In this video, Fr. Luis Romero, CM, Vocation Director of the Vincentians of the Eastern Province, USA, discusses the apparition of Our Lady of Zion and reflects on how we can embrace the Blessed Mother’s example during Lent.
On January 20, 1842, while waiting for the Baron in the church of St. Andrea della Fratte, Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne encountered a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Ratisbonne’s own words, “I was scarcely in the church when a total confusion came over me. When I looked up, it seemed to me that the entire church had been swallowed up in shadow, except one chapel. It was as though all the light was concentrated in that single place. I looked over toward this chapel, whence so much light shone. And above the altar was a living figure. So majestic, beautiful, and full of mercy. It was the most holy Virgin Mary, resembling her figure on the Miraculous Medal. At this sight I fell on my knees right where I stood. Unable to look up because of the blinding light, I fixed my glance on her hands. And in them, I could read the expression of mercy and pardon. In the presence of the Most Blessed Virgin, even though she did not speak a word to me, I understood the frightful situation I was in, my sins and the beauty of the Catholic faith.” And after this mystical experience, he converted to Catholicism, joined the priesthood, and began a ministry for the conversion of Jews. Since Our Lady did not speak a word to Ratisbonne, there is not a message given by the Blessed Mother of this apparition. However, we can see there, a message through this experience. It was a message of divine wisdom.
During Lent, when we meditate and reflect on the Passion of Our Lord, we can easily fall into temptation of fear for what can happen to us. Mary gives us such a great example of trust in Our Lord even in the most challenging moments of our life. She trusted even when she did not fully understand. But she never looked back; she continued trusting and doing God’s will. May our Blessed Mother intercede for us in this season of Lent. May she help us to trust in God just as she did.