Our Lady of Knock – Feast day August 21

When Our Lady appeared outside St. John the Baptist Church in Knock, Ireland on August 21,1879, she uttered not a single word, but the way she chose to appear spoke volumes.

She was standing outside the Church with St. Joseph to her right and St. John the Evangelist dressed as a Bishop to her left. Wearing a long white cloak and a crown on her head, she stood with her hands apart and extended upward, similar to the way a priest holds his hands while praying at Mass. Her eyes were firmly fixed on heaven. Behind the figures was an altar with a large cross in front of a young lamb, which stood with its face to the west. An extraordinarily brilliant light surrounded the scene and even though it was pouring rain, the site where the figures stood remained dry.

This apparition is said to have lasted about one hour and was seen by 18 people.

Many people believe the central message of this silent apparition is a call to the Eucharist. The altar was at the center of the scene and at a higher level than the figures with the lamb above the altar but not resting upon it. Our Lady’s pose, with her hands so similar to those of a priest, seemed to be pointing to the importance and significance of the Mass. Her deliberate silence is believed by many to signify her desire for the witnesses to look beyond her to the altar of the Lamb of God.

Because four witnesses said Mary appeared to be praying, and she was wearing a crown, some theologians say she was acting in the role of a Queen who intercedes for her people; therefore, many believe she appeared at Knock as the Mediatrix of All Graces.

For Reflection:

Holy Mother Church teaches that the graces we receive from the Sacrament of the Eucharist are impacted by the fervency we bring to our reception of it. In what ways can you increase your openness of heart and the holy desire with which you receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord?

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