Mario Sepúlveda Espinace Returned Bearing Gifts

A makeshift altar near the mineshaft in Chile, cribbed from here

Obviously, we are all watching the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners–Operation San Lorenzo–and it is so moving and inspiring – a rare moment when the world can rejoice together. Heroes from all over the world have gathered and drilled as millions throughout the globe prayed and hoped, and then, finally, we watched that exquisite moment when the first miner to ascend, Florencio Ávalos Silva and his wife and son embraced. Chills.

And then, after a brief wait, the second miner emerges from the rescue capsule with great joy; he embraces his wife and then opens a bag to retrieve…gifts.

For others.

In the midst of all of this drama, all of the lights and excitement and concern, and at a moment when a man could reasonably be excused for thinking only of himself, Mario Sepulveda Espinace thought about others, and he brought them gifts.

Rocks? Rocks containing gold? It doesn’t matter. Mario Sepulveda Espinace crested the top of a hole from which he thought he might never escape, and his first instinct was to give. That’s a thing worth writing about, and thinking about and praying about. I wish I had a picture of that moment! How huge and resilient is the human spirit?

We were already witnessing something jaw-dropping and near-miraculous. And a man arose bearing gifts, and it got even better, for everyone in the world who was paying attention.

Wow. I’m so glad I didn’t go to bed after the first miner came out!

And I’m remembering this.


I love this tweet: Rocks! Of course!…what presence of mind…and generosity of spirit…and sense of humor…and grace.

So right! And so well said.

I love this too:

“There are actually 34 of us,” the nineteen-year-old miner wrote in a letter sent up from the mine on Tuesday, “because God has never left us down here.” –Chilean miner, Jimmy Sanchez

UPDATE II: I was thinking this morning that if a fiction writer (or Hollywood) had tried to write this story, they could not have. First off, they’d probably turn it into a Lord of the Flies scenario, (or “Lost”) but even if they did not, they would be compelled (or encouraged) to omit much of the religious angle of the story, and then, would the story of 33 he-men types who don’t kill each other, who find a way to live peaceably and generously (and even with grace) while trapped below the earth ever find a publisher? Doubtful. This is a story that only real-life could tell, and if we’re really listening, we can learn a lot from it about how wrong we’re getting things up here above – in our values, our cynicism, our lowered expectations about everyone around us and everything. Lots to think about.

Deacon Greg: “What’s God got to do with it?”

Michelle Malkin links. Thank you!

“God and the devil fought over me, and God won!”

Also writing:
Hot Air
Sr. Lisa Doty
Gateway Pundit
Rome Reports
Daily Beast
Wall Street Journal Liveblogging it
Sundries Shack

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • newton

    El número treinta y uno (No. 31) – out!

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  • newton

    El número treinta y dós (No. 32) – out!

    Only the leader of the group remains, with a few rescue workers.

  • newton

    The leader of the group was saying his good-byes to the rescue workers with him underground, before the capsule arrived.

  • newton

    I can’t believe el presidente was making a speech for the leader of the pack, just as he was supposed to go up!

    ¡Déje la oratoria para después del rescate!

    ¡Que suba!


    On the surface, the people are singing Chile’s National Anthem.

    Rescue workers have cheered each and every miner as they finally reached the surface, with their “Mineros de Chile” chant. The second-to-last miner brought up the telephone used by all of them to communicate with the outside world. It was made by Chilean technicians for these emergency purposes.

    This event alone is indeed a reason for national pride! They endured a nasty earthquake earlier in the year and now this!

    Kudos to a partner nation with the United States in NAFTA!!!

  • newton

    El último!!!!! Fuera!!!!

    The last one – out!!!!!

    ¡Gracias, Señor!

  • Stefanie

    Wow — Psalm 95 was the invitatory prayer for the Divine Office for October 12 — coincidence?

    [Wow...I hadn't even put that together....admin]

  • newton

    The President of Chile is obviously very proud of all the Chilean people.

    Church bells across the country rang as the news of the first and the last rescue spread.

    As he speaks, rescue workers underground are being brought back up. Once this is over, the hole will be plugged forever, the people who own that mine will be made to answer for their lack of give a rat for the safety of the mine, and…

    The miners… I wish for them a great rest-of-their-lives, but I know a few are going to have it hard. Beginning with the miner with two women…

  • Jack

    Malkin is predictably busy demagoguing the rescue operation, somehow slamming Obama for events in Chile. If you are a right-wing sheep dumb enough to believe anything that third-rate Ann Coulter prattles on about, than you have the brain wattage of melting birthday candle.

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  • AK

    Thanks Elizabeth, I too agree this story could never have been written in Hollywood, as there is an inherent greed and capitalist element to the miracle. link

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