The Deacon's Bench

Aren’t we supposed to be unfazed by this sort of thing?

Aren’t we supposed to shrug it all off, attribute it to science and engineering and the sheer grit of the human psyche?  

Isn’t it supposed to have more to do with willpower than wonder? We live in a post-Christian world now, don’t we?  To paraphrase Tina Turner: what’s God got to do with it?

Well, it seems, everything.

We sit here in our living rooms and offices, sipping coffee and checking e-mails, and hour after hour, another one emerges, up a long dark hole, to a shaft of daylight, and there are cheers and tears — and then something more.  Something that moves even the most hardened heart.  The world is blinking back tears as we see it, again and again.  One man, breathing his first fresh air in months, falls to his knees and prays. Another makes the sign of the cross. And in the media-saturated aftermath, one of the miners is interviewed on camera, still wearing his dark glasses, still numbed by it all, and he puts it in terms we can all understand. It sounds so simple — to some, I’m sure, simplistic — but it all makes perfect sense.

“I’ve been near God, but I’ve also been near the devil,” he says through a translator. “God won.”

Yes.  That’s it.  End of discussion.  
For over two months, they lived in a tomb, among rocks and rosaries. They prayed in darkness, waiting for light they could only remember, fleetingly, from last summer.  And yet, they dared to believe.  They sent a flag to the pope, and letters to loved ones, and petitions, endless prayerful petitions, heavenward. People called it “Operation San Lorenzo,” for the patron saint of miners — a saint who knew something about buried treasure and prayer.   Thirty-three men persevered.  They struggled.  They hoped.    
And, in the end, God won. 
It’s just that simple.  And just that complicated.  

No one right now is in a position to argue. The evidence — on the ground and on their faces — speaks for itself.

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