[Many of the miracles associated with Medjugorje, just a few of which are mentioned on this blog, are directed to just one person. There is one in particular, however, that has been witnessed by thousands — the miracle of the sun. And as you will see, this miracle has not been limited to Medjugoje, but to other Marian apparition sites as well. The following article appears on http://crownofstars.com.au, an ongoing blog dedicated just to Medjugorje. I have recorded it exactly as it appears on that blog, save that paragraph headings and photographs with their explanations have been excluded]:
In Fatima, on October 13, 1917 up to 70,000 people gathered in expectation of a special sign that Our Lady would provide as proof of her apparitions there:
The Lady appeared… as the blessed mother was leaving she opened her hands, and from them rays of light extended in the direction of the sun. Gradually the sun grew pale, appeared as a silver disk at which all could gaze directly, without shielding their eyes. Rays of multicolored light shot out from the sun in every direction: red, blue, pink, green, and every colour of the spectrum. Then the sun began to spin madly on its axis and appeared like a giant wheel of fire. The sun began to dance wildly. Suddenly the sun seemed to be torn loose from its orbit. It hurtled closer and closer to earth, and looked like it was going to plummet to the earth. The people were terrified and there arose cries of repentance and appeals for mercy. Many thought it was the end of the world. Then, just as suddenly, the sun stopped plummeting downwards, and in the same swirling motion it began to climb upward until it resumed its place in the sky. The rain-soaked clothes of the people were immediately dry. This was an event reported by several newspapers of the day…
I experienced a similar spectacle on my second trip to Medjugorje in May 2001, when the sun seemed to come falling towards the earth. It also moved in a way, from right to left and towards me, as if making a sign of the cross, before settling in its original place and then pulsating many colours. I cannot find words to express my feelings at the time.
But in many visits to Medjugorje I had never encountered the more prevalent spinning sun, until my pilgrimage in May 2005. Of course, there was wonder and some excitement on my part — not so much at seeing the sun spin, but because I slowly began to understand and realise that God communicates to individual hearts through this phenomenon.
I was taking photographs near to where the Risen Christ sculpture stands when the excitement of three women gazing into the sun, prompted me to turn and look upwards. The light was dazzling and I was forced to look away and focus on the faces of the women instead — one in particular, who was wide-eyed and continued staring towards the evening sun. I moved and stood beside her, and still I could not look up and face the sun with my eyes open. And I wondered how she could see and I could not when we were standing right next to each other!
I began to take close-up pictures of her face and witnessed a range of emotions through the lens of the camera, from wonderful surprise to tears of joy, and then questioning amazement. And I turned my head again, and still could not look towards the blinding sun. What kind of God can do these things — give such a gift to one and not another?
A little later I started to walk back along the footpath towards St James’ church, and almost casually, turned to give God another chance to let me in on the spectacle. He did! and like many before me, I thought I could record it all on camera. How wrong I was. Although I could view the spinning sun through the lens, I wasn’t able to capture what I was seeing on the digital camera. It was puzzling, but then I realised a valuable lesson. God wasn’t communicating to my camera. It wasn’t a gift for some man-made, carefully-crafted equipment, but a gift for what God had created and valued more than anything — my heart.
He was revealing himself, as he always does, in a knowing way — just as he had with the woman earlier. Heart was speaking to heart and for many pilgrims in Medjugorje this experience is a major first step to conversion, confession and heartfelt peace.
Someone once wrote: “You know very well when the Lord speaks, he touches.” How true this is!
But what does Our Lady say about such signs and wonders? In her messages, she clearly states that there is a purpose for this heavenly phenomena; that it is a gift given by God to awaken and strengthen faith. So evidently, these wonders cannot be dismissed as of no importance, or not a miracle in itself, however great or small.
All these signs are designed to strengthen your faith until I leave you the visible and permanent sign… (Our Lady’s message October 22, 1981).
It is God who gives them… It is necessary to awaken the faith… It is a gift from God… (Our Lady’s message of Spring 1982).
Our Lady makes reference to Fatima in one of her Medjugorje messages.
Dear Children! Today also I invite you to prayer, now as never before when my plan has begun to be realised. Satan is strong and wants to sweep away plans of peace and joy and make you think that my Son is not strong in his decisions. Therefore, I call all of you, dear children to pray and fast still more firmly. I invite you to renunciation for nine days so that with your help everything I wanted to realise through the secrets I began in Fatima may be fulfilled. I call you, dear children, to grasp the importance of my coming and the seriousness of the situation. I want to save all souls and present them to God. Therefore, let us pray that everything I have begun be fully realised. Thank you for having responded to my call. August 25, 1991.
Throughout history there have been supernatural apparitions and signs which go to the heart of human events and which, to the surprise of believers and non-believers alike, play their part in the unfolding of history. These manifestations can never contradict the content of faith, and must therefore have their focus in the core of Christ’s proclamation: the Father’s love which leads men and women to conversion and bestows the grace required to abandon oneself to him with filial devotion. This too is the message of Fatima which, with its urgent call to conversion and penance, draws us to the heart of the Gospel. The Message of Fatima — Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
According to his own testimony, the Pope who declared the dogma of the Assumption saw the “miracle of the sun” four times.
This information is confirmed by a handwritten, unpublished note from Pope Pius XII, which is part of the Pius XII: The Man and the Pontificate display. The display opened in the Vatican to the public today and will run through until January 6.
A commissioner of the display and a Vatican reporter for the Italian daily Il Giornale, Andrea Tornijelli, explained to ZENIT that the note was found in the Pacelli family archives. It describes the “miracle of the sun,” an episode that until today had only been affirmed by the indirect testimony of Cardinal Federico Tedeschini (1873-1959), who recounted in a homily that the Holy Father had seen the miracle.
Pius XII wrote, “I have seen the ‘miracle of the sun,’ this is the pure truth.”
The miracle of the sun is most known as the episode that occurred in Fatima, Portugal, on October 13, 1917. According to the Fatima visionaries, Mary had said there would be a miracle that day so that people would come to believe. Thousands had gathered at the site of the visions, and the sun “danced,” reportedly drying instantaneously the rain-soaked land and spectators.
Pius XII’s note says that he saw the miracle in the year he was to proclaim the dogma of the Assumption, 1950, while he walked in the Vatican Gardens. He said he saw the phenomenon various times, considering it a confirmation of his plan to declare the dogma.
The papal note says that at 4:00 pm on October 30, 1950, during his “habitual walk in the Vatican Gardens, reading and studying,” having arrived to the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes, “toward the top of the hill…I was awestruck by a phenomenon that before now I had never seen.”
The sun, which was still quite high, looked like a pale, opaque sphere, entirely surrounded by a luminous circle,” he recounted. And one could look at the sun, “without the slightest bother. There was a very light little cloud in front of it.”
The Holy Father’s note goes on to describe “the opaque sphere” that “moved outward slightly, either spinning, or moving from left to right and vice versa. But within the sphere, you could see marked movements with total clarity and without interruption.’
Pius XII said he saw the same phenomenon “the 31st of October and November 1, the day of the definition of the dogma of the Assumption, and then again November 8, and after that, no more.”
The Pope acknowledged that on other days at about the same hour, he tried to see if the phenomenon would be repeated, “but in vain — I couldn’t fix my gaze (on the sun) for even an instant; my eyes would be dazzled.”
Pius XII spoke about the incident with a few cardinals and close collaborators, such that Sister Pascalina Lehnert, the nun in charge of the papal apartments, declared that “Pius XII was very convinced of the reality of the extraordinary phenomenon, which he had seen on four occasions.”
As Pope, in 1940, Pius XII approved the Fatima apparitions, and in 1942, consecrated the entire world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
As well, Pius XII often spoke with Sister Lucia, the visionary of Fatima, and he asked her to transcribe the messages she received from the Virgin. He thus became the first Pope to know the “third secret of Fatima,” which Pope John Paul II would later make public.