Standing outside the supermarket,I suddenly realised my cell phone was missing.I had lost this model of phone once before;had it stolen another time;and it was destroyed by a fatal thunderstorm yet another time.I had gone through three of them,but the vendor now says there will be no more free replacements.*
I called on God for help in finding my phone.I also sought the intercession of the Theotokos,that is,the Mother of God,and St.Gregory the Theologian,whose day it was.Well,I was inspired to retrace my steps on this sunny January day in Maryland.I walked back over the ground I had covered,the sidewalks and street crossings,scanning the area carefully.I had walked to the store from a medical lab where I had some routine screening tests.Surely I would find it in the lab,I thought,where it likely fell out of my coat pocket when I removed it for a blood test.The lab staff kindly let me retrace my steps in their facility,but I couldn't find it,and the technician who drew my blood said it hadn't been turned in to him.
Thanking the lab,I headed back out to the store.I strongly felt an impulse to do at least one more thorough search of all my many pockets.Perhaps I had missed it if it was deeply buried under tissues,which I kept a lot of on hand because of chronic allergy.I stopped next to a street lamp and canvased my pockets once more.It was quite a relief when I felt the bubble wrap I had kept my phone in since I lost a previous phone in that dangerous storm last summer.I wouldn't be walking phoneless after all.*
For some reason,I glanced down to the bottom of the lamp post,where I noted someone had taped a small western icon of the Theotokos with a crown of twelve stars appearing to some kneeling children-as at Fatima or Medjugorje?I blessed myself thankfully and touched the icon of the Virgin Mary.The help I had sought had indeed been granted-and the helper had also made herself known to me.She was seen by allied troops on the battlefields of World War II,but she can also have an impact in our own lives of faith.