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Visions of Mary

I wrote chapter five of How Jesus Became God today; there will be nine chapters altogether.  In this one I am talking about the visions of Jesus that the disciples had.  I think they really had visions.  Whether that’s because Jesus really appeared to them or because they were hallucinating is the difference between believers and unbelievers, and as a historian, I don’t feel particularly inclined to judge one way or the other.  As a non-believer, of course, I, well, don’t believe it.   In any event, I think it’s important to put visions of Jesus in the context of other kinds of visions, and here I have a short section on visions claimed (and documented) for the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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Also of relevance to our reflections is that visions of revered religious figures from the past are one of the best documented kind of visionary experience.   Here I can speak just briefly about the “appearances” of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and visions in the modern world of Jesus himself.

The Blessed Virgin Mary

René Laurentin is a modern-day Catholic theologian and expert on modern apparitions, who has written many, many books on the topic.  He has a degree in philosophy from the Sarbonne in Paris, and two PhDs, one in theology and one in literature.  He is not your average intellect.   And he deeply and sincerely believes that Mary – the mother of Jesus who died 2000 years ago — has appeared to people in the modern world and continues to do so.  Here I give just two examples from his writings.

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Modern Visions of Jesus
Divine Wisdom

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  1. Avatar
    Chrystal Keeney  December 31, 2013

    My Catholic sister in law and her Dad are somehow convinced that miracles only happen to Catholics and nobody else, particularly because of stories involving some of the Catholic saints. They claim that if people simply did their “research” on the saints, they would see that theirs is the one and only true church. What I have to say in reply to that is if they simply did their “research” on other religions, they would see that miracles happen to people of all faiths all around the world. But since that would undermine their faith, they have to deduce other experiences to “demonic” influences. Really? That is extremely arrogant, not to mention a double standard, and I don’t buy it… I guess some people are just incapable of seeing reason.

  2. Avatar
    ftbond  September 14, 2019

    Marian Apparitions —

    Hasn’t anybody figured this out? NOBODY has any idea of what Mary actually looked like. NOBODY. So, it’s utterly impossible for anyone who claims to have “seen the Virgin” can actually make that claim. If they don’t know what Mary looked like in real life, say, from paintings, engravings, or good photos or videos taken of Mary when she was alive, then it’s utterly impossible to take any claim that she’s been “seen” with any seriousness.

    So, there’s absolutely no reason to think that what the disciples “saw” was anything at all like a Marian Apparition. They *knew* what Jesus looked like, in real life.

    Whether the “mental mechanism” of the disciples seeing Jesus was the same mechanism as those who claim Marian Apparitions is a determination that would have to be made independently of the “Jesus sighting” or “Mary sighting” incidents. But, just trying to push this idea that somehow the two different phenomenon necessarily have anything to do in common with one-another – or, specifically, that Marian Apparitions may somehow be indicative of whatever it was that the disciples (one or more) claimed – is an unimaginably huge stretch. So much so that it virtually *requires* a reader to NOT think about what is being proposed at all.

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