Churches Spared use

Even the secular news had to admit that it was odd, even using the word ‘miraculous’ as this headline proclaimed, that the Catholic church was spared in the tragic wildfires on Maui.

Across the Pacific, the same is happening in Western Canada, battling their own blazes – all of the churches have been left intact.

And this is not the first time: In the nuclear incineration of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Catholic churches were spared.  In the first bombing on August 6th, 1945, not only did the church survive, but so did the eight Jesuits who were stationed there – and they were all within the radius of ground zero. And at Nagasaki three days later, it was the Franciscans who lived, as the convent built under the direction of Saint Maximilian Kolbe stood. Sadly, the Catholic Church in the city was destroyed – God does not spare all, the good die with the bad, as Christ taught us with the Tower of Siloam.

But miracles do happen, and there are likely many more readers could adduce, even in their own personal journeys

One more, of which I did not know, until a friend mentioned it to me the other day, and that was in the shrine commemorating the only approved Marian apparition in the United States, Our Lady of Good Help, in Wisconsin, about 26 miles north of Green Bay. Our Lady appeared to a young woman, Adel Brise, on October 8th, 1859, commissioning her to teach the Catechism to the rural poor. A shrine was duly built, which stands to this day, called Our Lady of Champion.

It stands because it was miraculously spared destruction in the worse wildfire in United States’ history, in 1871, which killed thousands, and destroyed swathes of forest and farmland. The fire, according to witnesses, seemed to come down from the sky itself in great sheets of flame, interpreted as divine punishment, which should give us pause. What the cause – and causes are often manifold – the shrine was left completely intact, even though the inferno encroached right around the very perimeter.

God is saying something in all of this, for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

There shall no evil come to thee; nor shall the scourge come near thy dwelling. For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways. (Ps 90: 10-11)