I’m Here Waiting For You Every Day
By Jane Monica Spurrier
In 1987, on my third trip to Medjugorje, I purchased a book called Modern Saints by Ann Ball, and therein was a story about St. Charbel. I loved him instantly and discovered, lo and behold, he was canonized on my birthday, October 9th.
I lived in New York City at the time, and my church was Notre Dame on the upper west side by Columbia University. Daily Mass was said in the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes each day at 8 A.M. One particular Saturday, I woke up late, and was so hungry I ate my oatmeal…..but didn’t leave myself enough time to fast before Communion. I kept praying, “Oh Jesus, what miracle could allow me to receive You?”
I knew I needed one hour of fast time. This kept on, and when the Consecration occurred, I did not have the required one hour to receive. During this time, a rather odd-looking old man entered the side door. He was dressed like a monk, but didn’t look like our Franciscans. I was rather annoyed by his appearance since I thought he was some psychotic New Yorker.
After Mass ended, I stayed in the grotto to pray. I noticed to my right I could see into the sacristy and there was the priest who just said Mass changing out of his vestments and the “odd” looking monk changing into vestments. The little monk was coming out to say Mass! We never have a second daily Mass, but this visitor was going to say one, and this would give me the chance to receiving Our Lord! I was overjoyed.
During the Mass, the monk was praying in a language I didn’t understand. It wasn’t Latin because I know Latin, but I couldn’t decipher what language it was. I was the only one there, and during the Consecration, the monk looked at me and his eyes said, “Do you want to receive?” I eagerly nodded back “Yes!” We both could understand each other without saying a word.
When Mass was over, I went in to thank the pastor (the first priest who said Mass and functioned as the altar server for the monk). I said, “Father, you don’t know what a great miracle this was, that I got to receive Communion!” The monk smiled with a look of abundant joy, happiness and humor – the look of someone who laughs a lot and is very happy. The pastor didn’t seem to get my point.
The next day I went back again. I saw the pastor and couldn’t stop telling him what a great miracle it was for me. Then I said to him, “Father, by the way, who was that priest?” “I don’t know,” he replied, “I never saw him before.” I couldn’t believe my ears! What priest would allow another one to say Mass without knowing who he was?
Several months went by. I opened my book of Modern Saints again. I turned to St. Charbel and honestly, almost had a heart attack when I saw his picture. HE WAS THE MONK!!! He had appeared to say the Mass for me. Can you imagine? I later found out he has appeared numerous times since his death. I was glad I didn’t know at the time who he was or I would have had a stroke. St. Charbel had a great devotion to Mass and the Blessed Sacrament.
Anyway, I haven’t seen him since, but I know there is a picture of him in Charlie’s store in Medjugorje. I’ve asked those brothers to sell me the picture, but they declined because it was a gift given to them. I thought the miracle of St. Charbel was so awesome, and then today a voice inside of me said, “But I’m there waiting for you in the Eucharist every day, to show you how much I love you. I sent Charbel so he could carry Me to you…that’s how much I wanted to receive you, too.”
Jesus waits for us every day in the Mass. He performed the greatest miracle on earth when He created the Eucharist. A small piece of bread, blessed, transformed into HIS presence, waiting for us. The graces we receive at Mass are incalculable. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Jesus in person…
Editor’s note: This story is a reprint from our October 2003 issue. Jane told me her story while we were on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2002, so I asked her to write her story for us. I was excited when my granddaughter picked St. Charbel as our patron saint this year and wanted to share this beautiful story again.