Thursday, 8 March 2012
Father Ignatius was in his office when George came running in.
“Father come quick” he gasped in between breaths, “the Virgin Mary is crying ….”
“Calm down George … take a deep breath … now tell me, what is going on?”
“The statue of the Virgin Mary, in church …” said George, “it is crying. Come and see for yourself ….”
The priest left the Parish house and followed George across the car park and into the church. By the left of the altar there was a large statue of Our Lady high on a pedestal. Father Ignatius had sat there in the front pew many a time reciting the Rosary.
As he approached the statue, Sonia, who was there with George and others cleaning the church in time for Sunday spoke first.
“Hello Father,” said Sonia, “this is really weird. We were cleaning around here when I looked up at the statue and noticed her cheeks were wet. I thought I was seeing things … but look … doesn’t it seem wet to you?"
The priest looked up, and true enough; the statue’s face seemed to glisten in the light.
“George …” he said, “there’s a small ladder in the garage. Would you mind getting it please?”
Moments later Father Ignatius climbed the ladder gingerly to get a closer look. And for certain, there was a little moisture on the statue’s face, just beneath the eyes and on the face. He took out his handkerchief and wiped the statue dry.
“It’s probably condensation,” he said as he got off the ladder, “it sometimes happens in old churches. Condensation builds up and turns to moisture on a cold surface.”
The situation was quickly defused and the volunteers got back to cleaning the church.
That evening, as Father Ignatius sat on the front pew to pray the Rosary he looked up and sure enough the statue was moist again on the face. He looked carefully standing on a nearby chair and was convinced that, somehow, the condensation, or were they tears, had built up once again. Only on the face of the statue.
The mysterious incident did not happen again. He checked the following day several times and all seemed back to normal. Or so he thought.
Because somehow the local paper had got hold of the story and placed it on their front page, having also obtained a picture of the statue in question.
“VIRGIN IN TEARS” read the headline in big letters.
It quoted various un-named parishioners who said they had seen the Virgin Mary cry and suggested a miracle had occurred.
By itself, the newspaper article was a small story in a town where nothing ever happens. Yet the priest felt he needed to address the issue quickly.
On Sunday he approached the pulpit and said:
“I am sure you have all read the article in the press about the statue of Our Lady over there.
“And no doubt you want to hear my views on the matter. So let me tell you now categorically that in my view I do not know.
“I do not know whether this was a build up of condensation or whether they were tears as some people believe. I can only tell you that this happened a few days ago and has not happened again since.
“But I think we should consider this.
“Has the Virgin Mary good cause to cry? I ask you.
“When she looks down on us what does she see? Does she see pure believing loving hearts, or hidden lies and hypocrisy?
“What is the state of Her Son’s Church on earth these days? Have His words taken roots and flourish abundantly in our hearts and in our lives? Or do we just pay lip service to our beliefs and wear Christianity as a badge rather than a Truth?
“There is really nothing more we can say about the events here a few days ago. Whether we witnessed a miracle or whether the moisture on the statue was just a natural occurrence will remain a conjecture for some time no doubt.
“But one thing is certain. That event has given us all an opportunity to look deeply within our hearts and ask whether we have given cause for Our Blessed Mother to weep.”