The Calling

The Calling

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories of Faith

The Calling

There was nothing spoken. Words seemed unnecessary as I gazed in amazement at the most beautiful face I had ever seen in my life. I wanted to recall every detail of her divine face always. Yet now, when I try to describe it, I have no words, only the feeling of her divine presence. At the time, I didn’t even question that this was happening to me. I allowed myself to feel the experience and accept the reality with peace and contentment.

I had just moved out of my parents’ house when I saw this affirmation of my prayers, Mary, the Blessed Mother of God. My eyes opened, and I focused on her face. I couldn’t believe she was appearing to me, of all people, and in my bedroom. It all seemed so surreal and so unbelievable. Shouldn’t Mary, Mother of God, be appearing at the Vatican or some holy shrine? What possible business did she have with me?

A few months later, I was returning from Italy, and as we were preparing to land in New York City a stranger approached me. The middle-aged woman said, “I just returned from a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, and I feel strongly that I need to give you this picture of Mary.” You can imagine my shock as the emerald eyes of this compelling woman held me captive. Of the five hundred passengers on board the plane, she had chosen me.

Normally I would have put the picture in my room at home, but for some reason I decided to frame it and place it in my office at work. It sat on my desk for several years. One day a coworker approached me and told me he had always been drawn to the picture, but now he seemed to have a real connection. He said he was worried about his wife. She had been visiting a home in Yonkers, where oil supposedly was seeping from a statue of the Blessed Mother. The poor man thought his wife may have lost her mind.

I said softly, “It could be true.” I added that I would be happy to investigate for him.

On my way that bright morning in April, I thought, This place, Yonkers, is near the Bronx. If this miracle is indeed true, shouldn’t it be happening in Rome or Jerusalem? But as I drove up to the humble, freshly painted light blue house, I realized that, as usual, anything could happen. I would try to open my heart to the possibilities.

I arrived just before 7:00 A.M., a bit early for a Saturday, but I wanted to be sure that I had the right house, and I wanted time to sit and think about the situation. But before I could even examine the house, a tiny, wrinkled woman with silvery hair and coal-colored eyes approached my car, seemingly from out of nowhere. Her wide grin and quiet whisper assured me she was glad I came at such an early hour. In fact, it almost seemed as if she was expecting me.

As I entered her home, I was taken aback by the dizzying scent. The woman seemed to know. She grabbed my arm and whispered something in my ear. I turned to her as if in a dream and realized she had said “Rose-scented.” She motioned me toward a small room off the kitchen, and as I approached I hesitated on the threshold as the scent overwhelmed my senses. I had never experienced anything like it in my entire life—it was sweet yet pungent, light yet powerful. I can still remember how the scent seemed to surround me like a fog, lingering above my head, then flowing downward and around my body like a soft, comforting blanket.

And then I saw it. The statue of Mary was literally oozing with oil. My first instinct was to walk around trying to find the pump or electrical connection. This had to be some kind of hoax. But when I felt the oil, I knew it was real. When you come in contact with the divine, you know—you just know—and it was happening to me.

I made several visits to Muna’s house after that. On one particular visit, she informed me that the oil had begun seeping from the walls and furniture as well as from the statue. She said she didn’t know what to do about it, so she used cotton to catch some of the oil. She was giving away the cotton-soaked oil and offered me a bag. I accepted it, of course, brought home the precious gift, and placed it on my dresser. Little did I know that I soon would need to use it.

When I got the call several months later, I knew I had to go. I was afraid, but I knew I had to do it. The baby was only three months old when she contracted meningitis, and as I arrived at the hospital and saw all the long faces, I knew the prognosis was not a good one; she was not expected to live. If she did, the doctor said, there would be severe damage. I talked to the family, and every one of them was open to any prayers or any form of healing that might save their baby. I didn’t know why or how I had come to be there or who in fact had known that I had the oil, but what I did know was that I had to use it for healing, and I had to do it now.

I walked into the immaculately white hospital room and saw the helpless child lying listlessly on the white linens, tubes coming from what seemed like every part of her tiny body. I had a very strange feeling that I knew exactly what to do. I walked over and touched her spine, gently rubbing the oil into her skin so as not to dislodge the tubes. She didn’t move, but I swear I saw a twitch of a smile as I continued to rub the oil up and down her spine.

Two days later, little Eva was alert, nursing and back in her family’s arms. The doctor called it a miracle. Today Eva is perfectly fine.

From the silence of that first vision, from the lack of words and the awe, from the feeling of the divine presence come the peace and the contentment in knowing that I have helped to bring joy and comfort to others. That I, an ordinary girl from New Jersey, have been given the gift of grace is still quite unbelievable to me, but I have accepted this calling. And when I am called again, I hope that I will hear and react accordingly, for if I have learned anything from this experience it is the old cliché—that it is in giving that you truly receive. And perhaps that is the true miracle.

~Dawn J. as told to Cheri Lomonte

Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul 2

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