News Photo of Our Lady of Zeitoun
I've always followed the stories of Fatima and Lourdes. Still follow the apparition accounts from Garaband From a young age, I was obsessed with the idea that Our Lady and Jesus still came back to earth to appear to lucky folks who were tasked with spreading their messages far and wide.
I also developed this desire to have apparitions, myself. I wanted to experience seeing Our Lady. My friend, Mary, and I would sit in front of a statue of the Child Jesus and swear His Eyes moved, or that His Hand twitched.
I remember one night, after seeing a documentary on Noah's Ark, I went to bed shaking in my boots because I was SURE God was going to appear to me. I cried into my pillow saying, "God, please don't come. I'm sorry. I'm scared to see You!"
I look back on that now and smile, shaking my head in disbelief at how my mind sometimes worked. I was probably in 3rd or 4th grade at the time, but my desire to (and fear of) seeing God hasn't really changed all that much. Ha ha ha.
The photo above was taken by a reporter for an Egyptian newspaper (still in business!) called Watani ("My Homeland"). For more information on that particular apparition, click the photo above. Turns out Our Lady has been appearing again in that part of the world in an apparent attempt to comfort the Coptics after a recent massacre they endured at the hands of their Muslim neighbors.
Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because I realized I harbored a jealousy towards those folks who have been bearing witness to these events. "How blessed are they!" I thought to myself. "How lucky to be able to have such concrete proof that God exists and is an active, willing participant in our lives!"
A thought then struck me, and I was both shamed and full of gratitude.
How blessed am I? THAT is the question I should have been cycling repeatedly in my mind. I never really needed to see an apparition of Christ (or His Mother) to accept His Presence. The Holy Spirit had opened my heart from a young age to simply accept God. I always felt His Presence. I always saw His Movements in my life. I never needed "physical confirmation" of my faith. And as He said to Thomas upon being prodded in disbelief, "Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." (John 20: 29).
In all reality, I am blessed. Such a gift I was given, and I've just been taking it for granted. So many other folks struggle deeply with their faith. I may have struggled with certain aspects of my faith, but I never had to contend with atheism (or agnosticism). Faith is a gift, and the ability to see (some) of His Actions in my life was also a gift.
So instead of harboring even slight jealousies of these visionaries, I should instead count myself as one of the blessed to be able to see Christ in a different, most intimate way.
And once more, special thanks to the Holy Spirit for such a kind revelation. :)
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