Sunday, January 2, 2011

No miracles

What if there is no such thing as a miracle?

There are a ton of aphorisms about miracles, all those pseudo-inspirational things embroidered on pillows or written in calligraphy on wooden plaques beside pictures of kittens or sunsets. For example: “Love is the great miracle cure. Loving ourselves works miracles in our lives.” Oh, just get over yourself, dear author, and the miracle of loving yourself. How hard is it to love yourself? Really! Is it a miracle?

I’ve been thinking about miracles for the past couple of weeks as I pray for a friend who is seriously ill. Do I pray for God to perform a miracle or do I just trust him to do his thing? In the gospel of Matthew (Matt 19:26) Jesus said, “With God all things are possible.” All things would include things we think are impossible.

So what we consider to be a miracle may simply be God’s ordinary work. In one sense, everything he does is a miracle. What may seem exceptional to mere mortals could just be part of God’s plan that we can’t see or comprehend. St. Augustine said, “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.”

Nancy Gibbs wrote, “For the truly faithful, no miracle is necessary. For those who doubt, no miracle is sufficient.” I agree with Nancy but I don’t think I’ll embroider it on a pillow.

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