Apparitions of Mary
Mary Approaches Us As A Loving Mother
In 1879, the village of Knock, and the country of Ireland was suffering from poor crops. Much farm land was rented out to be worked by tenant families which obtained their living from the proceeds of the labors. The landholders had little interest in the family which rented their land, for they often lived somewhere else, even in another country. Their main interest was to obtain their rent promptly, and the means their hired agents used to get it was not their concern. no concern to them. In this particular year, 18 families had been evicted from their poor homes in the area of Knock.
The evening of August 21st was wet. A light rain had started to fall in the early afternoon, but toward evening had intensified, so field workers and peat cutters were forced to stop to go home. That evening, as the housekeeper of the archdeacon was returning to the parsonage with a friend after a visit, their path took them around the end of the church, against which the wind and rain was blowing.
They were surprised to find the outside wall of the church bright with light, and noticed that the light was coming from three figures, and the altar scene behind them. The first thought which crossed their minds was that these statues had just arrived, since new ones had already been installed to replace several in the church which had been ruined during a storm. But as the women drew closer, they saw the figures were standing several feet above the ground, and not even bending the grass. The figures did not speak a word but moved slightly back and forward.
Light from this scene brightened the entire end of the church. Word quickly spread among the villagers about this miracle and soon eighteen had assembled in the pouring rain to kneel, pray, and gaze in wonder. One figure was the Blessed Virgin Mary clothed in white. She wore a brilliant crown of gold on which there was a beautiful rose and glittering crosses. Maryís eyes were turned up to heaven and her hands were held upward and apart in a position of prayer.
St. Joseph stood at her right side. His head was bowed and his hands were joined in prayer. The figure on the left side of Mary was recognized as St. John the Evangelist. He was dressed as a bishop. He had a book in one hand, and held up the other hand as if he were preaching.
Behind these figures on the plan altar stood a young lamb with its head turned in the direction of the three persons. A cross was behind the lamb and the lamb was surrounded by hovering angels during the entire time of the apparition.
After everyone had watched the figures for almost two hours, they left the churchyard to go home and dry out expecting to see the figures the next evening, but there were no further appearances, and the figures never returned.
The message which Mary gave was through her example. Mary, the Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, had appeared on earth to show us that we were to pray. And the villagers did pray, and were rewarded by many miracles which continue to this day. Each year, more than a million people visit the shrine at Knock, Ireland asking to be cured either of physical illness, or more importantly of their spiritual defects. The fact that a change occurs is heavenís answer to their prayers.
The church does not require that its members believe in apparitions. It does not make quick decisions in these matters. But after studying the testimony and miracles connected with a particular occurrence, it may declare that in view of the evidence gathered, there is no doubt that the Mother of God did appear, and that it would be to our spiritual benefit that we follow her example and message.