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Knock, Co. Mayo.

The Apparition at Knock, Ireland.

We can look closely at the ways in which the apparition at Knock corresponds with the Apocalypse of St John the Apostle/the Divine, the author of The Apocalypse, the last Book of The New Testament. St John is very prominent in the apparition at Knock.

The setting for the apparition was the village of Knock, Co. Mayo, in the rural west of Ireland. Ireland, poor, but beautiful, and rich in spiritual graces.

What happened?

During the evening of August 21st, 1879, the church housekeeper, who was on her way to visit a friend, walked past the church. As she did so, she became aware of luminous figures and an altar at the gable end of the church. Two other witnesses saw the same; they thought that what they were seeing were the new statues that had recently been ordered by Fr Cavanagh. He, however, did not witness the Apparition, having been on a visit to parishioners.

More villagers gathered and, as they approached the church, they realized that the figures were moving. They saw that they were wearing beautiful white garments, and that they were positioned in front of the church wall. They saw that they were standing in a glorious light. The villagers prayed the Rosary. The Apparition lasted for about two hours; a considerable time.

The villagers recognized the Blessed Virgin and, to Her left, they saw St Joseph, who was inclining his head towards the Blessed Virgin, in an act of reverence. To Her right stood a figure wearing a mitre, he held a book opened in his hand; the villagers recognized the figure, from how he is presented in statues, to be St John the Divine.

The Blessed Virgin wore a crown and stood with Her hands raised in an attitude of prayer. She was gazing towards heaven, Her lips were moving in prayer. And on the altar was seen a large Cross, and in front, a young lamb. One witness saw angels with wings fluttering above the altar.

Approval, and Significance.

The Church investigations concluded with approval of the Apparition. What about its meaning and significance?

Much was initially focused on the setting, that the poor were perhaps being comforted amidst many difficulties. And indeed, many at that time in Mayo would have taken great comfort in Our Lord's Words: “For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?[Mk 8:36-37, Mt 16:26.] And that the words of the Blessed Virgin in Her Magnificat are: “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.”[Lk 1:53]

Although it can also be commented that comforting the poor is not a usual reason for a visit from heaven.

The length of time before a later investigation, in the 1930's, also saw a focus on what was already known. The testimony of the witnesses was very consistent; they had simply relayed what they saw, without any other association. This is important and serves as an important testimony as to authenticity in itself. The Apparition was again approved.

Knock and The Apocalypse.

There is also, however, the inescapable, very apparent, and deepest aspect of the Apparition; that the setting at Knock corresponds very precisely with significant parts of the Apocalypse of St John.

And so what does Knock tell us? Well, it tells us very many things indeed !

St John appeared at Knock, with book open, as though speaking, and wearing a mitre.

St John wearing a mitre brings to mind a “Bishop” or indeed “Bishops.” And this accords with the beginning of the Apocalypse where St John sends the Apocalypse (as a Bishop would send) to the seven churches. (Apocalypse ch 1-3) and specifically (Apocalypse ch 1:10-11.)

Traditional Catholic commentary on these early verses of the Apocalypse (for example this from The Holy Family Bible 1950) is as follows:

“CHAP.2.VER.1, Angel, the guardian of the church or The Church itself; or, and this is the common view, the bishop of the church. If St John addresses the bishops, He regards them as the incarnation of their respective Churches.”

And so in the whole opening setting of The Apocalypse, St. John is very associated with Bishops. Firstly, in sending, as though a Bishop sending to his churches. And secondly, in sending to “the angel” (interpreted as the Bishops of those churches.)

The Holy Family, at Knock, were dressed in the white robes.

The white robes of the Apocalypse (3:4-5) (3:18)(4:4) (6:11) (7:9) (7:14) (7:13-17) also (7:3) (9:4) (22:14) are shown in the white robes of Knock; they are a teaching as to how we must present ourselves in these crucial times of build up to Our Lord's Second Coming in Judgement.

Our Lord: At Knock Our Lord appeared as The Lamb:

Our Lord as “The lamb” is very prevalent throughout the Apocalypse.

The Lamb standing accords with Apoc. 5:6.

Here are two quotes from the Apocalypse itself:

Our Lord:

“..He who overcomes shall be arrayed in
white garments, and I will not blot his
name out of the book of life, but I will
confess his name before my Father,
and before his angels.” (Apoc. 3:5)

St John:

. I saw a great multitude which no man
could number, out of all nations and
tribes and peoples and tongues,
standing before the throne and
before the lamb, clothed in white robes....(Apoc. 7:9)
And one of the elders spoke and said
to me, “these who are clothed in white
robes, who are they? And whence have
they come?” And I said to him, “My Lord,
thou knowest,” And he said to me, “These
are they who have come out of the great
tribulation, and have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the
lamb. Therefore they are before the throne
of God, and serve him day and night in his
temple, and he who sits upon the throne
will dwell with them. They shall neither
hunger nor thirst any more, neither shall
the sun strike them nor any heat. For the
lamb who is in the midst of the throne will
shepherd them, and will guide them in the
fountains and waters of life, and God will
wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Apoc. 7:13-17)

And so Knock is of the greatest and most profound significant. In the preparations for Our Lord's Second Coming in Judgement, the white robes show to us very explicitly as to how we must lead good, faith filled lives; the ways we are to present ourselves, in preparation for the Lord.

And the Apparition taking place at "The church of St. John the Baptist." And with this inscription placed on the west outer wall of the church when it was built, by the parish priest at the time, Fr O'Grady:

"Matt.11 Chapt. My house shall be called the house
of prayer to all nations." Ps.117. This is the gate of
the Lord: the just shall enter it."

The parish church: The church of St John The Baptist:

St John the Baptist in Knock brings a focus on preparation for the Lord; “make ready the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. (Mt 3:3) (Mk 1:3) (Lk 3:4) (Jn 1:23.)

The Apocalypse has, as its main great focus, Our Lord's glorious Second Coming and the times leading up to this great event.

The profound significance of the Apparition at Knock is in the context of the Apocalypse, and, therefore, for these very last times of the world as we know it.

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