Spirit Daily


Statues That Exude Blood Offer Special Challenges As We Try to Discern Them

By Michael H. Brown

From the mail:

Crucial it is to remain in obedience to our bishops. For some it's tempting to disregard their decisions, but whatever our personal feelings, those discernments should be held with high regard. Many are the times they keep the faithful from situations that could be dangerous.

I'm thinking here of a seer who seems to be an overnight sensation in Ireland. The news reports describe how she has "visionary powers," which she said came to her after she had a dream 14 years ago. In the dream, St. Padre Pio supposedly came to her to tell her to combine healing with her work as a lecturer on "visionary energy." Six weeks after this first dream she says Padre Pio returned to her again and when she woke up both her hands were "burning hot."

The problem is that when you view her website, her hand is holding a flashing, magical, crystal-like light, and when you delve into the site, there are many links to mediums, channelers, and assorted other New Age-like folks who may be well-in intentioned but are playing with fire and should not be followed by anyone.

It is a tough time to discern, and to keep a balance between over-skepticism and over-belief. For example, what do we do with bleeding statues? When they exude tears or oil it's one thing (many of these, through history, have been accepted by the Church), but sometimes the ones exuding blood seem so difficult to comprehend, and even a tad unsightly.

Are they from the Holy Spirit? Are some deceptions? It's the question of the week because experts empaneled by the diocese that oversees Civitavecchia, a small port city about forty miles north of Rome, have declared as inexplicable a statue that made headlines ten years ago when a five-year-old girl claimed she saw it cry tears of blood. The 43-centimeter-tall statue was reported to have cried a total of 14 times in subsequent months -- including while it was held in the hands of the bishop! (This helps with Church approval.) While it is not yet an official "miracle," the bishop, Monsignor Girolamo Grillo, has made known his belief and the experts -- scientists, theologians -- said that the events were not explainable by science (they x-rayed and cat-scanned it).

Why blood? Is it simply telling us that through our sins we are crucifying Our Lord again -- and even causing the Virgin's tears to turn red? Does it relate to war, to crime, to abortion?

Because something is inexplicable and thus supernatural does not guarantee, of course, that it comes from the right side of the fence. That's for the Church to discern. We can say that the announcement of an official scientific-theological determination comes at a telling time, and most telling is the fact that the statue was originally purchased at the famous apparition site of Medjugorje.

Just weeks before, at her monthly apparition on the east side of town, seer Mirjana Soldo allegedly had a dramatic visitation in which the Blessed Mother expressed anguish over our time, and seemingly over our lack of attention to her warnings. She pleaded for aid in praying for unbelievers, and asked us to help wipe the tears from her face. So unusual was the tone that for the first time Mirjana immediately announced the message to the throngs around her.

That was just before the Asian tsunami, and some have claimed that a statue of the Madonna there at Mirjana's apparition -- under a tent-like structure at Medjugorje -- also seemed to shed tears (though not bloody ones). When we inquired, we could not confirm that; Miki Musa, a guide who was on the scene, said he heard nothing about that, and doubted the authenticity. "As every other month I was present during the apparition on the second of a month, but I did not see any tears and I did not hear that anything like that happened," said Musa. Others who viewed a video of it believed they saw the tears on that video.

Whatever the case, a large corpus of the Crucified Jesus that stands across town behind St. James Church continues to ooze an unusual oil-water substance from its right knee, in a way that certainly seems beyond normal explanation. This has been occurring in dry and wet weather alike for more than four years!

In some cases, the water is said to have turned cloths or paper touched to it red. 

Now add to this a recent claim that phenomena may involve a corpus near the original site of apparitions. According to Madeline Bello of Fort Lauderdale, during a trip to Medjugorje several weeks ago, a youth group and some nuns heading up Apparition Hill spotted what seemed like blood smudged on a cross about thirty feet from where on iron cross once marked a spot. It was reportedly seen for two nights (photo below), but as far as we know, nothing was analyzed.

"I did not personally see it, the sisters that accompanied the youth that evening to Podrbo [apparition hill] saw it along with the others who were there and photographed it, then at dinner a nun who took the picture showed it to me on her digital camera and told me all about it," says Madeline. "A priest was immediately told about it. The other pictures I also forwarded to you were from Eric, one of the youth in the group; he took them the following evening when they returned. That crucifix was put there 15 years ago by 'Maritza,' the owner of St. Joseph's retreat house in Medjugorge.  Because both my husband on one occasion and I on several occasions have participated in retreats at that house with Father Jozo (a priest who was originally stationed there), we went to visit her and during the visit I told her about this occurrence. She explained to us that she had put that crucifix there 15 years ago and she was just overwhelmed at the thought that it was bleeding."

The claim is that this extent of redness is not normally there. We will be pursuing more details on this.

Oxidation? Mineralization? Or one more sign of the times -- one more message?

For your discernment!



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