by Ken Rolheiser
Friends who would carry you to a miracle

Name four friends who would carry your bed
where paralyzed from sole to head
you lie with pangs and scars outstretched.
Name four friends who would plan and plot
to land you near the sacred spot:
the Healer’s Hands, the Feet of God.

This beautiful poem “Paralyzed” by Rita Simmons continues asking you to name four friends who would raise you above the house, crack the roof and let you down to Jesus. (Matthew 9:1–8)

Name four friends who would fix their gaze
on the Man who cures and the man who’s saved.

Can you name four such friends? Besides being an awesome tribute to friendship, this poem challenges our belief in miracles and our faith in Jesus. Miracles are denied by some scientists. Even the Catholic Church does not officially recognize many “apparent” miracles.

In the debate over miracles we hear from French professor Luc Montagnier, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine (2008): “When a phenomenon is inexplicable, if it really exists, then there’s no reason to deny it.”

Montagnier says of the the miracles of Lourdes, “There is something inexplicable” there. If the phenomenon exists, what’s the point in denying it? It should be studied, not denied. 

Many scientists make the error of rejecting what they do not understand. Astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

Of the miraculous healings at Lourdes, Montagnier says, “I don’t have an explanation for these miracles, and I admit that there are healings that go beyond the current limits of science.” (Magnificat January 18, 2019)

Let me share some fascinating miracles related to us and attributed to Mary the Mother of Jesus. One evening in 1856, Father Riou in the diocese of Puy-en-Velay (France), was returning from a journey on horseback, saying the Rosary.

“A violent storm broke out—the night became so dark that the priest could no longer guide his horse. At a turn of the road, above a steep cliff, he suddenly fell into the void—a frightful fall of about 80 feet! His coat, hat, and cassock were in shreds, his horse instantly killed as its head dashed on a rock … but Father Riou rose up to his feet unscathed!” (A Moment with Mary February 4, 2019)

If this seems too hard to believe, let me share a more recent New York Times story about window washer Alcides Moreno, who plunged 47 stories and survived. Moreno’s brother was killed in the event and Alcides needed 24 pints of blood, was in a coma for 17 days and woke up and spoke on December 24, 2007.

I believe in miracles and I believe in the miracle of friendship. I can name four of my readers who would carry me to the feet of Jesus. I am blessed. As to the debate between science and miracles, let me end on the lighter side.

Doctor Bloom was known for miraculous cures. One day a little old lady, completely bent over and leaning on her cane, went into his office. A half hour later she emerged, walking erect. A woman in the waiting room exclaimed, "It's a miracle! What did that doctor do?" She answered, "Miracle, shmiricle. He gave me a longer cane." 

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