Many years ago when I was looking for work after completing University, my mother and I prayed a lot together about many intentions, including my desire to find a good job where I could put my education, skills, and talents to use. It was a very difficult time when I often felt hopeless and dejected; however I found much solace in prayer, reading, and quiet.
But something else happened to my mother and I during that period which still evokes feelings of wonder, happiness, and comfort. It was just before Easter, and what follows is the honest truth.
My parents and I were getting ready to go to Mass one evening. While at home I put some money into my handbag in preparation for the offertory collection – there was nothing else in my bag. So off we went to Mass. During the offertory I put all of this money into the collection pouch when it came to our pew. My handbag was empty; I remember looking into it and there was the blackness of the fabric staring back at me. After Mass we came home and I opened my bag to find two shining silver twenty cent coins lying at the bottom of it – I picked them up and examined them closely. I found them to be unusual because they were sparkling clean coins that looked like they had just been freshly minted and untouched by any hands.
I remember that I was silent in my confusion, but before I could utter any word, at exactly the same time I heard my mother exclaim from her room across the way that she had found coins in her handbag that had not been there before. Unbeknownst to me, she too had put all of her money into the collection and had left her handbag empty. We met in the hallway and looked at each other, discovering that we both had the same experience. She had two brand new shiny twenty cent pieces in her bag and I had found the same in mine. Forty cents each.
So what could it mean? God was handing out free money? Had someone slipped the money into our bags? Why would they? I started to question myself. Had I put the extra money in my bag and forgotten about it? Had they slipped into my bag from some hidden hole in the lining or a secret pocket? Like most ladies though, I ‘knew’ my handbag like a well-worn pair of shoes – there was no hole or secret compartment, and I know how much money I had brought with me. I retraced my steps in my mind and knew that there was nothing remaining in there after the offertory collection. My mother was adamant that she had done likewise.
I settled that this was, for me, a sign from God that He would provide, that I needed to put my trust in Him, my prayers would be answered, and I would find work again. I don’t know how long it was after this but I eventually did find employment. My prayers were answered, and God did provide for me.
Fast forward to this year and during the Lenten season my mother recounted this story to refresh our memories and marvel at what we had experienced. I never forgot about it but it was good to reminisce about this unusual event in our lives. This year however my mother mentioned something else which I had never really considered. Forty cents. Forty days of Lent. New coins, new beginnings after a time of trial. Was the quantity of forty cents symbolic?
I look back on our ‘silver coins’ moment and cannot definitively say why it happened, but I think that my mother may be right, or at least it provides another perspective. Numbers and symbols are important. God often uses simple, every day things (and simple people!) to get through to us. After His forty days in the wilderness, and after his death on the Cross, all was made new again. Freshly minted. And He will always provide for our every need if we ask Him.
So at the time my mother and I put our set of forty cent coins into our purses to mingle with the other coins there. They have undoubtedly been spent and are now in other hands. With some regret we both agree today that it would have been good to have kept them as a memento of this little miracle in our lives. But at the end of the day, they are just material things and the importance of the message has strongly remained with us.
I share this in the hope that it may also give you some encouragement in your times of trial. There are so many miracles from Heaven – both big and small – which are occurring in our world at this very moment. Some of them are still under investigation and are awaiting an official response from the Catholic Church. Bearing this in mind, I think that it is still important that we learn about them to hear what God is trying to say to us. Trust God, God is here, God is real, God will provide for you, God wants you back, stop and focus on the eternal, and so on.
Modern miracles are often ignored, left unreported in our news bulletins, or are ridiculed as the result of a disturbed or hysterical mind. But I know that they are possible.
Perhaps you hold a personal experience dear to yourself? Perhaps you may like to share something with everyone in the comments section below to encourage others?
If God loves us so much and is so attentive to our supplications that He chooses to put some coins into the handbags of an ordinary mother and daughter in the suburbs as a message for us, then why not? After all, He gave us His own Son in the form of a tiny baby to die for our salvation, and He gives us Himself in the form of the Eucharist every single day – a delicate wafer!
Sometimes miracles appear when we least expect them to. Sometimes they are just in front of our faces. Let us pay attention to the God of miracles and messages. He is looking at you– a miracle of His own creation – right now!