Sunday, May 13, 2007


Here's a story I forgot to write up here. It was very movingly told by a young father who goes to lyon anglican church, when i was there with Mymy on Easter Sunday. His name is David and he works in a village outside Lyon (there are a few details that I don't know–like what he does there–but they are not important for the story).
In this village lives a family with a young daughter (age 4 if I remember rightly) named Amandine. One day in March, Amandine was hit by a car (more details missing) and suffered head injuries. She was taken into intensive care, where she remained in a coma. Two weeks later, the doctors at the hospital took her parents aside and explained that it was time to consider switching off the machine: Amandine was brain-dead, she wasn't going to wake up. And yet her parents kept hoping, and everyone kept praying for little Amandine.
In week 3, in her coma, Amandine shed a tear.
The doctors said this was impossible: the part of the brain that controls the tear glands was long since utterly inactive. But Amandine proved them wrong. She woke up, she can now walk and talk a little and is on the way to making as full a recovery as one could hope.

Is that a miracle, or does it just demonstrate the limitations of modern medical science?

After three weeks, where did that tear come from? Why a single tear? What made Amandine capable of 'resurrection'?
These are questions I want to ask–we all do– but I think (those who were in the Ignatian group with me a few years back will understand the formulation I use!) that the question we should ask first and foremost is Where were God in this?
Some, including many of the people who were following Amandine's condition and praying for her recovery, explain it as entirely God's healing. They can't all explain all the why and the how– but they know that this time, their prayer was answered, and they trust that God has a why and a wherefore, that's part of their faith in Him.
Others believe God has no part in Amandine's recovery, and that we can't put scientific anomalies or dilemmas down to faith or miracle. Perhaps you believe that in a number of years medicine will be advanced enough to explain Amandine's case, and perhaps even to repeat it?
Some, of course, aren't quite sure what to think.

Fair enough–but put yourself in Amandine's shoes in a few years' time, and give it some thought. None of us have all the answers, but I'd be interested to hear what you think.

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