FAITH IN NUMBERS
I’m anticipating an upsurge in prophecies and predictions linked to Medjugorje when the phenomenon enters its 40th year after June 24, along with a fresh outbreak of reports on new sightings and manifestations.
The ‘weird and the wonderful’ has always been part of the Medjugorje narrative since the phenomenon first occured on June 24, 1981. Stoking the new wave of prophecies and predictions will be the belief by some that the so-called Medjugorje ‘secrets’ will soon be revealed, simply because 40 is one of those biblical numbers associated with conclusions and new beginnings.
For some Medjugorje followers every year has been one of expectation concerning the ‘secrets’. But still nothing has happened on that front except continual guesswork and curiosity, so why should the next 12 months be any different? Of course, the number 40 has a certain biblical ring about it, but so have many other numbers. Maybe it’s all to do with a superstitious tendency to believe that numbers are ‘lucky’ or otherwise. On that premise we can conjur up all sorts of numerical permutations and tag some association or meaning to the result.
Ever wondered why there is an upsurge in the number of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje during certain anniversaries, like 20, 25, and 30, and even more so over the next 12 months, subject to the COVID-19 pandemic?. Now there’s a number to consider! Will something happen on the 19th day of a particular month during the 40th year of the Medjugorje phenomenon, or even at the 19th hour of the day which brings us to 7:00pm in the evening, shortly after Our Lady’s visitation to the visionaries she is still appearing to, Marija in particular.
Am I sounding skeptical? Perhaps. And I do understand that wanting to see a sign can be something akin to a requirement of ‘proof’ for some people. The apostle Thomas had his doubts about the Resurrection, but Jesus had said earlier that the only sign he would give, after being asked to do so by the Sadducees and Pharisees, would be the sign of Jonah.
The sign of Jonah or the resurrection of lives is the clearest and most visible sign at Medjugorje that God exists and loves his people – and I don’t mean the towering sculpture of the Risen Christ, although that does inspire prayer and meditation and serves as a focus and reminder that the Resurrection is central in all our lives.
Circumstances prevent me from returning to Medjugorje, but during the times I did go there it was the visible witness of resurrected lives that impacted on me most, and I include my own raising to a new way of life, not because of any signs in the sky or prophecies or warnings or “secrets”, but because of a direct infusion of God’s love reminding me that his love for me was greater than any or all of my sins. He set another captive free. Simple as that. No need for signs or prophecies or secrets. That God loves his people is no secret. Why should it be?
A Medjugorje priest once told me: “If God desires to share his glory with you, then accept it.” I now know this to be true – and it applies to all God’s children. We are made for God’s glory, here and in heaven. We are called to accept it and not be concerned about the numbers game, and the guessing games created by self-proclaimed prophets and the like because “There will always be a season for everything, a time for every occupation under the sun” (Ecc. 3 :1). And even, perhaps, a time for secrets to be kept secret, and a time for secrets to be revealed.
BG June 21, 2020