Encountering God in Daily Life Personal Stories about Encounters with God
Encountering God in Daily Life
Encountering God in Times of Difficulty By: Nancy Caley I had a profound encounter with God on November 21, 2013. It was the day my daughter Terry, died.
She had been in ICU for 13 days after surgery for a mass which was benign. But she acquired aspiration pneumonia and after many procedures and treatments, she was put on a ventilator for respiratory distress. Due to a chronic muscle disease, her lung function decreased and the chances of her getting off the mechanical means were slim, and she was aware of this fact.
The nurses gave her paper and pen so she could communicate. She asked to see her doctor and requested that she be taken off the machine. Her demeanor was calm as she wrote. She quoted several Scripture readings: Isaiah 49: "I will never forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand." Also from Matthew 11 verse 28: "Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest."
The she wrote: I believe in God and the Resurrection of Jesus. I feel that God is calling me home, but I will see you again. Be strong." Then she asked me to call Fr. McCaffrey.
The day after her surgery, she told me that she had seen her guardian angel. I feel they were waiting for her. After she died, the nurse in the room with us said that was the most beautiful death she had ever witnessed.
As difficult as it was to lose my daughter, I know she is at peace. I pray that I can have the same faith as my daughter when my time comes.
"OUR LORD IS GREAT!!"
The doctor has removed seven areas for biopsy. Having had cancer several years before, the risk of recurrence was concerning. I visited the Blessed Sacrament, knowing my future was uncertain. It is hard to describe what happened as I prayed "Your will be done." I can only describe a feeling like a light bulb going off inside me and I had an immediate awareness that I was cancer-free. I spontaneously went from a prayer position with head bowed and hands folded to looking up with arms outstretched, smiling and whispering, "thank you." I actually looked behind me to see if anyone saw me, thinking they might think I was a little crazy. But I knew that I was cancer-free, a fact that was confirmed a couple of days later by a call from the doctor's office.
"My Encounter with Jesus!!"
As a cradle Catholic, I have spent a lot of my adult life reading the lives of the saints. One of the most mysterious and fascinating statements that I repeatedly encountered was the ability to see the face of Jesus in the people that surround you and that you meet on the street. How do I receive this awesome gift? I would occasionally pray: "Dear Jesus, let me see you in people that I meet." I became a Secular Franciscan in 2007. I have been fascinated by St. Francis and more specifically the story when he received the grace to see Jesus in the leper and embraced him with love and compassion.
I have been a Registered Nurse for 50 years. One of my more recent jobs was an admission nurse for hospice. I go into hospitals, nursing homes, and homes explaining our services, assessing the patient and have them sign all the necessary papers to become one of our hospice patients.
In 2010, I walked into a home in Stark County and was not ready for what I found. I could see into the dining room, which has been converted to a bedroom, a woman partially clothed with a beautiful smile on her face, but covered in her own vomit and excrement. Quickly assessing the severity of need, I briefly explained hospice. I had the brother sign only one paper (the rest signed later) and I got the woman's verbal consent. I went in and gave her a hug and I was sobbing in my heart. I was filled with love and compassion that I never had felt in my entire life. I realized later that is what Jesus is -----PURE LOVE!
I called my supervisor having stepped outside and could not talk because I was crying. She knew if Marianne was crying it had to be bad. I could not explain to her that they were tears of love, compassion, joy, and sadness for what I found and thanksgiving to God for allowing me to serve Him. She sent an aide to help me and we spent 3 hours cleaning her up and tried to find clothes and linens which were not covered with urine and feces. I began arrangements to have her placed in a local nursing home, which was done the next morning. She died that night peacefully, clean, comfortable, and knowing she was loved.
I now look at people I meet with more love which is seeing the face of Jesus. I hugged my leper.
With love, Marianne James OFS
MADISON MARKUS ENCOUNTER'S GOD DURING ADORATION
MADISON MARKUS ENCOUNTER'S GOD DURING ADORATION My name is Madison Markus, and I am a freshman at Walsh University. Let me tell you, life is rough as a college student. Mom wasn’t there to wake me up on the first day of class with a nice breakfast, or remind me of all that was on my to-do list. I had to do things on my own, and make decisions on my own. For the first time in my life, I had to decide if I would go to Church on Sundays or not. Being a Catholic school, Walsh offers plenty of opportunities. Prior to my time at Walsh, I would describe myself as a “luke-warm” Catholic. I went to church each Sunday, and went through the motions: kneeling and praying, bowing in the creed: I thought I had it all together. But there was no deeper understanding, or deeper relationship. I prayed daily, but I prayed things like: “Jesus, thank you for today. Please help me to do really good in school and make a lot of friends!!!!!! Amen.” For so long, I felt empty. After a relationship I was in had ended, there was a huge hole, a hole that was taking over my life. This relationship had been the center of my life for so long. I was putting so many things before God, and now that those things were gone, I was kind of stuck. My soul had been gasping for God for so long, and I was too busy flirting with the world to understand it. I was chasing a worldly-love that by no means could satisfy me, because I hadn’t experienced the truest and purest form of love before: The love of our Father.
Flash-forward to November and I wasn’t in the best place. I still went to church each Sunday, and I prayed as much as I could, but I was hurting. I was soul-searching, but I didn’t know what it was that my soul needed. I thought that if I was getting involved on campus, going out with my friends, and concentrating on school, I would be happy. I started to chase. I was chasing happiness, love, acceptance, and many other things. A quote that I love and feel perfectly describes so many of us states, “How tragic that when we chase something in this world, we’re actually running from the stable trust and secure love our souls long for most.” Wow. This made me stop and think: Why am I running from God, who literally has the best plan of all? From that point on, things started to turn around for me. I found out that I was chosen with a select group of other students from Walsh to attend a conference in Chicago, where were would not only be inspired by our faith, but also equipped to help others deepen their relationship with Christ. We were all so excited to go and hear these tremendous speakers that would kick-start us in motion. I kept thinking: This is exactly what I need. Things will start to get better now. I was expecting life-changing motivation, and to automatically feel God’s presence as I walked into the hotel…a little much, I know, but I was hopeful, right? However, in the first few days of the conference, it was the opposite. I started questioning my faith. Sitting at Mass each day, I sat doubting that God could actually be in that little piece of bread. I went to adoration, but I didn’t get what I was “adoring”. Everyone around me looked so intimate, and I longed for that, but it just wasn’t there. I felt so awful, because I did love Jesus!! And I knew the truth, but I just couldn’t understand it. I prayed the rosary and asked our Mother to help me understand, to help me see, and to help me believe. One night, instead of keynote speakers, the conference had group adoration and confessions available. After the week I was having, I was a bit nervous. I was disappointed to sit before the Lord, knowing I had doubted him so many times. I talked to one of my friends whom was also at the conference, and he explained it pretty simply: “We can explain it to you, but we can’t make you believe it. You have to do that for yourself. And someday, it will just click.” So here I am, about to go to adoration (it still hasn’t clicked!) and I am so nervous. In a room with 8,000 people, I highly doubted God would want to talk to me after being so far off. So, the procession begins, and it was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. I can’t explain the beauty I was experiencing. Normally while in adoration, I see with my eyes. I see the monstrance, and the candles, and the altar. That night though, something changed. I saw with my heart. When I looked at the priests carrying the monstrance towards the altar, I saw Jesus. Let me repeat that: I SAW JESUS! There He was, walking down the aisle. He kept going and sat up on the altar, with His feet dangling in front of Him. It wasn’t what I expected. He wasn’t serious and stern, but in my eyes and heart, He was so happy and joyful. Seeing over 8,000 people worship and love Him was an awesome thing, and it made Him so grateful. So, there I was, kneeling before the Lord at his feet, about to go into my prayer, but I didn’t even have to. He knew. He always knew. And do you know what the God of all creation said to me, after a week of doubting Him, and being confused on the Truth? I am so sorry you feel that way. He—again the Lord of all creation, Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Almighty One—was so sorry that I was doubting him. He was so sorry that I was confused. He was so sorry that I wasn’t experiencing the love that He had for me. He was so sorry. That night, something changed. I experienced the love that I had been running from. I experienced the one thing—the only thing—that could ever fill that emptiness, and gaping hole in my heart. I experienced and realized how much God truly loves and cares for us. I did not need to be told anymore, because I believed and experienced it. I ask you today, when was the last time you were reminded just how much God loves you, and how so sorry He is for the struggles of this life? Today, I can say that my heart is on fire for Christ. No longer am I a “luke-warm” Catholic. I am not only growing in my own faith, but I’m ready to help others grow in theirs. This is the greatest mission of all! As I end, I want to remind you of a prayer we read every Sunday at Mass—the Prayer for our Parish. This week, I urge you to really focus on these words: “Lord, we long for our parish to be so on fire that we draw people to you.” But Brothers and Sisters, our parish cannot be on fire, if our souls are not on fire first.
EXPERIENCING GOD IN MY DAILY LIFE Saved the life of everyone in a car - 1968
When I was a 5 year old child, I was sleeping in the back seat of a car. My mom and her friend Helen were driving to upper state New York for a vacation. Helen was driving, but fell asleep while driving on the freeway. We were due to turn the corner around a sharp curve on a mountain top that had a big drop off, if you went off the road. Since Helen fell asleep, she did not make the turn and we were headed over the cliff. My mom states she screamed and that something picked the car up and turned it around and prevented it from going over the cliff and all of us getting killed. I woke up with all the commotion and saw smoke all around us and was told what happened. My mom being the only one, who was awake when this happened, believes God picked up the car and prevented it from going over the cliff.
How God Works in Our Lives
God revealed Himself to me through a healing I received. In November 2016, I had a short bout of vertigo upstairs in the choir loft while we were playing guitar for the children's Mass. Then I noticed more and more instances. Walking in a parking lot or at a store became a real stress. My balance was out of whack. I had tests done and they revealed nothing.
So one Sunday I stayed after Mass and asked for healing from God through Fr. Kevin. And thanks be to God and to Fr. Kevin, within a couple of days I knew something was different. The more days that went by, the better I began to feel. It was a healing and I proclaim that it came from God.
My Encounter with Jesus
In 2016 I went to a megachurch "Night of Hope" that was in Pittsburgh, PA and during that night I wrote a check for $50.00 as a donation. The next day in the mail I received a completely unexpected letter from the county auditor telling me my property values were being decreased and the taxes were decreasing by around $500.00 for the next year. Now I was shocked, especially since I had been making continuous improvements in the house since I purchased it in 2013. I still to this day believe that the unexpected drop in taxes was due to the donation I made that night and how God gives back to those who are generous to others.
In the Company of Angels A few hundred yards from SS. Philip & James Church lives a great little saint of God. I can say this with all confidence having spent some time with her over the past several years. Her name is Christina Mayberry and we have been asked to pray for her as a church for many years as she hovers here between Heaven and Earth, surrounded by a loving family. I met her a few years ago when my son Mohammed was living at Echoing Ridge. I ofter shared with her mother and father how much I longed for Mohammed to come back home to live. Christina doesn't speak much but she can say a few words. When I finally was able to move Mo back home, she said two words to me that brought me to tears because I realized how much her little heart understood. She simply said, "Mo happy."
I didn't see her for a while when my mother's health declined, but recently after about two years I have been able to see her to visit and spend a little more time with her again. Christina has been very sick for a long time. One would understand if she were bitter and self absorbed. Instead her first words to me when I visited her were, "Mo happy." This is something she just knows in her heart, because as I truly believe, she converses with the angels. There are saints among us and this pure soul is one of them. I feel very close to God when I am with her and I know her presence in the "neighborhood" blesses all of us and makes us rich in God's graces. ~Eileen Rohr
“I...encourage Christians regularly to visit Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, for we are all called to abide in the presence of God, thanks to Him who is with us until the end of time.” ~Saint Pope John Paul II*
I have been contemplating for some time, attempting to put into words, just why Eucharistic Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament is so important to me. The following are my thoughts: While we know that God is present at all times in our lives, attending a weekly visit to Eucharistic Adoration in the Peace Chapel can bring us even closer to Him. As we all know so well, each day brings on different obligations and stresses. But, by visiting Jesus in Adoration and being in His Presence, we can let God take over. We can turn our petitions and requests over to Him...Possibly we come to Adoration joyfully and want to share and thank Him for an answer(s) to prayers or favors granted. He rejoices with us! Or, we come to Jesus and share our hurts, sorrows, losses, large or small, and He is there to comfort us with His loving Presence. He shares our tears and listens to our hearts. By just spending the precious time with God and turning it all over to Him, we can leave Adoration with a lighter heart. Often times, we can bring our Bible, or other religious books, and just read and contemplate...or write our thoughts in a journal. Another important form of prayer during our time in Adoration is reciting the rosary. The rosary is such a powerful channel of prayer especially needed for our own country and, very importantly, for world peace. It is vital on a personal level as well for our own intentions and those of others. During some visits to Eucharistic Adoration, though, we can be called to kneel or sit and just adore Him. We can leave realizing just what a difference His Presence can and does make in our lives. ~Margie Galehouse *This quote by Saint Pope John Paul II was taken from the booklet “Be Still and Know that I AM God” (Psalm 45:1)
How A Saint Prayed & Caused Me to Thank God for my Gift
I was raised Protestant. I was never taught about our friends and intercessors in Heaven, the saints. I never heard from the pulpit a sermon mentioning who saints were or their role in our lives. It was absent in lessons taught in Sunday school classes, nor did I ever hear in any conversation mention of our friends and intercessors, what we as Catholic’s know and embrace: the communion of saints.
When I came into the Catholic Church it began and is a continuous learning of the depth and richness of what our Catholic faith has for us, and the helps it has for our continual spiritual awakenings. Several years had passed as a Catholic when I attended a weekend retreat offered here at SS. Philip & James, Christ Renews His Parish. During a lunch break I overheard a conversation. A woman standing near me said to another, “My prayer was answered! I received roses from St. Therese today!” I asked her. What do you mean? Tell me more. “She said a great soul in Heaven lived as a Carmelite nun in Lisieux, France. She took the name Therese of the Child Jesus. She had great love of praying for the conversion of souls. Near her death she said, When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens, I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth.” My fellow retreatant continued to tell me this saint is also known as The Little Flower. She told me it is common to pray a Novena (which is to say, a nine day prayer) and ask St. Therese of Lisieux to pray along with you, asking Jesus that your request be heard and answered. This woman had given me a firsthand introduction how a saint answered her prayer through a saint’s intercessory prayers. I filed that conversation somewhere within me.
Nearly a year passed, and I found myself walking into our church, all alone, and sitting down in a pew at the back. I happened to look up towards the front of the church. My eyes became fixed on the statue of St. Therese. (In those days the statue held a place in the front, but now it is in our vestibule). During those moments of quiet I found myself praying and then suddenly calling upon St. Therese saying, “St. Therese, would you ask Jesus if I should ever have another child, ask Jesus if it would be in His will that it be a little girl?” At the time we had three sons and I thought a daughter would be very special. Not for a moment did I really think it would ever come about.
Another year went by, and I was expecting a baby. I did not even dare let myself think it could be a girl. (This was in a time before regular use of ultrasounds, which now let you know long before the birth if it is a girl or boy). The days drew close to my time of delivery. One day I heard a knock at my front door. It was a florist. He handed me one red rose! I opened the card that was attached. It simply read, “Blessed be your time of waiting.” My heart began to beat very fast, and I felt warmth all over my body. The room filled with the smell of many roses. Suddenly, I recalled my little visit to the church and my words whispered to St. Therese. Could it be? Could it be that this baby was a little girl? Exactly nine days later, I delivered our beautiful little Sarah.
The power of the intercession of one great saint! God heard and blessed us with this gift. Since then I have greatly benefited of reading and studying the lives of our many, many saints. They have drawn and led me close to Christ and most especially the Holy Eucharist.
A spiritual classic, The Story of a Soul, is St. Therese’s autobiography.
With all praise and thanksgiving, I share this testimony with you,
Pray, “Mary, Mary, come to my aid.” when you don’t know what to do. It is October. Julle's little body (my 30 year old sister with Down Syndrome and gastranoma) was not responding after her morning surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Her internal system was not waking up. The doctors said there was no pain medicine they could give her for this terrible pain. The surgeon told our family that when he opened Julle’s body to perform the surgery, he didn’t know what he was looking at. He didn’t know what to do. He said a prayer and let his hands do their work. (Aside: When he had finished the surgery, he told his medical resident students that he had never seen anything like it and that Julle Anne would not survive the night.) The day passed into late evening. Julle Anne was in horrible pain. Wailing. I had never heard such sobbing. My mom, dad and sisters were exhausted from the day. It was 10:30 p.m. “Cathy, it’s your turn to be with Julle Anne. Mom, dad, Patrice and I just have to get some rest.” said Mary Helen. I was frightened. I had just arrived that afternoon. I didn’t know what to do. What if I did something wrong? Missed something. What would happen to Julle Anne? My family was exhausted. They had been there for several days before the surgery and all day following the surgery. They needed to get some sleep. Here was my little sister Julle Anne. She was hooked up to so many lines, machines, etc. There was no way to hold her or comfort her. I had been praying for her many weeks before the surgery and during the flight to Minnesota from Ohio. My prayers had led to a reading that said, "The Blessed Mother is always there loving and caring for her children. Just ask her to come to your aid."
What could Julle’s big sister do if the doctors and nurses could do nothing? I spoke to Julle Anne. I told her a little story about my dog, Toby, who she loved and told her a few of her favorite jokes. “What is a honeymoon salad?” She responded through tears,” Let-tuce alone.” Then she cried, sobbed in unrelenting pain. I was beside myself. How can she be so sick and I unable to do anything to relieve her suffering?
"Julle, maybe we should ask Mary to help us." Julle Anne sobbed, "Yes, I want my sister, Mary." I said, “Well, honey, you know that your sister Mary, mom, dad and Patrice have gone to get a little rest. Why don't we ask Mary, Jesus' mother to help us?" She sobbed and said ok. So together, Julle Anne and I prayed three times, "Mary, Mary, come to our aid."
It was about 11 p.m. by then. Well, as I talked to her, stroking her head, I noticed that within just a few minutes the wailing had stopped and in a few more minutes there was no more crying. A few more minutes and we were laughing and talking about some funny things that had happened with her brother and sisters. I said, “Julle, let’s throw those darn pains out. What do you say?” She nodded and I grabbed those darn pains as she kicked them out of the bed. I stuffed them into a make believe bag to "toss them out." Julle Anne was laughing, smiling, and using her foot to give me a boost as those darn pains resisted my tugging and pulling on them. Now there was laughing, giggling and a good amount of silliness. Around midnight, I heard a voice say, "What are you doing?" I looked up and standing in the dark doorway was my sister Mary. She had been unable to sleep- worrying about her little sister. So- she had just given up and walked back over to the hospital from the hotel. She had an incredulous look on her face. She walked over and looked at Julle Anne and then at me. Julle Anne told her we were kicking those darn pains out of bed and throwing them out of the room. I held the make-believe bag, struggling to keep it closed as the “pains” wriggled to escape. I calmly walked to door and threw them out into the hall. Julle Anne, Mary and I clapped with joy as the pains were evicted from the room. We told Mary Helen that we had prayed to Mary, the Mother of Jesus to come help us. And, she had. Mary Helen told us that as she walked down the long, dark hallway of the hospital she thought she heard laughing. Sheasked herself where could that be coming from so late at night in the hospital. When she got closer toJulle Anne’s room,she realized that it was coming from there. She was incredulous and thankful. With that, Mary Helen said, “Ok, you guys, I’m going back to bed. See you in the morning.” Not too long, after that, Julle Anne fell sound asleep and slept through the night. The next morning, the doctor came to see Julle Anne. When he walked into the room, he was totally amazed to see her sitting up in bed, eating a little breakfast. He could not believe it. He did not know what to say. Next, he told us what he had said to his medical resident students following Julle Anne’s surgery and about her unrepairable condition. He looked at Julle Anne with tears in his eyes. He left the room saying he was calling his students to come back and witness the miracle that was Julle Anne’s recovery from the very desperate state of her health. Julle Anne recovered and returned home because “her job and her friends needed her.” She had five more years with us. She suffered two more surgeries, countless tests, and trips to the doctor, the emergency room, and sometimes hard and uncompassionate people. Julle Anne loved her family and friends and was loved by all who met her. She wrote stories for her nieces and for her “goddaughter” Abby. She wrote letters to many people telling them about her work, her friends and even threw in just a few jokes or riddles for the kids. Julle Anne hosted and played the piano for Christmas Recitals at the apartment where she lived with her good friends. She hosted weekly movies parties, collected t-shirts and watched the weather every night so she could be dressed and ready to stand at the bus pickup to go to work, no matter the weather or the advice from a sister that maybe it would be too cold to go to work. She wore out lots of cassette tapes of her favorite musical groups: her boys, The Beach Boys, and her men, the Monkeys. Julle Anne went to be with Jesus on October 29, 2001 following her third surgery. The Blessed Mother continued to perform many miracles through her precious child, Julle Anne. Sometime, I’ll tell you about the special message Julle Anne sent to her grieving family as we returned to South Dakota on that day she walked happily into the arms of Jesus and His mother. Ok- here is just a little bit: As we drove home to plan the funeral, we were traveling along the Minnesota interstate in late October. The corn was harvested and the blue, blue sky along the horizon was clear. Mom and I were sitting in the back seat and dad and Patrice were in the front seat. We were just telling a story about Julle Anne and laughing about the time she had driven dad’s golf cart one Thanksgiving around the backyard. About that time, mom looks out the window and sees something on the horizon and shouts, “It’s Julle, she’s fine. She is sending us a message. Look!” What did mom and each one of us see with our very own eyes? Well, the clear, blue sky was filled with huge, perfectly formed clouds in the shape of a kangaroo, whale, rabbit and ostrich. That Julle Anne, what a gift! Thank you Blessed Mother and thank You Heavenly Father, for the gift of Julle Anne, the glue of our little family. ~Cathy Dean
The Apathetic Catholic On October 6th, 2017 I received some shocking news, that I would have long and profound change on my life, I would have to undergo open heart surgery. I was a runner and thought myself in pretty good health for a 51-year-old, night shift Police Officer for the past, almost 25 years. I had just got over a head cold and would start getting pressure in my chest when I would do anything that required exertion. The test found three arteries that were almost blocked beyond use, in other words I was lucky to be alive. I was admitted to the hospital for surgery that would take place first thing Monday the 9th. The Sunday before my surgery, as I sat still in my hospital bed. My wife called and told me that Father Kevin would be in to see me. With everything that had been thrown at me so quickly it was hard to keep things strait. My head was reeling with thoughts of my wife, children and what impact this would have on them, my career, and people who cared about me. I always considered myself spiritual to a certain degree. Over my years in Law Enforcement I have lived through and seen some of the most horrific things that a person would see outside of a battlefield. I felt doubt from time to time but always came back to believing in God but took Him for granted daily. I remembered my Catholic upbringing and the lessons that came from them and would try to put those into teachable moments for my children even if I had a hard time with some of them myself. After my wife had called me and before Father Kevin arrived, my mind was working overtime. At first, I thought, why is he coming to see me? Is he going to give me last rights? I laughed at myself remembering that I would probably be getting the anointing of the sick. I then found myself with the important urge to say my confession to him. I panicked a bit trying to think of when the last time I went to confession, and how I would even start. So, I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing down a few things, I stopped then crumpled it up thinking, never commit anything to paper, and I laughed at myself again. It had been a long time and to tell you the truth I was getting nervous and was kind of hoping that Father might forget. As I sat, well laid there, thinking, I knew God was there with me. He had given me everything in my life and I was so very lucky. He gave me strength to keep going when I didn’t want to and as fearful as I was, He gave me courage. When Father arrived, we chatted a bit. I explained that I was, what I called myself, a lazy Catholic. I believed in God but took Him for granted. Father heard my confession, prompting me along the way with things I may have been vague about, or not placed the thought or emphasis on, as well as helping me with the prayers that have gone by the wayside. When it was over, I felt so lifted, so strong and ready to meet what God had in store for me. A weight had been lifted off me. Fear of dying had always been with me, especially after the birth of my children. I felt that I needed to be around long enough to help raise them and hopefully do it in a manner that was with God’s plan. I felt at that moment, although the fear was still present, that if it was God’s Will then who was I to argue and that if that was meant to be then I was ready with a clean heart and soul. I can’t really express the feelings I had and can still feel today. The weight that had been lifted and fear calmed. As I was wheeled into the operating room I told the staff that I was afraid. They said it was normal, introduced themselves and then I went to sleep. God saw me through my operation and renewed my purpose. I remember a time when I couldn’t even remember the words to the Lord ’s Prayer, now it’s said nightly along with a Hail Mary and my prayer to St. Michael. I’m not so apathetic now!
It was the Saturday of the 2013 Ohio deer season. I had hunted most of the week with no success. There was about 2 to 3 inches of snow on the ground. I was using my in-line muzzle loading rifle which is very accurate, but there is only one shot. I had been perched on my seat for about four hours when a decent sized buck with a small rack approached from my right. During squirrel season, I had taught myself to shoot left handed. So rather than trying to stand and spin to shoot right handed, I brought the rifle up to my left shoulder and cocked the hammer. The buck stopped when he spotted me and turned broadside. I found his shoulder with the crosshairs of the scope. The rifle bucked and my vision through the scope filled with white smoke. When the smoke cleared several seconds later, the buck was gone. First rule of hunting with muzzle leaders, reload the rifle before moving. After putting a fresh charge in the rifle and re-priming while saying a short prayer, I walked over to where the buck was standing when I had fired. I found a set of tracks that doubled back in the direction the buck came. I followed them for about one hundred yards or so until the tracks crossed onto an adjacent property that I did not have permission to trespass. I went back to my seat and went through the shot in my mind. I figured that since I had shot left handed, I had just plain missed. That’s when I heard a very clear, distinct voice say CHECK AGAIN! I dismissed it as my frequently second guessing mind playing a trick on me. CHECK AGAIN! The voice became more defined, and it seemed to sound like my own voice. CHECK AGAIN! This time I got up and wandered again back to the spot where the buck was standing when I had fired. I looked around again, and this time I found another set of tracks heading off in a different direction. These tracks were different. They were obviously distressed and I noticed a smattering of blood. I found the buck collapsed about fifty yards from where I had shot. I immediately went to my knees and said a prayer of thanks, which I usually do. But this time it seemed different. I truly felt that the Holy Spirit intervened in the recovery of God’s gift to a hunter.
Respectfully submitted, Jim Steiner
Encounter with St. Michael
Being a registered nurse for 50 years I have many stories I could tell you, as could any of my fellow nurses. However, it is the spiritual side of it that I remember best and sticks with me.
One in particular was about 20 years ago when I was working night shift in the ICU at a local hospital. I will call my patient "Tom" for the purpose of privacy. He was an elderly very slight man, alert and awake, but having some very serious issues that really puzzled the doctors. He was having intermittent pain throughout his body, and the circulation was cut off to one of his legs which was quickly turning very dark blue. His blood pressure was low and his heart rate was high. The doctors were pretty sure he was throwing clots everywhere, faster than could be treated. His condition was rapidly deteriorating despite any intervention.
I accompanied him back to the ICU. After the doctors talked to his family who were in route, the decision was made to do comfort care only. I gave Tom a therapeutic dose of IV Morphine, which was effective and made him comfortable. He was in and out of consciousness. He was a sweet man and when he could get some words out he thanked me.
I stayed at his bedside and prayed, quietly speaking in his ear about the beauty of Heaven. After an hour I could tell that the end was pretty close.
At that point I was inspired to say the prayer to St. Michael, hoping that he would come for him. I had just finished that prayer when Tom sat straight up in bed with no effort, arms outstretched as if he was reaching out to hug someone, eyes wide open as if in amazement and ecstasy, looking up to Heaven with the most beautiful smile of joy and happiness on his face. After about 10 seconds he lay down and died peacefully.
I stood there with my mouth wide open, speechless! There was no doubt in my mind that the beautiful St Michael, the Archangel, came and took Tom to Heaven. A few weeks later I was at the Flower Factory and there was a 4-foot tall, beautiful statue of St. Michael the Archangel and an 18-inch replica of it, both very inexpensive. I bought the small one for my bedroom, and donated the other to St. Mary's in Massillon, which Fr. Ed had mounted above the side door in the church. St Mary's as you know caught fire in 2015 and was very close to being destroyed. The St Michael statue survived and is still above the door. I think he was hard at work that day!
St Michael the Archangel, pray for us!
Marianne James Order Franciscan Secular
I Felt His Touch We were planning our trip to Louisiana just before Thanksgiving. We were flying out of Cleveland. After looking at the weather report for the next day, we decided to drive up that night, spend the night, and take the shuttle the next morning to the airport. The weather predicted freezing rain and poor driving conditions. As I drove to Snap Fitness after Mass I thought, “I have Holy Hour at midnight. Who would be able to do it for me?" I called Rose to see if there was someone who maybe had offered to sub on midnights. I knew my hourly Captain would do it, but she already did one a week and worked full-time so I thought I couldn’t ask her. I couldn't even think of anyone who I could ask. I said a prayer, "Lord, if I am supposed to leave tonight, help me think of someone to ask". I pulled into Snap Fitness parking lot. As I was getting out of my car a friend from Snap was getting into her car. I waved, she got out of her car, and came over to talk. We chatted, and then I thought, “Why not ask Karen?” So I asked her, and she responded with an enthusiastic, "Sure!!!”. I thanked her profusely and told her she was an answer to my prayer. All I kept thinking was, what are the chances that she would come over to talk to me, that I would even have the idea to ask her, and more surprisingly that she would say “yes!” I know that this was certainly worked out because of promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Testimony of Patricia Horning
After Mass during Lent I asked for prayer for a physical healing for my daughter. Father placed his hands on my head and began to pray in tongues. As he did so, I felt a warm presence at the top of my head.
My request was gently put to one side. I was in a place where I was loved, accepted, and reassured. During that time, in my mind's eye I saw a brief image of Father's hands on my head, but his face was that of Jesus.
Then as quickly as I thought, "I could stay here forever", I was abruptly snapped back, and left with these words: "patience" and "trust".
I also had the impression that Our Lord was very tired, "bone weary". I felt a rush of compassion, then just as quickly, sorrow.
As I got up and walked out of the church, the top of my head felt like it was on fire. The sensation lasted 3 days, slowly dissipating as I struggled to absorb what had happened.
Much has happened since that experience. I have a new sense of calm and peace, and a gift of detachment. An old long-buried wound of abandonment has been brought into the light and dealt with. My daughter's health has stabilized, and her anxiety about her job has been resolved. Hope blooms.
THANKS BE TO GOD!
God's Presence in the Silence
In the mid 70's, I worked at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Plant 1, in Akron. Back in the day, these factories were quite huge, with Firestone employing over 3,000 in its 3 Akron faciliites.
To fully appreciate what our Good Lord did on this day, I need to briefly set the stage. I was one of three production supervisors working in the curing room. The curing room is where the raw or "green" tires are vulcanized. This room took up the entire first floor of the plant, housing approximately 80 curing presses which handled large truck and aircraft tires. The constant noise was deafening. Communicating with someone was done by talking (actually shouting) directly into their ear, or via an intercom system that was set up to be louder than the roar of the plant. Although we had a small office on a mezzanine level overlooking the production floor, the three of us spent most of our time on the floor. Office time was usually for writing end of shift reports, an occasional break, or lunch, and turning the shift over to the next crew.
The office provided some noise relief, although the dampened roar could still be heard and felt through the glass walls, along with the never ending intercom calls. The office also had a constant banging of teletype machines (keep in mind this is the 70's!), along with phones that rang almost continuously.
My two co-supervisors were both good guys. Garland was a good Christian, while John did not have Our Lord in his life. Sometimes at the end of our shift, if we had our reports finished and were waiting for the next shift supervisors to arrive, Garland would ask John if he was ready to ask the Lord into his life, keeping the conversation light-hearted so as not to turn John off to this topic. When the times dictated, I would also share what it's like having the Lord in my life.
This went on for some time, until one day, at the end of our shift, John said he thought he was ready to ask the Lord into his life. Garland and I were thrilled to hear John say this. The three of us moved our chairs close together so that we could hold hands while Garland led a prayer on John's behalf.
Although I don't remember the entire prayer, I remember that we bowed our heads as Garland asked the Lord to send His Spirit down upon us as John accepted Him as his personal savior. This didn't last but a few minutes, during which I felt God's overwhelming presence with us in that office. I opened my eyes, which were filled with tears, after Garland's short prayer and saw that he and John also also had tears running down their faces, along with such peaceful smiles. What we failed to notice during our intimate time with God was the total silence in the office, no roar to be heard or felt, no teletypes banging away, and no phones ringing. Only after our prayer did we realize this silence, at which moment EVERYTHING returned to its full sound. We just looked at each other, speechless, as we realized He made the silence while He was there with us.
It was 1976. I had just finished a significant sales project and was in a position to move up within the Company. It would require the first of many relocations and with a spouse and four children under ten, I was conflicted. I knew of broken families resulting from many relocations and the disruptions it caused, but still...
One day at work when not thinking about it, I experienced an overwhelming presence filling me up from the top down. I was in a trance like state with nothing but a light green field surrounding me. Then a voice I did not know said to me, "Stay here, everything will be all right." The voice was strong with authority, gentle but to be obeyed. Then I was immersed in a peace, assurance, and tranquility I cannot describe; there are no words.
Much later, I realized the voice was God's. We were one in each other, as Jesus often says, "Him in me and I in Him." Kind of like a fish immersed in water: the water is God and the fish is me. A glimpse of Heaven?
So I stayed in town with the company - and everything turned out "all right."
I must admit that at times I worked to make things "all right" my way. Sometimes this led to bouts of depression and despair because I was relying on my efforts. My hope was in me, rather than in God.
However, it recently occurred to me that the "all right" wasn't for me only, but for those I love; assisting my aging parents until their passing (all right), rearing the children, now adults (each all right), and now assisting my spouse experiencing health issues. Then there are friends, family, and activities/ministries over the years that turned out "all right". It is difficult to express. God spoke to me and all things turned out "all right". I am forever grateful.
1 Kings 19 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
I started with this verse because my encounter with God was somewhat similar in that it was not some monumental experience. In fact I’m sure many people will just pass it off as just a strange coincidence, but for me it restored my faith.
This was a long time ago for me when I had just gotten out of the Army and I was going through some very difficult times personally. I was still going to Mass, but I was really having doubts that God existed and was truly listening. In fact I was sitting in a pew just before Mass, thinking of just walking out. I desperately called out and said, “Lord I need to know if you are really there and if you actually care.” This was not a challenge to God to prove to me He existed, but more of a plea for help. Fortunately I stayed for Mass and was soon to have an answer to my prayer.
That night I had one of those dreams that you know is different. I can’t really explain how I know it was different, but I normally don’t remember my dreams and this one was very vivid. It wasn’t very exciting, just a dream about getting ready to go to work. In that dream I went to tie my shoes and the shoestring on the right shoe broke. That was it. That was the whole dream, and I woke up wondering what the heck that was about. I ended going back to sleep and didn’t thinkabout it anymore that night.
In the morning after I had gotten up and eaten breakfast, I had forgotten about the dream and just went about my usual routine to get ready for work. When I went to put on my shoes, the exact same shoelace as in the dream broke. It’s not like the laces were frayed and you expect them to break; these were perfectly good laces or so I thought. At the time I thought, “Lord if this is your way of telling me you are there, it is a little strange.” It got me at least thinking about it. I decided it would be best for me to go to confession later in the week.
I did go to confession the next Saturday after I went to visit my mother in Akron. The old priest that heard my confession was a very devout and holy man by the name of Father Hilkert. After the confession I said my penance and started to walk out of church. Then the strangest thing happened. It was like I was no longer in the church. I don’t know where I was. I was all alone in what felt like a very cavernous place, although I could not see anything. Then I felt like someone, at the time I thought it was the priest, was examining my soul. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was a very mystical experience for me, and I’m not one of those people prone to that type of thing. To be honest, I would not have believed it had it not happened to me. From that point on I definitely knew that God existed, and He is with us through our trials on this earth, and He does let us know He exists sometimes in the simplest ways. Anonymous Parishioner
THE TRUE PRESENCE OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST On Palm Sunday in April of 2017, my mother suffered a stroke. While she was in rehab at the hospital, following the stroke, she had a fall. The fall resulted in a broken hip and a major brain bleed. The morning of the day after her fall was Easter Sunday. On the day when all the earth awakes with the Resurrection of Our Lord, my mother was in a coma and completely unresponsive.
The following week is kind of a blur in my mind, with consults, close monitoring, and decisions about what would happen next for her care. There is, however, one blessed moment that stands out in my mind like a beacon. Friend, neighbor, and fellow parishioner, Mary Jane appeared at the door of the ICU with the Blessed Sacrament. This part is a little foggy, it was clear that mom was unable to receive Holy Communion, but Mary Jane must have asked if the family members gathered there would like to receive, and so she offered the Eucharist and said the words "This is the Body of Christ", at this my mother opened her eyes wide to see her Lord for whom she most obviously had been waiting. My mother knew the true presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. When the moment passed she closed her eyes again, she was in a semi-comatose state for several days, though she gradually opened her eyes, she wasn't speaking, and was unable to swallow.
They were waiting for us to decide whether or not to insert a feeding tube. There seemed to be some confusion about this. I asked to talk to palliative care and was given to understand that withholding the feeding tube would simply result in a compassionate end. We prayed and consulted a couple of priests, including Fr. Kevin. On Friday, evening before the feast of Divine Mercy, I prayed for an answer before the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel. When I left the chapel that night, I didn't have a definite answer. I understood only that I would know what to do by Divine Mercy Sunday. I made no decision but waited in trust.
On Sunday my brother and sister-in-law were met at mom's hospital room by a nurse who told them that mom woke up that morning and asked, "When are they going to give me something to eat?" Mom had nine more months to evangelize to those she would meet at the nursing home. She asked one of the aides, "Do you know where you are going when you die?"
She died nine months later with family members at her side reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
These events fortified my own faith in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I saw my mother welcome Him in the ICU, brought there by an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. He waits for me in the chapel. He spoke to me that night, not in clear explanations, but in quiet assurances, that in His time all would be revealed. I carry the assurance of that in my heart. My Eucharistic Lord is always there and He supplies whatever is needed.