Quantum Levitation and Faith Levitation

In our foyer is a small, beautiful icon of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and the icon has an interesting story behind it:

Each year on April 25, the feast day of St. Mark Genazzano’s patron Saint, a fair took place near the church of the Mother of Good Counsel. On that day in 1467 towards the evening as the fair was beginning to end a white luminous cloud appeared over the village. The cloud descended on the church of the Mother of Good Counsel. The bells of the old tower began to ring by themselves. The cloud hovered a short distance away from the church wall. It faded and the miraculous image of Our Lady holding the Christ Child appeared. There followed many miracles. So great was the number of healings that a notary was appointed to make a register of the more important cases. [...] It is presently located in a side chapel, built between 1621 and 1629, in the church of The Mother of Good Counsel, Genazzano. The painting is a fresco executed on a thin layer of plaster or porcelain not much thicker than paper. One writer describes it as a fresco painted on a material resembling egg shell. It appears suspended in mid-air in its frame, with approximately an inch of space between it and the wall behind it. The only support is on the lower edge where it “rests on a small base on one of its sides, i.e. from the centre to the extreme right”

In a thorough, detailed study, Joao S. Cla Dias writes, “…the fresco has unexplainably remained suspended in the air close to the wall of the chapel in the church of The Mother of Good Counsel for over five hundred years.” Cla Dias’ work contains several documents about the miraculous character of the image itself, including the amazing fact that the painting is not mounted or attached at the back.

The levitation factor — whatever that is — means little to me; I just love the icon — I love Christ tugging at Mary’s neckline, looking to nurse.

A number of Catholic saints were reported to have levitated during their lifetimes — most famously, Joseph of Cupertino, Martin de Porres, and Francis of Assisi. Teresa of Avila was so unnerved by her ecstatic levitation that her nuns would struggle to hold her down as she prayed.

As I am not terribly interested in this sort of phenomena, why bring it up?

Because my son just sent me this cool video on quantum levitation, and I had to put some religious topspin on it — because it’s what I do! :-)

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About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Floater

    Groovy. Love that. Wonder if merry-go-rounds will one day be locked and suspended like that…?

    Reminds me of that freaky 3-D copy machine.

    Your icon story reminds me of the stone image of Our Lady in is it Colombia where the image appeared and actually penetrates the stone several layers. They built a gothic looking church over it and the church is set in a huge gorge. Wild what Our Lady chooses to do.

  • Sarah M

    Wow! You are one of my favorite sources for youtube posts, Mrs. Scalia– first drunk history, now this :)

  • Tom T

    I love and pray to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. That icon also has an interesting and spiritual history. I believe it is now in the hands of the Redemptorists after having been lost. I levitated once a long, long time ago while a student in college after a rather long night at smokey Joes. Only I`m not quite sure when I think back, wether I did or only thought I did. I stayed away from smokeys for a while after that night.
    Among the many Saints that levitated, it is reported that St. Thomas Aquinas levitated many times while praying in the Chapel. Pax

  • jkm

    I hate to beat my friend Mark Shea to the Chestertonian punch, but G.K. has the absolute best reflection on why levitation is such an admirable gift, including these lines:

    “Modern investigators of miraculous history have solemnly admitted that a characteristic of the great saints is their power of ‘levitation.’ They might go further; a characteristic of the great saints is their power of levity. Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. . . . The tattered cloak of the beggar will bear him up like the rayed plumes of the angels. But the kings in their heavy gold and the proud in their robes of purple will all of their nature sink downwards, for pride cannot rise to levity or levitation. Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity. . . . Seriousness is not a virtue. It would be a heresy, but a much more sensible heresy, to say that seriousness is a vice. . . . It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force of gravity.”

    Defy gravity!