Thank God for miracles, great and small. In his book on the same subject, C. S. Lewis once wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
In other words, a miracle is God’s extraordinary intervention in His ordinary world. A miracle happens when the Creator acts upon His creation in the way He desires. Of course, nature hums along on its own set of rules, but the Maker of the rules is free to abrogate them according to His Holy Will, whenever He so desires.
We Christians believe that Jesus performed many miracles, including healing the sick and droving out demons on a daily basis. His miracles not only emphasized his humanity and compassion, but for us they underlined the truth of His divinity. But it takes eyes of faith to recognize when God intervenes. The newspapers and television do not normally report such things. Miracles are not necessarily flashy or loud enough to capture the attention of a world charmed only by novelty. Skeptics easily write them off as coincidences or happenstance. But as Christians in a secular world hostile to faith, I believe it is important to share our experiences of God and His greatness entering into our smallness.
The more we sharpen our eyes of faith to see the workings of God, the more we are enabled to see. Nevertheless, having said all this, sometimes we may have the faith to see them but we don’t take the time to realize what they mean. A miracle often takes time to develop. I believe that here at our church miracles happen daily, just as they did in the Acts of the Apostles. God continues to intervene in extraordinary ways in our ordinary parish life. Here are just a couple small examples: The accident that occurred on Wednesday, September 4, 2013, two days before the Lomita Fair, at 6:30 p.m. on 255th Street, where an out of control Mustang spun up over the sidewalk, perching itself harmlessly up onto a spindly tree — thus saving the wall, the North entrance to the Church as well as the many passing pedestrians from harm! At that precise moment, just a few feet away, people were praying before our Blessed Sacrament.
Just a half hour later we celebrated Mass honoring our Mother of Perpetual Help, thanking the Blessed Mother of Jesus for her maternal intercession. Then there is Marge, a dear parishioner who was informed by a panel of expert doctors that “she did not play by the rules,” as they were flabbergasted by the absence of the serious cancer they all expected to be present. Marge knew prayers were the real reason. Then there was what happened just a short while ago at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. I was called to the emergency room, and upon my arrival I found a parishioner who suffered a severe stroke and was totally paralyzed except for his eyes. His family and I prayed the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (James 5:14-15) in the ordinary way, but then, within literally a minute God accomplished an extraordinary thing. Their beloved Dad suddenly began to talk — thanking us loudly and joyfully — and was able to squeeze the astounded doctor’s hand with both his hands and could even move his feet and lift his legs. We Catholics witness many miracles, but the greatest miracle of all occurs daily in the Mass when the Holy Spirit transforms our gifts of ordinary bread and wine into Jesus Christ’s actual Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. This week, no matter what religion you may belong to, if any, ask God to open your eyes to His many miraculous interventions occurring all around you. Take the time to pray, and so, to better understand their meaning for your life. God loves you. He is with you. He cares about you, and even if He doesn’t make your daily Cross disappear, He affords you strength to bear it with patience and joy. Thank God for miracles, great and small.
Father Paul O’Donnell is an archdiocesan Catholic priest currently serving at Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque Catholic Church. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.