March 22, 2013

I’m Not Dreaming, Am I?

“The patient … was a man who lived in Lisbon, Portugal, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease. As the creeping paralysis rose from his lower limbs, advancing closer and closer to the heart, the patient was plunged into deep melancholy. His wife pleaded with him repeatedly to go only ninety miles away to Fatima. In mockery, because he knew that, like himself, his attending physician did not believe in miracles, he said to his wife in the doctor’s presence: ‘I’ll go if he goes.’

“It occurred to the doctor that a trip to the church at Fatima might cheer his patient, or at least it would be a distraction, so he surprised the ill man by saying: ‘All right, let’s go.’

“The six apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima took place on the 13th day of six consecutive months, so that day is particularly celebrated at the Shrine. As this was the 13th day of October there was a large crowd of pilgrims. The non-believing doctor and his non-believing patient were among the first in the rows of invalids. I (the writer of this book) was carrying the canopy over the Holy Eucharist as It was raised by the priest to bless the patient.

“The man suddenly pushed himself up in his wheelchair. Trembling, he began to move and feel his legs. Then he cried out to those around him: ‘I’m not dreaming, am I? I am not dreaming?’

… “The doctor’s mouth fell open in amazement as he slowly sank to his knees. Tears began to roll down his cheeks. ‘This was not for you,’ he exclaimed through sobs. ‘This was for me.’”*

As stated above, the man who wrote the above account witnessed it. He also wrote, “it did not seem real.” Perhaps that is the problem with such stories, them seem too wondrous to be real. For that reason, we tend to put them out of our mind. We cannot comprehend them, so we put them aside. Of course, that is precisely what we cannot do. We must consider them. We must consider that, if there is no other explanation, the explanation must be the Real Presence. When He said, “This is My Body,” He was giving us the Truth. When a man, who does not believe, and who mocked the very belief in miracles, is suddenly and fully cured when the Sacred Host is brought near him, we should do nothing else but turn our thoughts toward it, linger on it, and consider all it implies.

This Lent, let us linger on it. Let us consider all it implies.

*(Haffert, John, The World’s Greatest Secret (Asbury, N.J., The 101 Foundation, Inc., 1985) p. 104-106.)


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