Oh brother! Here we go again. MSNBC reported this morning on a huge crowd gathering around a tree planted in a New Jersey sidewalk which supposedly bears an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This story has all the marks of another “Jesus is in my toast” story. One pilgrim (if we can call her that) to the newly created shrine says, “As soon as I got here, I felt this rush when I saw it . . . it’s such an amazing feeling.” And therein lies the phoniness.
The great Marian Apparitions, such as the Lady of Guadalupe, or the ones at Lourdes and Fátima, imparted no such feelings of awe. In fact, most of the time the messages transmitted by Our Lady to the few who could see her were apocalyptic, disturbing, and mysterious: hardly anything to feel warm and fuzzy about. I don’t like this sort of nonsense in the least. It’s just another testament to the credulity of modern people. I believe the Scriptures exhort us to test the prophets. Well, here it is! Let’s test it!
I’m guessing this will blow over just like all the other mildew stain poltergeists of the past. Perhaps I’m too cynical if people kissing and paying homage to an urban tree doesn’t impress me. Believe me, if Our Lady had really appeared to these people, they would not be so eager to tell everyone. Still, there’s room for hope. Perhaps this benign coincidence will be a channel for God’s actual grace: the kind of grace that acts upon the soul, pushing it and pulling it toward repentance and holiness. Just more proof that God will reach into any situation, go down any road to bring back his faithful. Some of us are drawn to penance through incredibly boring megachurch pastors. Others through nonsense urban apparitions. We’ve all got to start somewhere.
Read the MSNBC story HERE.