The reported miraculous lung cancer cure of Filipino Archbishop Leonardo Z. Legaspi that is attributed to ‘INA’ (translation: mother) or Our Lady of Penafrancia, in my opinion, would have to stand the test of time. Will his Excellency still be deemed cured from lung cancer –or- free from cancer metastasis in 6, 12, 18 months? A good prognosis for such a terrible illness such as cancer, can sometimes be achieved from scientific treatments depending on the type and stage of lung cancer. General health, lung function, and other medical conditions are also crucial factors in determining the effectiveness of treatment. In His Excellency’s case these conditions are “2 sessions of chemo” and some “liquid chemo”. — not to mention his faith in God and the “collective prayers of the people”.
An alleged miraculous healing must overcome two hurdles. First, medical experts must declare it dramatic and unexplainable. Next, a Catholic tribunal and/or theologians must determine that it was caused through the intercession of Mother Mary, the saint, or the candidate for sainthood.
The Lady of Peñafrancia in Bicol, Philippines has drawn pilgrims for centuries — due to word of her miracles. It all started with the recovery of Miguel Robles de Covarrubias, a seminarian studying in the Universidad de Santo Tomas Padre Migues. wrote to the Dominican Fathers of Salamanca, Spain in 1712 reporting many miracles through the intercession of Our Lady
The Bicol Region (one of 17 in the Philippines) located at the Southeastern stretch of Luzon is celebrating the 300th year of the Our Lady of Penafrancia as its patron. Over the years there have been movements to strengthen: (a) the faith of young adults; (b) the belief in miraculous healings in answer to prayers of the faithful Bicolanos; (c) young adults’ devotion to Ina; and (d) increased awareness among young students of Ina (Lady of Penafrancia) as the Mother of God. The Archbishop’s reported healing certainly lends substance to centuries of Marian devotions.
What I find interesting is that it was “confirmed that the Archbishop did not ask to be healed” and that “he almost lost all hope of getting well again.” These reports give me pause as to the role of faith and prayer in miracles.
A survey from the Pew Forum on Religion showed that a vast majority of Americans, nearly 80%, believe in miracles. The results from a wider study, ‘Religion among the Millennial,’ say that they believe in God with absolute certainty at rates similar to those seen among Gen Xers a decade ago. “This suggests that some of the religious differences between younger and older Americans today are not entirely generational but result in part from people’s tendency to place greater emphasis on religion as they age.”
The Chrisitian philosophy “teaches that God ,in answer to prayer confers not only spiritual favors but at times interferes with the ordinary course of physical phenomena, so that, as a result, particular events happen otherwise than they should. This interference takes place in miracles and special providences. When we kneel to pray we do not always beg God to work miracles or that our lives shall be constant prodigies of His power. The sense of our littleness gives a humble and reverential spirit to our prayer. We trust that God, through His Infinite knowledge and power will, in some way best known to Him, bring about what we ask.”
Other considerations regarding the reported cure is the level of journalism and accuracy of medical tests. Will rigorous reporting by the press still reveal the facts as described by the internet article? Will rigorous diagnostic tests still reveal a cure?
In my heart, I believe in miracles. In my life, I’ve had experiences– I call miracles/ God’s providence– that I had NOT prayed for. Like the early Church fathers, Catholics continue to give credit to countless miracles especially those of healing. In my life, I’ve also had my prayers answered —NOT with the miracle I prayed for —but with God’s divine response for me…… In God’s love.