When a statue or even a person -- a mystic -- emanates oil (or an oil-like substance), is it always good?
There are holy phenomena and there are questionable phenomena, for sure. Because something occurs in a religious setting is hardly a guarantee.
Because something can be from either "side," should we discount -- ignore -- it all?
We note in Scripture that turning a staff into a snake could be caused by both good and bad sources. It's tough but potentially worthwhile, even wondrous, turf: Moses didn't have much time to discern the manna from Heaven (like oil, a substance out of nowhere).
As for the Church: it shies away from some cases of oily objects, but has accepted others. The Orthodox are especially open to phenomena; they have churches that venerate exuding icons. We have seen such phenomena from Ecuador to Toronto -- and have had questions about some cases, particularly when the oil seems unsightly or there are just too many statues in one place doing it.
Yet: who is to know, but through prayer and fasting (especially during Lent)? Shutting off a gift (some oil has been known to heal, as in a couple of recent cases in Michigan) is unfortunate, and this is a problem in the current Church, although it is also problematic to become overly immersed in (and potentially entrapped by) it. Once again, one strives for openness and balance -- that dollop of caution.
There comes most recently a report from the Vancouver area in Canada where, reported a newspaper called the Province (on January 22, 2015), "Over the past two weeks or so, hundreds of people have come from across the Lower Mainland to see for themselves what the apartment's tenants believe to be a manifestation of the Virgin Mary. An oily substance appears to be seeping from a wall, small statues of Jesus and Mary, and a vanity mirror in Sanaan Alyais's bedroom. It's become a shrine, heavy with Catholic iconography and the scent of incense. A rosary hangs on the white east wall, from which the clear substance looks to be sweating. People have been learning about the 'miracle' by word of mouth, says Sandy Alyais, Sanaan's 20-year-old daughter. About 900 people -- a little more than 60 each day -- have come from Vancouver, Richmond and elsewhere, she said. Some have touched the oil, and many pray."
Sanaan was awakened a few weeks ago at three a.m. (that interesting hour) with a vision of her son, who'd died in Iraq, and the Virgin Mary -- who later that day "told" the woman not to be afraid and to look to the wall. Sanaan, a devout Catholic who immigrated from Iraq, felt a tap on her should while cleaning.
When the 53-year-old woman focused on the wall, the oil appeared. The town: Surrey. The message: pray for the people in Iraq.
Interestingly, the Blessed Mother in this case allegedly told the woman that people should not touch the oil because when they did they were touching her (the Virgin's) face. This we had not encountered previously.
In Canada -- Nova Scotia -- was another case of oil exudation on a wall in 2013, forming what seemed like the Virgin's image (in the view of some).
Years ago, a seer in another war-torn nation -- neighboring Syria -- claimed visions of Mary and exhibited stigmata. Oil flowed from her skin (phenomena approved by the local Patriarch).
We received a brief report and photographs from
viewer Ethelyn David in Vancouver, who visited the apartment where the
Surrey phenomena are reported. Said Ethelyn, "Here are some pictures.
This evening I could smell the odor of sanctity. There was not
much oiling today. [The photographs you see here: the entrance to the
apartment block; Sanaan and her pictures and statues behind her; the wall
oozing oil] I asked Sanaan what the Virgin Mary looked like and she pointed
at [a painting of] Our Lady of Medjugorje."
The God of
[resources: The God of Healing]
[Also:Retreat, Florida, February 13: signs of the times, spiritual warfare, prophecy and Retreat, veneration of relics, Mass, Michael Brown at Vandalia, Illinois, April 23]