Keithley’s recourse

Manila Standard 23 Dec 1991

It was quite a story pieced together by June Keithley of the novice Teresing Castillo and the Carmel nuns of Lipa, of visitations by the devil and by a lady in white, of rose petals materializing, falling, from thin air, bringing miraculous cures. A story suppressed by Philippine church officials for 40 years, now out in the open, picking up where it left off, the same lady appearing anew and roses raining down from nowhere.

Given the Christian myths on which we were raised, it is difficult to ignore the visionary Teresing and to remain unimpressed by the apparently super powers of her Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace. However, the Lady’s message, calling for all Christians to reconcile and pray the rosary, is difficult to take seriously. As is usual with Marian apparitions, the suggestion is that only Christians will be saved, in particular, Christians who accept Mary and the rosary, which isn’t quite in the spirit of post-Vatican II ecumenism.

And so, while half-believing Teresing’s story, I find it does not make me any less doubtful of the Church’s version of God, life and death. And I can only wonder anew where, when, whom Marian messages might be issuing from, and what these could mean not only for Roman Catholics but for humanity as a whole.

My favorite theory attributes Marian apparitions to a future time and civilization – when time travel is already a reality – from which vantage advanced minds are trying to tell us something, something mankind needs to know or do that perhaps might change the course of events, perhaps to improve our chances of averting disasters, natural or nuclear.

I imagine that these advanced minds would be sending the same message all around the globe, but using different images and symbols,depending on the spiritual condition of a target population. The message, always, seems to have to do with the power of, and need for more, prayer and meditation, an activity in all religions. The desired effect could be a tuning together of critical human energies in a single wavelength – Muslims, Jews, and Christians together with Buddhists and yogis, TM freaks and Zen masters – and so attaining to otherwise unattainable powers of human consciousness?

Praying the rosary (like meditating on a mantra, a mandala, movement, or the breath) slows down brain waves from 32 – 14 cycles per second to below 14, meaning a shift from an ego-centered rational state of mind to a meditative / reflective state which soothes and renews the physical body while lifting the mind to a state of oneness with other minds and, possibly, with all of humanity.

But Keithley fails to explore the modern implications of a Marian apparition. The heroine of EDSA gets herself mired at the level of church politics and gets no farther than a church investigation. Keithley is so intrigued, and so involved, and just like Keithley, she wallows. She has a good story up her sleeve but she tends to weave too much of her ego and emotions into the telling, and so obscures rather than helps clarify matters.

It doesn’t help that The Keithley Report is a one-woman show, practically a solo act, produced and directed, written and anchored, by her one and only self. For such an important series Keithley should consider getting creative help. Film is a complex medium; two, three heads are always better than one. And it’s time she gave up anchoring (unless she’s willing to be directed); her delivery is awfully distracting: self-conscious, over-dramatic and cloying. As for her looks, well, it shouldn’t matter except she asked for it when she struck that silly pose (favoring her right side) for the entire show.

A little less ego, a little more post-production, and The Keithley Report would be world-class. Surely that’s worth some sacrifice? Praise the Lord! I mean, the lady. I mean, Keithley.