The sign on his office door read Monsignor Thomas, but it could have said Investigator of Miracles. The clergyman’s official duties included examining miraculous happenings and verifying their authenticity. In other words, if you had a weeping Virgin Mary statue or a potato chip with Jesus’ face on it, Monsignor Thomas was your man.
You may think being privy to such things would strengthen the faith of a leader of the Church. But, not so. In fact, in the twenty-five years of his career, the Monsignor hadn’t verified the existence of a single miracle. At first, he eagerly probed every instance of supposed stigmata and divine healing. Now, after a quarter of a century, Monsignor Thomas was just going through the motions. Sometimes he wondered if he would even recognize a miracle if he actually saw one.
Monsignor Thomas watched his dog turn in circles before settling down on the flannel dog bed in the corner of his office. The old Lab breathed a heavy sigh and rested his graying muzzle on his paws.
“Be patient, Rufus. Only one more appointment and then we can go for our walk.” Rufus’ tail wagged at the mention of their daily stroll.
Phyllis, the Monsignor’s secretary, materialized in the doorway. “A young woman named Caroline is here for your 4:00 appointment.”
The clergyman let out a sigh heavy enough to rival Rufus’. “Send her in.”
A young woman, obviously a street person, meekly walked into the office. Her clothing was filthy and it looked as though she hadn’t had a proper bath in quite a while.
Monsignor Thomas noticed she carried a well-worn Bible in her hands. “Please, sit down. What can I do for you?”
Caroline carefully sat in one of the heavy, ornate chairs facing the Monsignor’s desk.
“Um. It’s this Bible. It’s… special.” The young lady reverently placed the Book on the desk and pushed it toward Monsignor Thomas.
“The Word of God is indeed a special Book.”
“No. I mean it’s like a miracle.”
The Monsignor looked at the ordinary looking Bible sitting innocently on his desk. “In what way, Caroline?”
“Well, it sings.”
“Is that so?”
“Open it and you’ll see.”
Monsignor Thomas opened the black Book. Nothing happened. He glanced up at Caroline whose eyes were closed. She had a look of pure bliss on her face and swayed gently in the chair to an unheard melody. Clearly the young woman was mentally ill.
“Caroline, dear. I don’t hear anything.”
“You can’t hear the music? It sounds like angels.”
“No, I can’t hear a thing.” What was it going to take to get through to this girl?
“My mother always said you had to have faith to hear the Bible sing. Maybe that’s what’s wrong.”
Now Monsignor Thomas started to get angry. “I’m a leader in God’s Church, young lady. Are you questioning my faith?”
Rufus’s eyes anxiously darted back and forth between his master and the young woman.
“I’m sorry, sir.”
“I think you should be getting along now.” Monsignor Thomas pushed the closed Bible back toward the girl.
Caroline took a deep breath, “You keep it. I think you need it more than I do.”
The Monsignor’s face grew a deep scarlet as the young lady walked out of his office. He had become accustomed to bearing witness to phony miracles, but not to being treated with disrespect.
“Let’s go, Rufus. Time for our walk.” The big, black dog ambled over to his master and gave him a friendly lick on the hand.
As Monsignor Thomas collected Rufus’ leash, his eyes landed again on the Bible. He opened it to the middle of the Gospels.
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”
As he read the familiar words, he heard Rufus whining softly as his side. Monsignor Thomas looked and saw Rufus staring intently at the Bible, his ears perky and alert. His head was cocked to one side.
The Monsignor slammed the Bible shut. Rufus relaxed. A chill started to run up and down Monsignor Thomas’ spine. He opened the Bible again.
Woof! Rufus' ears sprung forward again and he pranced around the Bible.
Monsignor Thomas frantically ran out into the foyer. “Phyllis, have you seen the young woman who was here a few minutes ago?”
“No, she left. What was that beautiful music coming from your office? It was lovely.”
Monsignor Thomas just dropped his head in his hands and wept.
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