Random Notes: From Horse Race To Pope In Poland, Hats Off To The 'Coincidences'
There are many and sundry matters that accumulate and find their outlet in a sort of mishmash that we present simply as the latest rundown of the curious.
There is the matter of coincidence. We have always posited that there is no such thing -- that on the other side of the veil everything will be seen as orchestrated -- and yet we wonder at the relevance of certain events.
A case in point is the happenstance of this year's winner of the Preakness. It was a horse named "Bernardini," and it won on the feast day of St. Bernadine, a holy man who, too weak to walk, was forced to ride a donkey, shortly before his death, on May 20; perhaps they want to modify the horse's name to "Bernadine"!
The saint's patronage? "Gambling, gambling addicts, and compulsive gambling," says an index of saints. A message in that? Of course, his patronage, and this is true, also includes those afflicted with "hoarseness" (to play a bit on words, and if you will excuse the feeble attempt at humor).
Of course, the favorite in the race, "Barbaro," shattered its right hind leg in the race. Many have sent St. Francis statues, in well-wishing the famous horse. And of course St. Bernadine was a Franciscan.
Such is one matter. Another was that rainbow at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Even the secular press was taken aback! During the most poignant moment in the Pope's trip to Poland, as he prayed at the horrid Nazi death camp, a lucent rainbow dominated the background behind him -- making all the news services and no doubt bringing comfort to Jews who may now see the Church, and this German Pope, in a different light.
"As the music of violins and a harp played, it rained and, some time later, a colorful rainbow appeared right over the chimney of a ruined crematorium," reported a Canadian news site. "It was a beautiful and breath-stopping view, as if God himself made a sign of His Covenant with Israel. And in the slowly clearing up sky, an eagle flew over the former death camp, like a symbol of Poland. People gathered at this scene with bewilderment, and Benedict XVI, who apparently didn't see it, turned back to the rainbow arch and began his address to a small crowd of people, gathered on the camp's grounds".
Little ironies followed this trip, indicating the papal anointing. There was also the photo of Benedict with his right hand raised at Krakow in perfect conformity -- with uncanny resemblance -- to a huge portrait of Jesus as Divine Mercy, His Hand in an identical if larger position just behind the Pontiff.
What an honor and what a statement that Benedict's most notable journey and strongest moment as Pope would be in John Paul II's homeland.
Few realize that at one of Poland's great shrines, Our Lady of Czestochowa [left], is the blood-stained stole John Paul II wore when he was shot on May 13, 1981, in an event that still reverberates.
Fascinating it is how devoted Benedict has been to his predecessor and how he chose John Paul's native territory for such a momentous visit. Could it be that he feels some sort of contact with the late great Pope -- the type of communion, and guidance, so many report?
On other fronts, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston welcomed Our Lady of Conciliation to the cathedral in his archdiocese, in an act of atonement. The cardinal is currently seeking forgiveness from the public. As a website devoted to the Blessed Mother notes, Our Lady of Conciliation first came to light in early spring 2003 amidst the torments of the sex scandal in the Catholic Church and indeed all society. In the portrait is The Holy Trinity: The Father (Hand in Blessing), The Holy Spirit (Dove in flight to Enlighten) and Jesus, The Eucharist (Holding Our Lady's Heart -- pierced!). But she is also pregnant carrying Our Savior to us and embracing all mankind to present all to God of All Creation. The Seraphic Angels represent Heaven. Three crosses represent the hill of Calvary. Offer up your crosses!
And then there are the images of the supernatural or possibly supernatural or at least curious kind. You never know. If nothing else, it "produces" a smile. At right is a tomato that was halved to revealed what could be roughly seen as angels. Or nearly angels. At any rate, it made the news!
Below you will see a luminous "dove" that appeared in a photo taken of the cross at Medjugorje on September 11, 2003. That's a little more difficult to explain.
Finally, a five-year-old girl named Diana daughter of Ali Ajem, a Syrian Moslem, who came to work in Lebanon [left], was reportedly cured from her paralysis after her parents used oil from the shrine of Our Lady of Bishwat in Lebanon, given to them by a Christian from the town where the shrine is located. As soon as the parents applied the oil from the shrine, Diana reportedly stood up and walked three meters. Her parents got very excited and took her to the shrine to give thanks to our Lady, and as soon as they stepped in the shrine, Diana was completely healed and started jumping up and down inside the shrine for the next two hours while her parents and the crowd that gathered when the shrine bells were rung to proclaim the miracle were praying and giving thanks.
Never give up hope, not with the Blessed Mother around.