Days after declaring that a decision on the Medjugorje apparitions would be coming soon, Pope Francis cautioned against basing one’s faith solely on predicted visions or anything other than Christ himself. In his June 9 daily Mass at the Vatican’s Saint Martha Guesthouse, Pope Francis cautioned against those who look for God “with these Christian spiritualties that are a little ethereal,” calling them “modern Gnostics.” These people, he said, “tell you this or that: no, the last word of God is Jesus Christ, there is no other!” He also warned against those “who always need novelty of Christian identity. They’ve forgotten that they were chosen, anointed, that they have the guarantee of the Spirit, and they seek.” Francis observed that there are those who might ask, “But where are the seers who tell us today, ‘the letter that the Madonna will send us at four in the afternoon…’” He cited this type of predicted vision as an example of those who base their faith on novelties, explaining that these people “live from this.” However “this isn’t Christian identity. The ultimate word of God is named ‘Jesus,’ nothing more,” he said. The alleged Marian apparitions of Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina are the only apparitions said to still happen almost daily since their first occurrence in 1981. Out of the original six children, known as “seers,” who began to experience phenomena which they have claimed to be apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1981, three claim that they continue to receive visions every afternoon because not all of the secrets intended for them have been revealed. Pope Francis’ reference to predictable visions comes just days after he disclosed to journalists that a decision on the authenticity of the alleged Medjugorje apparitions could be coming soon. “We’re at this point of making decisions … and then they will be announced,” the Pope told journalists during a brief in-flight news conference June 6 while on his way back from the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. He also revealed that “some guidelines will be given to bishops on the lines they will take.” In his daily homily Nov. 14, 2013, Francis cautioned against a misguided “spirit of curiosity” that can also take our vision off Christ, focusing instead on such predictable visions. One might be tempted to say “But I know a visionary, who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady,” he said on that occasion. Our Lady, he stressed, “is the Mother of everyone! And she loves all of us. She is not a postmaster, sending messages every day.” In his June 9 remarks, the Pope also cautioned against broadening one’s conscience “so much that everything enters.” Worldliness is something human, he said, noting that when it seeps into one’s morals and leads one to accept some of Christ’s teachings while rejecting others, this is how “salt loses its flavor.” “We see Christian communities, including Christians, who say they are Christians, but they cannot and are not giving witness to Jesus Christ. So (like this) identity goes backwards, backwards and you lose yourself, and this is the worldly nominalism that we see every day,” the Pope observed. Christian identity is “a beautiful identity which can be seen through witness,” which is the reason Jesus so frequently speaks about it, Francis continued. He cautioned against “watering down” one’s witness by reducing Christianity to a mere idea. Instead, Christian identity, which comes from Christ, “is concrete,” he said, explaining that this can be seen in the Beatitudes. From what Jesus outlines in the Beatitudes “we pass from this religion that’s a bit soft, in the air and on the road of the Gnostics,” the Pope noted. But behind true Christian identity “there is scandal. This Christian identity is scandalous,” he said, referring to Jesus’ death on the Cross. In the history of salvation God, “with his patience of Father, has brought us from ambiguity to certainty, to the concreteness of the incarnation and the redemptive death of his Son. This is our identity.”
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