Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Valentine. Yet, I don’t feel called to talk about the saint (of which, there are more than one by this name). Rather, I feel led to talk about the true love of Jesus and Mary and how they still demonstrates this love to us in the form of miracles.
There are many small miracles which happen to us on a daily basis, if we choose to recognize them as such. Yet, though these miracles are just as important to our day-to-day faith, sometimes our lives crowd out the miraculous in favor of the mundane or even hopeless. Sometimes, this is when Jesus and Mary choose to give us a little valentine in the shape of a big Miracle – of the type that makes headlines and often eventually involves the Vatican itself.
Today, I want to share a tiny amount about these valentines we have been given. Let me assure you, this is the tip of the iceberg. Eventually, I will cover some of the miracles which have been most intriguing to me – and the ones I feel that help to fulfill my mission here – to show the Doubting Thomas inside you that you’re totally in the right place!
For those who have doubted the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, there have been many Miracles where the host (which still appears to be a simple wafer of unleavened bread) begins to bleed or turns into scientifically-provable heart tissue. Always part of the heart, always the same blood type, AB. These Miracles have happened throughout history and are still happening today, the most recently-confirmed one was from 2006 in Mexico. Even some of the ancient Miracles continue to this day. Clearly, Jesus loves us so much that he is willing to prove it to us in this very tangible way!
Mary has a tendency to show herself quite frequently – and usually to the “least” among us… poor, sickly children… or older women… or whomever she feels like talking to, anyway. But she has a tendency to do it in a pretty, flowery way, creating a healing spring (Lourdes) or requesting a new Medal be struck in order to endow believers with special graces. Occasionally, Mary has shown herself to multitudes, such as in Fatima, Portugal, where tens of thousands of people saw her all at once. She invites us to adopt her as our Heavenly Mother and has unending love for us all.
Jesus has also performed mass apparitions. One major one that many have not heard of is one in Ocotlán, Mexico, in 1847, when 2000 people observed an apparition of Jesus on the cross, hanging in the sky for 30 minutes.
Like any parent with wayward children, both Jesus and Mary are often grieved by the state of our world and society. They sometimes choose to show this with real tears, sometimes of oil, sometimes of blood as in the Statue of the Blessed Virgin in Akita, Japan. This particular statue has wept on over 100 occasions; sometimes it’s blood, but other times, it has been tears and perspiration. Other statues weep tears, blood or drops of pure olive oil, often scented of roses, one of Mary’s favorite flowers.
Sometimes we have statues which “come to life.” In Limpias, Spain, there is a crucifix whose eyes open and close on occasion. The most famous of those occasions happened in 1919 when the whole congregation was able to observe the eyes opening and closing and moving from side to side. The face of Jesus was also wet with tears and oozed blood and some have heard him speak.
The original tilma with the Our Lady of Guadalupe image miraculously emblazoned upon it has been found to be “alive” according to scientific analysis which shows her eyes to dilate and contract as well as having a pulse and normal body temperature. This part does not appear to have Vatican approval, but here is some further interesting analysis of the image from the Miracle Hunter website.
The most faithful among us, Jesus will often reward with a very special valentine. These chosen faithful were willing to suffer right along Jesus and given stigmata – the wounds that Jesus suffered on the Cross – and are often painful and/or bloody. This reward for loving devotion of Jesus must seem strange to bystanders who might wonder whether such a thing is a gift or a curse. Yet, Jesus must truly feel the love of these people – enough to express his love for them in return. Some famous stigmatists include Therese Neumann and St. Padre Pio.
It seems amazing that God would choose to act in order to save something as simple as a statue or consecrated host, but it seems to happen fairly regularly. The fire, bomb or other destructive force destroys everything around, but this one object survives, unscathed.
One of these was described in tandem with a Eucharistic Miracle – where the host had already survived fire, and was on display in a monstrance. When this building itself burned to the ground, not only was the Monstrance in once piece, but the silk curtain which had covered it was still in perfect condition. The famous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe has also survived a bomb blast that destroyed everything else around it, but she emerged unscathed. Again, another valentine for each of us.
Possibly one of the most amazing forms of love given to some of the most faithful is one of these incorrupt bodies – one which does not decay after death. St. Bernadette (the girl from the apparitions at Lourdes) is one of the most famous of incorrupt bodies. Her corpse looks only as if she is sleeping, more than a century after her death. Some incorrupt bodies are many hundreds of years old, such as St. Silvan who died more than 1500 years ago. More recently, St. Padre Pio has been revealed to have an incorrupt body, 40+ years after his death.
More than once, have Jesus and Mary left tangible evidence of their miraculous appearances. From the Shroud of Turin (where fragments of this same AB blood were recovered) to the tilma image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to images on things as various as the sacred host, or a recent window apparition and others in Saskatchewan (not yet “approved.”) Here is another website purporting to host pictures of Jesus and/or Mary that various believers have taken. These “calling cards” are a spiritual version of the “selfie” – a tangible “I was here” message to believers.
In this week we remember romantic love, let us remember the pure love that Our Virgin Mother and her Son, the Most High Jesus have for us – and the many ways they have proven it to us.