This took place in a
small country church in the hills of rural Illinois.
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
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
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 fall―The Fall of Man.