Images, Images Everywhere -- But How Many Of Them Are Really Supernatural?
A picture is worth a thousand words and then some.
In some cases, it is beyond words.
No doubt there are claims that go too far, that stretch the point, that assert something supernatural where the supernatural may be not.
But also no doubt such images -- gaining in frequency -- can be mesmerizing.
Is the above images one of them?
In this case, it's a baby scan.
"After seven months of a difficult pregnancy, Laura Turner looked anxiously at the latest ultrasound picture of her unborn son," said a recent report. "She was reassured to see not just the baby sucking his thumb -- but what she believes is an image of Jesus watching over him. The 20-year-old nursery nurse was so amazed that she decided to give her son the Biblical name Joshua."
That was in England, and it grabbed some headlines. Was it really Christ or simply a long-haired visage, perhaps even a woman? The supernatural can inflect itself into our domain, and this has also included spirits of the deceased (allegedly) and deceiving spirits -- which makes us cautious. At other times it can be the trick of a lens.
But no doubt God has control of every nuance in life -- including the physical -- and can easily direct the way light reflects, the way it refracts, the way it interplays with shadows. Such can be little nudges. In other cases, the "supernatural" aspect is the simple beauty of a landscape.
At the right is a photo of the sun taken in Syracuse, New York, at about 9:00 a.m. on August 10, 2006 by a paralegal named Sherrie L. Plouff. "I was praying the St. Michael Chaplet for a friend whose brother was at an airport and was nervous about flying because they had stopped some flights due to the threat of liquids begin taken on planes," Sherrie informs us. "I was standing on the 16th floor of our building and closed my eyes to say my prayers … and during the chaplet I opened my eyes and looked up into the sky and saw a cloud formation of an angel with a sword and a trumpet and just below that I saw on the building the outline of a chalice and a Host. I called my friend to come and look and she took a picture up there. I broke out into goose bumps and felt very unworthy and blessed to have been able to see something like this in my life. I walked to the elevator and heard a distinct male voice say 'tell your friend her brother is going to be alright.'"
Compare that photo with those, right and left, shot last June 25 thousands of miles to the east at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina. They are stills taken from a video by a New York woman, Loretta Kassimatis. What makes it especially interesting is that there is a close up of the dot, and witnesses saw the same thing with their naked eyes -- there in person. They can be heard discussing it on the video.
Whatever the mechanics of a camera, it is especially interesting that witnesses can be heard talking about seeing the black dot in the sun as they are standing there. That precludes a trick of the lens.
We are in a time when such images are not just proliferating but exploding around us. Is it just the internet? Is it that we hear and see so much simply because of the new level of communication?
Many images are more vague and obscure, and thus set to more questioning. At the left, do you see the face of a man -- or even a number of faces? Is there a visage here too that look like Christ? That was taken recently (presenting also some nice foliage!) by a viewer named Nancy Dorsey in Goffstown, New Hampshire. "When I uploaded my pictures I noticed the tree on the right -- a cross being held by what appears to be the Blessed Mother," she says. "This is right near my house at the old cemetery. Praise God. I feel so blessed." Above and at right, some see an image in this photo taken on a hill that has a Cross in California.
Do objects simply fall into certain patterns at times? Even when they appear beyond the odds, there remains the question of what may be inflecting. Jesus and Mary are the first ones anyone thinks about when such are spotted, as was also the case with the infamous grilled cheese sandwich that seemed to have some kind of face -- but not necessarily that of the Blessed Mother (if it was anything to start with)!
An apparition of a black Jesus is stirring believers in one of the Cleveland area's largest churches. "The Christ figure with black features began appearing three months ago in a large mural overlooking the sanctuary of the 5,000-member Mt. Zion of Oakwood Village, church members say," reports the Plain Dealer. In this case, it is again seen, or perceived, with the eye, directly.
For your considered judgment. We have to be both careful and open. There is no question that certain refractions happen as a matter of course -- that when filtered through a lens, the sun simply acts a certain way. This seems especially to be the case with what has become known as the "door to Heaven" (which many find on their film and which experts claim is caused by the shutter). We don't have the expertise to comment. But whatever the explanation, such often occur at special moments with a special feeling and a physical cause does not preclude the possibility that God is using it. We must be open to what He may be saying. His creation is nature -- He writes with it -- and it is through nature that He often sends love (with a message).
(left, sun at Medjugorje, right, enhanced of hill shot)
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