My mother was sick in Antrim Hospital and I went to the hospital shop to but her a bottle of 7 UP.
As I emerged from the hospital shop I saw a young woman crying into her mobile phone.
I approached her and asked could I help.
He blurted out: “My baby is dying and I can’t get a priest”. Seeing my collar she asked: “” Are you a priest”? I told her I was and she asked me to come and pray with her three year old son who was dying of a massive blod clot in his brain.
I entered the room and it was like the scene at the house where Jesus had cured the daughter of Jairus. The room was crowded with the large family who were weeping, some of them hysterically.
I knelt on the floor and removed the cross I was wearing and placed it, under my two hands on the baby’s head.
I prayed fervently to the Lord acknowledging both my own sinfulness and my lack of faith and I begged Him to heal the child.
I told the Lord that I was in my 50s and had had a good life but that this child was only beginning life and if it was His will I would take the clot in my brain instead of the child.
I felt a strong heat come into my hands as I prayed.
The ambulance then arrived to take the baby to the baby ICU in Belfast where he could be allowed to die painlessly.
I asked the mother to let me know what happened.
I went home and lit a candle for the baby at the small altar in my kitchen.
At just before midnight the mother rang me to tell me that when they had reached the ICU in Belfast the baby woke up and became fully conscious. He took some milk.
The doctors brought him down for another scan and to their amazement the clot had disappeared from the baby’s brain. Later he sat up and ate some toast.
He made a fully recovery. When I went to see him the next day he ignored me completely as he played with the hospitals array of toys.
Every Christmas I still get a card from his parents.
The following Sunday I wrote about what happened my my News of the World column.
On Monday I had a call from the mother of an 18 year old girl in Cork dying of a brain tumour. She asked ne to come and pray with her daughter.
The next day I caught a plane from Belfast to Cork and spent the day praying with the beautiful young lady. I said all the same prayers, offered, God the same deal and begged him to cure the young woman.
She died a week later.
Its all very strange and mysterious.
Why are miracles so scarce?
Why cure one and let another perish?
These are questions I cannot answer.
Personally, I take some solace from a verse I’ve always loved:
Good forever on the scaffold
Evil always on the throne.
But God stands within the shadows,
Keeping watch upon his own.