During my recent short visit to India, several memorable events occurred including the wedding of my nephew, Pradeep. Among them, one certainly stands out and I was not even there to witness it. I am reporting it on hearsay and cannot personally verify the veracity of this story.
In my native city of Madras (now known as Chennai), there is a large Catholic parish under the patronage of Our Lady of Lourdes. On February11 this year, which is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, something wonderful took place in that church. The assistant principal of the primary school was sending in the students at the beginning of the day and Mass was going on in the main church. From where she was standing, the assistant principal could see the statue of Mary at the grotto. Suddenly she noticed something that made her do a double take. She saw the statue of the Blessed Mother close and open her eyes. She could not believe what she was seeing. She is protestant and does not even believe in devotion to Our Lady. She called another teacher and she witnessed the same thing.
In a few minutes crowds were gathering around the grotto. The news of this miraculous event spread like wild fire. People were abandoning their cars and other vehicles on the streets and rushed into the parish campus. In a few hours the place was packed. Fr John Peter, one of the associate pastors, who is one of my favorite people in the world, was returning from a doctor’s appointment. He had to get out of his cab because of the crowds. Realizing what was happening, he got close to the grotto. He could clearly see the statue and he told me personally that he saw the statue close and open its eyes. And I believe him.
People were bringing their babies and their children. They were bringing their sick and their aged. They were hoping for miracles and cures. The crowds had swelled so much that the police had to come in to control the traffic. People did not leave until 3 in the morning. Over the next few days several people reported receiving special favors and even miracles. The parish priest told me that he is collecting personal testimonies which he will publish as a little booklet. I myself visited the grotto and prayed. However, I did not personally witness that miraculous event.
What can we make of this? I turned to one of my trusted spiritual guides, Fr Rosario Krishnaraj, and asked him what the message was. What is our Blessed Mother telling us through this wondrous occurrence? He said to me: “The message is simple. Open your eyes! We do not see the world and others as God sees them. Open your eyes!
Think about it. That is such a much-needed message. We are so busy and so distracted. We are looking at superficial things and missing out on the real things. We are caught up with the earthly and lose sight of the heavenly. It is as if we do not see even though we have our eyes open. We really need to open our eyes and see. Lent is a time to open our eyes to the Light that is Christ, the Light of the World.
Many years ago, Amy Grant, sang a beautiful song entitled, “My Father’s Eyes.” Her prayer should become our own. Here are some of the lyrics from that song:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say:
She's got her Father's eyes, her Father's eyes; Eyes that find the good in things, when good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help, when help just can't be found;
Eyes full of compassion, seeing every pain; knowing what you're going through and feeling it the same.
Just like my Father's eyes, my Father's eyes, my Father's eyes, just like my Father's eyes.
May we see the world, others and the events in our lives with our Father’s eyes!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...