Yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI surprisingly echoes the "Messages" of Medjugorje in a short speech to the faithful.
After the Solemnity of Pentecost Mass that he presided over yesterday in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father appeared at the widow of his study to pray the Regina Coeli (or “Queen of Heaven,” an ancient Latin Marian Hymn) with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. He also had some interesting words to say about the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke of “Our Lady's” special role as the intercessor and a powerful reinforcement from the Holy Spirit. He said "Let us, in Mary's school, learn to recognise the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to listen to His inspiration and humbly to follow it".
But echoes of Medjugorje in Pope Benedict XVI homily?
We think so.
First, it is important to understand the Holy Father is quite familiar with Medjugorje and the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary that have taken place there. Some even claim this Pope has been instrumental in allowing the fruits of Medjugorje to continue to grow. During the late 90s, as Cardinal Schonbornof Austria was visiting Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI0 in Rome, he told Cardinal Ratzinger: “If one day you close down Medjugorje, I'll have to close down my Seminary in Vienna because the great majority of my seminarians received their calling through Medjugorje.” Cardinal Ratzinger replied immediately: "We have no plan to close down Medjugorje!"
We find it significant that the Pope spoke of "Mary's School" and he talked about her "Teachings" and in this context it seemed that many of his points came straight from the "messages" of Medjugorje.
The Pope first spoke of the importance of prayer to our spiritual life. In fact he says "she teaches us this"
The Pope calls for "for the Church to be less preoccupied with activities and more dedicated to prayer." "Mary Most Holy, the Mother of the Church and Bride of the Holy Spirit, teaches us this, Explaining the importance of this celebration, the Pope noted that "what air is for biological life, the Holy Spirit is for the spiritual life." He continued, "As there is air pollution, that poisons the environment and living things, there is also pollution of the heart and the spirit that mortifies and poisons spiritual existence." The Holy Father encouraged his listeners to not be complacent "about that which corrupts the spirit."
Now from the "Messages" from Medjugorje, messages given to the world by the Queen of Peace on the importance of prayer to our spiritual life. These words, her "teachings" if you will, seem to echo the words of the Pope:
Please, do not let my heart weep with tears of blood because of the souls who are lost in sin. Therefore, dear children, pray, pray, pray! ... I invite you to surrender to God. In this season I specially want you to renounce all the things to which you are attached but which are hurting your spiritual life. Therefore, little children, decide completely for God, and do not allow Satan to come into your life through those things that hurt both you and your spiritual life...Pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire you with the spirit of prayer, so you will pray more. I, your Mother, tell you that you are praying little.
The Holy Father in his speech yesterday, then talked about the importance of Listening to God in silence
"If we do not want Pentecost to be reduced to a mere ritual or to a suggestive commemoration," he said, in order that it can become a "real event of salvation," we must "predispose ourselves to God's gift in religious openness" through a "humble and silent listening to God's Word."
Messages from Medjugorje on Listening to God in silence :
Therefore, from today, decide to consecrate a time in the day only for an encounter with God in silence. In that way you will be able, with God, to witness my presence here.
The Pope on Humans acting as if they our their own Creators:
Today, the Pope asserted, "human beings seem to claim themselves as gods and want to transform the world excluding, putting aside or simply rejecting the Creator of the universe."
"Man no longer wants to be the image of God," he said, "but the image of himself; he declares himself autonomous, free, adult."
"Obviously that reveals an inauthentic relationship with God, the consequence of a false image that has been constructed of him," the Pontiff affirmed.
The Messages from Medjugorje on humans acting as if they our their own Creators:Dear children! I invite you to reflect about your future. You are creating a new world without God, only with your own strength and that is why you are unsatisfied and without joy in the heart. Civilization progress has been made , but without God, as if they were their own creators."
The Pope on Fear and Love:
Speaking of the story of the first Pentecost, in which the Apostles were given the courage to preach the Gospel, the Holy Father noted that "the Holy Spirit overcomes fear."
After Pentecost, the Apostles "had no fear, because they felt that they were in stronger hands," he said.
Benedict XVI continued: "Where the Spirit of God enters, he chases out fear; he makes us know and feel that we are in the hands of an Omnipotence of love: whatever happens, his infinite love will not abandon us.
Message from Medjugorje on Love and Fear:
Love and don't be afraid, my children, because there is no fear in love. If your hearts are open to the Father and if they are full of love toward him, then why any fear of what is to come? Those who are afraid are the ones who do not love because they are waiting for punishments and because they know how empty and hard they are. Children, I am leading you to love, to the dear Father. I am leading you to eternal life. Eternal life is my Son. Receive him and you have received love. ”
The Pope's speech about the importance of "Our Lady's" teachings for our spiritual health seemed to us very heartfelt, and we sense that the "Queen of Peace" was somewhere in his thoughts. We also wonder if the Pope indeed believes Medjugorje is in fact "Mary's School".