We are in Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina), where six children reported visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1981. They saw apparitions of the the Virgin Mary daily for many years and some still hear her. She requests conversion, prayer, and fasting. As a result, Medjugorje attracts about one million visitors a year.
Many visitors report unusual experiences here. Pilgrims climb to the tall cement cross on Mt. Podbrdo, above Medjugorje (behind the church in the photo) and some claim they see the cross glow or disappear and then reappear. Others report that the sun dances in the sky, changes color, or changes size. People have made videos of this, available on Youtube. These claims are similar to what was reported at Fatima, Portugal — except that the Fatima event happened only once; the sun has “danced” many times in Medjugorje.
I am thinking that I might document an anomalous event while at Medjugorje so that you will realize the validity of the unseen world.
As I walk toward the church, the sun seems normal. There is a video reflection that dances around as I walk but this should not be regarded as paranormal.
Many people who visit Medjorgorje describe miraculous healings. Some accounts, available on Youtube, are quite marvelous. I hypothesize that miracles are rare while placebo effects are prevalent. I believe in miracles but skepticism is prudent. If you believe you will benefit, then your belief helps you heal.
Karen pulled a muscle in her hip and arrived in Medjugorje in pain. She is unable to come with me when I climb to the top of Cross Mountain (Mt. Podbrdo).
Before I leave, I watch people’s Youtube videos about Medjugorge. They show videos of a statue of Jesus, close to the Medjugorje church, that exudes water. Christian history describes many statues that weep but the Medjugorge statue sheds water from its knee rather than its eye. This is thought to be miraculous or paranormal because no one can explain it. People wipe up the water with prayer cloths and the prayer cloths then generate spiritual healings.
As I climb the mountain, I wonder if Karen will be healed of her hip pain.
I pass Stations of the Cross — portraying the story of the Crucifixion. The trail is rugged and rocky. I hear people praying in Croatian, saying the rosary together.
The rocks are sharp and uneven. Some people walk barefoot. They stop at each station and do a reading, in Croation, and some do the rosary while kneeling on the rocks. The average American would find the climb demanding and kneeling on the sharp rocks painful. These Croatian pilgrims are not fooling around!
At the top, people are praying fervently, saying Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Blessed Be’s. A few people, such as myself, are merely observing.
I climb to the very top of the mountain, with a panoramic view. People have placed small crosses among the rocks. I start down the mountain.
For a while, I walk with a bare-foot guy who suggests that I take off my shoes. I realize that I don’t understand this folk religion very well. Apparently Our Lady asks for fervent prayer and these people are responding to her request.
After I got back, I took Karen to see the church and statue. We see people praying in the church and walk toward the statue.
The Risen Christ statue was put in place in 1998. It is a replica of a silver sculpture by Andrej Ajdic showing Jesus rising from the grave, wrapped, not in a loincloth, but a newspaper. The newspaper signifies the ephemeral event of the crucifixion.
People are touching Christ’s knee, which seems to be slowly emitting water, exactly as I had seen in the Youtude videos. I am thinking that Karen should touch the water and get miraculously healed, or at least get a placebo effect.
Karen inspects the statue.
I also look closely at the knee and I wipe up the water droplets that are present and observe that new ones are appearing.
When new droplets appear, I wipe them again. Water is appearing in various places, particularly from a slight crack in the upper part of the knee.
Karen inspects the statue again.
Karen explains that the water is coming from a crack in the statue’s surface.
“The water is coming out of the crack,” she says. “Why should anyone get excited?”
“How is the water getting inside the statue?” I ask. “Do you think that Jesus has a hole in his head which allows water in when it rains?”
“Yes,” she says. “This is very under-whelming. I can understand why people might get excited if Jesus had water coming from his eyes because that would show he cares but what does water from the knee mean?”
“I’m not sure what it means. It is water that can’t be explained and it can heal you,” I say. “Don’t you want to be healed?”
Karen went back to our room and took some ibuprofen for the pain in her hip. The story about the Risen Christ statue will be continued in my next blog.
Lao tsu writes (chapter 49):
“The Master has no mind of her own.
She works with the mind of the people.
She is good to people who are good.
She is good to people who aren’t good.
This is true goodness.
She trusts people who are trustworthy.
She trusts people who aren’t trustworthy.
This is true trust.
The Master’s mind us like space.
People don’t understand her.
They look at her and wait.
She treats them like her own children”
It is interesting to compare Lao tsu’s concept of the Master with that of the Virgin Mary’s messages at Medjugorje. The Virgin Mary is concerned about unbelievers and asks us to pray for them. Lao tsu describes a Master who is not concerned about changing anyone’s belief. Our Lady feels that unbelievers will go to hell. Lao tsu is not concerned about this. The Master he describes is not concerned — her mind is like space.