At this time of year, when spring flowers bloom, there's a little dramatic connection between two apparitions -- the Church-approved ones in Kibeho, Rwanda, and the reputed ones in Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which is now under Vatican guidance.

During her apparitions at Kibeho, the seers said those in the crowd would disappear and instead there would be an incredible array of different flowers -- some beautiful and colorful and healthy, some less so, some faded and wilted.

The beautiful ones were those of people whose hearts were attuned to God; the wilted ones were the ones whose hearts had turned from God to earthly things, especially money.

Image result for Jesus image flowerToward the end of their ecstasies, the Blessed Mother would ask the seers to sprinkle Holy Water on the thousands of "flowers" who gathered to witness the apparitions.

They were given this prayer to say:

"May the Spirit of God sanctify my hands!

"May the Spirit of God sanctify my lips!

"May the Spirit of God sanctify my ears!

"May the Spirit of God bless my soul, so that I may bless with water those here and that all here may receive eternal life!

"Mother, full of goodness, be attentive to what I ask of you. I do not ask you for riches in this life. I do not ask you for worldly pleasure. I ask you for love for all those on this earth; I ask you for peace, kindness, and happiness."

Let us use Holy Water with this same prayer!

As a website notes, at Kibeho the natives often bring yellow plastic jugs they scrounged from somewhere to Mass to have water blessed. It's a custom to water plants with Holy Water, something that began with the apparitions, where sprinklings of rain often came when Mary said she was blessing them and where in vision the seers saw the people as beautiful flowers that during blessings by the Blessed Mother are "watered."

Meanwhile, at Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother said many of the same things -- strikingly so.

"Once you described that in prayer you saw an image of a flower closed and wilting as if it were dying," a lawyer named Janice T. Connell asked seer Marija Pavlovic during an interview. "Then you said you saw a drop of water fall upon the wilted flower and, as the water touched this flower, it spontaneously opened up, beautiful and blooming. Do you remember this image?"

Replied the visionary (see: Visions of the Children): "Yes. I asked the Blessed Mother what it meant, and she told me the flower symbolized the human soul. It blooms and has great beauty in and through the Grace of God, but it wilts and dies when a person sins. The drop of water is God's Grace. Though a person wilts with sin, a person's soul is beautiful and new again through repentance and sacramental Confession."

The messages from this apparition site have often followed the train of thought. "Open your hearts to God like the spring flowers which crave the sun" (January 31, 1985).

"I desire you to grow in love. A flower is not able to grow normally without water. So also you, dear children, are not able to grow without God's blessing" (April 10, 1986).

"Dear children! I would like each of you to be like a flower which is going to open at Christmas for Jesus, a flower which does not cease to bloom after Christmas" (December 21, 1984).

"Every second of prayer is like a drop of dew in the morning which refreshes fully each flower" (January 27, 1986).

"I wish for you to become like a flower in the spring" (June 11, 1984). "When you pray, you are much more beautiful, like flowers, which after the snow, show all their beauty and all their colors become indescribable" (December 18, 1986).

"I love. That is why I am so beautiful. You also love and you will be beautiful" (March 25, 1985).

"Dear children! As nature gives the most beautiful colors of the year, I also call you to witness with your life and to help others to draw closer to my Immaculate Heart, so that the flame of love for the Most High may sprout in their hearts. I am with you and I unceasingly pray for you that your life may be a reflection of Heaven here on earth" (April 25, 2011).

A Vatican commission has authenticated the first week of apparitions at Medjugorje and the Pope has authorized official Church pilgrimages.

Let us note that during such mystical events there is sometimes detected the "odor of sanctity." Peace and harmony bring health.

During near-death experiences, people reportedly have seen extraordinary flora -- long-stemmed plants with gorgeous flowers and also huge ripe perfect grapes on the same plant or flowers that were large with radiant white petals and a gold center, always described as indescribable.

What God has in store for those who are pure.

What He has in store for those who love!

[resources: Our Lady of Kibeho and The Other Side]

[From a recent essay by Benedict XVI:

"First, I would suggest the following: If we really wanted to summarize very briefly the content of the Faith as laid down in the Bible, we might do so by saying that the Lord has initiated a narrative of love with us and wants to subsume all creation in it. The counterforce against evil, which threatens us and the whole world, can ultimately only consist in our entering into this love. It is the real counterforce against evil. The power of evil arises from our refusal to love God. He who entrusts himself to the love of God is redeemed. Our being not redeemed is a consequence of our inability to love God. Learning to love God is therefore the path of human redemption."]