This is going to be a mess of a blog post. Just a heads up. I composed the main body of it in 2009 as an “explanation”. The images and captions are current updated renditions. Here goes…
My senior year of high school, 2006, I attended one of the discernment retreats with the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist. It lasts through Saturday, usually at 3pm, to Sunday at 2pm. Before we would tuck in for the night, we all pass around a small, brown, envelope given to us by one of the leading Sisters. Each person pulls out a strip of paper – with a part of one Litany prayer on it (without looking in the envelope). Then, we keep it to ourselves in secret and reflect on it and pray for insight. The next morning, we each have a chance to share our “Litany-strips” with the rest of the community and what insight we received.
Mine was “Queen of martyrs, pray for us.” That night, I had no idea what it meant. At first, I remembered how I had told God that I was only willing to die up to three ways: as a martyr; defending someone else’s life; or from old age and without pain (and any combination of the three would be fine too, I suppose). But I spent more time in prayer and meditation on this in the morning, and I remembered another thing that I had been taught (and forgotten about). Being a “martyr for Christ” is not just to die in body defending the Christian faith, but to be a “witness” to Christ and the Doctrine He gave to us.
Well, to get on to the main point that I’ve been working towards… Moments later, in that huge gymnasium, I was awe-struck when the most beautiful woman appeared to my right. She was the Blessed Mother of God, the “New Eve” whose heel struck the devil-serpent’s head, with a crown of twelve stars and clothed in purest light that shone brighter than the sun. When I looked upon her, it was as though she were the only person with me, even though I was aware of others present. Any fear of all the stresses and pressures in the world suddenly vanished when she smiled at me.
I asked her what she wished of me, and she said “Meghan, I know what I am about to ask of you will be difficult to understand,” preparing me for the request. “I want you to place a statue of me within your mother’s church, on February 25th, no later than 11:50pm in the year 2009.”
Needless to say, just the request alone scared me in that I did not only lack the resources to get a Marian statue, I had no idea where to place it. But all of those concerns, upon trusting the Lord to guide my steps, were overpowered by the confusion of what to say to help this congregation understand this to be the truth and will of God. So, since then, I’d been praying on this particular issue, and stressed in my prayers specifically that “if God truly wants me to do this, then He needs to provide the means, and not let me forget!”
God never let me forget. Even when I was not thinking about the purpose of searching out the statue, He still was so patient with my stubbornness. I was even using manga (Japanese comics) as a distraction from prayer, during the times He desired to interact with me through my prayers. I knew there would come a time that I would be required to sell all of my manga, just not when, and I asked God to help me part with it gradually. The first ones to go were the ones with elements of the occult, and other gross themes. But there were many more that I sought to keep, and so, one night, the devil came upon me with threats and attempts to rape, torture, and kill me, taking me for himself as I was being – in basics – an idolater. Then, the Lord Jesus, in all His divine and human perfection, appeared, took the containment of my room out of Lucifer’s hands and contained even Lucifer, thus preventing the attack to further itself. The Word, God the Son, as He always works in His Perfection and in perfect unity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit in all things, commanded Lucifer to depart from me and my family, and the house. Then, He pointed at the leftover manga and told me “Sell all that you have”. So, I began to set out at selling the rest of my manga and included other books that proved to be unhealthy for my heart, mind, and soul.
When my mother saw me bagging up all of my manga (which she knew to be a particular interest to me), her tone was almost in a panic as she asked me why I was doing this thing. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had thought I was secretly very depressed and planning to die/suicide (getting rid of once-valued possessions tends to be a red flag in general). I couldn’t bring myself to tell her everything, or anything, about what had happened. Too often throughout my life when I knew the demonic as the demonic, I learned no parent wants to hear that their child is experiencing such things that they cannot get control over themselves – and often stops their ears, or invalidates the reality of their experience. After all, who would understand, unless they experienced it themselves? Many try to dismiss it/deceive themselves (cognitive dissonance), or overreactively become too assumingly-paranoid of the demonic in their child’s life that they become truly overbearing. Interiorly, mentally, I curled up into a ball throughout this, believing I was also protecting myself with keeping those things to myself, even though the level of contention (and scrutiny of supervision) rose.
But using the money that I got from the books I sold, unknown to me at the time, provided me with enough to purchase a gorgeous statue of Mommy Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, with the black belt a symbol (to the Aztec people, to whom she appeared) of pregnancy, not with the Word Incarnate, but with His Mystical Body, the Christian community.
(Go to the captions of the photos above)
Every Christian that was born before the appearance, during the appearance, and after, even through the “modern age” that we are in now. Only by her can we, only as Christians, call ourselves brothers and sisters of our Lord Jesus Christ, and only through the Lord Jesus can we call God the Father our Father, and God the Holy Spirit, the Person of Love our Lord and Giver of Life.
Later, I went into the sanctuary of the protestant church and followed the Blessed Mother, as she appeared to me again, and watched her stand in a particular spot, which would be in front of the congregation and, at the same time, not immediately in the center, so as to not take the place of Christ as our Center. She does not seek worship, and would be very offended and grieved were anyone to worship her. She has always been so filled with grace, and Jesus defended her from the stain of Original Sin that we are all harmed by, and guarded her from all temptation both in body and in thought.
Please keep this in mind: without God’s constant guidance and interaction and mercy, I would not have the courage to do this, bring a statue of Mary into a protestant church and expect the congregation to have the courage to entrust themselves to her intercession, all for the sake of preserving the church community in its entirety. But if we place our fear as first need, then we lose sight of the big picture, that is, that God is eternally present in our lives.
I reflected on this long, drawn out journey in Christ, and come to these words. In the Gospel, there is the story of the “Wedding at Cana”. There, Blessed Mary petitioned the Lord Jesus, her own Son, to not let the host be put to shame since he had ran out of wine for the wedding feast. He did not deny her what she asked of Him.
To draw attention to a later event, the Lord’s Death on the Cross, when the Lord was on the Cross, he looked to His mother and the “beloved disciple” (presumably John in the literal sense, but also understood to be the witness to Christ as the whole Christian community in all ages to come thereafter). He said “Mother, behold you son… Son, behold your mother.” Not ever before then had He allowed His mother to work among the Christian community, not even when among His Apostles.
The veneration, honoring, of the Blessed Mother is not only a “Catholic” practice. It is purely Christian. We, as Christians, believe we have been made by God and in His image. So, we are responsible for emulating Christ, our Godhead, and as Christ honored all His Mother’s requests we are called to do the same.
To reassure any possible concerns, this is not at all seeking the “conversion” of everyone to the Catholic practice and faith. I know I will likely be met with some attempts of stumbling blocks, and I’ll leave those at the feet of the Lord to judge according to His will. The Christian Church was given the name Catholic because the Church conquered the entire Roman Empire, which had previously been the “center of the world”. After the conquering of Rome, the Christian Church spread everywhere because Christians were then provided the means of travel. The Christian Church was called Catholic before Luther and the Protestant Reformation, and Luther never intended for the destruction of “images”. That was the ambition of John Calvin. So true Protestantism, with Luther known as the Father of Protestantism, would not even refuse the Blessed Mother were she to make a request of him. He is in Heaven, as I believe this in my heart, and hope to hear his story when I go There myself, along with the stories of everyone who has gone before me, to better understand what was in his heart when he made the choices he did, and to hear what he learned from them.
(Current update: Later in 2009, in Summer when I visited a Religious community in California, Luther would appear to me, and express his greatest regret: leading others to unbelief in the Eucharist – true Transsubstantiation, not his “consubstantiation”, and it snowballed since throughout history – and then I saw him twist and contorted in fire into a horrible visage and disappear.)
(For any Catholic audience, especially the traditional Catholics: In claiming ‘this is not at all seeking the “conversion” of everyone to the Catholic practice and faith’, I am not about syncretism nor Modernism. Trying to convert Protestants to the Catholic Faith was not what Our Lady was asking of me. Her instructions per her request were precise. God qualifies those whom He calls to a particular mission, for that particular mission. I know the urgency prompted by mortality, but such conversion needs to be interiorly ‘organic’ and not only academic; I would rather She draw them in herself, rather than I fall in pride and take them to fall with me.)
But this is the story as to why I have done what I have regarding this Christian community in particular.