Today in Poetry

My daughter thinks that I should move

The tendrils from Our Lady’s face

But I demurred:

Grace perfects our fallen nature

But nature may obscure the grace

Or so I’ve heard.

“Our little homicides of heart and soul…”

I know! I know! No one reads anymore – or writes anymore – or hardly thinks anymore. Vancouver’s burnt, London’s burning and Dis is rising…. But hey, we still got lots of pictures.

I hear the camping in that part of the country is excellent, too.

The Miracle Detective(s)

First there was The Miracle Detective, the book by Randall Sullivan, mainly about Medjugorje.

Now there is The Miracle Detectives, plural, the new TV show slated to begin in January on Oprah’s new network, with Sullivan as the believer paired up with a lovely young skeptic to play Scully to Sullivan’s Mulder. Interesting.

And here’s one young lovely skeptic that turned down the job.

And here is Sullivan talking about the show. A few quotes:

My approach is more based on people’s experiences, my perception of their psychological and emotional realities, and of their spiritual conditions, and testing them through the creation of a journalistic narrative, while my partner’s approach is more based on what can be measured and tested by the scientific method. At the end, we compare notes and come to our conclusions–which are rarely the same.

The show began as “The Miracle Detective,” but became “Miracle Detectives” when it was decided that we would be “more inclusive” by partnering me with a scientific sceptic. The Muldaur/Scully relationship from “X-Files” was what the executives hoped we’d model. Indre was chosen from among a very large pool of candidates after we all agreed that her combination of intelligence and enthusiasm made her the right person for the job.

My experiences in Medjugorje figure as a subtext throughout the series and are in the foreground during one of our early episodes, which involves a Marian apparition in Ohio. My first face-to-face meeting with Wayne Weible is sort of a trigger for that. I’ve been promised that in Season Two (assuming there is one) we will go to Medjugorje and shoot an entire episode about what has happened there, including what happened to me.

Have I witnessed such intellectual snobbery? I’ve been trampled by it. It remains incredible to me how many so-called intellectuals resort to mindless ideological bigotry when confronted by claims of the miraculous. I think it has to do, ultimately, with the fact that a belief in the miraculous–in the supernatural, for that matter–is rooted in personal experience. People who’ve had that experience know what I’m talking about. People who haven’t are without a clue.

Shortly before “The Miracle Detective” hit bookstores, my publisher worried that it was “too smart for religious people and too religious for smart people.” I guess I’ve never accepted that dichotomy. I don’t believe you have to be dumb to be religious. I also think that many people are sorting through their doubts and concerns and questions about how religious feelings and spiritual experiences fit into a modern world that’s been so shaped by science and technology, and by the rational skepticism that reigns supreme among those who control the levers of cultural power. About Medjugorje, you wrote: “In Rome, my own interest in that tiny Bosnian parish would increase each time I spoke its name aloud. There was no single word, I discovered, that so instantly could produce a rapturous smile, a derisive snort, or an uncomfortable silence in the Holy See as ‘Medjugorje’” It’s clearly a very controversial issue in the Church, yet you emphasized that Pope John Paul II loved Medjugorje and acquired the nickname “Protector of Medjugorje” in the Vatican. Can you elaborate more on this, and on the ecclesial politics you witnessed in Rome surrounding the apparitions?

Randall Sullivan: I’ll just note something I observed in “The Miracle Detective,” which is that just about everyone I met in Rome who criticized or questioned Medjugorje hadn’t ever been there, while everyone I met who had been to Medjugorje praised it. It’s that experience issue again. The official jurisdiction over Medjugorje’s authenticity has been taken away from the local bishop of Mostar, Ratko Peric. What do you make of this move and the new international commission, led by the Holy See, to investigate the phenomena?

Randall Sullivan: The decision you’re talking about was simultaneously a recognition of how important Medjugorje has been to millions of the faithful, including John Paul II, and how personal and petty the opposition to Medjugorje is at the diocese of Mostar. Nothing that the current pope has done has made me respect him more.

Read the entire interview.

Mary’s Message to Bloggers

Our Lady’s September 25, 2010 message:

“Dear children! Today I am with you and bless you all with my motherly blessing of peace, and I urge you to live your life of faith even more, because you are still weak and are not humble. I urge you, little children, to speak less and to work more on your personal conversion so that your witness may be fruitful. And may your life be unceasing prayer. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Medjugorje and Science

The majority of the studies conducted on the young Medjugorje visionaries, which have ranged from polygraphs to neurological examinations, psychiatric tests, electrocardiogram, blood pressure and heart rhythm examinations, and electroencephalogram tests measuring brain waves during ecstasies, have supported the integrity of the apparitions. The tests have shown that the visionaries were not lying or hallucinating, nor were they in any epileptic or hypnotic state during their daily ecstasies but, indeed, experiencing something unexplainable, beyond the boundaries of scientific understanding. Furthermore, numerous miraculous healings have also been reported at Medjugorje, many of them copiously documented with abundant medical evidence supporting the claims.

Read the entire article.

See also: Scientific Studies | 1993 Report | 1998 Report

confess your sins so that grace may open your hearts

Dear children! In this time of renunciation, prayer and penance, I call you anew: go and confess your sins so that grace may open your hearts, and permit it to change you. Convert little children, open yourselves to God and to His plan for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.


Without Blessing

Dear children! You are running, working, gathering – but without blessing. You are not praying! Today I call you to stop in front of the manger and to meditate on Jesus, Whom I give to you today also, to bless you and to help you to comprehend that, without Him, you have no future. Therefore, little children, surrender your lives into the hands of Jesus, for Him to lead you and protect you from every evil. Thank you for having responded to my call.

December 25, 2008 message from Medjugorje

Mary and James

Message of July 25, 2007

“Dear children! Today, on the day of the Patron of your Parish, I call you to imitate the lives of the Saints. May they be, for you, an example and encouragement to a life of holiness. May prayer for you be like the air you breathe in and not a burden. Little children, God will reveal His love to you and you will experience the joy that you are my beloved. God will bless you and give you an abundance of grace. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

The Earth Opens to the Seed

Message of February 25, 2006

“Dear children! In this Lenten time of grace, I call you to open your hearts to the gifts that God desires to give you. Do not be closed, but with prayer and renunciation say ‘yes’ to God and He will give to you in abundance. As in springtime the earth opens to the seed and yields a hundredfold, so also your heavenly Father will give to you in abundance. I am with you and love you, little children, with a tender love. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

Believe and Live the Word of God

Dear children! Also today I call you to be carriers of the Gospel in your families. Do not forget, little children, to read Sacred Scripture. Put it in a visible place and witness with your life that you believe and live the Word of God. I am close to you with my love and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Peace in This Peaceless World

Christmas Message from Medjugorje

Dear children! Also today, in my arms I bring you little Jesus, the King of Peace, to bless you with His peace. Little children, in a special way today I call you to be my carriers of peace in this peaceless world. God will bless you. Little children, do not forget that I am your mother. I bless you all with a special blessing, with little Jesus in my arms. Thank you for having responded to my call.

October Medjugorje Message

Medjugorje Message of October 25, 2005

Little children, believe, pray and love, and God will be near you. He will give you the gift of all the graces you seek from Him. I am a gift to you, because, from day to day, God permits me to be with you and to love each of you with immeasurable love. Therefore, little children, in prayer and humility, open your hearts and be witnesses of my presence. Thank you for having responded to my call.

August 25 Medjugorje Message

Dear children! Also today I call you to live my messages. God gave you a gift of this time as a time of grace. Therefore, little children, make good use of every moment and pray, pray, pray. I bless you all and intercede before the Most High for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson

In one of his guest blogs at Old Hag, Matthew Lickona asked what contemporary novel might portray the current American Catholic scene the way Morte D’Urban succeeded in capturing an earlier era. I confess I haven’t read Morte D’Urban, but I would submit Guterson’s novel as a candidate for a genuine portrayal of the Catholicism in the U.S. today. Read Lickona’s post and my comment here.

Even though Guterson muffs the ending by doing violence to the mystery that has sustained the central plot thread, the Catholic characters in the novel are pretty fully realized, and run the gammet from Marian apparition chasers to half-hearted priests and plain old suffering believers. I read this shortly after reading The Miracle Detective, and found the treatment of Marian phenomena to be complementarily sympathetic.


June 25 was the 24th anniversary of the purported apparitions of Our Lady in Medjugorje. For a fascinating report on Medjugorje, check out The Miracle Detective by Randall Sullivan. Sullivan is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone who approached Medjugorje as a skeptic but was swayed by his firsthand experience and interviews with the seers who continue to receive visits from Mary.

Mary delivers a message to one of the seers each month on the 25th. Here is the English translation of today’s message:

Dear children! Today I thank you for every sacrifice that you have offered for my intentions. I call you, little children, to be my apostles of peace and love in your families and in the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit may enlighten and lead you on the way of holiness. I am with you and bless you all with my motherly blessing. Thank you for having responded to my call.

An archive of messages and further information is available at

An interview with Randall Sullivan is available on Godspy.

Penance, Penance, Penance!

VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2000 (VIS) – Given below is the complete translation of the original Portuguese text of the third part of the secret of Fatima, revealed to the three shepherd children at Cova da Iria-Fatima on July 13, 1917, and committed to paper by Sr. Lucia on January 3, 1944:

“I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

“After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”

Recommended Reading

The Miracle Detective by Randall Sullivan