Readers Report Many Signs That Involved Animals, Especially Doves
Does God use creatures?
Do animals have a supernatural role? Does God manifest in them?
We know of course that He thought enough of them to want them saved during the Flood, and that there is the account of Him speaking through Balaam's donkey. There are fish with coins, there is Elijah's raven, and tradition has it that the oxen reacted in a special manner at the birth of Jesus. The Lord can use anything. This seems especially true of birds. It was a dove that returned to Noah as a sign from God with an olive branch in its mouth, and when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, it was in the form of a dove.
In our own time those who visit the shrine of Assisi note the strange way doves remain perched on a statue of St. Francis (who loved and communicated with animals), and at Medjugorje in former Yugoslavia, the Blessed Mother's nightly apparitions are announced by the sudden silence of swirling birds. "While in Medjugorje we have seen the sun dance on each visit, saw waves of light when the Blessed Virgin appeared to the visionaries, saw flashes of light outside the church going up the towers as the birds circled the towers singing with their joyful calls," noted reader Earl Sprung.
Many are those who specifically have seen doves, and have seen them in ways that seemed improbable.
In a story last week on signs, we noted an account of a dove flying alongside a car that was traveling faster than one would think a dove would want to keep up with. This happened to another viewer who noted, "I also saw a dove flying next to my car as it was going sixty miles an hour on the freeway."
That was the same speed yet a third viewer recalled, in a case where a dove seemed to keep even with the automobile windows during a family crisis, as a sign to youngsters worried about their mother.
A nurse named Barbara Flood of Warnerville, New York, recounted the way birds served as a sign as if in reassurance. Her husband was ill, and she had just prayed with him to be able to support the family while he was sick. "As my husband drove me to work after our prayer, literally dozens of mourning doves descended and blocked the road around us," she says. "It was a very calming, emotional experience. We had never seen so many doves in our area ever. They walked around the car, encircling it, and we both immediately felt God's response to our prayer."
"I had an amazing sign from God," says Janice Hurst of Baton Rouge. "One day after my 17-year-old son Cory had been run over and killed in a hit and run incident, I was sitting on my porch sobbing when I noticed several beautiful red birds gathered under the tree. I asked God if he would send a red bird to me as a sign that my son was okay and with Him. I felt kind of embarrassed asking for such a thing because I couldn't imagine a bird just coming up to me. Meanwhile, the mail came and I had a small package in which was a letter from Reader's Digest. I have never ordered anything from Reader's Digest so therefore I thought this was rather strange. Inside the package was a small note saying, 'I'm sorry for not being able to fill your request, but as a consolation gift I have included a small gift.' When I emptied the package I was so shocked to see a stained glass red bird and will treasure this little red bird as a reminder that even when we think God is not listening to our prayers, He is. Thanks be to God!"
And then there are birds that have taken up formations.
"A few days after the 9-11 attacks, I was driving from home in Lebanon, Indiana, to Indianapolis," says Cindy Thrine. "As I drove, I thought about the attacks and about my concerns for our country's future. (For some time I had been praying for America to return to being 'one nation under God.' ) As I talked with God about my concerns, a large flock of birds caught my eye as they flew in the sky. There had to be hundreds of birds flying slowly together. It looked like a ribbon flowing in a breeze as the flock dipped and soared in the sky. Suddenly I was overwhelmed as the birds' flight took the shape of a huge heart in the sky. I smiled and silently thanked God for his love and for displaying his presence in my life."
This also happened to Cathy Norman of Fremont, California.
"On Sunday, April 3, the day following Pope John Paul II's death, my friend and I were beginning our drive home to San Jose after visiting our relatives in Los Angeles," she relates. "She had gone for a funeral of a family member and invited me along. About 1 p.m., just as we were leaving the suburban area, we started to pray a Rosary for her niece and for the Holy Father. She was driving, and I was looking at the sky as we prayed. I noticed some crossed clouds in the sky and mentioned to her that it looked like a cross. She also looked up and said, 'There's the Holy Spirit!' It was a cloud in the shape of a bird... one elongated puffy cloud in the middle, with wispy clouds on either side of that forming the shape of wings. As I looked up at the 'dove' in the sky, I noticed a helium balloon disappear right into the 'heart' of the 'dove.' I like to think it was a balloon released in honor of Pope John Paul II by a Sunday worshipper at some nearby Catholic Church."
In Australia, the death of a dad was marked by an unusual V-shaped flock of birds on the day of the funeral.
And then there is the woman who had brought her mother who was dying from cancer home to New Hampshire.
"She always loved doves and her Christmas tree was always filled with them," this reader recalls. "My husband and I brought her doves and garland home with her and we helped her decorate her tree. On December 9, she fell and due to the tumors on her bones, her leg was broken. She then had to be in a hospital bed in our family room where her tree was. There was a large picture window right next to her bed and every day the backyard would be filled with mourning doves. Everyone was amazed who came to visit her -- what a wonderful sight -- the doves on her tree and the mourning doves filling the backyard. She died the morning of December 23 (a Saturday -- she wore the brown Scapular)Christmas Eve morning I looked out and all the mourning doves were gone, except for one which, when it saw me, walked over to the picture window and looked at me for a short time before it flew straight up."
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