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 198 à 206.
English Translation by Duško Čondić
Daria Klanac : Mary has been giving us messages in Medjugorje for the past twenty-eight years. What might be the Will of God in having sent us His Mother for our time?
Arnaud Dumouch : If this comes from God, then it is in line with the apparitions in Bac Street in 1830.
Here is an article of mine that can serve to clarify from the eschatological point of view such a series of apparitions. If Medjugorje proves to be true, then, in my mind, it must be placed within this context:
Since 1830, and the events of Bac Street, heavenly apparitions have increased. There common thread is simple: Mary’s person. This repeated fact since 1800, represents something that is new in the history of the Church. Many of those apparitions have been approved on the part of the Church. Far from having concluded, these events, it seems, continue, and Church authorities keep careful watch over their numerous occurrences. It has not pronounced approval or disapproval since they continue to occur.
The characteristics of present—day apparitions
They are evermore simple in nature. The messages are more and more childlike, as those of a mother who sings a lullaby (Cf. Medjugorje): ‘Prayer, mercy, humility, and sacrifice for sake of others.’ Some restrained theologians, having confirmed such repetition as being characteristic of child’s play, concluded, based on that, that what is at play are obvious false manifestations. Their argument is, nonetheless, contestable (Mt 11:25), “At that time, Jesus said: ‘I give you praise, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and did reveal them to the little ones. Yes, Father, for such was your pleasure.” What importance should we attach to such signs from Heaven? They do not add anything new to the content of the Faith which was concluded with the death of the last Apostle. Some concluded that they are a negligible collection. This is erroneous on their part for two reasons:
1. When the Church canonizes a saint or recognizes an apparition, she thereby stands on her authority: “We are dealing with ordinary authority that seeks of the faithful a subjugation of the will and intellect. Better still, inasmuch as the approach of canonical recognition requires a miracle that comes from God, then, in such a case, God Himself, lays down His own authority. The contempt shown in the observation that such recognition is worse than a theological error: it is an error in one’s practical Christian life.
2. Along with the above, because these signs—even if they do not add anything new to the content of Faith, do bring something new, namely, something that concerns the content of Hope. Such signs are essential when one discusses that which is concrete, namely, Divine action in our era.
They make it possible for us to grasp how God will, here and now, apply his overall plan whose only goal is the salvation of as large a number of souls as possible.
The great sign that marked the start of the 1830 cycle
Bac Street, the words of the Virgin: “All those who wear this medal will receive many graces.” On the back of the medal, Catherine Labouré saw the image of a woman standing on the globe of the Earth, and stepping on a snake. She is surrounded by the words: Hail Mary: “Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who implore you.” One date: 1830. Then, it seemed that the image turned about. That is the back of the medal: a large letter “M” the initial letter of Mary. There was a cross over that initial. Beyond it, Catherine saw two hearts: the Heart of Jesus, crowned with thorns and the Heart of Mary, pierced by a sword… twelve stars surround the image. Here is the comment made by the visionary herself: “Later, I came to understand that the “M” and the two hearts speak more than adequately.”
Let us take note of two difficult theological problems:
– The letter “M” is not beneath the Cross; rather, it appears as though it is carrying the cross. This is not normal…
– The two hearts are both the same size and position. This is somewhat uncomfortable inasmuch as we are dealing with God and an ordinary creature…
A magnificent sign of our times
Clearly, the apparition brings to realization the words of Holy Writ: (Rev 12:1): “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon was under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And being with child, she cried out in her travail and was in the anguish of delivery. And another sign was seen in heaven, and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems…” The Miraculous Medal is a sensory reminder adapted to those who are simple of heart, the words of God whose universal sense is meant for all generations and all individuals of all times.
But above all else, and everyone senses this, there is a direct tie with another sense and meaning, namely, the one wherein Mary, through the apparition at La Salette will qualify it as being “the time of all time, and the end of all ends.”
Once again, to place those signs in the context of Catholic theology
Let us attempt to narrate that great Catholic theology in ordinary words: Why is Mary appearing? Because she received the great commission to prepare Christians for a great event: touched by the Holy Ghost, the Church will imitate Christ in her kenosis (her internal humility). Everywhere in the world, here and there, saints and theologians, and, in fact, for the first time, the Magisterium of the Church is beginning to speak to the benefit of the Church the words that Jesus said of Himself (Mt 16:21): “From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and Scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and on the third day rise again. And Peter, taking Him aside, began to chide him saying: ‘Far be it from thee, O Lord; this will never happen to Thee. He turned and said to Peter: “Get behind me Satan; thou art a scandal to me; for thou dost not mind the things of God, but those of men.”
To what end this kenosis (humbling) of the Church?
Because God cannot change. By His very nature, He is “humility itself,”—humbling of Himself, (or, in Greek, kenosis)—and Love itself. The Father is like a child’s crystal that says to the Son: “You are!” Having said that (the Word), the Father is as dead to Himself and in ecstasy towards His Son. Therefore, He is the kenosis of Love. Meanwhile, the Son and the Holy Ghost are like unto Him… hence, inasmuch as this infinite God wishes to propose a marriage out of love towards his humble creatures, angles, and men, it is impossible for Him, by His very nature, that He would not first ask them, that which He is, namely, “pure humility and pure love.” God does not have the freedom to change that necessity, any more than He Himself can change. “No one can see God, but that he dies to himself.” This would be brute force, and not a marriage borne out of Love. Hence, God prepares the hearts of His beloved in preparation for marriage. Life on Earth is but the first stage of preparation of that “purgatory.”
What is it in this world that has the power and might to elicit the beginnings of humility? It is nothing other than the experiencing of one’s own wretchedness.
For this reason, God marks all that is in this world with the sign of the Cross. The Cross is the sign of suffering and aloneness, the Silence of God, and death. All that exists on this Earth must come to gain knowledge of it very own nothingness—all, including His own Church.
And, what will that kenosis of the Church be like? It will, most likely, be similar to the kenosis of Christ. The expression “similar” should not be taken in a material sense, but in a spiritual sense.
However, prior to that, the Church will be prepared. That earthly mission, of obvious reasons, will be assigned to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. At the foot of the Cross, only one woman believed and experienced the death of her God within her soul. She did not doubt for so much as a single moment that God, her Son, in fact, was redeeming the world. Jesus had said this, and for her, this was sufficient. Yet, what is even more remarkable, is the fact that through the fullness of grace received, Mary was able to completely experience the Passion with full understanding. She was not an ordinary observer who has confidence, but fails to see anything. She was a co-worker, a co-redeemer.
It will be the same at the end of the world when the anti-Christ triumphs. The visible Church, the one that the Gospels symbolize in the life of Saint Peter, will become small and will contract to the territory of one’s heart and will be without an exterior or political life: people will think that she is forever dead. Who will be able to imagine that at the very moment when it seems the gates of Hell have prevailed against her and destroyed all that is exterior, will be, in fact, the Triumph of God—in the same manner that it was at the third hour on the day when Jesus died.? Who will be able to believe that things are the exact opposite in the eyes of God, that all has seen its end, and that the glorious return of Christ is entirely at hand? No one will be able to imagine such a thing except those who had the same faith as did Mary. All will lose hope like Petar as they stand before that which they do not understand. This is why, prior to the end of the world, God entrusted Mary with the task of preparing the Church that is comprised of humble people similar to herself (as symbolized by the life of Saint John), and who will experience the kenosis of the Church.
Let us return to the Miraculous Medal and its two theological problems: in 1831, the Archbishop of Paris, when shown the medal for the purpose of seeking an imprimatur, wondered whether the letter “M” would be better placed at the foot of the Cross. Truly, this was a disturbing symbol. However, as regards the end of the world, the meaning of that “M” speaks volumes: it designates those who live under Marian spirituality. The Cross represents their loyalty to Christ. All serves to announce that just before the end of the world, Christ’s life will not be able to exist in hearts unless they have the same faith as did Mary. Beneath the letter “M,” are found two hearts: that of Jesus and that of Mary. They are there so that no one would doubt that their Love allows all. This means much more, namely, the deep things that regard Mary’s role as co-redemptrix. Thereby is symbolized the very nature of married life, namely, equality with God.
Are the End-times close at hand?
A warning is in place at this point: many sincere Catholics allow themselves to flood their minds with thoughts that are beyond reason, namely, the end of the world will supposedly occur next year, or in several years… This craziness and lack of common sense comes from the fact that they do not listen to the Church which tells them: base you faith on the great theology of the Church and not, first of all, on signs from Heaven, which, in the end, only makes sense within the framework of the Church!
Saint Paul already reminded us (2 Tim 2:1): “I beseech you, brothers, as regards the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our redemption through him, do not be too quick to lose your senses nor give yourself over to being overwhelmed by the revelations of the Spirit, either by word or by letters that are purported to come from me and that seek to entice you to the thought that the Day of the Lord is upon us. Let no one in any manner deceive you. Prior to that must come a falling away and the appearance of a godless man, of a lost being…”
The question that interests us is the following: are we near the end of all ends? If we follow the words of Sacred Scriptures, we are certainly closer and closer, which, in fact, is a euphemism… more accurately said, certain signs are there, however, many of them have not come to be realized as of yet. Ye, it is true, ‘all must come to its end’ as Jesus said.
Following is a series of such unrealized signs:
1. The imposition of a World Government that is removed from the True God, and governed by the anti-Christ. (2 Tim 2:3): “Peace and security of citizenry; deep pain and disillusionment.”
2. The banning of all that carries the name of God (2 Tim 2:4), (religions of a humble God and love).
3. The ultimate sacrifice (martyrdom) of the Papacy (John 21:19), a “kenosis” (internal humility) of the Church.
4. Jerusalem returned to the Jews. (Lk 21:24).
5. The conversion of Israel to Christ (Rom 11:15).
Herein we have cited only a few signs of the Days of the Christians. However, a definite number of signs exist that were promised to Islam and that, amazingly, are beginning to come to realization at this moment. There are such signs to be found in Judaism and Hinduism, etc. as well, as though God imparts some sort of caution to all men as He did through the first appearance of the pagan astrologers (the three Kings). In brief, even if things could be speeded up, it is impossible for that to happen in a month’s time or even for ten days. Events unfold under the rhythm of evil and its influence on human society. The End of Time began with the victory of humanism sans God, and the industrial revolution in the year 1830. It can last perhaps another two or three hundred years.
The conclusion for the trials of our time
After this first apparition, the Virgin Mary does not cease to insist on returning and instructing. In the Catholic Church of the West, debilitated by a crisis of faith since the middle of the 19th Century, it is said that every renewal, regardless of what type it is, is intimately associated with Mary. Is this not, then, a magnificent sign of the times we live in? That renewal is small in number, but—today—everyone can see its deep eschatological meaning.
Medjugorje may be the great apparition that has its place on that eschatological road: Mary will give, through that place, a guide that is certain for a simple and loyal spiritual life for the end times.
Daria Klanac : The Mother of God is the mediatrix of all mercy. Some are of the mind that in Medjugorje, we are placing her on a pedestal as having the role of co-redemptrix, What is her true place as the Mother of God and as our Mother?
Arnaud Dumouch : For Protestants there is but one savior, and man does not play a role in redemption, namely, the relationship that God once again creates is established with broken persons who are incapable of giving free consent that is supernatural—and grace can do nothing to change this.
Meanwhile, for us Catholics, if God does re-establish an alliance through Grace, then two parties are necessary. It is as happens in a marriage: two must say “yes.” On the Cross, Jesus could have done nothing without the consent of His betroth spoken on behalf of all of mankind. In other words, marriage is a suitable metaphor for salvation, and, in the Rite of Marriage, there always are to elements present: the “yes” of the man, and the “yes” of the woman. And, if one “yes” is lacking, there is no marriage (redemption by Love was not present).
In fact, at the foot of the Cross, Mary said her “yes” to her Son. Just as Eve, in the past, (the matriarch of mankind), spoke for us with her “no,” the new Eve, Mary, spoke for us when she said “yes.” This is a singular event. That is the role of a Mother.
It is clear that this concept relates to all of us by virtue of mercy: every time that man says “yes” to God out of Love, man becomes a co-redeemer… but, this is not quite the same as with Mary: our “yes” does not apply to all of mankind.
Here is a text taken from the Magisterium of the Church concerning this theme:
“Applied to Mary (said by John Paul II), the term “co-worker” has a particular meaning. The cooperation of Christians in man’s redemption comes to be realized after the events of Calvary, whose fruits they endeavor to spread through prayer and sacrifice. To the contrary, Mary’s cooperation was realized during the course of the event itself, and in her role as Mother; that role, then, extends to the totality of Christ the Redeemer’s actions. In that manner, she alone was associated with the redemptive sacrifice that gained salvation for all men. In unity with Christ, and subject to Him, she cooperated with Him so as to achieve the mercy of salvation for all of mankind.”
59. Ex 33:20: “And you—he added—cannot see my face and yet remain alive.” [↩]
60. Cf. John 21:14, and the like. Petar symbolizes, more than his life did, the Papacy. John symbolizes those who, in their hearts, accepted Mary and her spirituality. [↩]
61. John 21:22. [↩]