Thursday, March 12, 2009
Our Lady of Kibeho
This is the third book by Immaculee Ilibagiza. This book is about Our Lady when she appeared in the small village of Kibeho in Rwanda beginning in 1981, thirteen years before the Rwandan genocide.
In this book, Immaculee tells us about the visionaries themselves and what their visions were like. There are many fascinating details in this book. Many miracles took place in Kibeho, but until now they have been relatively unknown.
Kibeho became an approved apparition site in 2001, just like Fatima and Lourdes. On top of that, it is the only approved Marian apparition on the entire continent of Africa. As of now, only the first three of the eight total visionaries have been approved by the Church.
The theme of forgiveness is carried throughout this book, too. When Mary appeared, she begged people to turn toward God and away from the hatred they had in their hearts. She warned that if they did not do this, horrible things would happen in their country. Some of the visionaries even had visions of the violence that would eventually strike their country.
I think the most amazing thing about this is that the Mother of God could appear in this country - Immaculee describes how people were converting and being nicer than ever - and yet 13 years later one of the most horrible acts of violence could be committed in the same place. Apparently people did not let go of enough of the hatred they had in their hearts and the devil was able to sweep them away.
Here are just a few of my favorite parts. When Immaculee's father comes home to explain that a miracle was occurring in Rwanda, he says, "Miracles can happen, but we make them happen through faith, prayer and hard work." What a great statement!
Later in the book, Immaculee tells what Mary said to the visionary Valentine about how to pray. The quote itself is rather long, so I'll highlight the steps she laid out:
1. Ask for the strength and knowledge to understand what is expected of you.
2. Offer to God all you conceal in your soul - you must confess all of your transgressions of body, mind and spirit.
3. Ask for God's forgiveness from the bottom of your heart
4. Forgive all those who have hurt or offended you and then ask God to bless them.
5. Pray for the spiritual and physical welfare of your relatives, that God may bless them.
6. Give thanks to God for receiving and answering your prayers.
7. Ask God for the strength to do His will.
8. Pray for the strength to be humble.
There you go, straight from Heaven, a lesson in how to pray. Once you know this, you can look back on Immaculee's other two books and see that she did all of this whenever she prayed. It's a lot to remember, but I think it is worth the effort.
I believe that Our Lady's message at Kibeho is just as crucial for us today in this country as it was back in 1981: "Love God, love and be kind to each other, read the Bible, follow God's commandments, accept the love of Christ, repent for sins, be humble, seek and offer forgiveness and live the gift of your life how God wants you to - with a clean and open heart and a clear conscience."