Miracles, large and 'small'
Angels surround us. Sometimes they're visible (for instance, those hillside shepherds); others are in dreams (see, Joseph), or in the eye or belief of the beholder, as are so many "touches" from Heaven.
Recently, a video clip went slightly "viral" when a pastor claimed a light formation near an accident was an angel; that, at any rate, is what he saw [see a report at the end of this article]. Others were not so sure. Better to believe, however, than not (said a Pope); when there is belief often there is Grace even if it's not "supernormal."
In another case, just before Christmas (see this video!), an image strikingly familiar to us -- looking indeed much like Virgin with Child -- appeared on a window at Transfiguration Church in Marietta, Georgia. This was more impressive, to our perception. To each his or her own.
If we had to prove everything about our faith by the "standards" of mechanism, the academic, and science, we'd be nowhere; science can't agree with itself on countless issues let alone the paranormal (experts even quibble over matters that have been presented as "facts" in textbooks). Paleo-anthropolgists debate every branch (and "twig") on the tree of human origin despite the facade of having solved this riddle. (At mankind's origin, only one Tree was relevant; ask Adam and Eve.) Every walk of life (see: politics!) takes discernment, which goes to the prayerful intuition.
Are these photos of a baby (infants are on our minds this week) a sign of the flame of the Spirit? Those around the child felt so. Who are we to argue? "Our granddaughter, Mira Therese LeBlanc, was baptized on Sunday, August 30, 2015 at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Newport, Vermont," explained the proud grandmother, Theresa McAvinney.
"Mira's uncle, Fr. Louis Marie, CFR, concelebrated the Mass, baptized her, and was also her Godfather. Her father, Justin, is holding the candle while mother Melissa holds Mira. My granddaughter Corine snapped the picture," continued Theresa. "What was amazing was how Mira looked up and smiled after her Baptism. She seemed mesmerized by something. If you look closely you will see wavy tongues of flame well beyond the candle flame.
"This was the day after our Family Retreat entitled, 'Come Holy Spirit... Show Us the Way' at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Troy, at which 150 people participated. If you go to www.vermontcatholic.org you will see a photo icon in the top right-hand corner. Click on that, and then you can see twenty-four pictures from the Family Retreat in Troy. Mira and her dad are in one of the photos.
"The pew in the distance is empty, so one cannot say it is something there. Later, when being held by her father in the pew, a woman sitting behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, 'Look! She is praying!' Indeed, Mira had her hands, fingertip-to-fingertip in a posture of prayer; this from a baby only six weeks old. Perhaps the little one was already interceding for the rest of us! I hope this image helps the faith of those who gaze upon it: the Holy Spirit dwelling within us desires to help us to be Holy as our Father in Heaven is Holy. We need not look far for His presence; He never leaves us! Skeptics may scoff, but I prefer to believe that the Lord has given us a tangible sign that He does come to us in the Sacraments."
So often, subtle and "unprovable" things make their way to us. It is a matter again of "being in the moment." Wrote another: "Here are the pictures of the church steeple at St. Anastasia, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, taken by a woman named Clare Flynn, a 'Flame of Love' prayer leader, who was preparing for a Flame of Love seminar. (Another event focused on the Holy Spirit!) Clare also has told me she has a "... six- minute video that shows the changing Cross into a flame, along with those dark clouds you see moving into the pictures. The Cross and Flame burn brightly against the darkness rolling in, which I found quite prophetic."
Alas, in another shot, the whole steeple seemed aglow from the sun, and then shadowed a bit, allowing the Cross to stand out alone. Was that the cause of the effect?
God uses the natural.
Sometimes the sun shines funny. Or snow forms (in El Paso, Texas last weekend, right, taken by Delores Lugo Morales).
Back last summer, after we carried a story based on angel accounts from the mailbag (you can see at the bottom of this article -- about an angel who helped a women with young children at the airport), we received an e-mail from Kris Bellinger from Simsbury, Connecticut, who said,
"I couldn't believe when I read about the lady who encountered her daughters guardian angel at the Atlanta airport. I had a very similar experience a few years ago. When I was twenty I flew to Florida with a friend for the funeral of her father. I flew back by myself as she was staying to visit family in the area, and I had a layover in Atlanta. I love flying but have never enjoyed that airport and was not looking forward to my layover there. The plane from Florida arrived on time but there was some issue and we had to wait a while to exit.
"By the time I got off, my next flight was leaving in twenty minutes from a terminal on the other side of the airport. I was pretty stressed out as I was running through the airport carrying everything I had (and trying my best to figure out where I was going at the same time) and was approaching a staircase I needed to go up that was packed solid with slow-moving people.
"All of a sudden a young man dressed in business casual sprinted in front of me and started running up the middle of the stairs and people just moved for him -- no pushing, no shoving, no yelling: people just quietly moved to one side or the other. I instantly felt that I should follow him, so I sprinted up the stairs right behind him without issue as well, and kept following him until I saw my gate which the attendant was closing. He kept running past, but I knew he was an angel who parted that sea of people and led me safely to my gate with literally seconds to spare. I was able to board the plane and made it home safely!"
How many times do they part crowds and issues in our lives without our noticing it (or them)?
"This account happened approx 1993," wrote another, Mercine Marshall. " I was with several friends at St. Mary's in Annapolis, Maryland, one evening just praying. This is an old Redemptorist church, and St. John Neumann was once stationed there. He laid the cornerstone, I believe. Blessed Father Seelos was there as well. There is a large icon of Our Lady Of Perpetual Help (Redemptorist devotion) over the right side altar.
"We were praying on this side of the church, having our own private devotions. Suddenly a golden smoky mist emanated from this icon. It came out in puffs and floated downward toward us. We were looking at each other in partial disbelief, but as we realized that it was real, we smiled at each other and marveled at it. It persisted for maybe about an hour as we prayed. Just big puffs of golden smoke puffing out from the icon. Unbelievable! (Holy Smoke?)"
We recall the smoke reported in Scripture at Tabor.
Flames. Smoke. Christmas angels. New Year's angels: Let there be light! And let it part your way into and through 2016, which will be the most interesting year in at least a decade.
[resources: The God of Miracles]
[In the e-mail last summer, Kate Callender of Sierra Vista, Arizona, recounted that: "In October of 1997, my mother-in-law remarried. She lived in North Carolina; we lived in New Mexico. Money was very tight. My husband had a demanding job and could not get time from work. My mother-in-law's soon-to-be-husband sent plane tickets for me and my two toddlers, Madison aged two and Nick aged one. There being no direct flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, we had a flight and terminal change in Atlanta. On the way to the wedding, all went very smoothly. On the way back, the first leg of the trip, from Charlotte to Atlanta, was delayed.
"We arrived in Atlanta only twenty minutes before the next flight was due to take off. I was worried. I had no way to contact my husband, who would be waiting in El Paso to pick us up from this flight, and no money to pay for any type of delay such as change of flight fee, meals or hotel. As we came off the first flight, I looked at the connection board and my heart sank. We would need to take the train to another terminal. Eighteen minutes to go. We'd never make it. I took hold of my two-year-old daughter's hand, slung the tote (i.e. diaper bag) over my shoulder, picked up my one-year-old son, and moved as fast as my two-year-old, Madison, would go.
"A man came up, introduced himself as 'Dave,' and asked if he could carry my daughter so we could run faster. Still moving swiftly, I quickly explained that my daughter was frightened of men she did not know and would never allow herself to be picked up. At that very moment, she looked at him adoringly and reached her arms up and around his neck. I didn't question it! We ran and got on the train just before the doors closed and arrived at the gate just before they closed the flight. 'Dave' turned and said something that seemed logical at the time, but clearly could not have been. He said, 'Are you okay now? I have to go back, I left my computer open at the other terminal, I need to go back.' I thanked him and we boarded the flight. No sooner did we do that than the doors closed. As I finished buckling in the two babies and sat down to buckle my own belt, I noticed 'Dave' was in the seat ahead of us, resting his chin on his folded hands and smiling. 'You made it...have a safe trip.' I said thanks, then the little one tugged at me and I turned my head briefly to see what he wanted.
"When I looked back, 'Dave' had vanished. The plane immediately taxied for takeoff. After we took off, I scrutinized every passenger on that plane. 'Dave' was not there. On the flight I thought about this and came to the conclusion that it must have been an angel that came to our aid. Years later, I recounted the tale to an elderly priest, himself a mystic. He simply said, 'oh you've met Dave -- he's Madison's guardian angel."]
[see also: Rhode Island bishop comments on miracle]