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SOME BASIC QUESTIONS ON NAJU

 

Question #1:    What is the reason for and significance of Julia Kim's sufferings?

Answer:

Our Lord atoned for all human sins more than sufficiently by suffering pains and dying on the Cross.  Nobody else can replace this role of Our Lord as the Savior of the human race.  Jesus Christ is the only Savior for us, who can fully satisfy the divine justice that has been offended by our sins and demands reparation.  At the same time, Our Lord wills that His followers participate in His work of human redemption with their own sacrifices, sufferings, and other works of charity, and thus help His graces flow more abundantly to numerous sinners so that His work of human salvation may bear more fruit and become completed.  With His compassion and mercy God sees our prayers and penances and bestows overflowing graces upon many people for their repentance, despite our unworthiness. 

Explanation:

In our modern age, there is a strong tendency for people to think everything in the context of their own goals, desires, and preferences instead of doing God's Will and seeking His glory.  Because of this, their perception of the concept of "sin" has become diluted and blurred.  When we ourselves stand in the center of our value judgment, we are going to become less sensitive to the concept of "sin", which is an offense against God, and less eager to avoid it and more sensitive to what we ourselves want.  Instead of seeing evil in the sins we commit against God, we may see evil in whatever prevents us from satisfying our own wishes.  The true fact is, however, that sin, that is, an offense against God Who is the source of all truths, justice, goodness, and love, is the greatest possible evil and misfortune possible in human lives.  Losing one's health, failing in business, and losing wealth and honor certainly are misfortunes, but committing sins by offending our Creator, damaging peace, good will and respect with our neighbors, and becoming unable to achieve eternal life is undoubtedly the greatest evil that can befall us. 

Animals cannot commit sins, as they do not have free will, but humans were given free will and can willingly choose to serve God or choose not to serve Him.  The whole Christian Faith is focused on how we can be cleansed of the original sin and our own actual sins and be sanctified by living in conformity with God's Will.  The lives of all the Saints in the entire Church history have also been focused on the same objective.  Our Lord also instituted the Seven Sacraments in the Church for the purpose of cleansing us from sins and giving us the graces we need.  It is also the priests' duty to sternly warn people against the evils of the world, prod them to repent of their sins and do penance, and encourage them to strive to advance in virtues, especially charity, and, thus, sanctify themselves with the help of God's graces. 

In order to save humans from the misery of their sins, which are their greatest misfortunes, God the Son became incarnate and suffered death, thus, atoning for all human sins and reconciling the human race with God.  By embracing this fact with faith, repenting of our sins, and being baptized, we can start the journey of salvation as members of the Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ. 

On the other hand, according to the Protestant reformist thinking, salvation can be attained simply by professing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, and no further human efforts can contribute to our salvation, even though a virtuous life and avoidance of sins are encouraged as fruits of the faith.  Many Protestants pray a lot, do charitable works, and even fast frequently, but none of these are believed to make any difference regarding whether we are saved or not.  What is missing in that thinking is the truth that a positive response on our part to the graces from the Lord is necessary for our salvation as long as we live on earth and, therefore, working out one's salvation, which means "our sanctification", is a lifetime task.  Without understanding this truth, it will be difficult to appreciate this concept of "our participation in the Lord's sufferings".  Actually, even many Catholics nowadays do not seem to understand the significance of "our participation in the Lord's redemptive sufferings", and, thereby, our becoming little helpers for the Lord.  This is a sad consequence of the widespread propagation of the Protestant ideas even among many Catholics.  A correct understanding of the authentic Catholic teachings has so weakened in our age. 

Concerning how we can achieve salvation, Our Lord said:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21) and

 

"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).

St. Paul the Apostle also said:

"With fear and trembling work out your salvation" (Phil. 2:12) and

 

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church" (Col. 1:24).

Our Lord is saying that professing the faith alone is not enough to attain salvation and that we should live a life of following the will of God the Father and we should follow the Lord, carrying our own cross every day.  To this, some may protest, "You mean Our Lord's sufferings and death were insufficient for our salvation?  Can't we just accept the fact of His Passion and thank Him for that?"  However, the question here is not regarding the sufficiency of the Lord's sufferings for atoning for all human sins.  In 1343, Pope Clement VI said that even the tiniest drop of the Lord's blood would be more than enough to cleanse all the sins of the human race.  This is because Our Lord is fully human and fully divine as God the Son, and, therefore, even his smallest suffering has an infinite value in atoning for human sins.  Despite this infinite merit of the Lord's sufferings, however, we humans still have our free will and thus can willingly choose to accept the saving graces from the Lord or choose to resist and reject them.  This is true not just at any particular moment but throughout our lives on earth.  Because we have this free will, we need to use it properly and manage our thoughts, words, and actions accordingly every day and at every moment, so that we may always remain in the truth, justice, and love of the Lord.  Conversely, by misusing our free will, we can go against the Lord's Will with our thoughts, words, and actions and fall off from the way of salvation.  Actually, because of the misuse of their free will by so many people, rebellions against God and His Commandments are rampant all over the world.  Also, even if one becomes a member of the Church, it does not automatically mean that he will continue to be faithful to the Lord's Will and help His work of human salvation.  Even if one has the faith, works may not follow unless the free will cooperates. 

Our Lord entrusted the task of making the saving graces known and healing the sick souls and sanctifying them to the Church.  As members of the Church, we all have this mission from the Lord, Who is the Founder and Head of the Church.  Of course, He did not tell us to do it with our own power only.  The Lord said, "Without me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5).  We can bear good fruit only by remaining in union with the Lord, by receiving His graces, and by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.  When St. Paul the Apostle said that in his flesh he was filling up what was lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His Church, he meant that, by participating in the Lord's sufferings, he was making a contribution to the sanctification of the members of the Church ─ in other words, he was helping the body (that is, the members) of the Church achieve what had already been achieved in the Head, relying on the graces from the Head, which is Christ Himself.  As this same work has been entrusted to every member of the Church, we need to offer up sacrifices, reparations, and prayers in our daily lives, thus contributing to the growth and sanctification of the Church and the evangelization of the whole human race.  By doing this all of us can become little helpers to the Savior, that is, little co-redeemers.  That we can become co-redeemers for Christ is not because His merit is lacking but because, with His goodness and generosity, He wills that we freely and lovingly participate in His work, making little but real contributions to the accomplishment of His plan, which will increase His glory.  In the Protestant thinking, human salvation is dependent solely on the merits of Our Lord's suffering and shedding His Blood, which are of course irreplaceable by anyone else's, but this thinking leaves no room for our cooperation.  Martin Luther himself was pessimistic about humans' free will, as he believed that human nature was irreparably corrupt.  Regarding this subject, the Church teaches as follows:

"God is the sovereign master of his plan.  But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' cooperation.  This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness.  For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of cooperating in the accomplishment of his plan" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #306).

Throughout the past two thousand years of Church history, countless Christians were martyred in defense of the Christian Faith.  In Korea also, between 1784, when Seung-Hoon Lee, a Confucian scholar visiting China, was baptized with the baptismal name of Peter, and the end of the 19th Century, about 20,000 Catholics were martyred.  One hundred and three of them have been raised to Sainthood so far.  These martyrdoms were ultimate sacrifices through participation in Christ's Passion as well as the strongest possible testimonies that humans can give to the Lord and His messages.  It probably is because of these numerous sacrifices that God is bestowing special graces upon Korea, by means of special messages and miraculous signs of unprecedented intensity and depth in Naju.  Furthermore, probably because of Julia's ceaseless prayers and extreme sufferings, God continues to send down the graces of conversion despite the persistent rejection by many people including some clergy.    

    

Question #2:    What is the meaning of the miraculous descents of the Eucharist in Naju?

Answer:

In order to give more graces to the children in the world, the Lord and the Blessed Mother have repeatedly asked that a tabernacle be installed in the Chapel in Naju, but this has not been done yet because the local bishop has not approved it.  Being anxious about this, Our Lord has repeatedly come down directly to the Chapel in Naju in the form of the Sacred Hosts.   

In Church history, we can read about many Saints who received Communion directly from the Lord or through an angel, especially when they were not able to go to church because of illness or other unavoidable difficulties.  In Naju also, as Julia has not been able to go to church for the past several years, the Lord has come directly to her in the form of the Eucharist on several occasions so far. 

The Bishop of Kwangju and other liberal priests in Korea insist that the Eucharist cannot exist except through priests' consecration.  When we read the Church teaching carefully, however, we can clearly understand that the Church is teaching that the validly-ordained priests only can do the Eucharistic consecration (against the Waldensian and other heresies that advocated general priesthood) and is not teaching that the Eucharist can exist only through priests' consecration.

 

Question #3:    What is the meaning of the miraculous descents of the Lord's Precious Blood on the Blessed Mother's Mountain in Naju?

Answer: 

Let us first review the Church teaching on the Paschal Mystery of Our Lord:

"His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past.  The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is all that he did and suffered for all men participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all.  The event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life" (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1085).

Ever since 1980 when Julia was rescued by the Lord from the danger of death caused by her terminal colon cancer and embraced the Catholic Faith (which was five years before the Blessed Mother's first weeping through her statue), it has been repeatedly made clear through the messages and signs in Naju that the Paschal Mystery of Our Lord's Passion and Resurrection along with Our Lady's close association with this Mystery is an ever-present reality.  For this reason, we need to always be aware of the continuing reality of Our Lord's miserable bleeding and Our Lady's weeping tears of blood because of our many sins, indifference, and pride and also need to realize that the miraculous signs of the Precious Blood and tears of blood in Naju are not an exaggeration for the purpose of increasing the educational effects or phenomena that only correspond to what can be seen in visions but are the signs that point to the true reality that is always with us.  Especially, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, even though Our Lord's suffering and resurrection are not externally visible, the Eucharist, which is truly the Lord Himself, is offered up as a sacrifice in atonement for our sins and we also unite ourselves with the Lord's Passion and Resurrection  especially through Holy Communion.  The Mass is the same as the Lord's Sacrifice on Golgotha and His Resurrection two thousand years ago as a true and permanent extension of this Paschal Mystery.  So, whenever we are at Mass, we should be aware that we are truly with the Lord being sacrificed on the Cross, with the Blessed Mother, who combines her own immense sufferings with Her Son's and offers them up to God the Father as the Associate to the Savior, and also with all the Saints and Angels who also participate in the celebration of this Mystery.  In addition to the Mass, the Lord is present and at work in all other Sacraments of the Church for the purpose of forgiving our sins and giving us the graces that we need. 

The miraculous descents of the Lord's Precious Blood and all other miracles and messages in Naju are God's own testimonies intended to deepen our appreciation of God's work of human salvation that is always with us as a true, living reality and make us more zealous in participating in it.

 

Question #4:    Isn't the devotion to the Blessed Mother excessive among those who make pilgrimages to Naju?

Answer:

If it were true that our salvation could be achieved simply by professing our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, the role of anyone other than Jesus Himself for our salvation would be a hindrance rather than a help.  Also, if we could safely abandon our faith in the role of the Church in our journey toward salvation and in the Doctrine of the Communion of the Saints, which we profess in the Apostles Creed, and we only need to focus on our direct communication with God, we would certainly feel that any help from the Blessed Virgin Mary or other Saints would not only be unnecessary but also be an obstacle in achieving our salvation. 

However, humans are not only individuals but also are members of various communities such as families, schools, workplaces, regional communities, nation, the Church, and so on.  It would be unnatural and unrealistic to think of human beings in the individual context only, ignoring their social character.  In the Old Testament, we can see that God dealt with the Israelites both as individuals and as a people.  When God the Father sent His Only Son as the Savior of the world, He did not send Him down on clouds but let Him be born as the son of a woman like any other human baby.  After His Birth, Jesus grew up as a member of the Holy Family, as a Nazarene, as a Jew, and as a member of the human race.  He also died on the Cross not only as an individual but representing the whole human race.  He did establish His Church, of which He is the Head and his followers are the members, so that His work of human salvation may reach people in all corners of the world and in all times until the end of the world through this Church.  This Church is His Family and His Kingdom that He wills to nurture and perfect with the help of all His followers. 

The Baby Jesus born of Mary grew up with as much dependence on the mother's love and care as any human baby.  Throughout His youth and adult years, the total unity and cooperation between the Son and His Mother remained intimate and grew stronger.  St. John Eudes of the 17th Century described this special closeness between the Lord and His Mother as the mystical unity of their two Hearts.  In the Gospels also, we get some glimpse of the togetherness between the Lord and His Mother ─ for example, we can read the accounts of the miracle at the wedding at Cana, the Blessed Mother's suffering with the Lord carrying the Cross and dying on it, and the Blessed Mother's being together with His Apostles in the upper room in Jerusalem praying and awaiting the Coming of the Holy Spirit.  Many Popes have elaborated on this profound truth to enlighten our minds.  Pope Leo XIII said in his encyclical: Jucunda Semper (September 8, 1894): Mary was associated with Jesus in the painful work of the redemption of mankind.  Pope St. Pius X called the Blessed Mother "the repairer of the fallen world" and said that she was united to the redemptive work of her Son in his encyclical: Ad diem illum (February 2, 1904).  In the same encyclical, Pope St. Pius X also called the Blessed Mother "the dispenser of all gifts, which Jesus has acquired for us by His death and His blood."  Pope Pius XII said in his encyclical: Mystici Corporis, 1943): "she offered Him on Golgotha to the Eternal Father together with the holocaust of her maternal rights and her motherly love like a new Eve for all children of Adam."  Pope Pius XII promulgated a dogma of the Blessed Mother's Assumption in his encyclical: Munificentissimus Deus (November 1, 1950): "Mary, the immaculate perpetually Virgin Mother of God, after the completion of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into the glory of Heaven".  Thus, the Blessed Mother, while being in the indescribable glory and joy in Heaven, never forgets us, who are still trudging on the difficult road of reparation and sanctification, but constantly prays for us and helps us whenever we seek her help, because she is our true Mother.  Therefore, as members of the Church, which is God's Family and Kingdom, we honor the Blessed Mother as our Mother and our Queen, and rely on her boundless motherly love and queenly mercy and generosity, as she is in the closest union with God that is possible to His creature and is filled with God's graces, especially for the sake of all her children.  We could be complacent and say that we are doing quite well and do not really need a mother's help or that we are grown-ups and should be more independent, but are we really that mature and capable concerning our lives, especially regarding the spiritual and moral matters and eternity?  Is it really wise and safe for us to alienate ourselves from the Mother while walking on the difficult and dangerous road of working out our salvation?  Our Lord said that those who are poor in heart will enter the Heavenly Kingdom and we cannot enter the Heavenly Kingdom unless we become like children.  The Blessed Mother never weakens our worship, love, and loyalty toward God but always leads us to Him and nurtures us in His truth and love.  That the Church has its Mother is a powerful sign of God's love and goodness toward us and a convincing sign of hope for us.

Our current age is a human-centered and materialistic age and is more unfaithful to God than in any other age in human history. It is also an age when the intense love for the Blessed Mother and devotion to her in the minds and hearts of all the Saints in Church history have faded away.  When our love for the Blessed Mother is restored, our loyalty to God will also be restored.

 

Question #5:    Some say that, if we are diligent in the ordinary practice of the faith, we need not accept the messages and miraculous signs in places like Naju.  Isn't this true?

Answer:       On September 22, 1995, right after Bishop Roman Danylak from Canada witnessed a miracle of the Eucharistic species changing into live flesh and blood in the shape of a heart on Julia's tongue during an open-air Mass on the Blessed Mother's Mountain near Naju, Our Lord gave the following message through Julia:  "Because My Mother's loving and kind words for the past several centuries have been ignored, sin has reached a saturation point, even within the Church."  Our Lord meant that, because too many people had ignored the Blessed Mother's anxious messages through St. Catherine Labouré in Paris, France, in 1830, St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France, in 1858, three children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, and elsewhere, the world has fallen into such moral degradation and unfaithfulness to God as now and this crisis has spread in the Church as well.

The so-called "private revelations", which were more correctly called "special revelations" in the Council of Trent, are never intended to bring any new truths.  (Thus, if any reported messages claim to contain new teachings or alter the existing ones, this would be clear evidence that they are not true.)  Special revelations are the messages and miraculous signs that God sends to the people of a particular age to warn them of the dangers that they have fallen into through their neglect and unfaithfulness and to encourage them to make corrections.  Special revelations are different from the officially-defined Church doctrines in terms of the nature of the obligation they impose upon the faithful.  In the case of the defined teachings, all the members of the Church are obligated to accept them as infallible divine truths, whereas special revelations are calls to actions and prod people to take the existing teachings more seriously and act upon them accordingly.

Our obligations regarding the defined truths and the special revelations are of the same nature in that, in both cases, the sender of the revelations is God Himself (of course, assuming that the special revelation in question is genuine).  We may not reject either revelation without being disrespectful of God, from Whom both revelations originate.  The consequence of rejecting either revelation can be terrible.  In the times of Noah and the Great Deluge, most people were laughing at the warning from God and perished as a result.  In the case of the people in Nineveh, in contrast, they listened to God's message through Jonah, acted upon it, and avoided God's chastisement.  Also in Guadalupe in 1531, the Blessed Mother's miraculous image and messages were well responded to and, as a result, most people in Mexico were able to abandon idolatry and embrace the Catholic Faith. 

We may feel secure, because we observe the Commandments and are exemplary members of the parish community, and conclude that we can do without the special revelations from God.  If we truly love God and are humble before Him, however, we would find it difficult to ignore what He tells and shows us through the Blessed Mother with such urgency and anxiety.  Can we say that, if I can be saved and my family can be saved, we need not worry about others?  The Lord and the Blessed Mother suffer extreme pains because of the sins in the world and are so anxious to save even one more person.  As members of the Church, we are solemnly obligated to help other people come to the knowledge of God's truths, practice the Faith, and be saved.  In Naju, the Blessed Mother has repeatedly said that the fate of this world depends on whether we accept her messages and signs and act upon them.  Human resistance against God's messages has lasted too long, and His chastisement seems to be intensifying..

    

Question #6:    What are the reasons for the intense opposition and persecution against Naju by many of the clergy and lay people in Korea

Answer: 

When we read the Catholic Church history in Korea, we can see that the faith was very strong from the beginning despite severe persecution.  Early Korean Catholics' devotion to the Blessed Mother was also very deep.  Impressed by this, Pope Gregory XVI declared The Immaculate Conception of Mary as the Patroness of the Church in Korea in 1846.  Also significantly, Korea was liberated from the Japanese colonial rule on August 15, 1945, the Solemnity of the Blessed Mother's Assumption.  The Holy See has repeatedly praised the strong faith and the abundance of priestly and religious vocations in Korea. 

Then, problems began in the mid-1960s when the Second Vatican Council ended.  Many of the young priests in Korea misinterpreted the teachings of the Council and began taking many progressive measures at the expense of the traditional Catholic teachings and devotions.  Especially, those priests who were trained in Germany came back infected with the heretical ideas of Fathers Hans Küng, Karl Rahner, and the like and played a leading role in liberalizing the Catholic life in Korea.  These priests also played key roles in producing the negative declaration on Naju signed by Archbishop Victorinus Youn on January 1, 1998.  In Korea, priests and lay people do not genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament or during the Mass.  Actually, kneelers in all of the Catholic churches in Korea were removed in the late 1960s.  Many of the statues of Our Lord, Our Lady, and the Saints were either removed or replaced with more modernistic ones.  Also in Korea, Communion in the hand is the rule rather than an option.  As a result, the majority of the Catholics in Korea including some clergy do not believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  Many of the priests openly declare that the Catholic Church is only one of the many ways of salvation prepared by God.  Under the pretext of promoting unity with the Protestants, they seem willing to compromise even the key Catholic doctrines.  The traditional emphasis on catechetical education and purity of Church teachings has given way to a new atmosphere where both truths and errors are equally respected.  Frequently, the faith is being simplified as a matter of personal choice and individual inspiration.  The liberal priests in Korea openly question Our Lord's divinity and resurrection and the Church being the Mystical Body of Christ, and also refuse to call Our Lady by the title of "the Mother of God".  They reject all miracles as superstitions or effects of some preternatural powers.  They also seem leaning toward evolutionism and are advocating many reforms that go against the Catholic teachings and tradition such as abolition of priestly celibacy, institution of female priesthood, more independence of local churches from Rome, etc.  These priests are in key positions of power in the Church in Korea, demanding absolute and blind obedience from the faithful while openly defying the Catholic Tradition and Magisterium.  There still are many priests in Korea loyal to the authentic Church teachings, but most keep silent for fear of being accused of damaging unity and blocking progress. 

It seems certain that the messages and signs in Naju are timely warnings from Heaven for us to realize the seriousness of the crisis, encouragement for us to correct the problems, and promise to help us.  Two thousand years ago, the Jewish religious leaders were proud of their strict observance of the Mosaic laws and being masters of the divine matters, but failed to recognize God the Son when He was standing before their eyes.  They could not overcome their anger and hatred and crucified Him. 

If the events in Naju were not opposed but welcomed by those who take the Catholic Faith lightly and are eager to make compromises to please others in the world, we would feel very uneasy.  Together with the Lord, Who was persecuted, we are patiently going through the current persecution including many false accusations and unjust restrictions.  Because we are certain that Our Lord and Our Lady will be triumphant, we are filled with joy and hope.  Also, regardless of the persecution, we cannot stop or slow down our efforts to make truths and facts known.  If we give up or lose heart because of the persecution, we may find it difficult to face the Lord and the Blessed Mother on the last day.

 

Benedict Sang M. Lee
Mary's Touch By Mail
Gresham, Oregon, U. S. A.
September 8, 2005 


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