Said woman has had a long battle with some sort of brain disorder/disease. (The article I read was pretty vague and the eBay explanation is, well, a bit hard to decipher.) As part of her treatment she received an MRI.
Lo! and behold! The Virgin Mary, mother of our Lord, the Theotokos**, did verily appear in the MRI.
Lo! and behold! The MRI is available on eBay, unto the one who biddest the highest.
Honestly, it does look like Mary - a bit more like Mary than some of the other places she's been claimed to have shown up. But it raises a few questions for me.
If the image of Mary is present in this woman's brain as a way of encouraging her in the face of her illness, as well as to raise money for her medical bills and to raise awareness for the health issues (which she claims are tied to Agent Orange), that's good. But what if the image of Mary in her head is the problem? Wouldn't it have just been easier for Mary to stay out of her head in the first place rather than being both the source of this woman's problems and a part of their solution?
I'm not Catholic (in the Roman sense of the word) so I didn't grow up with Mary veneration as part of my spiritual gig. I get the Mary thing in some ways, at least hypothetically. And my friend the smart-ass, eye-brow-pierced Episcopal priest sent me an Episcopal rosary (I didn't know there was such a thing...) with some prayers including veneration of Mary. But it's just not part of my make-up. So I know that I'm speaking, at least to some degree, out of ignorance.
But it just seems to me that a lot of what I see about Mary sightings, etc. (at least in the media) veers dangerously away from faith and towards superstition. But where's that oh-so-fuzzy line? It's OK to talk to Jesus (in my head and even out loud in front of people), but seeing Mary in an MRI is not?
On the other hand, this particular woman seems genuine and passionate and does seem to want to raise awareness about the problems she sees affecting her community. It may be laughably weird to us (or to me, at least, but then I'm pretty insensitive sometimes) but I suspect that much of the Christian faith and many faithful Christians have seemed laughably weird to other folks. (Seriously, communion is pretty freaking strange at some level. Or lots of levels.)
I'm not really sure what to do with stories like this. I can pray for the woman. Maybe I can learn something from her.
But what I really want to know is, what's a reasonable bid for an MRI of the Virgin Mary in some lady's head? Can I get this for my wife for Christmas? Better yet, can she get it for me?
much peace, much love, etc.
**Yeah, I'm dropping some Greek theological terms on your head. Look it up.
PS - Maybe what most sets my teeth on edge about this whole thing is the weird co-mingling of faith and patriotism on display on the eBay listing. Mother Mary and Lady Liberty: homegirls for faith, peace and prosperity! For shizzle!