1. Humans need supernatural truths
God has endowed all creatures with an order and goodness proper for them so that they may reflect God's goodness and greatness in various ways. Thus, humans, by observing the beauty and harmony in the universe and reasoning with their intellect, can come to the knowledge of the existence of a good and powerful God, who has not only created the world but sustains it.
Among all the creatures in the world, humans alone have been endowed with intellect and free will and have been called to participate in God's supernatural life. Human lives are not to end purposelessly after their brief journey on earth. Rather, they have been called to become partakers of God's life and heirs of His eternal Kingdom. Their lives will be a total failure regardless of any passing successes on earth, unless they achieve their supernatural goal. All other creatures in the world exist for the purpose of helping humans achieve their supernatural goal. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, #358).
To arrive at their supernatural destiny, humans need the supernatural truths about God and His Will in addition to the natural truths. The reason is that, to desire and attain a goal, one must have knowledge commensurate with that goal. And, because the supernatural truths are beyond the reach of human intellect alone, humans can attain them only through revelations by God. By accepting the revealed truths and conforming their lives to them with the help of God's grace, humans may be elevated to the supernatural level and participate in His eternal life (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1996 & 1997). Like an iron bar that can glow red, melt and become purified in a furnace, our natural lives can receive the life of God, become sanctified, and give glory to God. This is the purpose of God's having created us and the world.
2. The supernatural truth was fully revealed by the incarnate word
To reveal His truth to humans, God spoke through the prophets. When the fullness of time arrived, He sent His Only Son and, through Him, completed the revelation of the supernatural truths and accomplished the work of human redemption. The Incarnation of God the Son meant that God's absolute truth, love and life became a reality in the world, drawing all humans to Himself and helping them with the graces flowing from His infinite merits on the Cross. His Incarnation meant that humans could live in the light of the full truth and the perfect Commandment of Love, for which Christ was the perfect example. Furthermore, humans could worship, associate with, and follow the Incarnate God in a most intimate way, because He became one among them. Ours is the time of His visitation.
3. True miracles are certain signs of the divine origin for the revealed truth
Our natural intellect needs to be aided by the supernatural grace to be able to accept God's revelations as truth. Even with the help of grace, however, we may still have difficulty in accepting the revealed truth, because we may be too attached to the secular ways of thinking, have prejudices because of our pride and self-interests or have other reasons. Therefore, God often sends miraculous signs together with His revelations to help our accepting the revealed truth. Miracles are supernatural phenomena, transcending the natural order, and yet can be recognized with our natural senses and intellect. Thus, they are signs or symptoms of a supernatural reality intervening in the natural world. There were many miracles in the Old-Testament era to confirm God's messages through His prophets and many more amazing miracles during Christ's public life to support His teaching and work. God the Son's Incarnation was the pinnacle of God's intervention in our world. It was the greatest supernatural reality that became physically present in the natural world. This reality normally remains hidden as a mystery, because God demands faith from us, but it should not surprise anyone that it sometimes manifests itself through miracles to help people accept the supernatural reality more easily. There are many accounts about the miracles performed by Christ in the Gospels. For example:
The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me (John 5:36).
Although he had performed so many signs in their presence they did not believe in him . . . For they preferred human praise to the glory of God (John 12:37 & 43)
So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs (Mark 16: 19-20).
The Church has announced an infallible teaching against the modernist thinking that denies the possibility of miracles and the role that miracles play in Christ's work of human salvation:
If anyone shall have said that miracles are not possible, and hence that all accounts of them, even those contained in Sacred Scripture, are to be banished among the fables and myths; or, that miracles can never be known with certitude, and that the divine origin of the Christian religion cannot be correctly proved by them: let him be anathema (Vatican Council I, DS #3034).
The Church also teaches:
In order that the "obedience" of our faith should be "consonant with reason," God has willed that to the internal aids of the Holy Spirit there should be joined external proofs of His revelation, namely: divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies which, because they clearly show forth the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are most certain signs of a divine revelation, and are suited to the intelligence of all (Vatican Council I, DS #3009).
Thus, true miracles are not just unusual phenomena but certain signs from God that confirm the divine origin of the revealed teachings and, therefore, their absolute truthfulness. Their purpose may also be to deepen our understanding of the truths already revealed and to prod us to a more faithful and diligent adherence to the revealed teachings, especially in times of complacency and negligence. True signs from God confer moral obligations on His people to respond to them with faith and filial love. Our Lord said: If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin (John 15:24). While the true miracles contain meaning and purpose from God, other unusual phenomena are empty and lead us away from God.
4. The miracles in Naju
In this context, the numerous miraculous signs being reported in Naju, Korea, deserve a serious examination, because, if they are genuine, they can be extremely important signs from God for the whole Church. They can provide us with a decisive opportunity as well as energy to overcome the current crisis in faith and morals. If we keep our minds closed and deny even the possibility of their being true miracles, we are putting ourselves in a perilous situation by contradicting the Church teachings quoted above. What is needed is to sincerely discern them and, if they are genuine, to study their meanings and respond to them. The Church teaches: Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #67). Therefore, the faithful must not keep their minds closed but carefully discern the reported miracles, relying on the Church teachings and praying for the light from the Holy Spirit. Private discernment, however, is to be subjected to the official discernment by the proper Church authority which is entrusted by the Lord with the task of conducting objective and thorough examinations of the reported supernatural events in conformity with the Church teachings.
a. Tears and tears of blood
The Blessed Mother said in Naju (October 19, 1987), "Tears are important, but more important are the messages that I am giving you." Therefore, our main concern should not be with the unusual aspect of these signs but with the meaning contained in them. We must understand why Our Lady is weeping so sorrowfully instead of continuing her peaceful appearance to which we are more accustomed. Without this understanding, her tears and tears of blood may even seem repulsive, as Christ's Passion has been a stumbling block to many.
The Blessed Mother is the Mother of Christ and of the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ. Then, she must also be the Mother of the members of the Church. Therefore, we must not remain indifferent like bystanders, but try to understand her reasons and to wipe away her tears by doing what she is imploring us to do. The Blessed Mother, who is most intimately united with the Triune God, is weeping, because she loves us so much and does not want any of us to remain disobedient to God and walk toward perdition.
Of course, Naju is not the first place where the devotion to Mary has been emphasized. The Blessed Mother has been playing an essential role for human redemption and sanctification throughout Church history, as clearly seen in the lives of the Saints. We live in an age of self-glorification and materialism where the faith in the Incarnate Word has become so diluted and the devotion to Our Lady has been pushed to the back corner. The Church is a big family of God. By neglecting and distancing the Mother, serious problems have been developing in that family. God wants us, by witnessing His signs, to restore our loving trust in the Blessed Mother and regain a firm faith in the Incarnate God the Son and His teachings through the Church.
b. The fragrant oil and fragrance
The Blessed Mother gave us fragrant oil for 700 consecutive days through her statue in Naju (from November 24, 1992 to October 23, 1994) and fragrance on numerous occasions. She said that these signs were gifts from God and represented her presence, love and friendship for us (See her message on April 8, 1993).
In her messages, the Blessed Mother has repeatedly promised us her constant presence with us. But, too often, our faith is weak and our trust in her presence and protection becomes shaken. While we spread her messages, for example, we easily become discouraged because of obstacles. This will, however, disappoint the Blessed Mother. She sometimes sends external signs to encourage us, but we must remain faithful even without any external encouragements.
c. Eucharistic miracles (1)
There have been twelve Eucharistic miracles through Julia Kim, which involved the change of the Eucharistic species of bread and wine into those of flesh and blood. It is not that bread and wine changed into Christ's Body and Blood through these miracles, because the substantial changes of bread and wine into Our Lord's Body and Blood occur in every Mass through consecration by the priest. What happened during the Eucharistic miracles was changes in the external species only for the purpose of manifesting the true reality of the Eucharist, which is the substantial and total presence of Our Lord in the Sacrament. Through these miracles, God wants to reawaken us to the true reality of the Eucharist. The modernist influences in the Church have brought about a widespread equivocation of the concept of sin and neglect of the Sacrament of Confession and penance. When the meaning of sin is equivocated, the role of the Savior may also seem unclear. If we are not sure about why Christ died on the Cross, we are not going to appreciate His Sacrifice and Real Presence being perpetuated through the Mass and the Eucharist, either. Our Lord and Our Lady continue suffering much because of our neglect of the Blessed Sacrament and the prevalence of sacrilegious Communions.
d. Eucharistic miracles (2)
In addition to the above-mentioned miracles that involved changes in the external appearances of the Eucharist, there have also been seven other miracles which involved a sudden descent of the Eucharist in the Chapel in Naju. The total number of the Eucharistic miracles, therefore, has been nineteen.
Then, what is the meaning of these miracles which did not involve changes in appearances? To what truth are they drawing us?
The first among these seven such miracles occurred on November 24, 1994 when Archbishop Giovanni Bulaitis, the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio in Korea, was visiting the Chapel in Naju as an official representative of the Holy Father. While he was praying together with Fr. Spies, Julia and others, a large Sacred Host, already broken into two, suddenly appeared between Julia's fingers on both hands. The Blessed Mother said in her message that she had St. Michael the Archangel bring the Eucharist from a Mass where the priest, who was in sin, was about to consume the Eucharist.
A lesson of this miracle seems to be that priests must strive for a high level of sanctity and strong faith, because they are the Savior's ministers. Also, the Blessed Mother seems to be asking the Apostolic Pro-Nuncio and all of us to make the truth about the Eucharist known.
e. Eucharistic miracles (3)
Among the seven miracles mentioned above, the two miracles on July 1, 1995 and July 1, 1996 seem to have a very special meaning, drawing us to a truth that has been so neglected, even though it has always been part of the official teaching of the Church.
On those two occasions, Julia saw the wooden Crucifix above the Blessed Mother's statue in the Chapel in Naju turning into the live Jesus during the overnight prayer meeting. She saw Jesus bleeding from His Seven Wounds (His forehead, Heart, side, two hands and two feet) and His Blood turning into seven white Sacred Hosts and descending. The descent of the Sacred Hosts was witnessed by many in the Chapel. On July 1, 1995, the Sacred Hosts landed on the altar before the Blessed Mother's statue and, on July 1, 1996, the Sacred Hosts entered Julia's mouth.
The lesson of these two signs seems to be that we must never forget that the Eucharist is Our Lord Himself Who was the Sacrificial Victim on the Cross two thousand years ago and is still offering up the same sacrifice for our sake, because His Passion is a reality that is present in the entire human history (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1085).
The sacrificial nature of the Mass and the Eucharist has always been an essential part of the Catholic Faith, but has been so neglected in recent decades. Some say that God is infinitely merciful and, therefore, He would not mind our mistakes. Of course, God is infinitely merciful and will forgive any repentant sinner. We also need to remember that God is not only infinitely merciful but infinitely holy, loving and just also and, therefore, cannot accept into Himself and His Kingdom whatever is not holy, loving and just. For an analogy, if some materials are brought near the sun, they will not stand the immense heat and will burn instantaneously. Likewise, only when all our sins are forgiven and all the required penance is completed either in this world or in purgatory, will we be admitted into God's Kingdom. Therefore, we must beware of the modernist thinking that encourages people to ignore the reality of sin and the need for Confession and penance. Only when we overcome this error and replace it with a firm adherence to the authentic teachings of the Church, will we be able to understand the Blessed Mother's messages and signs and overcome the current crisis in faith.
The Passion of Christ two thousand years ago more than fully compensated for all human sins. It is not necessary that Christ suffer any more. The reality of Christ's Life on earth, however, was not confined to His historical time and space but is present in all times. Christ died not just for the people during and before His time, but for everyone from the beginning of the world until the end and, likewise, the graces from His suffering can flow into every soul in all times. God the Son's Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection is an ever-present reality, in which we are constantly being called to participate more deeply. This has been the main theme in Naju ever since the beginning of the signs there.
Sacred statues and paintings are reminders of the continuing reality of Christ's Incarnation and Passion. The Angelus, the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, meditation, spiritual reading, self-denial, charitable works and so on are the means by which we can deepen our awareness of and union with Christ's presence and work. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the climax of the reality of Christ's Incarnation and Passion present among us, as it is the true re-presentation of Christ's Sacrifice on Calvary.
f. The Blessed Mother, the Helper to Christ Our Redeemer
Because the Passion of Christ is present in the entire span of human history and the Blessed Mother is inseparably associated with Christ's redemptive work, it is clear that the Blessed Mother's role as the Helper to Christ is also present and at work for all humans in all ages. In Naju, the Blessed Mother has called herself "the Helper to Christ" and "the Co-Redemptrix." This does not mean that there are two Saviors. It only means that, as the Mother of the Savior and the Second Eve who assists the Savior, she plays an essential role in Christ's Redemptive Work. In fact, everyone who responds to Christ's call to deny himself, carry his cross, and follow Him (See Mark 8:34) is a little helper in redemption and a little co-redeemer or co-redemptrix. Christ accomplished human redemption as the head of His Mystical Body; but the task remains for the members of that Body to complete the growth and sanctification of the whole Body of the Church with the graces from Christ.
Among all the members of the Church, the Blessed Mother is the Helper to Christ and the Co-Redemptrix in the most special and exalted way, because she has been chosen to be the Mother of God, preserved from all sins from the moment of her Conception and is filled with love, humility, and sanctity that flows from God. She not only helped Christ during His life on earth, but continues her essential role as the Mother of the Church until the end of the world. As the Woman who will crush the head of the serpent, as predicted in Genesis 3:13, her role will become more clearly manifested in the latter times (See True Devotion to Mary, #54 — St. Louis De Montfort).
In Naju, the Blessed Mother wept for a total of 700 days through her statue. Many people may be wondering if these signs are real or just have a dramatic symbolic meaning. How can she suffer and weep tears and tears of blood, when she is in perfect happiness in Heaven?
As mentioned already, Christ's Incarnation and Redemptive Work is present in the entire human history and the Blessed Mother is inseparably associated with Christ's Presence and Work. Therefore, her tears and tears of blood in Naju (and elsewhere) are not empty symbols or an exaggeration but a true reality. It is not an addition to what she already suffered two thousand years ago. But her life as the Helper to Christ is made present at all times as true reality. We are also being called to be part of that reality as her true and faithful children.
We can learn from Church history that the miracles that occurred in Naju had occurred elsewhere also. Naju is unique, however, in that all those miracles occurred at one place in such a large number and intensity for the past fourteen years. If the miracles in Naju are genuine, they must have a divine content that is beyond our adequate comprehension at this time. The messages and signs in Naju need to be studied and explained by the theologians and meditated on and responded to by all the faithful in the years to come. It seems certain, though, that God is preparing tremendous graces for the universal Church and the whole world. God's actual pouring down His graces upon us, however, depends on our response. So far, most people in the world have not even heard about Naju yet and most of those who have seem to remain indifferent and hesitant. The absence of an official Church approval yet may be one factor. More importantly, true messages and signs are not for satisfying our curiosity or presenting an easier way to Heaven than what the Church teaches but are for a true conversion of our hearts and lives and acceptance of Christ's Cross as the only way to our salvation, which is something that we are often tempted to resist. What Naju presents to us is the lesson of the cross as the only sign of true love plus the Mother's love and encouragement so that we may carry the cross well.
Sang M. Lee
Mary's Touch By Mail