Counting our blessings is to be grateful to God who is the giver of our life. So many surprises are gifts from Him Who has shown us that He exists and is always there for us. There are moments when we are not aware of His presence.
This life is full of surprises that leaves us in awe and wonder for the exceptional things which are done and are happening around us. I have had two significant experiences that made me feel in awe, wonder and are unexplained by human understanding. In the end I could only conclude that was due to divine intervention.
The first experience was after Christmas. I was a novice at that time. There was a three-day live-in vocation orientation in the convent and novices were given the task to prepare the prayer room for the girls who had booked in for this, and we were the prayer animators for all the ongoing sessions and morning and evening prayers. The last day of our prayer was in the evening. The following morning I was the one who first went up to the prayer room to prepare for the morning liturgy. Coming nearer to the prayer room there was a burning smell and I noticed ashes on the floor. I felt nervous and asked myself what happened. When I opened the door, I saw that the decorations in the prayer room were burned: Christmas lights, cloths, tea candles were all consumed, part of the wall that was made of light materials such as coconut midribs was now black and even a small part of the carpet was burned. Yet, somehow the fire had not gone further.
None of us knew how the fire had started. We were all surprised. One thing above all surprised us the most: the tabernacle for the repose of Jesus was a “Nipa Hut” – a small house comprised of light materials like bamboo strips. The small house was on top of a trunk – that was also not completely burned. The cloth surrounding the tabernacle was burned. I began to wonder: a divine intervention must have happened. This shocked us because we realised that if the fire had grown we would all have been burned, the whole convent consumed. The guilty feelings we experienced haunted us. We were grateful to God because He had protected us.
The other experience I had was during the Lenten season. Some of us sisters had been assigned by the parish priest to various small villages that belonged to the parish. The people who lived very far, far away from the parish had great difficulty attending the Triduum celebrations and the holy and Easter Sunday. So the parish priest, who solely managed the parish, asked for help. He took the initiative to organize the lay parishioners and the religious orders – even those who had not undergone training for the good of any religious activities that helped the parish to grow in the spiritual life and for the wellbeing of a person. He wanted to involve everybody in the parish activities.
During Holy Week, the religious brothers, sisters and some lay ministers were busy leading the liturgy, giving recollections and communion to the people, Stations of the Cross, vigil, and many other activities. We prepared what we needed ahead of time and the proper liturgy of that day. We were given the task to animate the liturgy on how to celebrate those Holy Week days.
Usually our congregation sent sisters in pairs to the villages most in need of our presence. We were either adopted by a family or if there was a little room adjacent to the chapel where we were, we would stay there and the villagers provided us with food. Once we had eaten lunch, we made a home visit to invite the villagers to attend the Holy Week liturgies. At the same time we chose people who would represent the twelve apostles, a volunteer to share their thoughts and significant experiences relating to the reading about the last seven words of Jesus before His death on Good Friday, and assigned a family with whom each the Stations of the Cross would be prayed. On Saturday everybody prepared for Easter Sunday morning, including choosing those who would play the angels to sing the Alleluia. While it was a lot of work for us, it was also very satisfying as people helped with many things – from decorating the chapel, singing practice, readings, trained lay ministers or sisters leading the liturgy, and so on.
We were in charge of keeping the consecrated host for Holy Communion. On one occasion we left the ciborium with a lighted candle which was covered with the corporal, as Jesus was in repose in the room where we stayed. Perhaps, because it was windy, the fire from the candle had burned the cloth, then a small table and the wall. Fortunately, the owner of the house had smelled something burning when she opened the door. Although the fire had started, it was under control; God is good.
Little miracles and big miracles happen in our lives, but sometimes we do not think about where it comes from. Surely, God’s intervention for us lets us know and believe that He is there for us. A lot of miracles happen regarding the Sacred Host, religious materials, people, and many other things that lead us to understand more about God in our life.
Let us continue rediscovering the miracles which happen in our life, whether they are big or small, and thank the Lord that He is always keeping in touch with us in our daily life journey. The biggest miracle is the life that He has given us, and He uses us to witness that God is present with us.