BACKGROUND TO BUDDY #28

Note to the reader: the series of articles entitled Background to Buddy were extracted from a Christian nonfiction work that formed the basis for the novel Buddy, which is available from either Amazon or Signalman Publishing. Directions are noted on the page entitled Buddy on this blog site. The purpose of this work was to explain the reasons why I consider the Holy Spirit to be functionally female. Adventure episodes and humor were added for the entertainment of both the reader and the author.

Chapter 13: An Incomplete Resistance to a Female Holy Spirit (continued)

The Catholic Church embraces other traditions regarding Mary that don’t appear to follow Scripture, at least directly. Yet some traditions may capture the essence of Scriptural teaching. Some of these are quite beautiful. As we have already noted, Father Gerald Vann (1906-1963), in his little book Mary’s Answer For Our Troubled Times, illustrates quite convincingly an account of Mary wherein with an agony of the heart she supports Jesus in His suffering during His crucifixion. While the specific interchange between Mary and Jesus is not found in Scripture, the reader nevertheless senses that it is appropriate to the situation and is inclined to agree that other Scripture indirectly supports the reality of this presumed relational event.

In his chapter “Mary and Modernity”, John Macquarrie mentions an Aztec Indian by the name of Juan Diego3 who lived in the town of Guadalupe near Mexico City, experiencing an apparent encounter with Mary in the year 1531. Macquarrie remarked upon the strange contrast between the ancient and modern worlds: while Christians still flocked into the Shrine of Guadalupe to kneel beneath Juan Diego’s cape, the same cape was visible but irrelevant to the busy people who went about their business along a modern moving walkway just outside the shrine. In observing this dichotomy, Macquarrie questioned the place of Christianity itself in our post-enlightenment society.

I remember reading of Juan Diego in an entirely different context. The account was presented by Jacques Vallee in his book Dimensions5, in which he speculated on the spiritual, even religious side of UFO encounters. The story of Juan Diego is quite moving; I included it in my book Myths, UFOs and the Judeo-Christian God6 and present it below as being of interest with respect to Mariology. In demonstrating an ongoing supernatural association with Mary, it indicates God’s approval of her veneration by the Church. Of particular interest in this type of visitation are the apparent absurdities in the encounter, which, upon a deeper grasp of the event, turn out to be of real importance. Vallee himself commented in the narration of the story, that:

“Indeed, we cannot help but recall here the word of Hartland in his Science of Fairy Tales: ‘This gift of an object apparently worthless, which turns out, on the conditions being observed, to be of the utmost value, is a commonplace of fairy transactions. It is one of the most obvious manifestations of superhuman power.’”

Elements of the tale which evoked that response are repeated below:

“Juan spent the day trying to relieve [his uncle’s] sufferings and left him only on Tuesday, to get a priest. As he was running to Tlaltelolco, the apparition again barred his way. Embarrassed, he told her why he had not followed her instructions, and she said:

“’My little son, do not be distressed and afraid. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Your uncle will not die at this time. This very moment his health is restored. There is no reason now for the errand you set out on, and you can peacefully attend to mine. Go up to the top of the hill: cut the flowers that are growing there and bring them to me.’

“There were no flowers on the top of the hill, as Juan Diego knew very well. In the middle of December, there could be no flower there, and yet, upon reaching the place, he found Castilian roses, ‘their petals wet with dew.’ He cut them and, using his long Indian cape – his tilma – to protect them from the bitter cold, carried them back to the apparition. She arranged the flowers he had dropped in the wrap, then tied the lower corners of the tilma behind his neck so that none of the roses would fall. She advised him not to let anybody but the bishop see the sign she had given him and then disappeared. Juan Diego never met her again.

“At the bishop’s palace several servants made fun of the Indian visionary. They ‘pushed him around’ and tried to snatch the flowers. But when they observed how the roses seemed to dissolve when they reached for them, they were astonished and let him go. Juan was taken once more to the bishop.

“’Juan Diego put up both hands and untied the corners of crude cloth behind his neck. The looped-up fold of the tilma fell: the flowers he thought were the precious sign tumbled out and lay in an untidy heap on the floor. Alas for the Virgin’s careful arrangement!

“’But Juan’s confusion over this mishap was nothing to what he felt immediately after it. Inside of seconds the Bishop had risen from his chair and was kneeling at Juan’s feet, and inside of a minute all the other persons in the room had surged forward and were also kneeling.’

“The bishop was kneeling before Juan’s tilma, and, as Ethel Cook Eliot remarks, ‘Millions of people have knelt before it since,’ for it has been placed over the high altar in the basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. The tilma consists of two pieces, woven of maguey fibers and sewn together, measuring sixty-six by forty-one inches. On this coarse material, whose color is that of unbleached linen, a lovely figure can be seen, fifty-six inches tall.

“’Surrounded by golden rays, it emerges as from a shell of light, clear-cut and lovely in every detail of line and color. The head is bent slightly and very gracefully to the right, just avoiding the long seam. They eyes look downward, but the pupils are visible. This gives an unearthly impression of lovingness and lovableness. The mantle that covers the head and falls to the feet is greenish blue with a border of purest gold, and scattered through with golden stars. The tunic is rose-colored, patterned with a lace-like design of golden flowers. Below is a crescent moon, and beneath it appear the head and arms of a cherub.’

“Juan’s uncle was cured. As he was awaiting the priest, too weak even to drink the medicine his nephew had prepared, he saw his room suddenly filled with soft light. A luminous figure, that of a young woman, appeared near him. She told him he would get well and informed him of Juan Diego’s mission. She also said, ‘Call me and call my image Santa Maria de Guadalupe’ – or so the message was understood.

“In the six years that followed the incident, over eight million Indians were baptized. In recent times, some fifteen hundred persons still go to kneel before Juan Diego’s tilma every day.”

The interested person can see the image on the tilma for himself or herself by going on the Internet to http://www.sancta.org/juandiego.html and clicking on “pictures” at the top of the page. The pictures include a photograph of the actual image on the tilma and a close-up of the face. The detail is amazing; the image itself is awe-inspiring.

Other experiences that are sometimes placed in the UFO category seem to have religious connotations involving Mary as well. The well-known Fatima miracle, as Jacques Vallee relates, was connected with UFOs:

“The famous apparitions at Fatima7 offer a historical example of the religious dimension of UFO encounters. The case is a celebrated one, yet I am prepared to wager that few Americans know the full story of what happened in 1917 near the small Portuguese town. I suspect that even fewer realize that the entire sequence of observations of an entity thought to be the Virgin Mary had begun two years previously with a fairly classical sequence of UFO sightings.

“If we accept the interpretation given of Fatima by the Catholic Church, we are dealing with a phenomenon that cannot be explained either as a physical effect or as an illusion. In its decision of 1930, arrived at after thirteen years of painstaking investigation by many scholars, the Church stated that:

“’The solar phenomenon of the 13th of October 1917, described in the press of the time, was most marvelous and caused the greatest impression on those who had the happiness of witnessing it. . .

“’This phenomenon, which no astronomical observatory registered and which therefore was not natural, was witnessed by persons of all categories and of all social classes, believers and unbelievers, journalists of the principal Portuguese newspapers and even by persons some miles away. Facts which annul any explanation of collective illusion.’

“This ‘miracle,’ the reader will note, had been predicted several months before by three illiterate children after their vision of a woman ‘in a bright glow.’ She had not said that she was the Virgin Mary. She had simply stated that she was ‘from Heaven’ and instructed them to return every month until October, when a public miracle would take place ‘so that everyone may believe.’

“The events at Fatima involve luminous spheres, lights with strange colors, a feeling of ‘heat waves’ – all physical characteristics commonly associated with UFOs. They even include the typical falling-leaf motion of the saucer zig-zagging through the air. They also encompass prophecy and a loss of ordinary consciousness on the part of witnesses-what we have called the psychic component of UFO sightings.”

Vallee goes on to describe various messages given to selected individuals, the prophetic statements, and the several follow-on apparitions that comprise the Fatima miracle. He notes features of the events, like buzzing sounds experienced by some witnesses, which are characteristic of modern UFO sightings. Some prophesies are quite specific, as noted by Vallee:

“’The war is going to end, but if people do not stop offending God another and worse one will begin during the reign of Pius XI [note: he died in 1939]. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light know that this is the great sign that God is giving you that he is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine, and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.

“’To prevent this I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia. . .If they heed my requests, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world.’”

Vallee then makes a curious statement regarding this prophecy:

“The mixture of seriousness and absurdity that we have already noted in several contactee stories is an unmistakable characteristic of this statement. We will find the same thing to be true in Lourdes, where the alleged Virgin Mary instructs the little Bernadette to perform meaningless actions.”

Did the statement have absurd elements? World War II began the same year Pius XI died. Major events which precipitated it occurred during his reign. According to Christian (and Western) thought, Russia has indeed spread her errors throughout the world.

NOTES

General Notes:

1. All bible references are taken from the King James Version
2. Only the first appearance in each chapter to an item to which a note is associated is subscripted.

Chapter 13

1. For an overview of the Catholic Church and her beliefs, including Mariology (veneration of Mary) or Marian Devotions, a good starting place is The Everything Catholicism Book by Helen Keeler and Susan Grimbly, published 2003 by Adams Media Corporation. Excellent follow-on books dealing more specifically with Mary are Mary For All Christians by John Macquarrie, published 1991 by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Group, and Mary’s Answer For Our Troubled Times by Gerald Vann, published 1950 by Sophia Institute Press.

2. See Wikipedia re “Carl Gustav Jung”

3. Family of God, Arthur Perkins, published 2004 Falcon Books, portions or all available on request to perkinsart44@yahoo.com

4. See Wikipedia re “Juan Diego”. Juan Diego Cuahtlatoatzin (1474-1548) witnessed an apparition of Mary in 1531 near Mexico City that ultimately led to the salvation of thousands, if not more. He was canonized as a saint in 2002 for his extraordinary experience. Also visit website http://www.sancta.org/juuandiego.html and click on “pictures” for a view of his cape.

5. See Wikipedia re “Jacques Fabrice Vallee” Dr. Vallee (1939 -) received a B.S. in Mathematics from the Sorbonne and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Northwestern University. His achievements included a computerized mapping of Mars for NASA, as well as contributions to the development of the Internet. He was also a major researcher in the UFO phenomenon. He, along with Dr. J. Allen Hynek of Project Bluebook notoriety, eventually began to think of UFOs as having interdimensional capabilities.

6. Myths, UFOs and the Judeo-Christian God, Atthur Perkins, 2011, unpublished, portions available on request to perkinsart44@yahoo.com

7. See Wikipedia re “Our Lady of Fatima”. The Fatima episode was an apparition of Mary in 1917 that appeared to three children in Fatima, Portugal. Two of the children died in the great influenza epidemic following World War 1, supposedly with the full knowledge of and joyful anticipation of their coming death. The third, Lucia, lived to the age of 97, passing away in 2005. The children were given three secrets by the apparition of Mary. The first involved a vision of hell. The second involved a request to save souls and a command to consecrate Russia to Mary, with the warning that if Russia didn’t return to God, another, worse war would occur during the tenure of Pope Pius XI. This prophecy was fulfilled in 1939, the year that Pope Pius XI died. There is a bit of the cloak-and-dagger regarding the third secret of Fatima. Lucia had cautioned that it was not to be revealed until 1960, but the Catholic Church continued to hold it secret until 2000, when the secret was declared to have been a vision of a Pope climbing up a hill toward a cross, accompanied by many Church leaders and other Christians. Upon reaching the cross at the summit, they were gunned down by soldiers. Angels were said to have collected their shed blood. But there is still controversy regarding this third secret, with many claiming that the third mystery revealed more than the Church has been willing to disclose. At any rate, Popes Pius XII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI have all strongly acknowledged their acceptance of the Fatima apparition and the secrets as supernatural fact. In 2010 Pope Benedict XVI repeated this conviction. Other apparitions of Mary have been witnessed, including eighteen appearances to Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes, France, and a number of events at Medjugorje, Bosnia beginning in June, 1981. A recommended Web site for the interested reader is “Apparitions of Mary”.

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