Be still and know that I am God.
(Psalm 46:10; NIV)
Lost in stillness;
Lost in prayer.
Lost in silence,
Joy, and light.
Lost in beauty;
Lost in love.
Lost in darkness: Lost in God.
One in stillness;
One in prayer.
One in silence,
Joy, and light.
One in beauty;
One in love.
One in darkness: One in God.
He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
(Ephesians 1:9-10; RSV)
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.