Something very unusual happened today. It was a cold, grey morning, and I set off to walk the short distance to church at about 9.30, as usual. This generally takes about 5 minutes, depending on how slow I am.
I was the first person to arrive, so I sat down to pray in the stillness, whilst waiting for mass to start at 10 o’clock. I remember checking my watch, only to find that it had stopped at 9.35, so I didn’t know the exact time.
The church was quite dark, apart from a small spotlight above the statue of Our Lady of Rushen, and a dimly-illuminated panel of the Last Supper on the front of the altar. As always, the red tabernacle flame was flickering in its glass holder.
One by one, a few people arrived quietly, the silence deepening as they settled down to pray.
Hearing the priest come out of the sacristy, I looked up, and watched as he prepared for the service by lighting the altar candles, and the first two Advent candles. These were on an ornate metal stand, next to the altar. The first took several seconds to light, but the second burned immediately.
As the second flame steadied, the priest, the stand, and a small area around them were suddenly bathed in a glowing, translucent, Marian-blue light. Time seemed to stand still. I gazed in wonder, unsure of what I was seeing. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Was I imagining it? Could anyone else see what was happening? The effect was soft, yet bright; exquisitely beautiful, mysterious, and awesome. Overwhelmed and disturbed, I hid my face, and prayed, full of confusion. I had no sense of how long this continued, but it couldn’t have been more than a few minutes.
Then there was a click, and the main church lights came on. I looked up, but the radiant turquoise-blue light had disappeared. The little sacring-bell rang; we all stood up as the priest entered to say mass. I knew it was exactly 10am, as he is always very punctual.
After the service, I stayed in the church to pray, then walked back slowly, feeling very strange, and trying to make sense of the whole experience.
When I got home, I found an online message from a friend, which included the following sentence:
May you know the stirring of His Spirit within you,
guiding and sustaining you today.
The message had been sent at 9.44am, which must have been just around the time when the strange light appeared.
Every perfect gift is from above (James 1:17; ESV).
1. There is no perfect mother
Except Mary –
She is the Queen of Grace,
Who loves us all.
2. There is no perfect father
Except Yahweh –
He is the God who hears us
When we call.
3. There is no perfect brother
Except Jesus –
He is the great High Priest,
Who leads the way.
4. There is no perfect friend
Except his Spirit –
He is the One who helps us
When we pray.
1. The angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women (Luke 1:28; DRA).
Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head (Revelation 12:1; NLT).
When Jesus saw his mother standing there [at the cross] beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-7; NLT).
They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus (Acts 1:14; NLT).
2. You are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48; NLT).
I am Yahweh – the Lord (Exodus 6:2; NLT).
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help (Psalm 34:17; NLT).
3. Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father is heaven is my brother and sister and mother (Matthew 12:48-50; NLT).
God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever (Hebrews 7:28; NLT).
It was only right that he [God] should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation (Hebrews 2:10; NLT).
Jesus told him, “I am the way” (John 14:6; NLT).
4. You are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me (John 15:15; NLT).
Now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God (Romans 5:11; NLT).
I will send you the Advocate [or Comforter, or Encourager, or Counsellor] – the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me (John 15:26; NLT).
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26; NRSV).
You’re the Father of Jesus,
And also our Father within.
Christ’s Mother, the Lady of Grace:
You’re our Mother;
Your children: our kin.
Brother, born here on the earth:
You share in our frail flesh
Spirit in all humankind:
You make us all one
In your love.
1. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3; NLT).
You are the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16; NLT).
2. God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings favoured woman!” […] You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:28,31-2; NLT).
When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home (John 19:26-7; NLT).
3. She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’ (Matthew 1:23; NLT).
Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35; NIV).
It was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:17; NLT).
4. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and remind you of all things I said to you (John 14:26; YLT).
“In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all people” (Acts 2:17; NLT).
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you (Romans 8:11; NLT).
I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one(John 17:22; NLT).