1500 singers gathered in an abandoned power plant to sing Leonard Cohen’s classic song ‘Hallelujah.’ And when Rufus Wainwright stepped on stage to sing too…wow. This is one epic choir performance!
The story of Pastor Jeremiah Steepek has been shared on the internet before; you may have even read it. But, we think you need to read it again… because it’s more inspirational than you realize:
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service….only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food….NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation……..”We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek”….The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation…..The homeless man sitting in the back stood up…..and started walking down the aisle…..the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him….he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment….then he recited
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning…many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame…. he then said….Today I see a gathering of people……not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples…when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week…….Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.
Thousands of people have shared this story on Facebook and social media. But, there were many comments like the one below:
“The story isn’t true.”
It didn’t happen. But the story is true!
Jesus says, “There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him…”
“A sower went out to sow…”
“A man found a treasure hidden in a field…”
“A woman took some leaven…”
“There was a man who had two sons…”
“Hang on, Jesus,” is the first reaction of some people to Jesus’ stories, “that’s not true.”
“You are lying!”
It didn’t happen. But the story is true!
…God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day…
“Well, that’s obviously false!” they say. “God hasn’t even made the sun yet, how can there be days?!”
It didn’t happen. But the story is true!
There were two men in a certain city, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought.
“Hang on there, Nathan,” you think King David said, “you’re just making that up! That’s not true, is it?!” [Read the whole story in 2 Samuel 11-12]
It didn’t happen. But the story is true!
King David knew it was true. So true that it converted him.
There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright…
Yeah! Right! That’s not true. Where is this land of Uz anyway? Once upon a time in the Land of Uz…
The photo isn’t of “Pastor Jeremiah Steepek”. It was actually taken by Brad J Gerrard who writes:
I was walking down the street in Richmond, saw this man talking to someone, could see he was quite a picture in the making. On the way back, when he was free I had a short conversation with the gentleman and he agreed to let me photograph him. I liked the result. He was very friendly.
If we cannot cope with the truth being presented in the form of a story, we will struggle being a Christian, or a spiritual person generally, in our contemporary age.
For them, here is a version that (apparently) did happen:
Early morning on June 23, Willie lay under a tree on the church lawn covered up by a big overcoat. He still had not shaved or combed his hair. He wondered how many people would approach him and offer him food, or a place to sit inside an air conditioned room, or just see how they could help. Twenty people spoke to him and offered some type of assistance.
The sermon title was “The Least Used Parts of the Body” and based on I Corinthians 12:12-15. According to Pastor Lyle, “Often the least used parts of the body are the ones that mean the most, like our heart and mind. We need to understand that there are no small or least used parts in the body of Christ.
“Too many of us only want to serve God one hour each week. That doesn’t cut it. That is not God’s plan.”
While he preached, his daughter-in-law cut his hair and his daughter helped shave off his scruffy beard. He changed shoes, and beneath the overcoat, he was wearing his Sunday clothes. He put on a tie and his suit coat, all the while continuing to preach his message. Before the 200 people gathered that morning, he went from looking like a homeless person to the new pastor of the congregation.
The moral of the story is this: put God first in your life. Act like a Christian at all times, not just once a week during church. Open your hearts, your minds and love one another.
What started out as a typical Thursday morning quickly turned to one of panic for a family in Soledad, California. Gone was the Honda Accord that had been idling in the driveway just minutes before. However, the truly terrifying fact was that the car was not empty when it disappeared. In the backseat sat 2-year-old Jacob Vargas. But thankfully, the missing boy had angels watching over him that day!
Credit: KSBW News
Jacob’s dad had to run back to the house to lock the door, likely assuming he wouldn’t be gone long enough for anything bad to happen. It’s a mistake he’s not soon to forget.
The few minutes the Honda was left unattended was just the window of opportunity needed by a nearby carjacker. The thief hopped into the running vehicle and drove off, unaware of the little boy in the backseat.
Credit: California Highway Patrol
The car went missing at 6:35am. An Amber Alert was released immediately to the entire state of California, and all of Soledad was on the lookout for the missing boy. Authorities were hopeful that once the thief realized there was a child in the car, he’d abandon the vehicle in a public place where it, and little Jacob, could be easily found.
However, that was not the case. And had it not been for divine intervention, the situation would have likely turned tragic.
Farmer John Given was heading back to his offices Thursday afternoon when he spontaneously decided to take a detour to one of his ranches. There was no explanation as to why he opted to head down the particular road he did. In fact, he says he hadn’t been by that particular ranch in roughly 6 to 8 months. But, on a whim, he decided to check in on the fields.
Credit: Monterey County Sheriff’s Office
And thank God he did! He noticed a car that was out of place, parked in a shady spot under a barn. Very soon after that, the Amber Alert came through and John recognized the out of place vehicle as being one in the same as the car reported along with the missing boy. He immediately called 911.
John calls his discovery pure luck, but we know it’s something much bigger than that.
Credit: KSBW News
Though the car was parked in a shady spot, the car was locked, all of the windows were rolled up and 2-year-old Jacob remained strapped into his carseat in the back. Had it not been for the farmer’s “inexplicable urge” to pull down the road that he did, there’s no telling how long the car would have sat at the remote ranch with the missing boy trapped inside.
“There was a reason he chose to drive that way and go down that road that day,” said Chief of Police, Eric Sills. “There clearly was some help from above.”
Thanks to a call from another farmer, the man suspected of the kidnapping was located and taken into custody.
You can hear more of the story in the video below:
Jacob’s story is an important warning to parents everywhere about the danger of leaving a child unattended, even if only for a few minutes.
“You can’t ever leave a child in a car with the engine running, and for that matter, nobody should ever leave their car with the engine running, unattended, because we see auto thefts like this all the time,” said Soledad police Chief Eric Sills.
According to KidsAndCars.org, there were 107 cases last year in the US of auto-theft where children were left in the backseat. Thank God that Jacob’s story had a happy ending, and the 2-year-old missing boy was found after only 6 hours.
Tips to help prevent your car from being stolen:
• Always take your keys. Don’t leave them in or on your vehicle
• Close windows and lock doors
• Park in well-lit areas
• Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen
• Never leave the area while your vehicle is running
• Keep your vehicle in your garage, if possible
Please share this story as a reminder to all to watch out for car theft!
Heaven Needed A Hero – A Tear-Jerking Tribute To Fallen Soldiers
Keep all of the brave soldiers that have fallen in the line of duty in your hearts; they are heroes in heaven now, but we will always remember their unselfish sacrifice. Also pray for those in the military still today; may God protect them!
When 17-year-old Lawrence Yahle learned his father was dead earlier this month at Kettering Medical Center in Ohio, he ran down the hall to see nurses around his father’s body. They weren’t trying to revive him anymore.
Distraught, Lawrence pointed and shouted, “Dad, you’re not going to die today.”
Moments later, Anthony Yahle’s heart monitor showed signs of life, Dr. Raja Nazir, his cardiologist at Kettering Medical Center, told ABCNews.com. It wasn’t a regular heart beat, but once or twice a minute, the monitor would pick up tiny electrical movements.
“When I looked at the electrical activity, I was surprised,” Nazir said. “I thought we’d better make another effort to revive him.”
Nazir gave one of Yahle’s hanging medicine bags a squeeze to restore his blood pressure and the team began working on him again.
“Very slowly, the heart rate was picking up,” Nazir said.
That was more than a week ago, on Aug. 5. Doctors thought Yahle, a 37-year-old diesel mechanic, would need a heart transplant or be in a vegetative state the rest of his life, but he’s home resting and seems fine.
“I’m calling it a miracle because I’ve never seen anything like it,” Nazir said.
AMEN! JESUS IS THE GREATEST PHYSICIAN EVER! ALL THE PRAISE AND GLORY TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!
Children are so fresh from God it’s no wonder some of them are given visions and signs from heaven. Their innocent and trusting natures allow them to believe what we adults would never accept. This must be part of what Jesus meant when he said: I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven – Matthew 18:3.
So perhaps it would do us well as spiritual beings to listen to a little girl who – she claims – has had visions and visits with Jesus. And whether you believe she has truly walked and talked with Jesus, one cannot deny her artistic and poetic talent.
Her name is Akiane Kramarik and she was born at home underwater, on July 9, 1994, in Mount Morris, Illinois, to a stay-at-home Lithuanian homemaker mother and an American father, chef and dietary manager.
Akiane – whose name means ocean in Lithuanian – and her siblings were homeschooled for the most part and they had no television and few books, so when she began telling her family about seeing visions at age four, they were fairly certain what she was experiencing was not a result of outside influences. Her parents chose to support their daughter, which probably played a part in her prolific works.
Akiane began to sketch and write poetry at age four, advanced to painting at six and writing poetry at seven. Her first completed self-portrait sold for $10,000. A large portion of the money generated from art sales is donated by Kramarik to charities. According to Akiane, her art is inspired by her visions of heaven and her personal connection with God. “I am a self-taught painter,” she told Children’s Digest. “God is my teacher.”
Akiane explained to her family that God gave her the visions and abilities to create her artwork and poetry, which must have come as quite a shock since both her parents were atheists at the time. They later converted to Christianity on account of Kramarik’s paintings and visions. More than art was happening in their home. “Simultaneous with art was a spiritual awakening,” Akiane’s mother, Forelli Kramarik, told Christianity Today. “It all began to happen when she started to share her dreams and visions.”
Once, according to an article in New Connexion magazine, Akiane was staring off into space, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eyes. Asked what she was doing, she simply answered, “I was with God again, and He told me to pray continually. He showed me where He lived. I was climbing transparent stairs; underneath I saw gushing waterfalls, and as I was approaching Him, His body was pure and intense light.
“What impressed me the most was His hands – they were gigantic! I saw no bones, or veins, no skin or blood, but maps and events. Then He told me to memorize thousands upon thousands of wisdom words on a scroll that did not look like paper, but more like intense light. And, in a few seconds, I got somehow filled up. From now on I will get up early to paint. I hope one day I’d be able to paint what I was shown.”
Although she was three at the time, she’ll always remember God’s first message to her. “He said, ‘You have to do this, and I’ll help you.’ He said, ‘Now you can help people.’ I said, ‘Yes, I will.’ But I said it in different words in my mind. I speak through my mind to Him,” she told Christianity Today.
When asked how she knows that it’s God who is speaking to her she said, “Because I can hear His voice….quiet and beautiful.”
Akiane was always consumed with the faces of subjects she painted, and she found that when she prayed the right vision always appeared. When she wanted to paint Jesus, however, she spent a year mulling over her model. Finally, she asked her entire family to pray with her. The next day, a giant of a man came to her door looking for work. He was a carpenter.
Akiane immediately knew this man would be her model for her painting of Jesus. Initially the carpenter agreed, but he changed his mind. “He said that he wasn’t worthy to represent his Master,” Akiane told Christianity Today. “He’s a Christian, and he’s a humble person. But I prayed that God would change his mind and that he would call back.”
The carpenter – who wishes to remain anonymous – did call Akiane back, saying that God wanted him to pose for the painting, resulting in the Jesus paintings Prince of Peaceand Father Forgive Them.
The painting is startling. The eyes are loving and patient, but also piercing and fierce. He is beautiful. In fact, when Colton Burpo, the little boy who says he went to heaven at age three (see articles Part One and Part Two), saw the painting, he declared it to be the only one that ever captured what Jesus looks like. There have been many paintings since that one, though Prince of Peace is probably her most famous.
People may wonder, “Why did Jesus choose to contact Akiane?”
“I have been blessed by God,” she said simply. “And if I’m blessed, there is one reason and one reason only, and that is to help others. I am donating a big portion of money to charity and to combat poverty,” she said. “I want to help people. I want people to find hope in my paintings and draw people’s attention to God.”
The Miraculous Crucifix of Limpias –Jesus Christ comes alive on the Cross
The Miraculous Crucifix of Limpias is located in the 16th century Church of St. Peter in Santander, Spain, not far from the popular alleged apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Garabandal, Spain. The Crucifix is a beautiful 6 foot life-size figure of the crucified Jesus, and is located directly above the main altar. Arranged on either side of the crucifix, and somewhat below it, are life-size figures of the Sorrowful Virgin Mary and the Apostle John. The miraculous crucifix is believed to have been the work of Pedro de Mena, who died in 1693, and the crucifix was given to the church by Father Diego de la Piedra Secadura, who had been born at Limpias in 1716.
The crucifix is a meditation on the sufferings of Our Lord portraying Him in the final moments of His agony. Measuring six feet tall, the corpus is clothed with a loin cloth that is held in place with a rope. The feet are one atop the other and are pierced with a single nail. The index and middle fingers of both pierced hands are extended as though giving a final blessing. The face of Our Lord is of particular beauty, with its glass eyes looking toward Heaven so that, for the most part, only the whites of the eyes are visible.
The First Miracle -The eyes of Jesus on the crucifix miraculously come alive
The first recorded miracle involving this crucifix took place in 1914, five years before the grand miracles of 1919. The recipient of the favor was Don Antonio Lopez, a monk belonging to the Order of the Pauline Fathers who conducted a college in Limpias. His entire account reads as follows:
“One day in the month of August, 1914, I went into the parish church of Limpias, by order of my friend D. Gregorio Bringas, to fix the electric light over the high altar. In order to be able to work more comfortably I put two large cases on the altar, and on them a ladder, the ends of which I leaned against the wall that serves as a background to the figure of the Crucified One.
“After I had worked for two hours, in order to rest myself a little I began to clean the figure so that it could be seen more clearly. My head was on a level with the Head of the Christ, and at a distance of only a couple of feet from it. It was a lovely day and through the window in the sanctuary a flood of light streamed into the church and lit up the whole altar. As I was gazing at the crucifix with the closest attention, I noticed with astonishment that Our Lord’s eyes were gradually closing, and for five minutes I saw them quite closed.
“Overwhelmed with fright at such an unexpected spectacle, I could still hardly quite believe what I saw, and was about to come down from the ladder. Notwithstand¬ing, my bewilderment was so great that my strength suddenly failed me; I lost my balance, fainted, and fell from the ladder onto the edge of the altar itself and down the steps into the sanctuary.
“After I had somewhat recovered, I was convinced from where I lay that the eyes of the figure on the crucifix were still closed. I pulled myself together hastily and went out in order to relate what had happened, and also to be medically examined, for my whole body was in great pain from the fall.
“A few minutes after I had left the church I met the sacristan, who was just going to ring the Angelus, as it was twelve o’clock noon. When he saw me so agitated and covered with dust he asked if anything had happened to me. I told him what had occurred, whereupon he said he was not surprised as he had already heard that the Santo Cristo had closed His eyes on one other occasion, and that it was probably brought about by the working of some interior mechanism.
“I asked him to collect the tools together and to put away the ladder, and generally to tidy up everything again. Then when I reached the college I told the Fathers the whole of the above incident. I was examined, but no wounds were found on my body and no broken bones, only a few bruises of slight importance.
“Thinking that the movement I had observed in the eyes of the figure was to be attributed in any case to a mechanism, I attached no further importance to the vision, but tried, however, to find out on what occasion this fact had already been observed, but without success, as no one could give me any information whatsoever about the matter.
“Since then I have often cleaned the crucifix, and at the same time examined it minutely, and am convinced that there is neither a spring nor any other mechanism on it. What is more, the eyes were so firmly fixed that even by pressing hard with one’s fingers they could not be made to move in the least, nor could they be turned in any direction, as I have proved myself again and again.”
The Extraordinary Miracles of our Lord on the Crucifix of Limpias in 1919 –Jesus Once Again Comes Alive
In light of this, in an effort to re-ignite devotion to the beautiful crucifix and to encourage attendance at the venerable old church, the pastor, Rev. Thomas Echevarria, decided to accomplish this by means of a mission. After applying to the Capuchin monastery at Montehano, near Santander, two priests were placed at his disposal: Friar Anselmo de Jalon and Friar Agatangelo de San Miguel, both of whom were known for their apostolic zeal and success as missionaries.
On the last day of the mission, Sunday, March 30, while the Archpriest D. Eduardo Miqueli was celebrating Holy Mass, both missionaries were occupied in the confessional. Fr. Agatangelo, however, delivered the day’s sermon based on the words, “My son, give me thy heart.” (Prov. 23:26). While he was speaking, a girl of about 12 entered the confessional of Fr. Jalon and told him that the eyes of Christ on the cross were closed. Thinking that this was the product of the child’s imagination, the priest ignored her claim until other children also came to him with the same message. After Fr. Agatangelo finished the address and was about to return to his confessional, Fr. Jalon approached him and told him of the children’s claim. Both priests then looked at the crucifix but saw nothing unusual. Presently a man in the congregation shouted for everyone to look upon the crucifix. In a few moments the people confirmed with great excitement what the children had seen. Some of the people began crying, others shouted that they had seen a miracle, others fell to their knees in prayer while others called out to God for mercy.
After the parish priest was called from the sacristy and was told that the eyes of the Crucified were opening and closing and that the figure was turning His gaze from side to side, he, too, fell on his knees to pray. But his prayer was soon interrupted by many of the people who declared that the figure was perspiring and that Fr. Jalon should climb up to the crucifix to verify it. When a ladder was produced, Fr. Jalon climbed up and saw that the perspiration covered the figure’s neck and chest. After touching the neck, he looked upon his fingers that were wet with the fluid. As verification of what had taken place, he showed his moistened fingers to the congregation. Once again agitation and excitement gripped the people so that it was a long time before they were calmed.
None of the priests saw the movements of the eyes, but Fr. Agatangelo later saw the miracle several times when he prayed alone in the church at night.
A report of all that had taken place was given by the Archpriest D. Eduardo to the bishop of Santander on April 2, 1919. This report was later published in the Boletin Eclesiastico of the diocese of Santander.
The Miraculous Apparitions of 1919 continue
The second set of public apparitions first took place on Palm Sunday, April 13, 1919, when two prominent men of Limpias approached the altar. Speaking of hallucination and mass hysteria as they looked upon the crucifix, one of them suddenly pointed upward and fell to his knees. At once the other man also fell to his knees, crying for mercy and proclaiming his belief in the miracle.
The third apparitions took place on Easter Sunday, April 20, in the presence of a group of nuns known as the Daughters of the Cross who conducted a girls’ school in Limpias. They saw both the eyes and lips of the Santo Cristo move. At this time some of their students also saw the miracle, as did a group of people who were reciting the Holy Rosary. Their experience was quickly reported to the parish priest. The manifestations were repeated almost daily from April 24.
As can be expected, the church was often filled with people from Limpias and the neighboring towns who were hoping to witness the miracle. Reverend Baron Von Kleist reports that:
One of the first to declare his experience to the secular press was the well-known and highly respected D. Adolfo Arenaza. His testimony was published May 5, 1919 in the newspaper La Gazeta del Norte, which was published in Bilbao. He reported that he joined a procession going to Limpias in order to visit the crucifix. While looking through his field-glasses he saw the movement of the eyes four times. He further stated that it could not have been an effect of the light nor an hallucination, since people saw the miracle from all parts of the church. He then asked, “Does Our Lord really move His eyes … I am rather of the opinion that He really does move them, for I have seen it myself.”
Because of the newspaper reports, pilgrimages from near and distant towns began to arrive in Limpias, for the newspaper reports detailing accounts of the wonderful crucifix spread the news to all parts of Spain and finally to other countries including the United States. One journalist who watched in amazement at the movement of the eyes and mouth of our Lord stated:
One early group of pilgrims under the leadership of the Bishop of Toledo, Joseph Schrembs, arrived in Limpias from America. By the middle of November, 1919, 66 pilgrim trains had arrived at Limpias. Finally, by the year 1921, the number of pilgrims had increased to such an extent that foreign traffic in Limpias was determined to be greater than the visitors to Lourdes. Additionally, numerous Princes, Barons, politicians and other notables also visited Limpias, as did dignitaries of the Church in Spain including bishops and cardinals. Archbishops also arrived from Mexico, Peru, Manila, Cuba, and other foreign nations.
The multiple albums that are found in the sacristy of the church of Limpias contain well over 8,000 testimonies of people who had seen the wonderful apparitions. Of these, 2,500 were sworn on oath. Among these witnesses were members of religious orders, priests, doctors, lawyers, professors, and governors of universities, officers, merchants, workmen, countryfolk, unbelievers and even atheists.
The are several hundred testimonies from religious worldwide who witnessed the miracles. For example Father Celestino Maria de Pozuelo, a Capuchin monk, who visited Limpias on July 29, 1919 and wrote a detailed report that included this statement: ” … The face presented a vivid expression of pain: the body was a bluish colour, as if it had received cruel blows, and was bathed in perspiration. . .”
In his statement, Father Valentin Incio of Gijon tells that he visited Limpias on August 4, 1919 and joined a group of pilgrims who wen; witnessing the miracle. There were 30 to 40 people, two other priests, 10 sailors and a woman who was crying with emotion. Father Incio wrote:
“At first Our Lord seemed to be alive; His head then preserved its customary position and His countenance the natural expression, but His eyes were full of life and looked about in different directions… Then His gaze was directed towards the centre, where the sailors stood, whom He contemplated for a long time; then He looked to the left towards the sacristy with a remarkably stern glance which He retained for some time. Now came the most touching moment of all. Jesus looked at all of us, but so gently and kindly, so expressively, so lovingly and divinely, that we fell on our knees and wept and adored Christ. .. Then Our Lord continued to move His eyelids and eyes, which shone as if they were full of tears; then He moved His lips gently as if He were saying something or praying. At the same time the above mentioned lady who was beside me, saw the Master trying to move His arms and striving to get them loose from the Cross.”
Signing their names to this statement were the three priests, nine of the sailors and the lady.
The Coadjutor of St. Nicholas Church in Valencia, Father Paulino Girbes, relates in his statement of September 15, 1919 that he was in the company of two bishops and 18 priests when they knelt before the crucifix:
“… We all saw the face of the Santo Cristo become sadder, paler, and more bluish-looking. The mouth also was wider open than usual. The eyes gave a gentle glance now at the bishops and then in the direction of the sacristy. The features at the same time took on the expression of a man who is in his death-struggle. That lasted a long time. I could not restrain my tears and began to weep; the others were similarly affected…”
Father Joseph Einsenlohr submitted his statement on June 18, 1921. After offering Holy Mass at the altar below the crucifix, he sat in the church to attend the Mass being offered by another priest. He wrote:
“After the Santo Cristo moved His head and eyes for a certain time He began to pull at the shoulders, to writhe and to bend, as a man does when he is nailed alive to a cross. Everything was in motion, only the hands and feet remained nailed fast. In the end the whole body relaxed as if exhausted, then took up its natural position again with the head and eyes turned up in the direction of heaven. This whole scene of the dying Saviour lasted from the Sanctus until after the priest’s Communion…”
A Capuchin monk named Father Antonio Maria de Torrelavega visited the crucifix on September 11, 1919, he saw blood streaming from the left corner of Our Lord’s mouth. The next day, he:
“…. observed anew, only still more frequently, the movement of the eyes, and saw, too, once more that blood was flowing down from the corner of the mouth … Several times He also looked at me. Now I felt as if my whole being were shaken violently … I stood up, therefore, and changed places three or four times, always observing, however, the same manifestations … At about two o’clock, as I was kneeling in one of the central benches, I saw the Santo Cristo gazing at me again, and this so affected me that I had to hold on tight to the bench, as my strength was beginning to fail me … I noticed that the countenance changed colour and became bluish and sad. Many other persons who were kneeling round me also observed this … Now I verify it; there is no doubt the Santo Cristo moves His eyes. During my visit I saw the movement of the eyes about fifty times… “
Father Manuel Cubi, an author, lecturer and confessor of the Church del Pilar in Saragossa, Spain gave his statement on December 24, 1919. In the company of a group of people, he saw the Santo Cristo in a death agony.
“…One had the impression that Our Lord was trying to loosen Himself from the cross with violent convulsive movements; one thought to hear the death-rattle in His throat. Then He raised His head, turned His eyes, and closed His mouth. Now and then I saw His tongue and teeth … For nearly half an hour He showed us how much we had cost Him, and what He had suffered for us during His abandonment and thirst on the cross.”
There are also many statements from physicians who were at first very skeptical and sought a scientific reason to disprove the “hysteria”.
A report made by Dr. Penamaria was published in the paper “La Montana” dated May, 1920. The doctor described what seemed to him to be “…a re-enactment of Christ’s death on the Cross.” He writes that after witnessing the movement of the statue’s eyes and mouth, and after changing locations in the church to verify the miracle, he prayed for a more distinctive proof, something more extraordinary “… that would leave no scope to further doubt, and would give me positive grounds for His miracle, so that I might also proclaim it to all and sundry, and defend it against every opponent, even at the risk of losing my life.” He then writes:
“This request seemed pleasing to Our Lord … A moment later His mouth was twisted sharply to the left, His glassy, pain-filled eyes gazed up to heaven with the sad expression of those eyes that look and yet do not see. His leadcolored lips appeared to tremble; the muscles of the neck and breast were contracted and made breathing forced and laboured. His truly Hippocratic features showed the keenest pangs of death. His arms seemed to be trying to get loose from the cross with convulsive backward and forward movements, and showed clearly the piercing agony that the nails caused in His hands at each movement. Then followed the indrawing of a breath, then a second … a third … I do not know how many… always with painful oppression; then a frightful spasm, as with someone who is suffocating and struggling for air, at which the mouth and nose were opened wide. Now fol¬lows an outpouring of blood, fluid, frothing, that runs over the under-lip, and which the Saviour sucks up with His bluish, quivering tongue, that He slowly and gently passes two or three times in succession over the lower lip; then an instant of slight repose, another slow breath … now the nose becomes pointed, the lips are drawn together rhythmically, and then extend, the bluish cheek-bones project, the chest expands and contracts vio¬lently after which His head sinks limply on His breast, so that the back of the head can be seen distinctly. Then … He expires! . . . I have tried to describe in out¬line what I saw during more than two hours…”
An extraordinary revelation was observed by Dr. D. Pedro Cuesta in August, 1920. The doctor first tells that he was in the company of a priest, a doctor and a married couple. In the morning, during Holy Mass, his companions saw the miraculous movements but he did not, even though he moved from one position in the church to another. That afternoon he was persuaded to return to the church and saw this astounding revelation.
“When I fixed my gaze for the third or fourth time on the figure I noticed that the fleshy parts entirely disappeared, so that only the skin still remained, a skeleton on which I could have made anatomical studies. The head was completely dried up, until it, like the skin that I had seen, totally vanished. After I had not seen the figure at all for some time it reappeared, but as if mummified, until later on it was also restored by degrees in its fleshy parts. Yes, I observed clearly the formation of a hypertrophy (enlargement) of the head, which then also extended to the remaining parts of the body. Each of these apparitions was repeated twice.
“At the last stage of the second development I could no longer control myself, but cried out in terror and fled out of the church. A cowardly fear had taken possession of me, whereas I had never before known fear-let my description not be set down to exaggeration … I, who was never ill, thought I should die on the spot. The instinct of self-preservation drove me out of the church or I should have had to be carried out as a corpse. So I stumbled out of the church and confessed with my whole heart to the people standing outside: By my reputation as a physician and on my word of honour, I take my oath to what I state herewith, and which I will also certify and ratify with my blood.”
So emotionally spent was the doctor that he went on to say:
“I felt the necessity of taking some restorative [a tranquilizer],” which he did.
Dr. D.Eduardo Perez y Perez gives us a graphic medical report of what he saw on October 6, 1919:
“As I was praying before the crucifix of the Santo Cristo, He looked at me lovingly for nearly a minute … then Christ raised His head, which then remained in quite a peaceful attitude. The muscles of the neck relaxed … the eyes were at the same time wide open and turned upwards … there ensued a violent inhalation with straining of the muscles of the neck, whereby the musculus cleidomastoideus especially stood out, and furthermore the musculi pectorales, the scalenus anterior, and the accessory respiratory muscles, with a considerable dilation of the intercostal spaces, as in the case, for example at the last struggle after mortal wounds … For a moment He appeared on the point of death … then He resumed His customary expression, as the artist had given it to the figure … I must add that during the whole of that afternoon I saw the figure a reddish colour. The following day it was a yellowish or lead colour, as with a dying person …”
There is also a report of a non-believer who was a medical student named D. Heriberto de la Villa. His testimony was published in the paper “Del Pueblo Astur” on July 8, 1919. He first strongly declares that: ” … auto-suggestion is quite out of the question, for I did not believe in the miracle when I went.”
He later went into the church at the urging of a friend and saw the movement of the eyes and mouth. Doubting what he was seeing, he changed his location in the church to better study the movements and then saw the crucifix of Limpias:
“. . . gaze upon me with a terrible look full of anger, which makes me shudder, and I cannot help but bow my head … I look up again and see how He is looking to the right, bowing His head, and turns it to the right, so that I can see the crown of thorns from behind … Once again he turns on me the same angry look which makes such a deep impression upon me that I see myself obliged to leave the church.”
Later that day he returned to the church and saw that,
“… little by little the breast and face became dark blue, the eyes move to the right and left, upwards and down, the mouth opens somewhat, as if He were breathing with difficulty. This I saw for fifteen to twenty minutes … I also noticed that above the left eyebrow a wound formed, out of which a drop of blood flowed over the eyebrows, and remained stationary by the eyelids. After that I saw another drop of blood fall from the crown of thorns and flow over the face. I could distinctly discern it, for it was very red and contrasted with the dark blue colour of the face. Then I saw a quantity of blood drip from the crown of thorns onto the shoulder, but without touching the face. He opened His mouth wide, out of which a white matter like froth welled. At this moment a Dominican priest mounted the pulpit, whereupon Christ gazed steadily at him for five or six minutes …”
“When the preacher ended with the words: “and now, Santo Cristo, give us Thy blessing,” Christ opened His eyes and mouth, smiling, and bowed His head, as if He wished to give the benediction in reality. At this moment someone who was standing near me asked me if I would venture to swear on oath to what I saw … Then I recognized that Christ wanted to prove to me the truth of what I saw; He opened His mouth again, out of which froth and blood streamed in great quantity and flowed out of the comers of the mouth quite distinctly … Thereafter I believed that it was now my duty to swear upon oath to what I had seen, and I did so in the sacristy of the church.”
The official position of the Catholic Church concerning the miraculous events at Limpias
Bishop Sanchez de Castro, the Bishop of Santander, in whose diocese Limpias belongs, introduced a canonical process on July 18, 1920 in which Rome was notified of the miraculous cures and manifestations. One year and one day later, a plenary indulgence was granted for a period of seven years to all the faithful who visit the holy crucifix.