iv THE ECCLESIA AND PNEUMATIC THERAPY 167
those thousands is all for them. At times the priest but there in the middle of the Place falls on his knees, with his arms spread wide in that attitude of intense supplication which impresses one so deeply. And all who can men, women and children do the same.
At intervals the second priest starts them singing the ' Gloria ', beating time with his beret, and there goes up into the sunny sky a mighty volume of sound that is like the sound of many waters.
All this is being done while the procession is being gracefully marshalled before the approach to the steps of the Basilica.
The baldachin has entered the Place with its escort of white-and-gold-robed priests, and slowly they travel round the circle of the sick ; the arch-priest for the day, who may be a Cardinal, or a Bishop, or a simple pilgrimage priest, bearing the golden sun-rayed Monstrance which contains the Host, and with it making the sign of the Cross over each anxious sufiferer. His face is full of loving sympathy.
As the Host is elevated before them, the sick gaze at it with full hearts, their hopes shining through their worn faces, then drop their heads in prayer and cross themselves, while all behind them fall on their knees. And so slowly and impressively they pass all round the great Place, the invocations and chanting led by the two priests increasing, if possible, in passionate fervour, every moment.
During a four-days' stay which I made at Lourdes (July 1937) the number of pilgrims averaged around ten thousand a day, of whom only a few hundreds were sick. No cures were effected during my visit, and when I asked the priests for an explanation of this fact the usual reply was that many had been spiritually or morally healed. But what of those who are healed of