The Boy Who Fell in a Barn

      This took place in a small country church in the hills of rural Illinois.   The Deacon had read to the congregation from the Gospel of Mark, 1:29-39, and from Chapter 9 of 1st Corinthians.   He'd spoken about Jesus curing Simon's mother-in-law, and about the many gathered at the house that evening, when Jesus cured many sick and drove out demons from the possessed.

     After he finished the readings, the Celebrant of the Mass gave his homily to the people gathered there.   During the course of his talk, he related a true story of what happened years ago to a boy on a farm, near St. Cloud, Minnesota. The boy was five. He'd left his brother's side, and went into a barn, where he found a ladder to the hayloft. He climbed it. While up there, he stepped backward and accidentally fell through the ladder opening, where hay was thrown down for the animals. He plunged 10 to 12 feet, falling on his head on the cement below. His brother found him lying there, unconscious and bleeding. It was a very bad fall.

     His parents put him in their old station wagon, and rushed him to the St. Cloud hospital. A woman of faith, his mother kept pressing a Miraculous Medal to his head as his father drove, and kept honking the horn to warn traffic of their emergency. His mother would remember it as the most harrowing time of her life.

     At the hospital they did everything that they could, medically, but were unable to restore his health to what it was. He was on life support, and the doctors concluded that if he lived, he'd be in a vegetative state. His condition was very critical. His mother gave him up to God, but still wished to save him.

     They decided to unhook him and his mother asked the hospital chaplain to administer the Sacrament of the Sick with its anointing. The priest told his mother that he wouldn't need to be anointed because he was too young to have committed sin. Still his mother wished to have the Sacrament done anyway, with a hope in her heart that it might do some good.

     The little boy was at the door of death. It was around the time of his being anointed, that he suddenly stirred and started to revive to consciousness. He awoke to circumstances completely unfamiliar and strange to him, and being a little upset, he told the doctors to get out. His mother was overjoyed, seeing it as a real sign that he was alive.

     The homilist concluded the story, by saying the boy survived and grew up to become a priest. He said that that priest was now standing before them, speaking to them!

     The boy of the physical fall, would survive to help us, who deal with the consequences of another fallThe Fall of Man.
                   ―John Riedell

A subtitle of this story, might be “Barn Again.”

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