October 27, 2017

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Blessed Mother, are you there? Child’s innocent encounter a lesson in faith

Debra TomaselliConsidering the 100th anniversary of the last of the six Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, where Our Lady appeared to Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto and to Servant of God Lucia Santos, I must share this story, stemming from a particular trip I made years ago to Conyers, Ga., where a visionary reportedly received messages from the Blessed Mother. Thousands gathered on a rural hillside to pray the rosary during the apparitions, which, like Fatima, occurred on the 13th of the month.

I’d driven hours to meet my sister-in-law and her daughter in Conyers. As customary, we arrived the night before to spread a blanket in the field, marking our spot for the next day. I agreed to do that while Gina went to the bookstore. We’d meet back at the car.

Mindlessly, I let Jenna, 9, race across the field to join Aunt Gina and cousin Jenny. I never expected Sara, 5, to react, but when she saw them scampering away, she exploded. Nobody heard. They were too far away for us to catch.

It was a beautiful afternoon, but the walk across the field was agonizing. Sara pitched a fit.

She was hungry. She was tired. She’d rather be with her sister and her cousin. I just wanted to get the job done.

When we finally reached our destination, I tossed the rumpled blanket onto the grass. As I did, I overheard the chatter of a small group nearby.

“Do you see it?” one woman shouted.

“Yes!” a man exclaimed.

“Look!” another cried.

A hush fell over the group, but I didn’t react. I’d been here when others experienced the “miracle of the sun,” but I never saw it. Instead, I feverishly arranged the blanket.

Suddenly, I felt Sara silently tugging at my shorts.

I looked at her.

Her eyes were transfixed on the sun. Her shoulders were relaxed, the tears dried, her little fists unclenched. She seemed to be in another world.

“Do you see it?” I asked.

Speechless, she nodded. I followed her gaze upward, but the sun’s glare turned me away.

I looked at Sara, still staring aloft.

“What do you see?” I asked.

Without blinking, she responded. “It’s spinning. I see colors around the sun.”

A hush settled over us. By the time I finished arranging the blanket, Sara no longer felt drawn to stare at the sun. It was like she re-entered this world, a changed child.

We held hands, skipped and laughed as we returned to the car. When we saw Aunt Gina and the girls, we couldn’t wait to tell them what happened.

The rest of the evening was uneventful. We ate at McDonalds, where the kids jumped in the colorful balls, laughed and played.

Some question whether the visionary was fabricating the messages or not. It never mattered to me. The prayerful experiences affected my life. But, honestly, I believe a 5-year-old couldn’t have manufactured the experience Sara had on that hillside that day.

Blessed Mother, pray for us.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at dtomaselli@cfl.rr.com.)

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