Life in an Age of Miracles
With its July 1991 cover story, "Do You Believe in Miracles?", Life magazine became one of the first mainstream media sources in the US to acknowledge the thousands of unexplained, 'miraculous' phenomena that have been occurring world-wide.
"...I did a little digging," said Peter Bonventre, senior editor of Life , "and it turned out there'd been a rash of sacred apparitions all over the world. There was also a boom in religious book sales." Then he wondered: "Are Americans turning to spiritual values as a reaction against the greed binge of the 80s? I think so. And along with the fall of Communism, there's been a resurgence of the spirit in Eastern Europe too. There's a world-wide spiritual revival, and it's one of the great stories of our time ..."
The cover story describes the apparitions of the Virgin Mary which have been taking place in Medjugorje (in the former Yugoslavia) during the previous ten years. As similar appearances have been occurring unreported in Africa, Korea and the Ukraine since the early 1980's, part of the miracle is that such a topic finally made the cover of a major American publication.
The early years of this modern "Age of Miracles" also saw the first appearance of the phenomenon known as the Crosses of Light. There was both local and national coverage when they began appearing in El Monte, California, in May 1988. The Crosses have since spread as far as Canada, the Philippines, France and New Zealand. They appear fully-formed as holograms, usually in the frosted glass of bathroom windows. They radiate a golden, healing light and they have touched the lives of hundreds who have come to witness them.
Since the late 1980's the number of miracles being reported and documented has grown so fast that it has reached a point today where it seems like the whole world is being flooded with signs - from weeping icons and bleeding statues to crop circles and encounters with angels. The reports keep coming in, from nearly every country and culture imaginable and witnessed literally by millions of human beings.
is not whether something is happening but rather - what in the
world is going on?
is a compilation of articles from the magazine Share International.
However the original source for virtually all of the stories is
the news media, local, national, and international, including Reuters,
CNN, TIME Magazine, and the BBC.
The Age of Miracles has no end!
(THE INDEPENDENT, UK, 23 September 1995)
While the media and scientists still struggle to find an explanation for these events, many Hindus believe they are a sign that a great teacher has been born. Journalist Rebecca Mae, from The Daily Express, wrote " most of the worshipper said they only went to the temple occasionally and were certainly not religious fanatics. But they were adamant that a new god had been born to save the world from evil."
At the Southall temple in London where thousands had witnessed the miracles, the chairman Mr Bharbari offered his explanation. "All I know is that our Holy Book says that wherever evil prevails on earth then some great Soul will descend to remove the bondage of evil so that right shall reign. We believe this miracle, and those happening at other Hindu temples, may be a sign that a great Soul has descended, like Lord Krishna or Jesus Christ."
The Hindu milk
miracle was not the first such event of recent times, and it certainly
has not been the last. The 'Age of Miracles' seems to be building
up to a climax with new stories breaking the headlines every month.
Images of Christ Appear
In December 1995, Australian wheat-farmer Julian Webb witnessed the materialisation of Christ's face on a hard slab of granite rock. It was night and Mr Webb saw a shaft of light illuminate the rock. He watched amazed as the face of Christ slowly appeared from nowhere. Some days beforehand he had heard a voice coming from the area of the rock, saying "Let I, the Lord, show you the way." Mr Webb, who rarely attends church, said : "I'm just an ordinary bloke who's experienced a miracle and people can take it or leave it."
Christmas Day that year, the Iranian newspaper Akhbar carried the
following story: "It is reported in various parts of the city
(Teheran) that an image of Jesus has been seen on fences or in windows.
People have gathered to witness it for themselves". Reuters
news agency quoted local sources as saying that the face had appeared
on the wall of somebody's flat and that hundreds of people, Christian
and Muslim alike, had flocked to the building. The spontaneous healing
of a paralysed girl was also reported.
Crosses of Light
1996 saw the biggest cross of light story since the miraculous holographic images first appeared just over ten years ago. In January CBS television reported on giant glowing crosses, up to 40 feet high, which had suddenly appeared in the windows of a tiny Baptist church in Knoxville, Tennessee. In a radio interview given only four months later, the local pastor said that 29,000 people had come to see the crosses and several healings and other miracles had taken place.
He also told a Share International correspondent that "My board members and I have had some strange assurances that something is really going on. One night, before people came to see the crosses, we were sitting on one side of the church, when several of us saw a tall man wearing a turban appear on the opposite side of the church and walk slowly forward next to the wall. He was absolutely perfect in form.
"Two other people then appeared who had more of a cloudy appearance and they followed him forward. Every couple of steps the last person in line turned slightly towards us and waved in a friendly manner. When they reached the front of the church, they turned around and we expected to see the two followers leading the way back , but the first man was again in front and the others followed, as before. When they had made the walk three times, they disappeared. That certainly caught the attention of some of our members. They're still telling everybody about it!
"And then I got another experience. I had to go to the bathroom one night and on my way back to bed a small cross appeared in the room and I heard a voice say: 'Keep those church doors open and it wont be long till I will be back'. I said: 'Who are you?' Then the cross and the voice disappeared. I thought I was losing my mind for a minute."
Last year the
media also carried reports on two other crosses which had recently
appeared in California, while on the European continent, the crosses
also began appearing in Slovenia for the first time. Crosses of
light first appeared in poor Hispanic communities in Southern California
in 1986, and have since then spread to other parts of the world.
Angel stories continue to abound.
A UK television documentary called "Entertaining Angels Unawares" claimed that at the end of the 20th century, there are now more reported angel sightings than ever before. A national poll taken in America showed that 69 per cent of the population believed in angels, and that 32 per cent reported an angel encounter. Ten present-day angel encounters were reconstructed on screen, some connected with healings, some giving practical help, and some providing comfort or reassurance in time of distress or anxiety, or bringing about a change in lifestyle.
In one episode Ellie Baker describes a visit to her critically ill husband in Germany. There she was allocated an interpreter, a lady, who sat with her for three days and three nights outside her husband's room. In spite of Ellie's constant prayers his condition did not improve. However during a full hour of prayer at his bedside during which she called on the angels for help, she opened her eyes and saw a 10-foot-high golden angel standing at the foot of the bed. Then her husband opened his eyes and spoke to her.
She was so overcome
that she left the room in tears. Outside was her 'interpreter' sitting
with a harp in her hand, which she proceeded to play then and there.
Thereafter Ellie's husband made what the doctors called a "miraculous
The Man in White
An even more interesting programme was produced by the Evangelical Broadcasting Company in Holland. The story centred around a church in a slum area of Cairo where parishioners had experienced incredible healings. In one example a doctor told of a woman whose back had been crushed by a 5-ton block of stone. 40 men were needed to remove the stone before she was rushed to the local clinic. She was operated on but nevertheless ended as a paraplegic. However "God's healing power" cured her; she now walks, her crushed vertebrae are sound, her back is straight and she has recovered full control of all bodily functions.
Later in the programme a studio guest of Middle Eastern origin, was introduced as an expert on spiritual developments in that part of the world. He said there was mounting evidence that such miracles were more numerous than one might think and are taking place all over the Middle East and the Gulf States. But it is not only Christians who are having experiences of Jesus or God; many Muslims also see him. People see Jesus in visions and dreams. "Whole villages are visited by the 'man in the white robes' ; people see him and recognise him. They call him Aisa, the Muslim Arabic name for Jesus."
Another programme made by the same broadcaster describes Jews who are having parallel experiences. One studio guest was Historian and author Lance Lambert, a Messianic Jew who believes "that we are in the beginning of an unbelievable movement in the Spirit of God" whereby many Jews "for the first time are discovering that Jeshua ( Jesus ) is the Messiah for Israel. The larger number of Messianic Jews that I know have all had visitations or a supernatural revelation of the person of the Messiah."
homeless people were saying that the Christ was back and that He
had been walking among them healing the sick. Meanwhile, Hollywood
has obviously spotted a trend and begun to produce films featuring
angels and similar themes.
The indigenous world is also being swept by 'Millennium fever'. The most significant of signs for native Americans are the white buffalo that have recently been born in the USA. The first birth was in Colorado in 1993, and a second named Miracle was born in Wisconsin in 1994. A third was born in May, 1996, at a ranch on the Pine Ridge reservation of South Dakota. Of the latest birth, a local medicine man commented, "These are omens, and they are happening in the most unexpected place among the poorest people in the country. They are good omens, if we pay attention to them. For us, this would be something like coming to see Jesus lying in the manger."
In 1996 there
was another event experienced by Native Americans which has similarities
to the many angel sightings. The media reported on a spiritual renewal
that was sweeping through Navajo country after deities appeared
in May to two respected tribal women. Thousands of Navajo are now
visiting the site in Arizona where this took place.
Virgin Mary manifestations around the globe
1996 was a big year for manifestations associated with the Virgin Mary. Early in the year the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reported that thousands of people were flocking to the house of Rosa Lopez, in Florida. She was offering messages from the Virgin Mary after seeing visions of both Jesus and Mary in her own home. Others also report witnessing the vision, or noticing an unusual feeling of peace and tranquillity at her house. Pilgrims also reported that the water from the fountain in her garden had healing properties.
Similar events took place when images of the Holy Mother appeared on the roof of a church in San Francisco, and on the inside wall of a small country church in South Australia. Father Lauriola, of the Immaculate Conception Church in San Francisco, told CNN "We have a sign that is pulling our attention toward something supernatural". Some visitors said they could smell the scent of roses and had noticed a very strong presence. There were also reports of healings.
In a Reuters news agency report on the Australian image, the parish priest was quoted as saying "Now everybody's coming in. Sceptics, secular humanists, atheists, doubters, people who have no time for the church, and people who are faithful see it... This has become a people's shrine." A spring of water with healing properties has also been found under the church.
Another San Francisco story came to light last year. Since 1991, a young Filipino man, Carmelo Cortez, has had numerous experiences of the Madonna and is able to manifest detailed images of the Christ, Mary, and others onto rose petals.
One journalist, writing for Signs of Our Times, described how Cortez "took a flower from a vase of fresh white roses which we had brought. One by one, Carmelo placed a petal on our shoulders as we said our prayers. After a few moments, we were asked to take a look at the petals. To our astonishment, what were originally plain white rose petals had now on them the image of the crucified Christ." Others present "cried in exultation" as images of the Madonna, the Sacred Heart, Mother and Child, St Joseph and Child, St Francis of Assisi and many others, appeared on their petals.
Another kind of miracle took place in Toronto, Canada, hundreds of people have been visiting a small Greek Orthodox church, where a painting of the Madonna is shedding tears. According to the church priest the icon began weeping profusely after a Sunday mass, leaving a large puddle below. Visitors soon began pouring in as word of the miracle spread.
year of Madonna miracles ended back in Florida again when reports
were beamed worldwide of a three storey high image of the Virgin
Mary which had appeared on the outside of a bank.
1996 Christmas Miracle - Weeping icon at Jesus' birthplace
According to hundreds of eyewitnesses, a painting of Jesus is weeping red tears. The painting is no ordinary icon for it hangs in the Bethlehem Church of the Nativity, above the very spot where Christ is said to have been born.
Many hundreds of Christian pilgrims, of all denominations, together with Jews and Muslims, say they have seen the tears. The weeping was first noticed by the 60 year old Muslim woman who cleans that part of the church every morning.
Sadika Hamdan told reporters that she was working alone in the shrine when suddenly "... a light came from the column and the picture of the Messiah Jesus, peace be upon him, began to cry. It was beautiful, beautiful. He opened and closed his eye and later tears fell, red tears. At first, I was very frightened, and I wondered why Jesus was speaking out to me, a Muslim. But I went and got the brothers, and they saw it too, and we realised it was a miracle. I have been coming to this church for 22 years and it is the first time in history that I have seen such a sight."
At the time of the report about 600 people were visiting the shrine each day, and thousands were expected to attend the Sunday services. As well as the tears, pilgrims have also been reporting that the painting of Jesus was winking at them. There are of course no shortage of sceptics dismissing the whole story, but Stephanie Nolen, writing for a Canadian newspaper, had this to say :
"This reporter went to Bethlehem armed with the double protection of lapsed Catholicism and journalistic cynicism, and joined a crowd of about 100 kerchiefed Cypriot women clutching candles and videocorders. 'Tears, tears,' they were whispering, some with tears in their own eyes. So I looked up - and Jesus winked at me."
(Source - Reuters
28 November; The Globe and Mail, Canada, 4 December; CNN)
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