iv THE ECCLESIA AND PNEUMATIC THERAPY 165
is that it was very remarkable that the spring should have been discovered by one who was in no sense an expert; in a way which seems to be more than mere coincidence ; and in circumstances which cannot easily be explained; or, on the other hand, the term may be applied in the same sense as in cases of water-divining by people without scientific training. It must be remembered, too, that the word ' miracle* would, in this instance, imply no contravention of the laws of nature.
At the present the spring runs through taps from which pilgrims drink, and flows into Piscina where patients are immersed. The cures are not effected by any distinctive natural element which the water contains and the water is not in any way conditioned beforehand. In fact, the cures which have been effected do not conform to any general rule. Some even take place on the way to Lourdes, others in the Basilica, during or after the services which begin early in the morning and end at midnight. The last service is of a very suggestive kind and is held at an hour when people are in an easily suggestible frame of mind. Some patients are cured during or after their bathing in the Piscina, which they do in the morning, while others are healed when the truly impressive processions, which go forward to the accompaniment of the most pathetic waitings and prayers for salvation and healing, are in progress. The following is a description of the Procession of the Blessed Sacrament, which I myself witnessed.
In the middle of the great Place, two priests lead the people in short sentences of prayer, invoking God's help and blessing on the act of devotion and faith and hope in which they are engaged. Their words are repeated by the multitude with a soul-stirring fervency which, as John Oxenham I72 says, sends a thrill down one's spine.
Many of those present are relatives or friends of that