Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Miracles

Father Ignatius approached the pulpit and said, “Hands up all those who have been to Lourdes!”

Quite a few hands went up.

“Keep your hands up,” he said, “now hands up those who went to Fatima, Knock or any other Holy Shrine!”

A few more hands went up.

“OK …” continued the priest, “hands down. Now hands up again anyone who has had a miracle happen to them at any of these places!”

No hands went up.

The priest waited a few seconds and then continued.

“Just as I thought! No one considers that a miracle has happened to them. Which of course begs the question; Do miracles happen these days?

“The truth is that miracles do happen these days; but people are not willing to believe in them.

“Perhaps they expect spectacular miracles to happen … Raising of the dead. Walking on water, changing water into wine … now that was a good one!

“Anything less than that and our Faith has not been stimulated enough to even consider it as a miracle, let alone believe it has happened.”

He stopped once again, as he usually did in his sermons, to allow the challenge to sink into the parishioners’ minds.

“I’d like us to consider for a while what is a miracle and who actually performs it when it happens.

“Spectacular miracles, as you would wish them to be, like healings from incurable illnesses and diseases do happen at Lourdes and elsewhere even today. There is plenty of documented evidence if you wish to research it.

“Many people have been healed suddenly with no explanation from medical or scientific sources. They remain unexplained and are accepted as miracles performed at the many Shrines visited by the sick person.

“Miracles happen elsewhere too … not just at these Shrines. Miracles can happen in churches, hospitals or even at your homes … if it is the will of God that they should happen.

“This then leads to the second question. Who performs these miracles?

“Is it Our Lady, the Mother of God at Lourdes or her other Shrines? Is it the particular Saint you happen to be praying to for help? Or is it God?

“And when we pray to individuals before they become Saints for a particular favor, or miracle even … like Padre Pio, Pere Charbel, and so on before they were made Saints by the Vatican … who performed the miracles do you think? Was it the particular person prayed to or was it God?

“Isn’t it after all the performance of miracles, or the answers to prayers, one of the tests which our Church considers as a requirement to Sainthood?”

He paused yet again.

“There are those who say that only God or Jesus can perform miracles; and to pray to Saints, or even people who have not even yet been considered as Saints, is wrong.

“Let me read you something from Acts of the Apostles … you can look it up yourselves at Acts 3.

“You’ll remember that as Peter and John went into the Temple to pray they met a man at The Beautiful Gate, as it was called, who had been lame all his life.

“The beggar expected money from the two apostles. Peter turned to him and said, ‘I don’t have silver or gold. But what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth get up and walk!’ And of course the man was healed.

“Later on in Acts 5 Verse 12 we read that many miracles were performed by the apostles. Sick people lay in the streets so that Peter’s shadow would fall upon them and heal them. And indeed many were healed.

“The important thing to note here is that Peter said ‘in the name of Jesus Christ get up and walk.’

“So yes … the apostles whilst they walked this earth, and now they are in Heaven, can and do perform miracles; they have not lost their ability to perform miracles, in the name of Jesus, just because they’re in Heaven.

“And so does Our Lady perform miracles in the name of her Son Jesus. As do Padre Pio, Pere Charbel and many other Saints. But they do so in the name of Jesus. It is very important to remember that.”

Father Ignatius stopped once again having pressed his point home.

“And now we move on to our last question,” he said, “for today at least!

“What role does our Faith has to play in the performance of miracles?

“Jesus said time and again to the sick, ‘Your Faith has healed you. Your Faith has saved you.’

“He did not say, ‘Wait … let me click my fingers and hey presto you’ll be healed … Because I’m great at miracles!’ ”

The congregation laughed. The priest continued.

“He made a point of saying that the people’s Faith played a great part in their healing and in their salvation.

“The sick did not stay at home and think ‘Oh well … if Jesus wants to heal me, He’ll do so in good time … I don’t need to go and see Him!’

“They went out to seek Him. They believed in this man who was different. A holy man, a teacher, a healer, the Son of God.

“They had heard about Him, and now He’s in their town or village they went out to find Him … in hope, in desperation perhaps, and even in Faith … as small as a mustard seed! But that little Faith, however tiny it was, is what saved and healed them.

“The blind man shouted at the top of his voice to attract Christ’s attention and to be healed.

“The old lady pushed her way through the crowds in order to get close enough to just touch His cloak and be healed.

“The Roman soldier believed in Jesus so much that he thought just one word from Him would bring healing.

“That’s what I mean by true Faith … it plays a great part in the performance of miracles.

“It need not be our Faith that saves us … the Faith of others, on our behalf can and does bring miracles and healing to us.

“The Roman soldier was asking for healing for his servant, not for himself. His Faith helped heal his servant.

“The men who broke the roof off a house and lowered the man in his sick bed down to Jesus showed Faith on behalf of their friend … and their Faith was rewarded.

“All the people who lay in the streets hoping that Peter’s shadow may fall upon them showed great Faith too.

“As indeed do all those who visit Lourdes, Fatima, Knock and all the Holy Shrines.

“Let me conclude by saying that miracles do indeed happen today. Both great and small. They are performed by Saints and those yet to be Saints through the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ

“Faith plays a great part in the performance of miracles.

“And before you ask … we do not have to go to the Holy Shrines for our prayers to be heard, or for our miracles to happen. All we need is to trust in God and be willing to accept His will in His time and in His way.

“We need a little Faith … not much, just a mustard seed’s worth!”

15 comments:

  1. You're right - it's faith that we need, isn't it? And patience. Sometimes, I think our faith is tested when we don't relief from pain and suffering as soon as we want it. Perhaps, we might need to heal our souls before we're ready for physical miracles.

    God bless, Victor:-)

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    1. Thank you Vicky. I think you're right.

      But why does He test my Faith when He know I shall fail?

      God bless.

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  2. Maybe, it's not so much our failures that are important, but our humility in persevering. If God wanted to, He could sanctify us in an instant and I guess our pride would want nothing better than to be perfect, right now. But, I think God wants us to learn to trust Him and to be little so that our love becomes pure, rather than self-centred. We can learn so much from our failures and I think our patient perseverance opens us up to an abundance of graces.

    Was that a rhetorical question, Victor? I may have just stated the obvious:-)

    God bless,Victor:-)

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    1. Sometimes it helps to state the obvious, Vicky. You are right in that if God wanted to, He could sanctify us in an instant. But somehow, for His own reasons, He doesn't. He allows us to try and fail time and again. At least that is the case with me.

      I really don't understand why He leaves us to try in vain and fail over and again. Surely as our Creator He knows our weaknesses.

      He knew all too well St Peter's lack of Faith when he attempted to jump off the boat and walk on water. He knew his fear and cowerdice when He'd deny Him three times. Yet He allowed it to happen.

      He also allows us to try, with weakened Faith, to trust Him as best we can; even though He knows some of us will fail.

      Someone once said that Saints are people who failed yet continued trying. Maybe that's what He asks - that we continue trying.

      God bless you.

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  3. Great sermon from Fr. Ignatius!

    Yes, indeed, faith is necessary for miracles.

    Blessings,

    Jose D. Pinell.

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    1. It's sad Jose, that many people don't believe in miracles.

      God bless you.

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    2. A Physical Healing. Really?
      It was a conference for Sunday School teachers.

      The crowd consisted of down-to-earth housewives, mothers, even some older, benevolent grandmotherly types. Lots of nice, well-meaning women attending, simply trying to fill a need at their church. Most were mothers who wanted to be involved in teaching the faith to their kids. My friend and I were the only Catholics in the group and that added to a feeling of alienation. So, I came albeit grudgingly. I really did not expect to learn anything more than a few interesting tips on how to hold children's interest.


      I was pretty fed up with learning techniques and strategies. I wanted, no I needed, to receive more from God in my deepest self, in my spirit because I was tired and depleted. I did not need more facts. What I craved cannot be taught. It flows at the most unexpected moments from God himself. It did not look like it could ever happen in this setting.

      Then a nurse, with a freshly scrubbed face and no make-up, in running shoes and jeans, announced that she had a gift of praying for people with crooked spines or scoliosis. My friend elbowed me, and I shyly raised my hand only a little higher than my head. The nurse spotted me right away,

      "Come right up here to the front and I will pray over you for a physical healing."

      I sighed and stood up front, trying to open my heart to God but feeling self-conscious and doubtful. I felt nothing. No heat. No tingling, stretching or lengthening. Zip. Zilch.

      The nurse had me touch my toes again. Excitedly, she announced to the crowd,

      "Her spine is straight." She smiled at the audience.

      Then she sat me down on a chair, "Look, your legs are now the same length. How do you feel?"

      I was in shock as I stared at the leg that had been 1 to 2 inches shorter a moment ago. I reached back to feel my back. I felt taller and I knew I stood straight but my mind started to race, "How could this be? I did not feel anything. It was impossible. Surely if muscles and bones, never mind the nerves, moved and shifted, stretched and realigned, surely I would have felt something, wouldn't I?"

      I ran to the washroom and looked in the huge mirror. Sure enough, I stood straight and tall but my mind could not process this.

      When a chiropractor was struck dumb and my agnostic mother wept with joy, weeks later, then I allowed myself to relax and simply accept the bizarre, the surreal. I was healed.

      (© 2013 Melanie Jean Juneau)

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    3. Thank you so much Melanie for sharing this wonderful story with us. I am sure it will bring comfort and encouragement, as well as joy, for many people suffering from various illnesses and pains to know that the Lord does love and care for us. And yes ... miracles DO happen.

      This is a wonderful story. Thank you again.

      Praise the Lord.

      God bless.

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    4. it is good to remember what the Lord has done

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    5. It is also our duty to tell others about it. Thank you again Melanie for sharing your story with us.

      God bless.

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  4. it is not in the right place, Victor..I blame my cat for sitting between me and the keyboard

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    1. My cat does the same ... and tries to attack the mouse when I use it.

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  5. I have a very good friend that is a priest. When he visits my husband and I and our children, he never fails to ask, "What miracles have happened in your life..."
    He's a bit like Fr. Ignatius.

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    1. That is wonderful Hand-Maid. It is good that a priest is making it clear that miracles do happen. May God bless him.

      And may He bless you and your family too.

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