I didn’t really think I was capable of private revelation until recently when a particular and peculiar realization dawned on me. It dawned on me that Jesus had appeared to me in my childhood; and He would speak the same words to me many times every day. The words He spoke were: “THEN CAME JESUS.” Am I blaspheming? Will you throw me out like the Jews would have thrown Jesus down the hill upon which their city was built had He not thought it wise to slip through the crowd? Before you even contemplate doing that, let me explain myself. The Jesus that spoke to me was a drawing on the wall of the house I grew up in. Those words were part of the drawing and ran on the halo upon his head; I saw that drawing many times every day; and those words always came to me as a voice, even at a time when I didn’t understand them one bit. And then I grew up to make sense out of them; Jesus always comes to the rescue of them that believe in him.
It doesn’t just start raining; the clouds even go as far as telling us how much it is going to rain. When the clouds signal a heavy downpour, we get ready to receive it. If we get our day messed up by being caught unawares by the rains, it would be our fault; we either failed to read the sign or took our reading of the cloud with a pinch of salt. Again, though it is in the nature of accidents to happen accidentally, they usually don’t just happen; they give a sign or series of signs. A gas explosion, for instance, usually begins with a gas leakage that was either undetected or taken for granted. In the same vein, an auto crash occurs after a number of signs: reckless driving, bad road, poor vehicular condition, etc. – these things are knowable ahead of time.
Furthermore, couples don’t just file for divorce the morning after the first night. No. We know it usually starts off as the best thing ever, progresses to a climax, gets better and better if the going is great, or starts tumbling down if the reverse is the case. However, before it comes crashing down, certain signs, such as depression, stress, nagging, constant quarrels, stare them in the eyes. Failure to read those warning signs finds them filing for divorce on the “baddest” day.
To say that our entire life depends on the ability to read signs is to even say it lightly. Simply, if we can’t read danger, then we’re endangered. In the social circle it is called trend, and means the direction the society is taking or the line she is toeing. Here, it is said, if you don’t move with the trend of time the trend of time will move you. Of course this excludes those who blaze new trends. To function meaningfully as a member of society and to profit greatly as an entrepreneur, the ability to read trends is nonnegotiable. To put it forcefully, it is do or die!
Everything depends on our ability to read – books, faces, signs, trends, etc.
Given that signs speak and continue to do so, what is the way forward? We find our answer with the late Catholic pontiff, St. John Paul II, who wrote: “When hearts are enkindled and minds are enlightened, signs begin to speak.” Actually, the enkindling of the heart and the enlightening of the mind aren’t what would make signs speak; they will only open the ears of our heart and mind to understand what those signs are already and keep saying. To put it better: …signs begin to speak to us.
The next challenge is in understanding what enkindled heart and enlightened mind are. An enkindled heart is one that burns with the fire of love. After all, the word enkindle means to set afire. The heart that loves is the heart that knows, the heart that feels, and the heart that sobs. This heart listens to the pains and frustrations of others, and it just has this way of knowing when danger is around the corner. On the contrary, a stony or frozen heart is not moved, is indifferent, and doesn’t care a thing about anything; it is characteristically deaf.
On the other hand, the enlightened mind is the mind that knows, the mind that understands. After all, the word enlighten means to give light, to dispel darkness, to instruct ignorance. It is the mind that knows that signs speak that would be keenly attentive to hear it out.
We Christians are a peculiar people. We only need the gift of the Holy Spirit to enkindle our hearts with the fire of the love of God and to enlighten our minds with the light of Christ. In this new state – of enkindled hearts and enlightened minds – we can spot virtually everything: betrayal of best friends, attack of sworn enemies, demonic manipulation, environmental changes, etc.
For everyone, including Christians, one sure way to be truly enlightened is through reading books.