Thursday, September 3, 2009
A Different Sort of SIGN ?
DOES THE SUN SPIN IN THE SKY? I am at my advanced age still a good Irish-American Catholic boy, but Spinning Suns have never had much appeal to me. Miracles of this sort have always made me uneasy, as, I think, they do the Church authorities. One never knows when an unsubstantiated claim can gain such popularity that, led by a charismatic figure, it becomes the source of a cult, intentionally or not. But many DO seek these things out, and there is "The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima" to anchor their belief. I have spent a fair amount of time looking into the Fatima phenomenon, and am sure that it was "real". But WHAT it was I do not know.
To begin with something easy, the pictures on the above left, regularly cited as being of the apparition, are not. It would be nice if they were, but no. The disturbing thing to me about that is that they were published in a Catholic newspaper as genuine. This shows the risky things that can happen when a belief becomes so strong that it washes away ones normal pragmatic mind, and its quality control for what it allows inside. Still, even with no picture, the testimony is overwhelming [from Catholics, Agnostics, and you-name-its] that an event somewhat similar to the drawing at the top right of the left hand pictures actually happened.
Was it "atmospheric" like a rare "Kaleidoscopic Sun"? Intriguing thought, but it doesn't seem so--the apparition was witnessed from widely different angles, and observatories in Europe witnessed nothing odd "on high". But something happened, and it was "local" to the observers at or near the site. You'll have to decide on your own. Witnesses thought it was spiritual and perhaps it was not even in the realm of the physical at all. -----------------------------------------------------------------
This is not the only "Spinning Sun" we have. In 1933 and 1934, in Onkerzeele, Belgium, the Sun allegedly did some weird things, including showing the face of an iconic Old Testament angry GOD on the disk. In 1960, in Lisbon, Portugal, the Sun allegedly danced at a Catholic ceremony. In 1987, the Sun danced again at a Catholic ceremony in Enoch, Alberta, Canada. But the most significant claims came from the Pope himself.
Pius XII [pictured top left, lower right picture] stated that he had witnessed the spinning Sun on four occasions in 1951, as he walked in the Vatican Gardens. The reason why this is significant is that he was about to announce a major doctrinal statement about the Virgin Mary. [That she was "assumed" bodily into Heaven]. He took these visions as indicators that his decision to proclaim this doctrine was correct. Pius XII said this about the experience: "The sun which was still quite high, looked like a pale, opaque sphere, entirely surrounded by a luminous circle." You could look directly at it "without the slightest bother". The opaque sphere "moved outward slightly, either spinning, or moving from left to right and vice versa. But within the sphere you could see marked movements with total clarity and without interruption." On days other than these four, Pius looked again, but found that he could not even look in the direction of the Sun because of its brilliance. ----------------------------------
I suppose that I'm "encouraged" to get behind this papal experience, but frankly I have no idea what he witnessed, nor what its meaning was/is. As far as I know, this series of events may have nothing to do with Fatima at all, whether he thought so or not. But I DO think that such anomalistic incidents may occur; and I think that their major component is "psychic" and personal. The reason for this came out of the Marian shrine at Medugorje.
I was no fan of this set of claims at all, and still believe that people can be led astray by semi-hysterical crowd behavior there. BUT...one of my best most-trusted friends saw the "Spinning Sun" there. My friend is a retired priest and a very spiritual guy, and in no way an hysterical personality. He is, rather one of the most grounded people I know. His spirituality is "natural", rollicking in the Immanence of the Creator in the World, and having no need for anomalous "miracles".
When a priest friend asked him to accompany him in leading a tour to Medugorje, he didn't want to go, ultimately caving in only because of his friend's persistence. He was on a bus, going up towards one of the hilltop areas, and thoroughly bored and wishing he were somewhere else. Women in the bus began shouting that the Sun was spinning. He didn't bother to look, assuming that this was wantabee-ism. Finally one woman demanded that he look. And there it was. The diagram at the upper right shows the sequence of what he saw. It was classic "spinning Sun".
After the event was over, he was amused to find that only a handful of the women had seen it [despite trying], and, with the exception of himself, NONE of the men--even his friend who had come searching for this miraculous "sign". All this, including the ability to look directly at the Sun when most others were shouting that it blinded them, remains a total mystery to him. He only knows that it was real. Deep down, when pushed to say further, he thinks that he was granted this sight because it was not important to him to "get a miracle" as it was for his friend. The experience gave him a gift of peace, and a great tale to tell, but his faith was already fully there beforehand. It's all profoundly puzzling to me--but I believe that it IS profound
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