In this video, Fr. Richard Gibbons, Rector of Our Lady of Knock Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, discusses the apparition of Our Lady of Knock and reflects on how we can embrace the Blessed Mother’s example during Lent.
The apparition took place on the 21st of August 1879, on a wet Thursday evening at 8:00. The entire village could see this apparition and consisted of Our Lady, Mary, St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist holding a book and in the form of preaching, and then at the center of the apparition is the Lamb, the Cross, and the Altar. It is one of the Family: Mary, with her husband Joseph, the Lamb of God, representing the Lord Jesus, her son, and St. John, the adopted son, the son entrusted to her at the foot of the Cross.
So it evokes family life; it evokes as well that the Eucharist, both word and sacrament are at the heart of our Faith as Christians, and it’s quite a complex apparition itself. No words were spoken; Our Lady didn’t give a verbal message but the message is in what you see. And what we have in this season of Lent, as we move through the season of Lent, we have this encounter with the Lord: that we are essentially sinful people, we have things that we need to rectify in our lives, both with God and with one another.
But, Lent always points to Easter. In Easter, we have the triumph of the Resurrection itself, the triumph of the Lord… that death is not the final end that there is something more to our lives, and that is our life with God. As we move through Lent, we acknowledge our sinfulness, we acknowledge who we are, we reconnect again with the Lord, and I suppose Mary is that shining example of the perfect disciple. Even here in the apparition, if you see, she points towards the Lord. She is to the side with Joseph and John. She is not center, she is pointing always to the Lord.
So, in this way, she points us, through this season of Lent, to return to the Lord, to direct our lives towards Him, to be His faithful disciples, to trust in His promises to us, and to always be joyful in the Resurrection. That’s the essence of the message here in Knock, and I hope that this message of Lenten hope will carry you through this season, not only in terms of penance and reflection and also in terms of forgiveness, but also with the hope of the Resurrection. I wish you a very very peaceful and also reflective, and indeed a joyful Lent.