Category Archives: Miracles and Apparitions
Miracles and Apparitions
Saint Augustine taught something to the effect that many spectacular ordinary events would be deemed miracles if they occurred but rarely in history. I think he gave the example of a sunrise. In saying this, he was attempting to lift the minds of his flock to contemplate the wisdom and power of the Creator, who does unfathomably great things continuously in the order of nature, but especially in the order of grace. “The conversion of one sinner,” the holy doctor said, “is a greater act of omnipotence than the creation of the universe.”
A miracle, therefore, must be either preternatural or supernatural. A miracle of grace, such as a sudden conversion of a notoriously evil man, would be a supernatural miracle because, even though the act of conversion is invisible, it manifested by visible acts. All other miracles are divine interferences with the physical laws of nature. They are preternatural, which means beyond nature, and visible. Matters of Faith, such as Our Lord’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament, is a mystery, not a miracle, because the Reality is not visible to the human eye.
The power for miracles can only come from God, but God can share this power with His saints. Miracles can be above the laws of nature: such as the raising to life of a dead man. Jesus gave this kind of power to His Apostles. Miracles can be contrary to the laws of nature, such as Moses splitting the Red Sea or causing water to issue from a rock. The sun dancing in the sky at Fatima, and not elsewhere, is contrary to the laws of nature. Miracles can be independent of natural law, such as a miraculous cure of a deaf man, or a blind man, or the physical cure of any other affliction that is beyond the capacity for ordinary medicines or treatments to effect. Sometimes these kinds of cures are contrary to nature as well, such as a person with no pupil in his eye being able to see.
Can evil people, or demons, work miracles? Only to a certain extent. In the former case, the preternatural prodigy is done by demons through a human instrument, such as the miracles of Pharaoh’s magicians. Our Lord Himself quotes a certain group of those about to be damned as pleading before Him, “But we have worked miracles in thy name.” When St. Joseph Cupertino levitated off the floor, it was not the angels lifting him up, but the angelic purity of his own soul rapt in ecstasy with God and putting gravity to naught. When medicine doctors in pagan lands levitate off the ground it is a demon doing the lifting.
Apparitions are different than miracles. The person viewing the apparition with the human eye is seeing an angel or a departed soul, but under a material human form, or they may be seeing a glorified body, such as that of Our Blessed Mother, who has come to her children in countless apparitions. But these visions are not necessarily miraculous for the one receiving them, unless a person in the same place could not see the apparition. Bi-locations, on the other hand, are certainly miraculous, as they are contrary to nature.
I had the honor thirty years ago of visiting the chapel that the Sisters of Loretto had built for their mission and school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1878. The stunning Gothic-style chapel, rising out of the desert-like wilderness of New Mexico, was called Our Lady of Light. It was designed by a French architect after the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. Sadly, in 1968, … More →
Excerpt from Saints Who Raised the Dead, True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles, by Fr. Albert J. Hebert, S. M. It has been said that St. Patrick (c. 389-c. 461) performed a thousand miracles. And why not? Many more (40,000) were prudently attributed to St. Vincent Ferrer, the Dominican missionary and “Angel of Judgment.” Moreover, the author knows of no saint for whom there are … More →
Today is the glorious feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. It is also the occasion for the Mother of God revealing in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous, a very poor fourteen-year-old peasant from Lourdes, France, her unique grace as “The Immaculate Conception.” The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had been pronounced by Pope Pius IX four years earlier in his encyclical Ineffabilis Deus. This communication … More →
And a ten-year-old boy was Mary’s instrument in reaching the eighty-year-old freezing to death on the floor of her garage after a fall. ABC 7 Action News: “She said she kept praying to the Blessed Mother and she just kept thinking.. if someone doesn’t find me I’m going to be dead ,” said Sandy St. Onge-Mitter about her mother who had slipped on some ice in … More →
CNA: The Shrine to the Holy Face of Christ tucked into Italy’s Appennine mountains is starting to catch the attention of the world, particularly that of American Catholics. “We have a lot of Italians, of course, and many Germans but now we’re seeing more and more pilgrims from the U.S.,” said Sister Blandina Paschalis Schloemer, a Trappist nun and daily pilgrim that lives within eye-shot of … More →
America Needs Fatima: Scientists, attempting to match the granite of which the pillar is made, have been able to find similar, but not identical, granite and only in other parts of the world. The statue of the Virgin is made of a material not found on this earth. By a miraculous divine action, no dust ever settles on it, so for almost 2,000 years the statue … More →
Israel Today: When Therese Daoud arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital with a huge cancerous tumor, doctors said her only chance of survival would be to amputate the leg. What happened during the following months has left the medical staff and the nation speechless. “If someone had told me the story of what happened to Therese, I would have said they are crazy and sent … More →
There is no aspect of Catholic theology more compelling to non-Catholics than the existence of Angels. Oh, where does one begin? Movies? It’s A Wonderful Life, Here Comes Mr. Jordan! (and its sequels and remakes), Gabriel Over the White House, and the odious Michael come to mind among a horde. Music? Innumerable Christmas carols and I have a Dream. Popular books? At this writing Amazon … More →
The Morgan Library & Museum, on Madison Avenue in New York, is hosting an exhibition called “Illuminating Faith: The Eucharist in Medieval Life and Art.” Here is the first paragraph of the Morgan Library’s description: When Christ changed bread and wine into his body and blood at the Last Supper, he instituted the Eucharist and established the central act of Christian worship. For medieval Christians, … More →
Connect TriStates.com: Rescue workers want to thank a higher power for coming to the rescue early Sunday morning. Emergency crews spent an hour and a half trying to extricate a 19-year-old Quincy woman trapped in her in crushed car on Missouri 19 near Center, Missouri. The Missouri Highway Patrol says 26-year-old Aaron Smith crossed the center line, hitting Katie Lentz head-on. Now, friends, family and those who … More →
Over thirty years ago, I have forgotten the exact year, I was in a very fine seafood restaurant on the Gloucester, Massachussetts harbor. Behind the host’s reception desk, among many photos of fishing boats, was a boat named “The Padre Pio.” I was amazed to see this and asked the manager whose boat it was and if the owner lived nearby. He told me that … More →
Patti Maguire Armstrong of Catholic News and Inspiration: Paul Walsh was 17 years old when the car he was driving hit a tree on Chester Pike in suburban Piladelphia on an icy December night in 1983. One doctor described his head injuries as the equivalent of dropping an egg on a cement sidewalk. Not only was his skull shattered, every bone in his face was broken … More →
LifeSiteNews: Family members and medical personnel at a hospital in Lindrina, Brazil, say they are stunned after a baby declared dead apparently came back to life after being placed on the altar in the hospital’s chapel. According to local news sources, Yasmin Gomes was born premature earlier this month, and almost immediately stopped breathing. Doctors attempted for nearly an hour to revive the girl, who weighed … More →
Veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has gotten a bum rap. For many people, Catholics and otherwise, the seemingly effeminate images of Our Lord pointing to His — literally — bleeding heart were dismissed as purely private devotional images best suited for old ladies. For others, such things as placards identifying the driver of a car as a member of the Auto League of … More →
With his Apostolic Letter of October 11, 2011, Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI declared that a “Year of Faith” will begin on October 11, 2012, and conclude on November 24, 2013. October 11, is the feast of the Divine Maternity. What is Faith? The Baltimore Catechism gives a very simple definition of Faith as the first of the three theological virtues: “Faith is a supernatural … More →