Mary

About a year ago I co-wrote the book “Bezorgde Vaders” (“Concerned Fathers”), which was published last March. Part of my book contribution was about Mary.
On Mother’s day 8 May, I published that part on the web site Artikel7.nu, and I mentioned two strange things that had occurred.

One remarkable thing had happened just before publishing. The other was in a promotional Youtube video for the book “Bezorgde Vaders”. In that video, three politicians, Eddy Terstall, Marietje Schaake and Fleur Agema, discussed the book. Fleur was the only one to quotes a phase from the book; that was because it had touched her greatly:

For it is now a war of ideas. The fight no longer concerns races and peoples; the fight concerns the spirit. Understand this well!


This reminds of Pim Fortuyn’s call for a “Cold war against Islam”. But the origin of the phrase is most remarkable. On February 11, 1951 Mary told it to a visionary in Amsterdam, according to the book “The Messages of the Lady of All Nations“.

What about Mary? I believe that Jesus has come for all people, but for many, especially from Asian cultures, it may be difficult to get to know Him. Sill God wants that to happen. I think God has therefore given a major role to Mary, the mother of Jesus.

In Catholic doctrine she is called the Immaculate Conception. This means that she was born without original sin. Mary is popular with many Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, but also Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and even agnostics. They experience a not such a high threshold for Mary not because she is not God himself.

But many Protestants are totally against the veneration of Mary; they consider it a form of Christian idolatry: glory to God alone. I understand their concerns. I find these even very well-reasoned, but in my opinion it is really just theory.

For me practice counts more than theory. My father and I have repeatedly witnessed something special that seems to confirm the role of Mary. No visions or so, but very strange things that somehow still fit into our material world.

One day twelve years ago, I was with my family in Ephesus, Turkey. I visited a small house on a mountainside where Mary the last years of her life would have lived. Like in Lourdes there was a well. Many pilgrims arrived. I also saw Mohammedans who reverently walked through the house.

In 20 centuries, Mary would have appeared in many places, and helped Christians. That has today much stronger consequences than many realize. A few examples:

  • During the Middle Ages, several people would have seen Mary in Delft. This Dutch town became a pilgrimage and the “Nieuwe Kerk” (“new church”) was built . The deceased  members of the Dutch Royal Family are buried there.
  • In 1531, an Indian boy in Guadeloupe , Mexico, would have seen Mary. A picture was made of Mary standing on a black crescent moon, which some recognize as the serpent god of the Aztecs. Within seven years after the appearance of the ‘woman who crushes the stone serpent’, eight million Indians asked for baptism. This ended a terrible cult under which thousands of people had been cruelly sacrificed every year to the serpent god.
  • In 1571 the Mohammedans dominated the Mediterranean. The Pope wanted to stop and repel the Muslim enemy that threatened Europe. The Venetians were actually in favor of a peace treaty with the Turkish sultan, but the Pope managed to persuade them. Together with other Italian principalities, they formed a fleet of around 300 ships. On October 7th there was a rosary procession in honor of Mary in St. Peter’s Square in Rome, calling for her help in stopping the Ottoman invasion. On the same day the Christian fleet met the equally sized Turkish fleet at Lepanto, Greece. Suddenly the wind shifted, strongly in favor of the Christians. Partly because of this, the Turks were heavily defeated. For the first time in many years it appeared that victory over Mohammedanism was possible. As a result of this victory, the Catholic Church made October the rosary month.
  • More than a century after the battle of Lepanto, the Polish king Jan Sobieski called for Mary’s help. On 11 and 12 September 1683 his forces defeated the Turks, and ended the siege of Vienna. Since then the Catholic Church celebrates around September 12 the feast of the Holy Name of Mary.
  • In the 19th century, Mary appeared quite many times, foremost in France. In the Rue du Bac in Paris, a seer saw  Mary with stars around her head. A century later this was the inspiration for the flag of the European Union.
  • In 1917 Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Portuguese village Fatima. The place was named after a woman who had converted in the 15th century from Mohammedanism to Christianity; indirectly the place was named after the daughter of Mohammed. On October 13 of that year 60,000 people saw the sun spinning and coming towards them. Recently in 2005 the last of the three seers died, her funeral was a day of national mourning in Portugal. I read that also many Muslims go on pilgrimage to Fatima.
  • In Zeitoun, a district of Cairo,  many people witnessed the last century an apparition of Mary. Even Muslims in Egypt are still excited about it.

While I was editing this article, just before publishing it on the web site Artikel7.nu, I read on Twitter that Salafists had put a Coptic church in Cairo on fire, and six people died. Shortly after midnight, this remarkable tweet appeared in my Twitter timeline, by a woman named Mona Mahfouz:

Breaking News: I just passed by Al Zeitoun church and it is not Strangely on fire and no Coptic are being eradicated. # Weird

That was very strange; just before mentioning Zeitoun on the web site, I read about it; before and after that I never had encountered the city name Zeitoun on Internet, except when looking for it.

Amsterdam

But I find the the apparitions of Mary in Amsterdam most special. From 1945 to 1959 a woman named Ida Peerdeman received apparitions of Mary; before and after that the visionary also had other special experiences. The visionary made reports of what she saw, felt and heard. These have been compiled in a booklet. There are some passages that I find difficult and that I do not understand. There are also passages that seem to concern our time. I quote some statements of Mary:

  • January 3, 1946: There will be a fight all over Europe and beyond. It is a heavy spiritual fight.
  • February 7, 1946: Europe must be on its guard; warn the peoples of Europe. (…) Look carefully and listen. The East against the West. Be on your guard, Europe!
  • December 3, 1949: The Netherlands are approaching the downward slope, too.
  • December 10, 1950: There will be periods of apparent tranquility. But this will not last long. The Eastern peoples have been roused by a type of humanity which does not believe in the Son.
  • February 11, 1951: People will seek here and there. Watch out for the false prophets. Seek and ask only for the true Holy Spirit. For it is now a war of ideas. The fight no longer concerns races and peoples; the fight concerns the spirit. Understand this well! (…) Further, I would like to say to all Eastern and Asian peoples, whether they know the Son or not: We are taking care of them.
  • March 28, 1951: Tell that in these modern times, in this modern world, which knows so well how to act promptly and quickly in material affairs, it is equally necessary in spiritual matters to act quickly, promptly and in a modern way. (…) Rome still thinks that she is standing strong, but she is not aware of how she is being undermined. Do you realize how quickly action needs to be taken? Do you realize that theology must give way to the cause of my Son?” (…) Rome must know her task in this time. Does Rome realize which enemy is lying in wait and creeping like a snake throughout the world? And by this I do not mean communism alone; other prophets will come––false prophets.
  • 1 april 1951: theology must give way to the concerns of my Son. By this I mean to say: theologians, the Son always looks for the little and simple for His cause. Do you believe in the little and simple, just as you tell others they should? Simple faith. We have no time for waiting around. This time is Our time.
  • April 29, 1951: have said: this time is Our time. By this I mean the following: the world is caught up in degeneration and superficiality; it does not know which direction to turn. That is why the Father is sending me to be the Advocate, so that the Holy Spirit will come. For the world is not saved by force, the world will be saved by the Spirit. For it is nothing other than ideas which rule the world. Very well then, Church of Rome, know your task. Bring your ideas, bring Christ anew.

Following instructions by the visionary a German painter had depicted Mary as a young Jewish woman, standing on the globe, in front of a cross and with the palms of the hands disarmingly forward. At the bottom are many sheep. Mary had also given a prayer to the visionary:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, send now Your Spirit over the earth. Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations, that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war. May the Lady of All Nations who once was Mary, be our Advocate. Amen

 

Throughout the world millions of prayer cards with this image and prayer in many languages, have been spread. But the words “who once was Mary” are very problematic. Wikipedia writes:

From the beginning, this clause raised questions. However, Ida Peerdeman said the Lady of All Nations had insisted that it should remain. It would mean that for the first time in history, Mary would not only appeal to Catholics, but to all people, including those who have rejected her, as well as those who do not know her. Many do not understand this excerpt from the prayer and say, “Doesn’t Mary remain Mary“?

Partly because of this the church had great difficulty to recognize the apparitions. This was also caused by statements such as “Theology must give way to the affairs of my Son.” In 2002, Bishop Punt of Haarlem recognized the apparitions anyway. But in 2005, a admonishing letter “leaked” from the Vatican; thereafter the four “suspicious” words are replaced “the Virgin Mary” on the prayer cards. I think that is unfortunate. Incidentally, the Lord’s Prayer also contains such a strange phrase: “And lead us not into temptation” …

In the Netherlands, the Amsterdam apparitions are not well known. The painting resides in a chapel in the southern part of Amsterdam. Every Sunday there are pretty well attended masses.

Mohammedans are relatively enthusiastic. A Dutch convert has been the only one who has interviewed the visionary. This interview was later included in a DVD: Mary in the Quran. The DVD also contains filmed Quranic verses about Mary, and images of the house of Mary in Ephesus. The chairman of Türkevi, a Turkish Association in the Netherlands, handed the DVD to March 2, 2006 to Prime Minister Balkenende.
Two days later, the Prime Minister was campaigning in Amsterdam, and there he received another copy of the DVD from author Robert Lemm. Michael Veling, a local politician for the Christian Democratic Party, pleaded for a large statue of Mary near the Central Station.

Outside the Netherlands there is more interest. In Germany there is every year a large prayer day. The Lady of All Nations is especially popular in the Philippines. Three Filipinos in 1999 organized a sort of procession on the East River along Manhattan. They originally intended to do this on the feast of Mary’s name day, which was on September 8 that year. Cardinal O’Connor gave permission for the procession, but had it moved to the 11th…

I had published the original Dutch version of this text at the web site Artikel7.nu, on 8 May 2011, Mother’s Day, second Sunday of May, Mary’s month. That text was in turn largely taken from my contribution to the book “Bezorgde Vaders“.

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