Miracles of Gratitude in the Pyrenees
More than 100 years ago, in a tiny mountain village hidden in the Pyrenees, our Lady appeared to Bernadette, a fourteen-year-old peasant. Since then, Lourdes has become a center of Christian devotion—perhaps the greatest Christian shrine to our Lady.
A journalist once asked a priest visiting Lourdes, “What is the greatest miracle of Lourdes?” The priest affirmed it was the look of resignation on the faces of those who were not healed. To us who have faith in the power of God and the all-powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother, the authenticated cases of healed lungs and re-created bones are certainly marvels. But these transformations of the bodies only astound us half as much as the changes that take place in the minds and hearts of so many more visitors.
For instance, Fred Snite travels from Chicago to Lourdes in an iron lung and hopes to be cured. But after a week at the grotto, he goes home, still confined to the iron lung. You might expect him to be bitter or critical, but he is not. A year later, his little girl is born and, with grateful remembrance of Lourdes, he calls her Bernadette.
What is the secret behind this and other miracles of gratitude? No one knows for certain. But in some cases, I think God affects these wonderful results by new and startling growths of charity in the individual souls.