People of faith have supernatural experiences all the time. God is Himself supernatural after all. How else would He communicate with us? The experiences of St. Faustina, St. Bernadette, the students of Kibeho, Sister Agnes of Akito, the shepherd children of Fatima and many, many others are mighty demonstrations of the power of Heaven when it wants to get Earth's attention. Each of us who strives to live a devout life could I'm sure talk about varying degrees of supernatural experiences as well, though we hesitate to share our stories with anyone.
Gee, I wonder why?
Just a moment ago--yet again--I heard another Jesus-sighting story. Our local radio station's morning show (that is on against my will since I share an office with two other people) dropped the story in that ever-so-slightly facetious tone only trained media personnel can achieve between another joke about wardrobe malfunction and the traffic report. It will never cease to annoy me how mainstream media will ignore stories of real apparitions and the grave messages that always come with them and then latch onto ridiculous claims of images of Our Lord or Our Lady appearing on things like grilled cheese sandwiches, cloud formations, superstore receipts, pet fur, on building walls...
I hate that matters of faith have been reduced to being the butts of really bad jokes. These bogus stories like we hear on the mainstream media don't help. Some pretty compelling supernatural experiences are targets for second-rate commedians, which is sad, since they're some of the most powerful tools for conversion out there. I've had experiences like these, as have my husband, many of my friends and I'm sure many of you; but I rarely open up to anyone about my experiences. I can just hear the conversation now:
"One afternoon I was sitting on the sofa in prayer and suddenly I heard a voice that I just know was The Lord."Seriously, friends, how do you combat the ignorance of a closed mind and a hard heart? The above is an example of what we've been doing, and as you can see we give them plenty of ammo.
"You hear voices?"
"What? Oh, no. No, of course not, but it wasn't like that--"
"How do you know it wasn't just your imagination?"
"Well I know because I know The Lord."
"Really? How do you "know The Lord"? Does he also appear to on your morning toast?"
"Well no, of course not, but--"
"Do you believe Jesus appears on toast?"
"No, I'm sure He doesn't, but your--"
"What about on a K-mart receipt? You ever see that?"
"Well then how can you believe you heard Jesus talking to you?"
"Because they're not the same thing at all. The toast is--"
"Oh, no, no, no, they are the same thing. They are the very same thing. People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear."
"But how can you possibly know that I wanted--"
"Look, it's either your imagination or you're a nut-job religious fanatic, and I'm leaning toward the latter, since you just admitted to me that you hear voices, didn't you?"
So look at this as an option:
"One afternoon I was sitting on the sofa in prayer and suddenly I heard a voice that I just know was The Lord."Or how about this one:
"You hear voices?"
"Do you want to just ridicule me? Because if so, we're done here."
"I've done similar to both of these, and the conversations always ended abruptly. Charity does not mean letting someone kick you in the teeth, and turning the other cheek doesn't mean being a doormat. Faith is not entertainment. It's the ideal upon which we base our entire existence. Look to Christ in the gospels as our model in this. How often during his 3-year ministry up until his arrest did Jesus allow Himself to become the butt of a joke?
How do you "know The Lord"? Does he also appear to on your morning toast?"
"Do you want to talk about fake toast stories or do you want to hear this story?"
Don't you allow it, either.
And if any one will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomor'rah than for that town. Mt. 10:14-15