I took some time to find out more about the apparitions of Mary over the years.
I was curious as to the role they play in the hearts & minds of Catholic believers. I'm kind of like a doubting Thomas in this way- I wouldn't have believed Moses had he told me about the bush. I wouldn't have believed Elisha if he told me he saw Elijah carried off into heaven. I wouldn't have believed the women or the other disciples if they told me Jesus had risen... I would have to see Him with my own eyes. I would have to hear His voice, touch His hands & side, maybe even feel Him in an embrace to know it was all true. Though I might not have believed in the day, I believe now. To be honest, I'm not sure why. Perhaps I believe because the stories are written down, preserved in the Bible, preserved in the tradition of the saints & apostles. I'm admittedly skeptical however, as it concerns apparitions of Mary. She “unofficially” began appearing as early as the late 300's & again in the 500's & 700's. Visits became more frequent in the 19th & 20th centuries. While some of these claims weren't able to be substantiated by the Vatican, many others were. Certain similarities became visible over time:
The apparition seemed to appear mostly to children.
“She” would always encourage prayer. "Pray, pray, pray!" Was a familiar cry. (Later on, this would be via the rosary, which she apparently introduced with special graces attached.)
She would often request that a church or a chapel be built in her honour in the place which she appeared. She apparently also requested once that a statue be erected in her honor.
She confirmed that she was the Mother of God (this was after the dogma had been established).
She said “If you love Jesus, you will love me.”
When Jesus appeared with “Mary”, He always appeared as a child in her arms.
When asked her name, the apparition proclaimed she was “The Immaculate Conception” (This also came following the establishment of new dogma).
Healings & miracles followed the appearances.
She often requested that her glory be made known...
She said she was all merciful & held sway with her Son... He is so devoted to her that she can move His hand or restrain it.
She said she had come especially to save sinners.
She often appeared in times of war or political unrest, sometimes offering related prophetic words & warnings.
The Catholic devotions of the rosary, the scapular & the need to do penance was regularly supported by the apparition.
She pleaded that we offer Jesus Christ our Redeemer to God the Father by offering the Holy Mass as thanks to God.
She said “If MY people do not obey God, I shall be forced to let go of my Son's hand.”
And, “You will never be able to repay me for what I have done for you.”
Many of these statements make me want to step back & say “Whoa”. If these apparitions are true, I don't know that I can accept them as being Mary. The statements this “Mary” makes seem to fly in the face of everything the Biblical Mary represented... While the apparition appeared with "Jesus" on occasion & even promoted God as Father & Jesus as our Redeemer, it also seemed to rob Christ of His power & rights as the Son of God... Why would Jesus appear with her as a child? Perhaps it signified His powerlessness & the necessity (as a child) of submitting to His earthly mother who cared for Him. Deception can be subtle. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. At this point, I'm not sold one way or another & mean no disrespect to those who do believe...