Is there incontrovertible evidence of miracles?
Nan’ B. Levere
(Continued from last week….)
Miracles are all around us. The instantaneous growth of bone in a man crippled and oozing pus from an open wound seems impossible, but it happened. When I was a much younger man, a deacon in one of the Spanish speaking parishes of Chicago was injured in a car accident. His femur was crushed, leaving him without an intact leg bone. The parish prayer group prayed and he was healed. He walked and jumped. It was that simple. He never had difficulty walking on the leg for the rest of his life. Of course, the more sophisticated among us knew that it was just a case of hysteria, of uneducated enthusiasm. Such things don’t really happen.
I remember visiting a cousin of mine in Detroit a few years back. I mentioned that I wanted to pray at the tomb of the Venerable Solanus Casey. “You know, I was one of his miracles,” she told me. “When I was six, I had a mastoid bone infection. I was scheduled for surgery, but I was in so much pain before the surgery that my parents brought me to St. Bonaventure’s Priory in the middle of the night. Brother Solanus opened the door, invited us in and sat and talked with my parents while I played on the floor at his feet. Then he said, “Take her home. She’ll be fine. When they wheeled me into surgery the next day the doctor asked, ‘Why is this child here? There’s nothing wrong with her!’ And there has been anything wrong with my ear for the past 65 years.”
For more, read Fr. Paul Glynn’s book Healing Fire of Christ. It is an account of well documented miracles mostly from Lourdes and Fatima. He drones on and on to the point of tediousness.
If miracles are all around us, you may well ask, why aren’t they more accepted? For one thing, miracles are not what most people are looking for. Miracles can be very inconvenient. If miracles are real, then God is real. If God is real, then He can make demands on our lives. I mentioned the great French author Emile Zola. Zola is famous for defending Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army falsely accused of treason in 1894. Emile Zola despised the French establishment and French Catholics, some of whom were anti-Semitic members of that establishment. France was torn apart by the defense that Zola presented in the press and Dreyfus’ subsequent exoneration assured Zola’s place in history.
Before his defense of Dreyfus, Zola had written a book called “Lourdes.” He had promised to tell the French people the true story of Lourdes. What he produced was probably one of the greatest lies in the history of literature, the “Da Vinci Code” of its day. In researching his novel “Lourdes,” Zola spent three weeks there. On the train to Lourdes, he got to know a very sick young woman named Marie LeMarchand . She had lupus, tuberculosis and festering sores on her legs and face. Zola had said to Dr. Boissariee, one of the attending physicians at Lourdes, that, “I only wanted to see a cut finger dipped in the water and come out cured.” Marie LeMarchand was immersed in the baths at Lourdes and was instantly healed, her lesions and sores disappeared and her skin was made new. Dr. Boissariee said to the distinguished Mr. Zola, “Ah, Monsieur Zola, behold the case of your dreams!” Zola replied, “ I don’t want to look at her. To me she is still ugly.” Zola witnessed three astonishing healings at Lourdes, but told Dr. Boissariee that if “I were to see all the sick at Lourdes healed, I would not believe in a miracle.” In his novel, he referred to another case he had witnessed; that of Marie Lebranchu who was in the final stages of tuberculosis. She, too, was instantly healed. Zola kept in touch with the Ms. Lebranchu for a long while after her healing, just to make sure her cure was permanent. It was. She lived for 26 more years. Yet, in his novel Zola portrays her as “La Grivotte,” dying on the train home. He lied and became rich and famous by doing so, Captain Dreyfus notwithstanding!
Zola well understood what I said above. Miracles can be very inconvenient. If Zola had given in to the truth he himself had witnessed and had bowed before God, he would have had to give up his mistress, Jeanne Rozerot, perhaps his wealth, and above all his hatred for the Christian religion, the hatred which defined his life and had made him famous, but Zola bowed to no one but Zola. He was instrumental in making France a secular country, and so at the beginning of the 21st century, France is no longer Catholic. Soon France will no longer exist at all. Within our lifetime we may see the Islamic Republic of France. The mullahs will root up the grape vines as they did in the Holy Land when they conquered it and suppressed Christianity. They will break the breath taking windows of Chartres and the Sainte Chappelle and deface the beautiful Gothic carvings just as they dynamited the Buddhas of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. La belle France will be only a rumor, a memory. I am reminded of what Jesus said in Matt. 11:20 and following:
Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.
The ruins of Capernaum, Bethsaida and Korazin have only recently come to light. The towns in which Jesus performed his greatest signs were buried for 15 centuries, even their locations unknown. Some of the greatest miracles of modern times have been performed in France. You do the math. The refusal to believe — the refusal, mind you — invites disaster. It always has and always will. Bon chance, Ma chère! We, in America, are not far behind you.