Throughout various points in history, the Virgin Mary has appeared as an apparition sometimes to crowds of people, and sometimes to fewer. Check out here for a list of apparitions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_apparition. Many of them are famous, the Fatima apparition is one of the more famous ones. In this appearence, three children were given "prophetic" information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Secrets_of_F%C3%A1tima. Probably the most fascinating aspect of this appearence was the "Miracle of the Sun." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Miracle_of_the_Sun. The miracle of the sun was witnessed by many thousands of people, and more or less seems like a massive UFO sighting. Other Marian apparitions have supposedly reported similar "sun miracles" as well. See previous posts (the Betty Andreasson series), Joe Jordan CE4 Research, or LA Marzulli's blog for more on UFOs and how they may relate to Christianity.
Moving forward to more present times, for a large number of years, there have been many appearances at Medjugorje in Croatia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me%C4%91ugorje. Every month, on the 2nd, and 25th, two women reportedly receive messages from the Virgin Mary. I have looked at many of the messages, and at first, I thought that perhaps this was the Virgin Mary. You can see the messages yourself here http://www.medjugorje.org/. (http://www.medjugorje.org/msg11.htm, http://www.medjugorje.org/msg10.htm) I would recommend praying that God show you the truth before you read too deeply, and that He would protect you spiriutally from any false teaching.
Now, let's get this out of the way. The Mary of the Bible played a very important role in bearing and birthing our Savior, Jesus Christ. She was a virgin when she became pregnant, but I believe (base on the Bible) that she later had other children. The Gospels clearly talk about Jesus' brothers and sisters, in what seems to me, a very literal sense of the word. James, who I believe wrote the Book of James in the New Testament was also the brother of Jesus. No one else claimed that as far as I know. At this point, I think it should be clear that we should admire Mary for her role in God's plan. She will probably be very greatly rewarded in Heaven. But this is where we should draw the line, Mary is not to be venerated, prayed to, or worshipped.
Now, after reading some of the Medjugorje messages, it is possible to discern that it very likely is not the Mary of the Bible. It is very tricky though, as this Medjugorje spirit is very crafty and uses words and phrases that sound very close to in line with Biblical doctrine. Here are a few. I will bold things that flew red flags, and I will comment in parentheses next to it.
Message of March 02, 2010 "Dear children, In this special time of your effort to be all the closer to my Son, to His suffering, but also to the love with which He bore it, I desire to tell you that I am with you. I will help you to triumph over errors and temptations with my grace. I will teach you love, love which wipes away all sins and makes you perfect, (alot of emphasis on what "I" will do. Also, love does not wipe away sin, only the blood of Christ Jesus can do that. One could argue that is love, and it is, but if this spirit were of God, it would hopefully mention that.) love which gives you the peace of my Son now and forever. Peace with you and in you, because I am the Queen of Peace. (Very similar to "Queen of Heaven, which made God quite angry when His people worshipped her. http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=Queen+of+heaven&t=NLT) Thank you." 03/02/2010
Message of April 2, 2010 to Mirjana "Dear children; Today I bless you in a special way and I pray for you to return to the right way, to my Son - your Savior, your Redeemer – to Him who gave you eternal life. (Interesting that she would mention that. Notice though, it does not give veneration to the Lord Jesus Christ, but just "my son." This sounds very Biblical, and is VERY VERY close to the truth, but for me, crucial details are omitted. Also, the Bible refers to Christ as God's Son. http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Jo&c=5&t=NLT#1 "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.") Reflect on everything human, on everything that does not permit you to set out after my Son – on transience, imperfection and limitation - and then think of my Son, of His Divine infiniteness. By your surrender and prayer ennoble your body and perfect your soul. Be ready, my children. Thank you."
Message of March 25, 2010 "Dear children! Also today I desire to call you all to be strong in prayer and in the moments when trials attack you. Live your Christian vocation in joy and humility and witness to everyone. I am with you and I carry you all before my Son Jesus, (We all as Christians have a personal and direct relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, why would Mary need to carry us to Jesus? Remember no one comes to the Father bu through the Son, but why would we need to go to His earthly mother to get to the Son? Notice also, it's "my Son Jesus, not the Lord Jesus Christ. ) and He will be your strength and support. Thank you for having responded to my call." 03/2010
Message of 25, April 2010 "Dear children! At this time, when in a special way you are praying and seeking my intercession, (again, direct relationship with Jesus and through Him, God, why does Mary need to make intercession?) I call you, little children, to pray so that through your prayers I can help you to have all the more hearts be opened to my messages. (Note, the spirit wants people's hearts opened to its messages, and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.) Pray for my intentions. I am with you and I intercede before my Son for each of you. (Again, why is Mary interceding?) Thank you for having responded to my call." 04/2010
Message of 02, June 2010 "Dear Children, Today I call you with prayer and fasting to clear the path in which my Son (Again, a very Biblical sounding reference) will enter into your hearts. Accept me as a mother (Why? Where is this in the Bible that we are to accept Mary as Mother?) and a messenger of God's love and His desire for your salvation. Free yourself of everything from the past which burdens you, that gives you a sense of guilt, that which previously led you astray in error and darkness. Accept the light. (New Age anyone?) Be born anew in the righteousness of my Son. Thank you." 06/02/2010
Message of 25, June 2010 "Dear children! With joy, I call you all to live my messages (We are to live out our salvation to demonstrate our faith in Christ Jesus, not the messages of "Mary") with joy; only in this way, little children, will you be able to be closer to my Son. (Oh, really? Reading the Bible, and praying is the way to be closer to Jesus. Not listening to "Mary's" messages.) I desire to lead you all only to Him, and in Him you will find true peace and the joy of your heart. I bless you all and love you with immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call." 06/2010
Message of 25, July 2010 "Dear children! Anew I call you to follow me with joy. (Again, a call to follow this spirit, and not the Lord Jesus.) I desire to lead all of you to my Son, your Savior. You are not aware that without Him you do not have joy and peace, nor a future or eternal life. Therefore, little children, make good use of this time of joyful prayer and surrender. Thank you for having responded to my call." 07/2010
Message of March 25, 2008 "Dear children! I call you to work on your personal conversion. You are still far from meeting with God in your heart. Therefore, spend all the more time in prayer and Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, (Taking the Blessed Sacrement will not necessarily bring me closer to God. Following ritual has never been what God is looking for, but rather a right heart. I apologize I don't have the right scripture handy. Remember, the Bible said that if you have something against someone, go make peace with them before offering your sacrifice with God.) for Him to change you and to put into your hearts a living faith and a desire for eternal life. Everything is passing, little children, only God is not passing. I am with you and I encourage you with love. Thank you for having responded to my call." 03/2008
Message of June 25, 2008 "Dear children! Also today, with great joy in my heart, I call you to follow me and to listen to my messages. (Again, "follow my messages") Be joyful carriers of peace and love in this peaceless world. I am with you and I bless you all with my Son Jesus, the King of Peace. (Not a Biblical title per se, but it sounds really good.) Thank you for having responded to my call." 06/2008
Message of April 25, 2006 "Dear children! Also today I call you to have more trust in me and my Son. He has conquered by His death and resurrection (I would almost buy this, except it says "my Son," and not "the Lord Jesus Christ") and, through me, (Here we go again.) calls you to be a part of His joy. You do not see God, little children, but if you pray you will feel His nearness. I am with you and intercede before God for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call." 04/2006
Message of May 25, 2006 "Dear children! Also today I call you to put into practice and to live my messages that I am giving you. Decide for holiness, little children, and think of heaven. Only in this way, will you have peace in your heart that no one will be able to destroy. Peace is a gift, which God gives you in prayer. Little children, seek and work with all your strength for peace to win in your hearts and in the world. Thank you for having responded to my call." 05/2006
OK, so you should see by now what I am talking about. First, the spirit puts alot of emphasis on how it will intercede or will carry us to Jesus. It also calls for us to accept its messages. It calls itself the queen of peace, which is not a Biblical depiction of Mary at all. Nowhere in the Bible was Mary given a royal title.
Maybe this is stretching a bit, but I was reminded of the "Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah. Has Medjugorje been referred to as such? Yep, http://www.medjugorje.org/rosary.htm.
Also, why would we need to do anything through Mary? She died, long ago. I believe she is, or will be in Heaven, but she is basically at this point dead, like Paul, Christ's disciples and the later Apostles. None of them have come back to give messages, and they did the most to send forth the Gospel. All this to say, these people are getting messages from someone who is dead at the moment. Let's take a look at a few Bible passages:
Isaiah 8:19 - 20 http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Isa&c=8&v=1&t=NLT#top
So why are you trying to find out the future by consulting mediums and psychics? Do not listen to their whisperings and mutterings. Can the living find out the future from the dead? Why not ask your God?
"Check their predictions against my testimony," says the LORD. "If their predictions are different from mine, it is because there is no light or truth in them.
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=2Cr&c=11&t=NLT#14
But I am not surprised! Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light.
So it is no wonder his servants can also do it by pretending to be godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.
and of course, a favorite of many in this realm, and good advice too. Ask the spirits:
1 John 4:1 - 3 http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Jo&c=4&v=1&t=NLT#top
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.
This is the way to find out if they have the Spirit of God: If a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ became a human being, that person has the Spirit of God.
If a prophet does not acknowledge Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist. You have heard that he is going to come into the world, and he is already here.
So even though this Marian apparation says "My son" and "Jesus" never once will you find a message where it says that Jesus Christ became a human being. You will never here it proclaim the full Gospel. If Mary were speaking to us, or God was sending us a message, wouldn't you think it would be to proclaim the exact Gospel as it has conventionally been preached? Why allow Mary's spirit to appear and tell people to follow her, and accept her? That takes away from the Gospel, and so I do not believe this spirit is of God. No matter how close some of the words come to the truth. A truth with a little lie in it is still not the truth.
The Apostle Paul had this to say if someone proclaimed a Gospel that was different than the one he and the other Apostles preached.
Galatians 1:6 - 9 http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Gal&c=1&t=NLT#6
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who in his love and mercy called you to share the eternal life he gives through Christ. You are already following a different way
that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.
Let God's curse fall on anyone, including myself, who preaches any other message than the one we told you about. Even if an angel comes from heaven and preaches any other message, let him be forever cursed.
I will say it again: If anyone preaches any other gospel than the one you welcomed, let God's curse fall upon that person.
As if the Bible wasn't clear enough on the matter, Bill Myers and David Wimbish have more to add. From their book "The Dark Side of the Supernatural." What they have to say pertains more to angels specifically, but could and I think should pertain to any spirit. Not to mention that angels can take many forms.page 28
* When an angel seeks to draw attention to himself and not to God, he is no angel.
* When an angel gladly accepts the adoration of men and women, you can be sure that he didn't come to us from Heaven.
* When an angel tells us that he will answer our prayers and give us what we desire, he is attempting to usurp God's authority, and he is not to be trusted.
* When an angel tells us that we can be equal to God, he is no angel.
He also says on page 128
Author Phil Phillips gives us five practical scriptural methods to "test the spirits." He writes that an authentic messenger from God
1) always proclaims-and never denies-that Jesus is God's Son and He came to earth in fleshly form;
2) always exalts Jesus Christ and points toward His atonement for sin, which He made when He died on the cross;
3) never encourages divination or occult practices;
4) never contradicts Scripture or dismisses its importance;
5) never undermines the majesty, glory, or holiness of almighty God, King of the Universe.
Just a few notes. The bolded items are something that the Medjugorje Apparition always fails. It always asks for people's prayers, and proclaims Jesus as my Son, not God's son. Read enough of the messages and you will see that while it sounds like it's in line with the Bible and these guidelines, it is not always so. We know God is always consistent in His messages and His messengers should be too. If they're not, they aren't His messengers. The key here is to test the spirits, and use discernment in reading those messages.
So, do you, or anyone you know believe these messages are really from the Mary of the Bible? Look through them again. Do they clearly, and proudly proclaim the Gospel? If not, then perhaps it's time to consider that these messages are from someone other than God or the Virgin Mary. Remember, Satan is very clever, and a master of deception. Be wary, cling the Gospel and continue to seek God's truth in your life.
Peace, and God Bless you all!
Some good podcasts by russ dizdar on catholicism.