Miracles… Do Happen!

The miraculous cures in Lourdes are known worldwide. The Mother of God showers Her aid on all, granting spiritual and physical favours. But what would happen to a person who mocked this generous outpouring? We can imagine…

Two old friends sat in a large open window, talking, reading their newspapers and enjoying the last rays of the afternoon sun:

“Hey, Jacques, did you see this news item? The big pilgrimage for Lourdes will take off from Nancy next Friday. Many dioceses still have spots available…”

“To me that whole story is rubbish! I heard that the so-called seer was no more than a poor and ignorant child. Do you know what I think? I think it’s just a trumped-up story meant to inject money into the region! And of course, the girl got her ‘stipend’…” said Jacques, in his usual sceptical tone. “Now just look: Lourdes has become a tourist attraction and its everything that happens there is famous.”

Robert wanted to give his opinion on the subject:

“Well, I never really believed in all this talk about the Virgin Mary. Why should a woman who lived ages ago be acclaimed by the whole world? There are no proofs she ever existed. It’s all hype and nonsense!”

“That’s just it… I heard a lot about her as a lad. I even prayed to her! But as time went on, I grew out of such silly devotions.”

The conversation fell flat for a few seconds. Robert turned a few pages of his paper and Jacques drew on his cigar. Finally, he broke the silence:

“What do you think about shaking up our routine?”

“Oh, you and your ideas… What have you come up with this time, old pal?”

“Well, I figure that since that girl and her city become famous by trickery, we might gain a place in the spotlight the same way!”

As the idea sank in, Robert’s eyes brightened. The suggestion was first rate! What a fascinating plan!

*     *     *

The great finally day arrived! People prayed to get a place in the blessed grotto where the Mother of God had appeared. A multitude of men, women, children and elderly of all social classes, professions, and nations from across the globe united at that site to implore graces for themselves and for their loved ones.

There was another long and winding queue of the sick who had come to bathe in the miraculous waters of the spring that Our Lady had shown to St. Bernadette Soubirous.

People afflicted with every kind of infirmity were there and – how appalling! – Jacques and Robert were among them. The first was slumped in a wheelchair. His arms hung limply; his legs and feet were twisted, his neck was curved, and his chin was resting on his chest… he scarcely uttered a word! The second man, in turn, had airs of deep humility, devotion and faith.

When the pilgrims noticed the very poor condition of the sick man and the kindness of his helper, they compassionately opened the way for them to enter the grotto toward the healing waters. Robert nodded smugly to Jacques: at this rate they would soon succeed with the “brilliant” plan that they had hatched…

Some of the people who had gone to the baths returned, restored in health, joyfully giving thanks to the Blessed Virgin. Others who had not received a bodily cure had been given new strength to bear their illnesses with resignation and serenity. Even more important were those who felt their faith renewed by the maternal love of Mary, and who were ready to confront life’s struggles with faithfulness to the Catholic Religion. A countless stream of people benefitted from Our Lady’s intercession!

There was also a contingent who had no need for any particular cure, but simply remained as close as possible to the grotto, singing praises to witness so many favours.

Finally, the “disabled” Jacques entered. Robert began to lift him from the wheelchair to ease him into one of the individual stone pools. When some pious volunteers saw his great exertion in moving the poor man, they promptly stepped forward to aid the “generous friend” who had brought his companion to the waters.

In the queue of the sick, there was Jacques slumped in a wheelchair, while Robert had airs of great humility, devotion and faith. They were sure they would soon succeed with their plan…

When Jacques was settled into one of the pools, the volunteers poured water over his head and arms and recited prayers to Mary Immaculate. After a few minutes the “sick man” changed his expression: a wide smile spread across his face and, raising his eyes heavenward, he stood up by himself, opened his arms and cried out:


All those in attendance applauded and exclaimed:

“Praise be to the Virgin Mary! Thank You, thank you, dear Blessed Mother!”

Then, just as suddenly… whoosh! Jacques fell back into the pool. His arms and legs lost their movement and he could barely manage to stammer a word.

His shocked companion whispered into his ear:

“The joke is over! This wasn’t part of the deal…”

But it soon became apparent that this was no longer fakery. “Things have gotten serious,” concluded Robert in anguish.

An ambulance was called. At the hospital, the medical diagnosis was internal paralysis of the organs. The malady was so advanced that the patient could expect to live only a few days.

The exam result left Robert stunned, not knowing what to think! He looked at his friend, trying to believe what was happening. Jacques stared back at him and with great difficult managed to blurt:

“Miracles… do happen!”

Jacques had a point: Miracles happen! And a great miracle was transpiring at that very moment. Having dealt both of those men that punishment, the Blessed Virgin was now working deep within each of them a marvel more spectacular than the cure of a paralytic. She was operating the conversion of those hard and unbelieving hearts, through contrition for their sins.

Finally, in a state of true repentance, both returned to Lourdes. Robert confessed his faults to a priest, and so did Jacques, with the help of his friend. With souls purified by the Sacrament of Penance, they made their way to the Grotto of Massabielle to beseech Our Lady’s blessing. With deep confidence they went to the spring to drink a little of the water. Previously they had gone to the waters with a blasphemous intent; now they did so with deep love for the Mother of God.

Cupping his hands, Robert filled them with water and drank from the crystalline spring. Then he filled a glass and gave it to his friend. After swallowing the water, Jacques felt a change in his body. Vitality surged through his arms and legs and he could move them easily; he felt restored to perfect health. Now his lips were opened, this time to proclaim the truth:

“Miracle! Miracle! Miracle!”

His companion looked at him dumbfounded, but he did not doubt Our Lady’s mercy. They embraced each other with joy, they jumped up and down and they cried aloud, proclaiming to all the kindness of Our Lady’s Heart. For Mary’s compassion triumphs over human wickedness and vanquishes evil with good. ◊



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