Comprehending Medjugorje : Original Documents And Conversations with Arnaud Dumouch
Reference (French Edition) :
Daria Klanac, Comprendre Medjugorje : Regard historique et théologique, avec la collaboration du théologien Arnaud Dumouch, Informativni centar Mir, Medjugorje, en coédition avec les Éditions Sakramento, Paris, 2012, 2e éd. (1re éd. 2008, ISBN 978-2-915380-19-4 & 978-9958-36017-6), entretien avec le théologien Arnaud Dumouch, pages 165 à 175.
English Translation by Duško Čondić
Daria Klanac : How are we to understand that such sufferings are directly linked to God’s love?
Arnaud Dumouch : In and of themselves, sufferings are a sign of God’s love. Here, then, is the theological reason for such sufferings. As regards the fact of suffering in our lives, two possible explanations are to be had:
– The explanation of the angel who revolted and who tells Eve: “God subjects man to roaming about the Earth so as to rule over him. He is the enemy of man’s freedom and personal dignity so that He might continue to be God.” Looking at the matter directly, the explanation seems legitimate. Truly, it can be said that happiness is unattainable and transitory at best. The rich suffer from anxiety; the poor long for riches; happy people get old. It would seem as though the God, who holds the world in his hands, imparted laws to the world that conflict with our happiness.
– The explanation as God sees it: He himself announced it with a loud cry and tears when He came into this world: “So as to prepare your hearts, not for happiness on Earth, but for eternal glory.” And He Himself, the God who became man, desired to die so as to show that everything comes from His Love, and not from lust for power.
Here is a clarification of all of this through the words that the Father would have said when the Incarnate Word died on the Cross, if the Father were to speak in human terms. He could say as follows:
“I created you for love, for Light, and for infinite Power. And, your hearts will be restless until they achieve all of that. And, I am all of that. I am the Lord who is the Holy Ghost (Love), the Word (Light), and the Father (Power), that I am. I promise that through Myself. No one else can satisfy your hearts.”
“But my face you cannot see; no man sees my face and lives.” If it were possible for it to be otherwise, I would have done so. I would have gifted myself to all men immediately from the moment of their creation. My Son asked me on the Thursday of his Passion: ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass.’ I could not. That is because I am ‘dead unto myself.’ I, the Father, I am only through my Son: I, the Son, am only through my Father; I, the Holy Ghost, am only through their Love. That humility, that death is indispensable to your wishes. Without it, no one is able to comprehend it inasmuch as everything in Me is Humility. The proud cannot see me; they cannot begin to comprehend me.”
“So as to prepare your hearts, I gave you all, and when you transit this Earth I take it all. I do so for all, the good, the just, and even for those who are saints (for those who know and love me). The Earth is like Golgotha with its three crosses. So as to implant within your hearts complete humility, I permit and desire certain sufferings for you.”
“Then, at the moment of your death, I appear to you in the form of my angel, or better said, in the human form of my Son in the company of the Saints, angels, and the Heavenly Hosts. And then, in humility, I will explain it all to you. I will show you my full Love, full Light, and full Power. If you love me in return, I offer you marriage. At that time you will come to understand in full light, to what extent those sufferings were beneficial and that your soul would not have learned that humility without which one cannot hope to see me. If you accept to love me, I promise that I will keep you as my ally. I will wipe away your tears. You will no longer think of death. I will make you all-powerful. My Holy Spirit will always be in your souls.”
“And then, I will return your bodies to you, far more beautiful and immortal as well. I will gift you with unseen gifts.”
“I will not force him who does no wish to be humble to love me. I will give him his freedom to do so. I will gift him the same gifts as I do to those who love me (eternal life, freedom, a resurrected body); however, he will not be able to see me: that will be impossible. If he were to see me and not be humble, his soul would instantly be annihilated since my Trinitarian Life is Humility and Love itself. That unfortunate soul, proud and removed from my Presence that could have filled his soul, will have transformed the gift I gave him into a senseless state called Hell.”
D. Klanac : At the very start of the appearances in Medjugorje, the children asked the Virgin to give them a sign so that the people would believe that their experience is true. The Virgin did not respond immediately, but did so subsequently. This is what is referred to as the Great Sign which was the third of the ten secrets.
A. Dumouch : The children did well in seeking a sign for the people. This is also a matter that, according to canon law, the Church also requires. There are no approvals without signs, most especially, miracles.
D. Klanac : Members of the Bishop’s Advisory Commission sought by all means to know the content of the third secret. They, in fact, tried to force Ivan to do so in written form. Can the Commission require the visionaries to reveal the secret that speaks of some great sign?
A. Dumouch : No, they cannot. Not under any circumstances. If the visionaries were to speak without permission to do so from the Virgin, they would thereby sin. Silence about secrets is, among other things, a behavior that characterizes many approved apparitions. The children of Fatima persisted tenaciously in their silence even to the point of martyrdom inasmuch as they thought that the police had put Francisca to death because of her silence.
D. Klanac : What is the value of signs for an apparition? Is it harmful to the faith to ask for signs?
A. Dumouch : Signs (exterior sensory manifestations that hold deep meaning) are essential to generating faith in non-believers as well as for solidifying the faith of those who already believe. The source of this is found in this sentence (John 20:30): “Many other signs also Jesus worked in the sight of his disciples which are not written in this book. But these were written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.” The Jews did not desist from seeking signs from Jesus. And, Jesus responded to their legitimate requests by giving them ample signs.
The seeking of additional signs becomes illegitimate when the Jews, having seen so many, constantly sought more and more signs. This begins to sound like evil intent.
In the case of Medjugorje, it is essential that the Virgin, if it is the Virgin, prove the truth of her appearance with signs, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost. Those three things, according to Saint Paul, mark the presence of God.
D. Klanac : Some see apocalyptic signs in the apparitions and messages of the Virgin in Medjugorje. You write much about the eschatological sense of events in the history of the world. What is the link between these two contents in the case of Medjugorje?
A. Dumouch : As I have previously said, if the apparitions of Medjugorje prove to be credible, theologians will acknowledge that Mary continued her teaching that she began in 1830 in Bac Street, namely, preparing for the painful days leading to the end of the world for a Church that should live in complete faith and hope. The Church must come to experience the same passion and suffering endured by Christ. In fact, it was only a faith as deep as that of Mary that was able to remain loyal on Holy Saturday. In the same manner, there must exist, for a Holy Saturday of the Church, a Church that would live that in a hidden manner, but with firm hope that, against all hope, Christ will return in all His Glory.
This is what Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Monfort has to say about the matter:
“I said that this would happen, in particular, at the end of the world, and soon, since the Almighty and his Most Holy Mother Mary, must create great saints who will surpass in sanctity most other saints just as the Cedars of Lebanon surpass in height the low-lying bushes around them, as was revealed to a holy soul whose life was described by M. de Renty.”
“Mary’s power over all Devils will be revealed in its full strength, especially in the end times when Satan places traps at her heels, that is, to her humble servants and poor children who will wage war against him. They will be small and poor in the eyes of the world and humble before all as though heels—stepped upon and persecuted just as is a heel in relationship to the rest of one’s body; in return, they will be seen as being rich in the grace of God that will be abundantly given to them by Mary, and will be great and exalted in sanctity before God; elevated above all creation because of their living zeal and thus helped by Divine aid and in the humility of their heels, will, along with Mary, smash the head of the Devil and make it possible for Jesus Christ to conquer.”
Herein is presented a Chapter from my book La fin du monde [The End of the World] :
That awful and coming history of the Antichrist is in God’s hands. He knows what is best for our salvation and for the salvation of the entire world. That is the scenario of glory for the purpose of a shining discovery of His love. All human societies, all religions, have, one by one, passed through sufferings for sake of the humility of men.
The Catholic Church will not escape that suffering. A bit later, we will describe to what extent her humiliation must extend as based on the example of her Master. However, prior to that, she will be prepared. That earthly mission will be entrusted to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Beneath the foot of the Cross, only one woman believed, and, in an upright manner, lived the death of her God. She did not doubt for so much as a moment that God, her Son, in fact, was redeeming the world. Jesus told her this and that was sufficient for her. This singular trust in Jesus is not found even in Saint John who also was beneath the Cross and who was known as the disciple that Jesus loved. He is there for sake of friendship, but thinks that all is finished. Proof of this is given to us in his Gospel. Only after he had seen the empty tomb and the burial cloth in its place, overcome, did he believe. All the other disciples fled. However, the strangest of all is how the fullness of grace made it possible for Mary to live through the Passion with understanding. She was not an ordinary observer who was blind and gullible. She was a co-worker, a conscious co-redeemer.
This is the way it will be at the end of the world when the Antichrist triumphs. The Church (symbolized in the Gospels with the life of Saint Peter) will be small, diminished only to the territory of the heart and without any sort of exterior or political life, and will believe that she is dead for all time. “The gates of Hell shall not prevail!” There will be rejoicing on all sides along with the repetition that Jesus’ promises have failed her. Who will be able to imagine that in the very hour when, from the outside, it seems that the gates of Hell have destroyed all, God will triumph as He did at the hour of three on the day of Jesus’ death? Who will be able to believe that this is completely contrary in the eyes of God, that all is finished, and that the glorious return of Jesus is at hand? No one will be able to imagine that—except those who have faith such as that of Mary. Only an unconquerable faith, worthy of the Mother of God, will be able to withstand those final hours. All others will collapse like Petar when he was confronted with that which he could not understand. Hence, this is why God, prior to the end of the world, entrusted to His Mother the mission to prepare the Church composed of humble persons similar to her (symbolized by the life of Saint John) What is essential is that their intellect possess the same lucidity as Mary’s. They will come to perfectly comprehend the mystery of hope as is described herein. They, then, will be able to fulfill the mission of Mary given to her at the foot of the Cross, and they will be able to say in the name of all mankind “yes!” to God. They will baptize mankind both in water and in Spirit (in the water of humility and the fire of their love). At that time, all will be complete. We see that their mission will be the Final Mystery of history (in the most theological meaning of the word). In speaking of the fact of the final days, Saint Bernard announces:
“The salvation of the world began with Mary, and it must end through her as well… However, at the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary must be recognized and revealed by the Holy Ghost so that, through her, we come to know, to love, and to serve Jesus Christ. The reasons that moved the Holy Ghost to conceal His betrothed during her lifetime, and for revealing her just a bit through pronouncements in the Gospels, will no longer prevail.”
Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Monfort is tireless when it comes to this theme:
“Hence, God wishes to reveal Mary, the masterpiece of His hands, at those final times. And if she is the Dawn that precedes and reveals the Sun of Justice, Jesus Christ, she must be known and perceived so that Jesus can also be known. Inasmuch as she was the path by which Jesus came to us the first time, she will also be that path when He comes the second time, even if not in the same manner.”
“Ultimately, Mary must be feared by the Devil and his helpers, like an army prepared for battle, especially during the final times, since the Devil knows full well that little time remains, much less than ever before, for him to destroy souls. Each day he redoubles his efforts and his attacks; presently, he will actuate brutal persecutions and put forth awful trials for the faithful servants and true children of Mary who present him with more difficulties than anyone else.”
“Precisely on those final and brutal persecutions which will increase all the way up to the coming of the Antichrist’s rule, that is, that first and well-known prophecy and curse spoken in the Paradise on Earth against the viper: ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your offspring and she will crush your head and place her trap upon your heel.’
“God never created or caused such irreconcilable enmity which cannot be assuaged and would last and increase to the very end: between Mary, His most worthy Mother, and the Devil; between the children and servants of the Holy Virgin and the helper-children of Lucifer. Thus, the most powerful foe that God created against the Devil is Mary, His Holy Mother… This is because the proud Satan suffers infinitely more for having been defeated and punished by the humble servant of God. Her humility demeans him more than the power of God… That which Lucifer lost because of his pride, Mary gained in humility… Not only did God create a state of enmity between Mary and the Devil, but also one between the race of the Blessed Virgin and the race of demons. This, then, means that God placed a state of enmity, antipathy, and hidden hatred between the children and servants of Mary, and the children and slaves of the Devil. They dislike each other. They do not have any sort of affinity towards each other. The Children of Belial, the Slaves of Satan, the Friends of the World, (for this is the same thing), have always persecuted and will persecute even more than ever before, those who belong to the Most Holy Virgin, in the same manner that Cain once persecuted his brother Abel, or Esau his brother Jacob who represented the persons of those who were tried and preordained. Meanwhile, humble Mary will always conquer over the proud one. Her victory will be so overpowering that she will crush his head wherein lies his pride. She will always make known his vituperative evil. She will unearth his satanic workers and will disperse his satanic counsel. She will protect her faithful followers from his brutal fangs until the end of time.”
A bit further on, we will see that, in fact, the prayers of the Christians in the final times will call forth the return of Jesus. Concretely speaking, one would have to be blind so as not to see that Mary has already begun her task of preparation. The first of her appearances (since her preparation consists of announcing the concrete and soon to be return of Christ at the final times), dates from 1830. She gave Saint Catherine Labouré a medal She, in fact, made that medal a miraculous medal so that those who wear it might contemplate her message. On the back of the medal, Mary placed the letter “M” that carries a cross. When they presented the medal to the Archbishop of Paris seeking his imprimatur, he wondered whether it might be better if the “M” were placed at the foot of the Cross. Actually, what was at play at the time was the astonishing symbol that might disturb Protestants. The symbol has much and deep meaning as regards Mary as co-redemptrix. Meanwhile, as regards the end of the world, the meaning of the symbol speaks volumes. “M” designates those who live Marian spirituality. The Cross symbolizes their loyalty to Christ. All of this serves to inform that at the end of the world, the life of Christ will not be able to exist in hearts except in those hearts which have a faith such as hers. Beneath the letter “M” are found the heart’s of Jesus and Mary so that no one can doubt that love confirm all. After this first apparition, Mary does not cease to persist, return, and teach. At La Salette (1846), she uttered a solemn reminder that we be prepared: “This is a time beyond times, the end beyond all ends.” In the Catholic Church of the West, shaken by the loss of faith since the 70’s, every renewal whatsoever is said to be closely associated with Mary. Is this a glorious sign of the times in which we live?
D. Klanac : According to the visionaries, a great sign will appear on Mount Crnica, the place were the Virgin first appeared. It will be one that will endure and will be observable to all. Other manifestations will accompany that sign and many miraculous healings. How are we to understand this great sign?
A. Dumouch : This is what theology can say about such a great sign as was described in Medjugorje: It would seem that it is limited to a specific space (Mount Crnica), but a sign that will endure in time. It would seem then, that it will be similar to that of Fatima, that is, it will be of a sensory and earthly nature: the great sign in Fatima was visible only within five kilometers around the Cova da Iria.
Meanwhile, the sign in Medjugorje, to the contrary, represents a great difference in relationship to the “Miracle” announced on the 14th of September, 1965 in Garabandal (as of yet, unapproved):
“The warning will be one that comes directly from God. It will be visible to the entire world regardless of the place we may reside, there where one finds himself. That sign will serve as some sort of revelation (within all of us) of our sins. Believers and non-believers—regardless of their nation—will see it and feel it. It will be like fire: it will not burn our flesh, but we will feel it physically and interiorly… No one will escape it. However, after this warning, they will love our Good God much more.”
This text, if it comes from God, does not announce some sort of specific thing: it simply announces the return of Christ and the end of the world. Truly, one does not need to await such a glorious evidencing of Truth that obviates every possibility of honest doubt at the moment of death or at the end of the world when Christ returns in all His glory. It would be useless and even erroneous to expect such power, and subsequently to outlive the world and its generations and political life.
32. Ex 33:20. [↩]
34. Rom 15:19, also, Heb 2:4. [↩]
36. His visions and prophecies possess a definite authority. They are quite important for a theology of hope. Cf. Traité de la vraie devotion à la Sainte Vierge, Editions “Le Seuil,” Paris, 1966. [↩]
37. Gaston Jean-Baptiste (1611-1649), the right hand to Saint Vincent De Paul. [↩]
39. John 21:22: “Jesus responded to him (Petar): ‘If I wish him to remain until I come, what is it to you? Follow me!’” [↩]
40. Cited based on that of Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Monfort, Traité de la vraie devotion à la Sainte Vierge, Le Seuil, Paris, 1966, p. 46. [↩]
41. Ibid. especially p. 47 ff. [↩]
42. In fact, the apparition to Catherine Labouré is by far not the first. The apparition to John Courdil (Celles, 1686), or to Benedict Rencurel (Notre Dame du Laus) is by far older. However, the apparition to Catherine Labouré announces a new eschatological character. This is the first time that the Virgin does not appear simply as a Mother. She comes as a mid-wife in the sense that she will be of aid in the painful birth giving life. [↩]
43. Herein we are dealing with an apparition that has Church approval. The message of the apparitions, hence, has a definite authority associated with it giving hope to Catholics and their understanding of the Incarnate God’s action in every generation. [↩]
44. That means that salvation consists of reconciliation of God with mankind. So that this might be accomplished, a new Eve must say “yes.” Mary’s role is in no manner a passive one. It is a component part of redemption in the same manner that two must say “yes” in order for a marriage to take place. [↩]
45. The theological value of these two hearts is very deep. It serves as the core of revelation in Catholic exegisis. Jesus and Mary, together, are the image of God. Jesus-God, and Mary-woman, together serve as redeemer and co-redemptrix. [↩]
46. The Church has canonically approved this apparition. The cited texts carry definite authority. [↩]
47. The apparitions continue even into the 3rd millennium. Medjugorje cannot be approved until the apparitions cease. [↩]