I’ve had conversations both online and in person with Catholics about various appearances of Jesus and the Virgin Mary to contemporary people. No one whom I have talked with believes they have seen such a vision themselves, but they do support stories of others seeing these appearances. One recent example has been about Saint Faustina’s Image of Divine Mercy. I know I need to do more personal research, but I am struggling on this topic to think of probing questions for the conversations.
@Brittany_Bowman1 What is it that you hope to accomplish through the conversations on this topic?
Some questions that come to my mind immediately are:
1 - What is the significance of these appearances to your faith? What do they mean to you?
2 - Would it in any way affect your faith if you found out these claims were false?
3 - Can you think of a Biblical example of such appearances?
My intention is to turn our hope more towards the fullness we can hold in confidence, for example the approach you took with the NDE conversation in pointing our evidence of resurrection towards Christ’s resurrection and our spiritual transformation. It really breaks my heart someone could have such a limited view of our personal relationship with Christ. Without condemning their perspectives, I really want to open their eyes to what a relationship with Christ could be. A few directions I’ve gone so far are
the infallibility of Scripture (we already have a wonderful gift in which to be confident)
how each person can experience Christ personally and experience Him in all moments/places (we already have this gift and should be wary of settling for “lesser” gifts in the form of holy sites)
If the people I’ve chatted with came to learn these were false stories, one explanation could Satan must have a reason to spread falsities- this suggests a wonderful, real God in which we can put our hope!
However, I’m curious if others have ideas on additional directions.
@Brittany_Bowman1 Am I understanding correctly that these folks you are talking with reduce their relationship with Christ to signs and wonders (aka appearances of the saints)? Do they pray and read Scripture as well or is their spiritual life practically limited to superstition? I ask because one method missionaries use in South America is that - instead of questioning the specific beliefs or practices of the Catholics who practice syncretism (mixing superstition in with Christianity) - they just have Bible studies with them. The Catholics trust the Bible, so sometimes it is easier to let people realize they are wrong about certain things on their own while helping them to understand who Jesus really is through Scripture.
That’s helpful! Thank you.