Faith Series III

This is a continuation of the last post with the same title but III.

Faith Series III

Faith is a gift from God. It is precious. Those with faith in God believe without seeing.  I believe in God, the Master Builder, the First Mover, creator of all things visible and invisible. I do not doubt his existence. He works marvels in the lives of his children.

I work in the church as I write this. One of my tasks is to take down the requests of those who want the Mass to be offered for their intentions. We usually refer to this as Mass Booking. Catholics celebrate the Mass on Sundays as well as weekdays when they gather in the church. It is the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ who said, “Do this in memory of me.” A young man came to me distraught one day. He said for a long time he has been applying for visa without success. He was clearly worried about this. After booking a nine-day Mass request, he told me to pray for him. He sounded as if the visa was the key to his life of happiness. Two or three weeks later, he came back happy asking me to thank God for granting his request. He had obtained his visa.  A woman who had serious challenges in her family came to book Mass looking tense. She had come from another parish. A priest in her parish told her to come to mine because in her parish, Mass does not take place daily. She booked a nine-day Mass. Few months later she came back to me smiling and saying that God heard her prayer. She was free of those challenges. She thanked me profusely. I had to remind her that God answered her prayer not me for I only did my job. She kept thanking me nonetheless and appreciated the work of the parish staff. After a young man lost his mother, he had nightmares about his dead mother continually seeing her in a coffin. He read the dreams as seemingly implying that he had a hand in his mother’s death whereas that was not the case. This especially upset him. Sometimes when his mother was about to leave in his dream, she goes up quickly (defying gravity) and he follows only to be stopped by something like a doorframe which his head would hit. He felt his mother wanted to take him along with her. He was really anxious about these dreams. He booked Masses for the repose of the soul of his mother. He came back about a month later and said that the nightmares had ceased. I can keep going about testimonies showing the power of the Mass.

A miracle occurred at Hiroshima in 1945. No one has ever been able to offer sound scientific explanation for what happened. It goes thus:

In the final stages of World War II, at about 8:15 AM of August 6, 1945, an American Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber christened Enola Gay, dropped the first atomic bomb in history over Hiroshima in Japan. The atomic blast generated an unimaginable ground heat of 6,000° C and a tremendous wind at the sonic speed of 4.4 kilometers per second. Everything within a two-kilometer radius of the hypocenter was annihilated, instantly killing 140,000 people. Concrete buildings collapsed to pieces and broken glass flew as far as 16 kilometers away. The atomic radiation generated by the bomb was so unbelievably strong that many of those outside of the range who were exposed to it lost all bodily functions, their cells underwent apoptosis – a kind of cellular suicide, and died within days. Between the blast itself, the resulting fires throughout the city and the radiation burns, some estimate that 200,000 citizens of Hiroshima lost their lives. Yet, in the midst of burned bodies, charred skeletons, and structural damage, just eight blocks from ground zero (exactly 1 kilometer), a two story Catholic presbytery miraculously remained intact with no apparent damage to it. When an investigation was made, it was discovered that there survived a community of eight German Jesuit priests who were all found unscathed, with only a few minor injuries. Father Hubert Shiffer who headed the community was one of those Jesuit priests. He was 30 years old when the atomic bomb exploded at Hiroshima and lived another 33 years in good health to tell the miracle. The same is said of the other seven priests of the community. Aside from some slight surface abrasions or scratches, they all lived out their days in full health with no radiation sickness, no loss of hearing, or any other visible long term defects or cancer from radiation. 

Father Shiffer was thoroughly examined and questioned by more than 200 scientists who were unable to explain how he and his companions had survived the atomic blast. He attributed the miracle to the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary. He declared: “I was in the middle of the atomic explosion and I am still here alive and well. I was not struck down by its destruction.” Furthermore, for several years hundreds of experts and investigators continued to study and investigate the scientific reasons as to why the presbytery house was not affected, and when asked, Father Shiffer remarked each time: “We believe that we survived because we were living the Message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary daily in that home.”

 In 1976, at the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia (USA), Father Shiffer publicly testified and recounted his experiences at Hiroshima. At that time, all eight members of the Jesuit community were still alive. In an interview with Fr. Paul Ruge, he describes the horrific nightmare of August 6, 1945, “Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunder stroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me round and round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind.”

 Fr. Ruge relates that the next thing he remembered was that he opened his eyes and found himself laying on the ground. He looked around and there was nothing in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were leveled to the ground. The only physical harm to himself was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck. As far as he could tell, there was nothing else physically wrong with himself.

 According to Dr. Stephen Rinehart, a nuclear physicist with the U.S. Department of Defense who had studied this phenomenon intently, they should have been dead in a flash. In his commentary on the Hiroshima blast he states, “Their residence should still have been utterly destroyed (temp. 20000F and air blast pressures 100 psi). In contrast, unreinforced masonry or brick walls (representative of commercial construction) are destroyed at 3 psi, which will also cause car damage and burst windows. At 10 psi, a human will experience severe lung and heart damage, burst eardrums and at 20 psi your limbs can be blown off. Your head will be blown off by 40 psi and no residential or unreinforced commercial construction would be left standing. At 80 psi even reinforced concrete is heavily damaged and no human would be alive because your skull would be crushed. All the cotton clothes would be on fire at 3500 F (probably at 2750 F) and your lungs would be inoperative within a minute breathing air (even for a few seconds) at these temperatures.

 “There are no physical laws to explain why the Jesuits were untouched in the Hiroshima air blast. There is no other actual or test data where a structure such as this was not totally destroyed at this standoff distance by an atomic weapon. All who were at this range from the epicenter should have received enough radiation to be dead within at most a matter of minutes if nothing else happened to them. There is no known way to design a uranium-235 atomic bomb, which could leave such a large discrete area intact while destroying everything around it immediately outside the fireball . . . From a scientific viewpoint, what happened to those Jesuits at Hiroshima still defies all human logic from the laws of physics as understood today (or at any time in the future). It must be concluded that some other (external) force was present whose power and/or capability to transform energy and matter as it relates to humans is beyond current comprehension.”4

I believe that God’s power manifested and the power of an atomic bomb paled before it. Faith in God is not ridiculous.

This write-up continues in the next post.

Note:

  1. Infallible Catholic, Fatima Miracle in Hiroshima, Japan, 2013: http://infallible-catholic.blogspot.com/2013/03/fatima-miracle-in-hiroshima-japan.html

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