Statues have always had a special place in the hearts and souls of believers, of course, but today’s statues seem to be more active in the miracle biz than ever before. Maybe it’s because of the great cosmic changes that are afoot, such as that "galactic shift" I’ve been hearing so much about lately. I’d always thought a galactic shift was a simple little dress to wear at cocktail parties in outer space, but it turns out I was wrong. Even after receiving many important emails that mention the galactic shift, I am still not quite certain what it is, but I do know it is creating a profound spiritual change in the human race. So it only makes sense that it would produce a stir in our statuary as well.
Other everyday objects besides statues are being mystically affected as well, but I’d wager a bet that in the past few years statues have produced a greater number of miracles than all of the headline-making puddles, porch lights and pastries put together. And then there's the matter of provability. A wavering image of the Blessed Virgin in a porch light, or a cinnamon bun shaped like the face of Mother Teresa, are always open to interpretation. That could be Angelina Jolie’s image in the porch light, or some toothless old Italian guy’s mug on the bun. But with statues, you have a much more solid foundation, miracle-wise.
The truth is that most statues (as well as their more utilitarian cousins, mannequins, and even many dolls and certain figurines) are sentient beings and always have been. But now that the shift is upon us, more of them than ever are coming forth with spiritual messages to aid humanity. (By the way, Dr. Cass Ting, a renowned intuitive counselor and statue communications expert I spoke to, informed me that most statues now prefer to be called "inanimate citizens" or "motion-challenged individuals." The Statue of Liberty, for example, is now to be referred to as the Inanimate Citizen of Liberty. I just thought you'd want to know.) Whatever you choose to call them, those inanimates are delivering the goods. You’ve got your weeping Marys, bleeding Jesuses, bleeding Marys, weeping Jesuses, belching Elvises, and all manner of statuary that sweat, drool, dribble, or shake, rattle, and roll. Some smile, some wink, some glow when there’s no obvious source of light, and some have even been known to move of their own accord.
And some haven’t even done anything yet, but people have such high hopes for them that they’re automatically deemed miracle statues nonetheless. Take that new monument of Pope John Paul II, erected in the late pontiff’s home town of Wadowice, Poland. Pilgrims are coming in droves to the statue because they believe the water that flows over its base has special healing properties. They’re splashing it all over themselves and their kids, washing their hair with it, brushing their teeth with it, collecting it in bottles, and taking it home to keep as a relic or to put on eBay. And they are doing this despite the fact that the Catholic Church hasn’t even declared it to be Holy Water. That doesn’t matter to the pilgrims; the statue has been a shrine ever since it was unveiled at the end of June. As one pilgrim put it, "If the water comes from the papal monument, it is holy to us."
Actually, the water comes from a well in the town’s main square that dates back at least to the sixteenth century. The parish priest at the Wadowice basilica admits that no one has told the people that the dead pope water is miraculous (memo to self: drop a line to Dave Barry mentioning that "Dead Pope Water" would make a great name for a rock band). But, adds the priest, "nothing is impossible for believers, and if this water evokes faith, then great things might happen." Great things might happen? Hey, that’s good enough for me.
Not knowing the fine points of Catholic theology, I can’t say if this statue fixation is an example of the mortal sin of idolatry or not, but I'm thinking it isn't, or that priest would probably have been pretty upset about it.
Besides, Holy Water or not, at least the pope statue gives the people something to take home with them, unlike the miraculous statues of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha in India. These pachydermic inanimates aren’t givers; they’re takers from the word go. Specifically, they are sopping up the entire milk supply of India. This first happened on a wide scale in 1995, and now it’s happening again. One believer reports, "I put a milk-filled spoon to Ganesha's mouth and he drank it." This dude was one of the innumerable devotees who carried milk in glasses and pitchers to various temples in northern India that have Ganesha statues. A priest at one temple confirmed, "It is a miracle."
While some wet blankets have tried to convince people that the milk-guzzling is the result of scientifically explainable phenomena such as surface tension, which pulls the liquid toward the statues, believers know better.
I’m kind of confused about who started this latest drinking-statue frenzy, but reports indicate it began when a group of Muslims gathered at Mahim Bay in Bombay to drink "sweet water." Apparently they believed it was miracle water of some sort because it tasted much less salty than usual. Some party-pooper scientists stepped in and said that recent heavy rains had lowered the salinity of the water, and people were urged not to drink from the bay, since the water was reportedly contaminated by raw sewage and industrial waste. According to the report linked to above, "Nearly two days later, on Sunday evening, milk was offered to a statue in the town of Bareilly, also in Uttar Pradesh, and the idol absorbed the liquid."
Because that last sentence was written in the passive voice, it is not clear to me who did the offering, but I am assuming it was those sweet-water-drinking Muslims. Apparently they decided to heed the health warnings, and, in desperate search of a miracle that wasn't potentially fatal, they traipsed over to a nearby Ganesha statue to offer it some milk. (In case you are wondering why Muslims would be messing around with a Hindu god, Ganesha welcomes followers of all faiths.) The statue apparently drank the milk, and that got the Muslims excited, and word spread. Before long crowds were swarming in temples in dozens of cities, just as they’d done during the great Ganesha milk riots of 1995. During the ’95 incident, some parts of India had actually faced a milk shortage, and Ganeshas everywhere were sporting milk moustaches. There are indications this could happen again.
The watery pope and the milky elephant god are just two of many examples of miracles surrounding the inanimates among us. Even I have experienced wondrous things in the presence of our motion-challenged brethren. There is, for example, The Miracle of the Big Boy. Over the years, many seekers have had mystical Big Boy experiences, and mine happened on a sunny Sunday afternoon in May a few years ago. The Reverend Ron and I were making one of our customary pilgrimages through the streets of the Bayou City when we came upon a small shop, where we beheld a smiling chubby-cheeked inanimate, decked out in familiar red-and-white checkered suspenders and holding aloft a huge hamburger. We could not tell what sect he was from; he might have been a Bob’s, or he might have been a Kip’s, or a Shoney’s, or a Frisch’s. The important thing was that he was a Big Boy, though admittedly one of the littler Big Boys, and I knew I had to pay homage to him. The Rev stopped the car and we got out in silence. Deferentially, knowing I was in the presence of something holy, I approached the Big Boy and placed my hand upon the pointy part of his hairdo. And then, just as Reverend Ron was capturing the moment on digicam, the Big Boy spoke to me.Out of respect for the wholesome image of this great American icon, I will not repeat what he said to me, but it was really quite naughty. I was shocked, though for the sake of the picture I smiled and pretended everything was okay. But I still blush even today when I recall the Big Boy’s wicked words. Even so, it is clear that this incident was a miracle. And ever since that day, my eyes, mind and heart have been open, and I have witnessed other miracles with inanimates, one of which involved a group of naked mannequins, some headless Barbie dolls and a local church’s Nativity scene. Some have said that particular miracle was the work of the devil. But I blame it on the galactic shift.
PS added February 2010: Big Boy in the news once again: a dastardly crime, or a Christmas miracle? (No, I had nothing to do with it. I've never been to Ohio that I recall.)
* Another good thing about statues is that if they’re outdoors, they’re often covered with pigeon crap, but at least you can tell right away that it’s crap, and it never pretends to be anything else but crap. And it’s free.