September 12, 2011 by Nicole
Yesterday, I spent a lot of time thinking about that awesome, fortunate minority of people who have personally experienced a certifiable miracle. I am not talking about the times when something astonishing happens that seems unexpected or too good to be true, or in those joyous moments when you finally receive a long awaited answer to a prayer, but people who have literally stood/sat face to face with God or one of His angels.
Just yesterday evening on the drive home from mass, my husband was telling me about a firefighter who lost his entire ladder company to the events of 9/11. The man was the only one to survive the devastation to which the rest of his men so tragically lost their lives. Apparently, after leaving the scene, he had to cross one of the bridges to get home–I can’t recall which one it was–and he was so overcome by the staggering losses of his friends and fellow fire fighters, that he had to stop walking for a few moments because he felt so overwhelmed. On his way across the bridge, he said he met a man who stopped to offer him a few words of comfort, that everything had a greater purpose, and that things would be okay; according to the firefighter, whatever it was that the man said was just what he needed to hear at that moment. As the firefighter reached the other side of the bridge, he was met by two cops who told him that when they saw him stop on the bridge, they were worried that he might have jumped, to which the man said he didn’t know why they thought that, since he had just stopped to talk for a few moments with the man whom he had met on his way across the bridge. According to the cops, they told him that he was all alone–that there was no one there. The fire fighter, who you could tell was profoundly moved by that experience, told the interviewer of the documentary that he must have met an angel that day, sent to offer him comfort in a time of such horrific distress. There was no other explanation for it.
I also hear from time to time, and have actually known a few people over the course of my life, who have had one of their rosaries turn into gold (there are stories all over the internet about these.), just as there are many people who have experienced a miraculous cure at Lourdes or have had their lives impacted on a tangible level because of people who pray for them.
I often wonder why this happens to some people and not others; why God literally makes Himself known via angels or gold rosaries to some people and not to others. I mean I tried to picture what would happen if, for example, one day right in the middle of my rosary, the whole thing just suddenly turned gold. How would I react? Would I drop it on the floor out of sheer amazement? Would I start yelling at my husband to hurry up and come look at what just happened? Would my stomach do flips? Or what if I realized that I had literally just been talking to an angel only moments ago?
People for whom this happens must have a lot of emotions about it, like shock, joy, bewilderment, or whatever else you can possibly feel if you experience something so wonderful as a gold rosary or talking with an angel. I wonder if it happens to strengthen their faith, or to comfort them, or confirm (or reaffirm) what they already believe, or a mixture of all three. I wonder what it is like to be in that moment–that tiny fragment of time–when for whatever reason, God’s divine kingdom in heaven directly intersects with our daily lives down here on earth.
I have to imagine that such experiences are as rare as they are precious, and like everything else that happens, serve an important purpose in God’s grand plan. At the very least, I can at least live vicariously through the blessings of others. 🙂