Do you believe in miracles? I do. Those little miracles that occur during times of seeming hopelessness, that bring sudden renewal out of the ashes and a faith transcending and never-ending, the evergreen story of the Good News and the hope of the Resurrection.
By Theresa Nixon
During Lent, I try to spend more time in prayer reflecting on the miraculous nature of our existence and the many blessings God gives us every day. From conception and birth, all the way through our journey on earth, life is a constant miracle filled with “God’s mysterious ways, His wonders to behold.” I like to reflect on the little miracles of faith that seem the greatest, those inexplicable and sudden answers to prayer that defy understanding and open our hearts to the greatness of God.
Some people, even Christians, scoff at the idea of miracles and prefer to secularize such happenings. For instance, as commendable an idea as it might be, there are those who try to explain the miracle of the loaves and fishes multiplied by Jesus to feed the vast crowds as simply a sharing among the people. But miracles do happen.
Stories of miracles and the intercession of saints and angels were a great part of my growing up years, many actual experiences filled with the hope and awe of a faith that unfathomably transcends the confines of this valley of tears. I choose to believe in miracles. I’ve even witnessed a few, like the miracle of the sun at Medjugorje, where I saw the Eucharistic host in front of the sun with the sign of the cross at its center. Or witnessing gangrene fade from my nephew’s upper and lower limbs after we prayed over him. (While he still lost portions of his limbs, the gangrene that had encroached his arms and thighs and was traveling further suddenly stopped before our eyes and receded. Also, attesting to the miracle of this event, was the fact that my nephew had no trace of brain damage upon awakening from a lengthy coma, even though his respiratory system had collapsed and he had lost oxygen, baffling the doctors, who had brought in top specialists to review my nephew’s case.)
God performs miracles according to His omnipotent will. Some (as in my nephew’s case) may seem incomplete to us. Why didn’t God restore my nephew’s body completely? I’ve often wondered about this. But my nephew had been living a destructive life involving drugs, ultimately leading to the breakdown of his body that nearly claimed his life. Perhaps God, in His inscrutable way, even though He had restored my nephew’s health, had left a lasting consequence to remind him that he was not to go on living as he had been. Who knows?
“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to behold.” (William Cowper)
Jesus said one must have the faith of a little child, to believe despite what your senses tell you. It is easy to believe when you are little. Yet, as one grows older, cynicism sets in especially in the face of hardship and poverty. One wonders if God listens at all. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, one experiences a close encounter of the heavenly kind; a comforting message of hope and the sure knowledge that prayers are indeed heard . . . and many times answered miraculously.
He will put you in his angels’ charge to guard you wherever you go. They will support you on their hands in case you hurt your foot against a stone.Psalm 91:11-12
As a Catholic, I was taught that man was created only a little less than the angels; that angels are the messengers of God and helpers of man. Each of us is given a guardian angel at the moment of our conception to guide and guard us during our sojourn here on earth. Thus, participating in our redemption, angels are sometimes allowed to intervene on our behalf.
I grew up hearing about the miraculous encounter my mother experienced with her guardian angel (anyway, she believed he was her guardian angel) during the early days of her marriage, when she and my father were estranged. Mama was left alone in a tiny attic apartment in Portland, Maine during the middle of winter to care for four small children. Finally, at the end of her rope, she gathered her children ranging in ages from one to six, around her, bundling them up as best she could, and herding them out the front door. Mama’s intention was to somehow get to Boston where her mother lived, although with no money or prospects in sight, she had no idea how she would accomplish this. She only knew she couldn’t stay in that attic any longer.
It was around seven o’clock on Sunday morning as she and the children trudged up Main Street in the snow, the children like pullets gathered around her. All the shops and businesses were closed and not another soul was in sight. As she always did when things seemed hopeless, Mama pulled out her rosary beads and began praying to the Blessed Virgin to intercede. But even as she prayed for a miracle, black thoughts of having to return to that dismal attic swirled about in her mind. The little brood reached the corner of the street and were about to cross when Mama was startled to see a man suddenly standing next to her. Where had he come from, she wondered. He was quite tall and dressed conservatively in a grey overcoat, a grey Fedora perched jauntily upon his head. He tipped his hat to her in gentlemanly fashion. Taking out a large, white envelope from inside his coat, he handed it to my mother.
“Here, little mother, this is for you,” was all he said.
Looking into the stranger’s eyes, my mother saw that they were the same shade of grey as his attire. They seemed to penetrate right through her, imparting a calm reassurance. She accepted the envelope hesitantly. When she opened it, she was astonished to see that it contained money. Quickly she looked up to speak to the grey stranger but he had vanished. Peering up and down the street, my mother saw that it was deserted as before. But the money in her hand was real enough. It was exactly the right amount for bus fare to Boston for herself and the children with just enough left over to buy them a good meal.
They cry for help and Yahweh hears and rescues them from all their troubles.Psalm 34:17
Yes, I believe in miracles. Those little miracles that occur during times of seeming hopelessness, that bring sudden renewal out of the ashes and a faith transcending and never-ending, the evergreen story of the Good News and the hope of the Resurrection.
Photo Credit: Giovanni Lanfranco [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
My name is Theresa Nixon. I was born and raised in San Diego, California, into a large, Catholic family and now reside in the DC area. I began a writing career in the 1980s as a music reviewer for Music Connection magazine and spent over ten years working in the entertainment industry before realizing that my life was disconnected. I realized I needed to return to my Catholic roots and the faith of my childhood. I have a Master’s in Management from The Catholic University of America, and hope to complete my book this year on my memoirs as a child growing up Catholic in a large, working class family.