REFLECTIONS – Mary, Mary quite extraordinary

What would you do if you saw the Virgin Mary?

I would seek medical help.

David Guterson’s book Our Lady of the Forest (Bloomsbury) brings the phenomena of Marion sightings to life, not in some misty, ethereal way, but in today’s chaotic, skeptical world.

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Would the Virgin Mary appear to an asthmatic 16-year-old non-Catholic mushroom picker sheltering in a campsite? This darkly funny story of losers in a fading town is as mesmerizing as Ann Holmes’ visions. When word of Ann’s forest encounter leaks over the internet, the community of faithful descend in hordes to share in the miracle while the investigating priest is convinced the girl is hallucinating.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether the visitations are real or imagined.  Whether balderdash or God working in mysterious ways, it makes you think about where you stand, and that theology and evidence go out the window when pitted against faith and hope. But surely, that can’t be bad when it brings solace and comfort – something to ponder on Christmas day.

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