Today I went to the same spot I go to around 3 pm each day to pray. It’s a spot that affords a nice view of Southeast Arizona –in the winter fields of gold rise for 20 miles eastward before blending with the pink and blues of the Chiricahua Mountains northeast of Douglas.
There wasn’t anything unusual about going to pray at this spot today, except a special sense of eagerness since I didn’t make it to this spot yesterday, breaking a four or five day trend. In fact, I didn’t even say my usual prayers yesterday. It was an interruption in my commitment, for as well as I can remember, I’ve been faithful to this commitment for the last two months, i.e. saying a Divine Mercy chaplet at 3pm.
A friend of mine, Frank McKenzie, a man who’s experienced many phenomenal things over his many years of quiet service to the Lord, reminded me of the importance of prayer each day, stating that our rosary is really the pistol we use in the fight against evil. Oftentimes in our hope to change the world for the better we forget about the nature of the battle… a spiritual battle where prayer is our best weapon.
He also reminded me that the Divine Mercy chaplet is usually said around 3pm, coinciding with the time of day the Lord died on Good Friday. Although I’ve said the chaplet periodically many times beforehand, I haven’t been faithful to saying this prayer daily and at this time until my last fateful encounter with Frank about two months ago. I’ve also been faithful to saying a rosary daily, well for the most part, for the last seven or eight months.
More to it, about two weeks ago I also started praying “The Seven Offerings of the Precious Blood.” This latter prayer is truly amazing in its breadth and is a very special way we can offer something to God while being reminded of the price Jesus paid for us and His Church. So that you have a sense of how special this prayer is, consider taking a moment to read it:
Another aspect of my prayer life that I’ve been working on is spending more time in praise. Thankfully, about four months ago my roommate gave me a little book that I’ve found very helpful in this regard through reading the praises found on pages 10-12. Namely, Linda Schubert’s book, “Miracle Hour: A method of prayer that will change your life.”
Now I’d been going to this particular spot on my father’s property every day for the last week or so. It’s a special place that I’ve often gone to pray in years past and was also the place where I first started reading Scripture, becoming more fully aware of God’s goodness. In my family, we casually refer to this place as ‘the back of the barn,’ though it’s really a Quonset hut that my dad bought over 30 years ago. When he had cows he used the front section to store oats, hay and salt blocks, so we’ve gotten into the habit of thinking of it as a barn. Today we use it mostly for storage things we don’t really need, including some clothes from the 70’s I cleaned out a few months back, clothes that are now considered vintage and would probably sell for a nice price on ebay.
At any rate, today when I went there to pray I discovered what appeared to be blood on the wooden ramp, a ramp which I built from a few scraps of old wood about three months ago when attempting to make a dent in the layers and layers of boxes and bins of old storage.
Upon closer inspection it became evident that it really was blood that had streaked and dried on the ramp. The stain is right below the area where I stand when saying these prayers. Of special significance is the fact that the largest circle of blood has one of the nails I used when constructing the ramp protruding from its center.
Now, I realize that this blood could be explained by many things, so I’m not suggesting with any level of certainty that there was an outpouring of His Precious Blood as a result of the prayers I’d said, particularly the Seven Offerings of His Precious Blood. Chances are, a coyote caught something in that spot or carried his or her prey up the ramp for a special dinner. Nonetheless, the thought that it could be a miracle associated with His Precious Blood has crossed my mind. However, there is no precedent for such a manifestation that I’m aware of — all the manifestations of His Precious Blood have occurred in connection with the Eucharist and sacred icons.
Over the last three weeks I’ve been reading about miracles from Zsolt Aradi’s book, “Understanding Miracles.” It is amazing how many times well documented miracles have occurred in the midst of those who closely seek Him!
According to the definitions of Cardinal Lepicier, the characteristics of a miracle are as follows:
1. It shall occur with relative infrequency. God did not create the world in order to interfere continually with His own laws.
2. Since the miracle is of divine origin, the event should be reasonable and of moral character, and not a phantasy or prodigy of dubious merit.
3. There is always an evident spiritual motivation in it.
4. It procures general or individual welfare.
5. It is most frequently instantaneous, although it may be progressive in its unfolding.
6. Its effects should be persistent, but this is not an indispensable condition. Some miracles because of their nature are limited in time. A healing could be permitted to manifest the existence of God, to demonstrate the efficacy of the prayer.
7. The miracle generally occurs as an answer to prayer.
In regards to number four, it has surely been an amazing experience, even though it could simply be the result of one hungry creature’s act of finding food. Along those lines, I find myself more inclined to avoid letting myself get too excited. And yet, going there to pray these special prayers has been enchanting enough on it’s own. Even in the case of a hungry creature, the location and timing is still very meaningful to me. Moreover, Tuesday was an especially good time spent in prayer… my mind was very focused on the content, something I often struggle with, and my heart was especially moved.
In simply being blood on a piece of wood, the stain can serve as a small reminder of the sacrifice our Lord made of Himself… for me, for each of us who are willing to open ourselves to Him in prayer, acting in faith while acknowledging his Sovereign Majesty. And yet, for those who devoutly pursue Him, we know that we not only see his blood under the form of wine during every Mass, but we live in holy communion with Him through taking His Precious Body and Blood “under our roof.”
May we be ever more anxious to receive Him with joy! Amen!
For a listing of well documented Eucharistic Miracles, visit:
For more information on the importance of icons in the Church, consider Fr. Robert Barron’s article “Spirituality: St. John Damascene and the Sacred Icon.”