DAILY CATHOLIC for February 13-15
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no. 32

Getting to the
Heart of the Matter

by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

INTRODUCTION: "Getting to the Heart of the Matter" is what Sister Mary Lucy Astuto pinpoints in every issue when she takes a common sense approach to living our faith with her practical columns. This issue she discusses the phenomenal Shroud of Turin and her joy that it has survived the ravages of time and tragedies as she illustrates in The Shroud of Turin Survives!

     Her column, along with columns by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. and Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv., provide effective, vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can visit Sr. Lucy at her web site for Heart of Mary Ministry at http://www.heartofmaryministry.com or you can reach her at Srmarylucy@aol.com by e-mail.

The Shroud of Turin Survives!

     I love the Shroud of Turin. I believe it is the authentic Shroud that covered the Body of Jesus in the tomb. Though cynics, unbelievers, and atheists have tried to dissuade public belief in the Shroud, I believe in it with all my heart.

      A part of my belief rests on science, actually. That is, science has proved over 70 things about the Shroud. For example, the image is made with real human blood and perspiration; the image was NOT painted on the Shroud; the image IS of a man that had been scourged, crowned with thorns and crucified; microscopic pollen grains were found imbedded in the Shroud that come from plants that grow only in Palestine. Coins placed on the eyelids of the Person imaged date back to the time of Christ.

      A carbon-dating test done on the Shroud several years ago claimed that the Shroud did not date back to the time of Christ. However, that study has since been invalidated for the simple reason that in the course of its history, the Shroud had been in two fires, one of which was on December 4, 1532. This fire left burn holes on the sides of the Shroud incurred when some silver (from the case in which the Shroud was contained) had melted and fallen onto the edges of the Shroud. In 1534 these burn holes were repaired by some Poor Clare Nuns who had sewed patches into the largest holes and attached a full size backing cloth to the Shroud (known as the Holland Cloth) to strengthen it. All of these "experiences" of the Shroud, the handling of it by the nuns, etc., "contaminated" the Shroud, meaning that an authentic carbon dating test could not be accurate and therefore is invalid.

      But last year, on April 11, 1997, the Shroud survived another fire, a major one, that engulfed the Chapel where the Shroud had once been kept. By Divine Providence, however, the Shroud had been moved four years earlier (February 24, 1993) from that Chapel to a safer place inside the Cathedral while renovation took place in the former sanctuary.

      Aside from the Holy Eucharist, the Shroud is the greatest treasure of Turin, Italy. When firefighters arrived on the scene to battle the blaze, one fireman, Mario Trematore, unable to open the 39mm thick bullet-proof glass by proscribed means, sledge-hammered it to rescue the Shroud. Pieces of masonry from the dome and a shattered wall had already fallen on the silver casket housing the Shroud. Heat had become extreme. But finally, with the aid of other firefighters, the glass was sufficiently broken and the Shroud was carried to safety out of the Cathedral. A thorough examination of the Shroud a few days later revealed no damage whatsoever from its latest threat.

      I am so grateful that God has preserved this wonderful relic for us. What a source for meditation on the sufferings, death, resurrection of Jesus and Godís great love for us.

      In April of this year in Turin, Italy the Shroud will be displayed for public viewing. Most of us will not be able to attend, but we can, through reading, try to become better informed of this great gift from God to us that we might all the more praise and glorify Him for His Goodness to us.

      May your soul take on a clearer image of Jesus to all whom you meet. May God bless you!

February 13-15, 1998     volume 9, no. 32
Sister Lucy Column

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