Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 14th: Ireland - Our Lady of Knock

Feast Day: August 21st

Ireland's revered Marian shrine in County Mayo, dating from 1879. On August 21 of that year, during a pouring rain, the figures of Mary, Joseph, and John the Apostle appeared over the gable of the village church, enveloped in a bright light. Beside them was an altar, with a Cross surmounting it and a Lamb at its feet. No words came from any of the figures. The parish priest was not informed until the next day, as the onlookers were too stunned to leave the scene. Twice in 1880 the apparition was repeated, but the light was too intense to clearly recognize anyone but Mary. Authenticated miracles brought hundreds to the town. The Archbishop of Tuam started an inquiry. Some fifteen testified that what they saw was no painting or illusion. The Church authorities confirmed the testimony, declaring that the apparitions were "trustworthy and satisfactory." The site is now an object of national pilgrimage. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine on September 30, 1979, to mark the centenary of Mary's apparitions and rededicate the Irish people to the Mother of God. (Fr. John A. Hardon)
At Catholic Culture you can read Lessons From Our Lady of Knock by Fr. Paul E. Duggan. This is well worth reading not just to learn more about Knock, but to understand more of the purpose of Our Lady:
"Peace resides in the heart of the Virgin's Son. Those who seek peace seek God. Those who seek Him find Him. At times, He sends His mother to earth, clothed with her divine maternity and power, but still a sister and mother to all humankind.

The Irish people have always understood that there is nothing divine about Our Lady; she is not God. Mary is a human being, a sister to humankind, as well as mother. However, she is the mother of Jesus the Christ, who is divine as well as human. Therefore, she is the mother of God. She has no power of her own, but she is, and always will be, the mother of the most powerful person who ever walked the earth.

She has been assumed into heaven now to be with her Son. Sometimes she comes to earth as a heavenly messenger, sent by her Son, and she then appears to people. When she speaks, she brings no new messages, nothing that is not contained in the biblical teachings of Jesus. She represents Him to us, and she calls upon us to have sorrow for sin, to repent and turn to God."

... "Our Lady does not exist in isolation. She is the type, the figure, of the Church. Mary is what we are destined to be. When we speak of Mary, we speak of ourselves; we state the Christian ideal of Mary and womankind.

As has been proclaimed before, in her life and person Our Lady expresses to perfection what it means to believe, to love and to be loved, to be graced and to be saved. She is indeed redemption's finest hour.

To accept, freely and without reservation, God's salvation in His Son, Jesus the Christ; to accept and to fulfill one's function in redemption; to bring our grace-life of service to the salvation of others — this is to be Christian."
The website of the Shrine of Knock includes the testimony of Mary Byrne, one of the witnesses to the apparition. She gave another testimony to the second commission of enquiry in 1936 just before her death at age eighty six, which she concluded by saying:
'I am clear about everything I have said and I make this statement knowing I am going before my God'

Here you can find a song in honour of Our Lady of Knock by Dana. This is the refrain:
Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland,
all my cares and troubles cease
as we kneel with love before you,
Lady of Knock, my Queen of Peace

Prayer to Our Lady of Knock
Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, you gave hope to our people in a time of distress and comforted them in sorrow. You have inspired countless pilgrims to pray with confidence to your divine Son, remembering His promise: "Ask and you shall receive, Seek and you shall find". Help me to remember that we are all pilgrims on the road to heaven. Fill me with love and concern for my brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who live with me. Comfort me when I am sick or lonely or depressed. Teach me how to take part ever more reverently in the holy Mass. Pray for me now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

This is incredible Kathryn, I am so loving these!