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Miracles or Marshmallow heads?

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She is motionless with swarms of hopeful believers waiting patiently nearby. Beads of blood and oil fall from the cheeks of Christian figurines while she lay in an unknown place where some say miracles can happen. She is a 15-year-old Worcester, Mass. resident from whom thousands seek to test their faith. Audrey Santo is a miracle worker, some have said. What bells go off at this statement? Beware-rejoice?

It is believed a girl who cannot speak and lies in a 12-year coma has come to cure our ailing. We have stumbled onto a land of tightrope walkers balancing on threads of moral judgment and individual faith. How should we take this sort of news? Do we give this kid the benefit of the doubt or do we ring the BS bell for all naive souls to hear? We should speak up against the exploitation of an innocent girl. After all, we are the level-headed youth of modern reality, right? We have corrected the misconceptions of generations before us. None of us actually believe in ghosts or demons or the healing hand of God working through crippled teenagers. We box these away with myths and legends, alongside fire­breathing dragons and the Easter Bunny. Sure we accept them into our reason, but only as metaphors for intangible concepts we yearn to make more real. They solidify elusive abstractions like love, evil, compassion, and hope. None of it is really real, is it?

The Catholic Church doesn't think this girl can be classified as a bonafide miracle worker. The local Bishop Reverend Daniel Reilly among others so concluded. The Church appears less concerned with the actual existence of a blessed child passing out miracle candy from the depths of comatose. It is worried about image and the preservation of its prestige and security. As it should be. It has been forced, in modern times, into competition as just another brand name fighting for a following. It is no longer the one true word of God for the masses. Religion has to face billboard slogans, Hollywood sex scandals and Bill Gates. One slip and it could be pigeonholed alongside Jerry Springer, the Heavens Gate Cult and the latest McDeal. But this phenomenon touches something more basic than religious upheaval. It challenges how we choose to believe, let's say, the projection of light from a garbage can could be an omen from the Virgin Mary, or, on occasion, statues may weep the blood of Christ. Should we refuse to believe because we cannot be certain of truth or should we embrace belief because we cannot be certain of falsity? The latter makes for a much more enlightened existence.

Let's say none of it is true. Are we ashamed that some of fellow humans are running around believing in unicorns and pixy dust? Perhaps they are ignorant, foolish, naive or delusional. True healing may spawn from the power of heightened spirits and the faith that things will get better. What has been hurt save our rigid linear egos? The dilemma is not so much over truth as it is over when the benefits of hope and faith give way to the immorality of exploitation.

When does it become wrong to believe in this girl's gift? Is it when the miracles become too ridiculous to swallow? Is it when they indoctrinate too many people or when they cause harm or suffering or humiliation? Is it when they damage the church? How about when it challenges our beliefs or evokes some stereotyped conception in our minds? A conjured image of the evangelist shyster out to squeeze your dignity and faith for a buck. We must cast out religion marked with the Jimmy Swaggert brand.

Maybe we are all unconscious members of some flat-earth society, clinging to safe reason against an outlandish claim of supernatural energy running around curing cancer and repairing spinal injuries. Years from now our grandchildren will chuckle at our ignorance over how we could have ever doubted the existence of this quark of healing matter. Or perhaps they will chuckle in embarrassment at our silly grasping at invisible straws. Our own burning of witches. Likely they will continue to inhale the sweat fragrance of shadowed hope. They will hold the calming peace of faith in their hands and carry it into the night.

As for young silent Audrey; she sleeps outside the doubt and confusion while thousands long for a peak at her slumber.

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I can reassure you there are no "Marshmallow Heads" in people whom have Faith, or found Faith! Just because many have never seen a million dollars doesnt make it non-existant! It is sad that some skeptical negative-living writers can turn around and twist the sharing of Gods message and gifts which are basically of love & caring into something dirty & claim it a "exploitation!" What kind of negative dooms-day soceity do we live in that writers whom have a responsability to only report facts but end up reporting negative opinions from their negative sad environment & experiences or lies or forget & leave out real truths. Yet they never did a proper investigation to the facts they are claiming! It is only this kind of person whom spreads the message of sadness rather than hope because their eyes are blind and they walk in a fog of darkness themselves from bitterness. The bishop did not distance himself as you so claim, the church walks guarded investigating anything worthy & continues carefully investigating without being judges until they find some reasonable explanation for what is happening. If they find no reasonable explanation & no fraud, then & only then do they move to the second stage of investigation (which by the way Audrey is in) to determine more.. The church has found NO evidence of fraud! They do not "promote" because it takes a long time to investigate, nor should they! It is this negativity & reporting that got our dear St. Joan of Arc killed, when will they learn? Let me correct you as FACT that Audrey is NOT IN A COMA! I have known her since 1997 & she is awake & very much aware of everything around her & responds quite nicely to her environment & others! And yes I do have experience with Comas as my Uncle was in one! And for all of you out there whom question Audreys capabilities out there thanks to this article I am responding to, let me ask you if you have ever not spoken to a spouse, child, lover, family member, friend or even animal, yet you knew what they wanted or you both said the same thing, thinking on the same lines... You just knew what that person was feeling or thinking without saying.. Well that is how you communicate with Audrey!! Yes, she cant move her body, but she moves her eyes & she speaks volumes!! If you looked into Audrey's precious vocal eyes, you would get a connection with her & start to understand her & what she wants & thinks just like you do with your family members & animals etc.. For the non-believer, athiest, etc.. against any religion, or the ones just fearful of "controlling religious figures", I say, there is nothing negative or bad about ones whom do have faith & want to do good & love eachother which is a positive way to live & will bring much success to all about them, but to the ones whom live mocking hope, love, peace & giving, I say I feel sorry that you suffer so sadly in such a negative world, there will be nothing to gain, because you cant see any further, nothing to share because there is nothing to give, noone to love because you are guarded. You will find fault with everything and that is such a lonely way to believe & live but if you are happy living in your manner, then Bless you. To the author of this article, you speak as a authoritarian of the "Word of God" yet you do not hear, that the Word of God which is to give, to love, to share, to help, to Love Thy Neighbor! The Word of God said listen more & speak less as our tongues are like fire with false gossip trying to destroy others! Shame on you for criticising & mocking a selfless, sacraficing, loving, giving, hard-working family for sharing love & hope with others!! Shame on you for trying to destroy their credibility & claiming to know their motives, when you dont even know them! This is not Gods word but a "Firey tongue"! What appauls you more?- the fact that they are doing such a sweet thing despite all their hardship they have suffered when they have nothing to gain from this? or the fact that there is a severly disabled person being present in society? Would you be afraid of the "Hunchback of Notre Dame"? Are you one of those people who let fear rule you when you see something you dont understand? Do you osterisize disabled or disfigured human beings as worthless human beings whom have no place in soceity? There are tens of thousands whom feel differently & love this girl for whom she is! There's nothing dirty or wrong in that!! Maybe you just hate the religious all together. You see them as "No minds-Marshmallow heads controlled puppets". Well, if the message is love & peace & we're all trying to get it right with tolerance, then I'd rather be a "Marshmallow Head" whom trys to get along than one criticizes others with cruelty & anger, that negativity sounds like you are so unhappy.. When you go there, you do not see hate, or anger, or backstabbing or gossip or cruelty & ugliness, there is only one people in love, sharing! Isnt that Gods Word?!!! Where you see ugly Mr. or Mrs. Author of this story, Thousands see beauty and are at peace!! Why dont you come find the peace with us, there's no brainwashing, no controlling, no ugliness, just love, kindness & peace, the way the world should be! The world is how you see it & what you contribute to it & make of it..Sincerally Yours, May you find it & be blessed in Peace, Mrs. Laurie Wilkinson