By Anton Luat
God is everywhere. He always works in very mysterious but wondrous ways because He loves us unconditionally and watches over us day and night. This is a common concept that we all know. Unfortunately, there are times when we doubt God’s love which results in our disobedience towards His will for us. The effects of not obeying God causes sadness, despair, and even destruction. These effects were seen in the 20th century which was filled with destructive events because man thought he could live without God. Jesus has sent Our Blessed Mother numerous times to tell us that He exists and that He loves us. By the end of the First World War, the world was entering into a new age where secularism would dominate. Thus, Our Lord manifested His presence once again, reminding us of His sacrifice on the Cross which endures for us to this day in the Eucharist. Enter, the small town of Limpias, Spain…
The 16th Century church of St. Peter in Santander, Spain, is the home of the famed crucifix of Limpias, which was sculpted by a man named Pedro de Mena who died in the year 1693. After his death, the crucifix was then given to the church by Don Diego de la Piedra Secadura, a native of Limpias. The life size crucifix is the main attraction of the church. A closer examination of the crucifix reveals a sculpture so alive, one cannot help but be moved by the face of the Suffering Saviour during His last moments.
The first recorded miracle happened in August of 1914. A monk by the name of Don Antonio Lopez of the Order of the Pauline Fathers was the first (or one of the first) to witness the grand miracle. Don Antonio went to the church since he was ordered to fix the electric light over the high altar. As he worked, the monk was taken aback when he saw that the eyes of Our Lord were closing and had remained that way for 5 minutes. The Holy Monk was frightened and fell off his ladder and onto the sanctuary floor. Upon leaving the church, he told the sacristan of the event and the sacristan replied to him that others have reported the same thing. Initially, it was thought that there was a mechanical device in the image that caused it to move its eyes. However, Don Antonio was convinced that it was not any work of trickery since the eyes were so fixed, one will not be able to move it. Don Antonio kept this testimony to himself until March of 1920, a year after the extraordinary events had taken place.
The grand miracles began during the Lenten season of 1919. During this time, the Faith in the small village of Limpias was diminishing. Rev. Thomas Echevarria decided to hold a mission in order for more faithful to grow in Faith. Two priests, Friar Anselmo de Jalon and Friar Agatangelo de San Miguel, who were known for their success as missionaries were appointed for this mission.
On 30 March1919, a Sunday and the last day of the mission, Archbishop D. Eduardo Miqueli was celebrating the Holy Eucharist. The two priests were in the confessional hearing confessions. A girl of 12 approached the confessional of Fr. Jalon and told him that the eyes of Our Lord had closed. Thinking that the girl was just imagining this, Fr. Jalon dismissed it. Soon, other children in the church began reporting the same thing to the priests. When Fr. Agatangelo was returning to the confessional, Fr. Jalontold him of the children’s claim.
A man in the crowd suddenly shouted for everyone to look at the crucifix and confirmed the children’s claim. At that moment, everyone in the church began pointing at the crucifix. There were some who wept and fell on their knees and asked for God’s Mercy. Some were very excited and were crying out loud. It was remarkable! Fr. Jalon, too, saw the miracle and was told by the crowd that the crucifix was perspiring. To confirm this, he climbed up a ladder and indeed saw that it was true. Fr. Jalon touched the neck of Our Lord and his fingers were wet with fluid. People also confirmed that the sculpture, the corpse, had become warm and soft, just likea human body and was wet with perspiration.
The second occurrence took place on 13 April1919, and the third on April 20th. Two skeptical men thought it was mass hysteria and hallucination of the mind that caused people to see these movements but as they looked at the crucifix, both fell to their knees, weeping and asking for God’s mercy. A group of nuns also reported that the eyes and mouth of Our Lord were moving and they quickly reported these events to the parish priest.
BeginningApril 24, the extraordinary occurrences were happening almost daily and news spread quickly from town to cities to countries. Thousands crammed the church of St. Peter and many reported outstanding testimonies. People reported seeing froth form on the lips of Our Lord, and blood dripping from His temples pierced by the crown of thorns. Many reported that Our Lord looked at them – sometimes in a kindly manner; other times, gravely. Many times He would look at them with a penetrating look and Our Lord’s eyes would look over the whole crowd as if in Blessing.
There were many times when individuals would see Our Lord’s body turn dark blue as if He had been brutally beaten. Majority would see the Lord’s head turn from left to right and at times, Our Lord was seen moving violently on the cross, as if trying to detach himself. Archbishops from many parts of the world, including Manila, went to see the miraculous Santo Cristo and have attested the same miraculous accounts.
There were times when Our Lord would look very sad and turn pale, when He would look very exhausted andblood and froth would come out of His mouth. One even reported seeing a wound form on the forehead of Our Lord and blood flowed from it. At one time, a preacher was present while the Holy Crucifix was producing its outstanding manifestations. He said “And now, the Santo Cristo gives us His blessing.”The Lord opened His eyes and mouth, smiled, and bowed His head as if in agreement with the preacher.
Several albums in the church contain 8,000 testimonies of people from all over the world who have witnessed the prodigies. Out of the 8,000 who have written down their testimonies, 2,500 have sworn under oath. Our Lord manifested Himself to all kinds of people: priests, nuns, lay, workmen, fishermen, businessmen, unbelievers, lawyers, devout Catholics, children, and many more.
By November of 1919, 66 pilgrim trains arrived in Limpias. The story of the Miraculous Crucifix had already reached all four corners of the world. By 1921, the number of pilgrims had increased so much that the traffic in Limpias had outnumbered that of the pilgrims in Lourdes. Many people of noble blood and of high degree visited the crucifix and have also attested to the outstanding prodigies.By July of 1921, an estimation of over a thousand miraculous cures were reported by people who touched the holy crucifix, prayed to it, or held onto objects that had touched the crucifix.
The miracles performed by Our Lord in Limpiasare just beyond amazing – no words can fully express the awe over what He has done. On 18 July 1920, Bishop Sanchez de Castro of Santander,introduced and notified Rome about the miraculous prodigies and cures. A year later, the Holy Father, Benedict XV, had granted indulgence of seven years to all who visited the Holy Miraculous Crucifix of Limpias in Spain.
A witness to the prodigies recounts that the Lord’s jawbones were seen moving, as if trying to say something using two syllables. This individual, a journalist, pondered what the Lord was trying to say. Right there and then, he says, the answer came for in his innermost being he felt the strong, significant and powerful words: “Love me!” The Lord had said “Love Me!”
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