The subtitle of this book is ‘Miraculous Stories of Healing and Conversion through Mary’s Intercession.’ It contains six personal testimonies of lives that have been turned around through involvement in Medjugorge. They range from an American man who ‘found himself’ and his true vocation to a reformed stripper, a couple of drug addicts, a man who has give his life to helping street children in Columbia, and a woman who prays for her son.
I enjoyed reading this book, and was inspired by the personal witnesses of lives turned around by God. I’m a bit unsure about the miraculous claims the book cover promotes. Conversion is always miraculous in a sense because God’s grace overwhelms our lives with power. However, if you are looking for stupendous supernatural miracles that make your jaw drop you may be disappointed. Instead you will find stories of solid, long term, real conversion. For my money they’re far more worthwhile anyway, so if you’re looking for ‘signs and wonders’ this isn’t the book for you.
I realize the events at Medjugorge are controversial. You may make of it what you will. As far as I know the church has yet to formally pronounce on what is going on there. For my part, I traveled to Medjugorge in the early 80s when I was still an Anglican priest. I saw the sun spin. My rosary turned gold when I got home, and there was definitely something wonderful going on there. My own experience there helped to bring me home to the Catholic Church. However, I won’t generalize from my own experience. Whatever the church decides…
Back to this book: it’s a good and inspiring read. The stories are well told and absorbing. Each one is self contained and can be read in one sitting. Personal stories are good for faith because they help us relate exactly what we believe to our everyday life. Some Catholics are cautious about ‘personal experience’ witnesses because they seem too subjective and are often sentimental and emotional.
But what’s wrong with emotion in religion? I reckon we need more of the right kind of fervor and zeal. If you are the sort who doesn’t like this sort of thing maybe its exactly what you need. Sometimes our religion can become too cerebral, theoretical, dogmatic and legalistic. If you lean that way maybe you need some good old fashioned ‘witnessing.’ If so, this is the book for you. Give it a try.