Off to Medjugorje in six days. Decided to skip the 29th anniversary of the apparitions on June 25th because of the crowds, and probably couldn't have gotten a room in any case. What is amazing to me (why?) is that despite the Vatican crackdown on the apparitions, the crowds are only increasing and the Church of St. James is packed for services and confessions, with several thousand ascending Apparition Mountain last Friday for an 'apparition' given to the visionary, Ivan, the youngest of the five, who is in Medjugorje for the summer. I will ascend the mountain next Monday night to join in the prayer services and apparition. It is all quite mysterious, with so many levels of Christian belief on display from the most mythological and literal to the most mystical and sublime. A heady mix of emotion and spiritual feeling. But one thing is crystal clear, the average obedient pew sitting Catholic is serenely ignoring the Vatican warning against the Marian site. Clearly, for all of the ambiguities, something real and very powerful is occurring here, however carefully one must discern the spirits to make sense of it all and not get swept away by the fanatical excesses. Ordinary human beings are being deeply moved and affected by the mystery of Medjugorje. It is in many ways a metaphor for the whole church at this point in history. The Vatican authorities forbid the use of church property for any of the apparitions, so the visionaries move outdoors, making them accessible to thousands instead of hundreds. How wily are the ways of the Holy Spirit and how frequently the folly of foolish men is used for God's purposes. I wonder what awaits me there?