy. While all of these things are happening, there is a remarkable development in Medjugorje, a small village in Bosnia. More than a million people a year are visiting the site where the Virgin Mary has appeared regularly since 1981.
The visions have affected not just Roman Catholics but Eastern Orthodox, Protestants and even members of non-Christian religions. The local Roman Catholic bishops have tried to throw cold water on these visions. They have been unable to convince people that what is happening there isn’t real. Indeed the Vatican has removed them from the process.
There have been all sorts of scientific studies of the two ladies to whom the Virgin Mary has appeared. The women have been judged to be of sound mind and are healthy psychologically. Scripture says, "By their fruits ye shall know them." There have been reports at the site of healings and conversions from the cares and anxieties of this world to a Christian lifestyle.
My son Andrew went there alone. He personally witnessed the statue of the Jesus Christ which daily sheds tears. It has been subjected to x-rays and all sorts other examinations. It is free standing, unconnected to anything. Andrew said he personally felt the tears. In addition, the sun dances as it did at the time of the Communist revolution.
The messages which the ladies have received are consistent with Scripture. That is one of the first things to be examined to be sure that what is taking place at Medjugorje is not a cult. Andrew reports that when the Virgin Mary appears to the ladies birds flock to the area and are perfectly silent. When the visions are finished the birds fly away.
The Virgin implores pilgrims to pray and fast. If enough do the likely chastisement of this world may be averted. She also wants people to read the Bible and to receive the Holy Mysteries of the Roman Catholic Church. No one is obliged to accept that what is happening at Medjugorje is real. I recall speaking with the late Frank Shakespeare, once our Ambassador to the Vatican. He went there multiple times and was profoundly moved by what he saw and personally experienced.
So while there is worldly turmoil, especially in the Middle East, it is comforting to know that there is a place of peace on this earth.
Some 30 million people who have visited this tiny remote village are witness to the authenticity of the visions. The bitterest skeptics have turned around after visiting. Why would the Virgin Mary choose this remote location and these two ladies? Her son Jesus Christ only knows. Meanwhile, if you have not heard of Medjugorje up to this point, chances are very good that you will hear of it and its works as time goes on and as the situation in the world grows more difficult.