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.
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 →
IOL News: “We prayed. I could feel pressure, and being sucked. I put my body over them to try to protect them,” Williams said. The roof and upper storey of the house had collapsed into and around the closet, but neighbours dug them out. Williams and her children suffered only minor injuries. A large wooden cross that had been hanging on an upstairs wall was … More →
Father John Hardon Archives: One of the most memorable experiences that I ever had was with the Miraculous Medal! It changed my life. Read full account here.
AsiaNews: A small rosary found in her house: this is how the story of Sumita Jagatap’s the conversion to Catholicism begins. Born to a Hindu Mother and Buddhist father, she has always experienced conflicting relationships inside and outside the family: the different religions is often a cause of conflict and disputes between her parents and has also had an impact on the children. Sumita grew restless, … More →
Vatican Insider: New scientific experiments carried out at the University of Padua have apparently confirmed that the Shroud Turin can be dated back to the 1stcentury AD. This makes its compatible with the tradition which claims that the cloth with the image of the crucified man imprinted on it is the very one Jesus’ body was wrapped in when he was taken off the cross. … More →
Catholicism.org was one of the first news sites to publicize the story of the miraculous Veil of Manoppello and the book by Paul Badde about the icon. Dr. Maike Hickson, who is German, read the article by journalist Paul Badde in Die Welt and wrote an article on it for our November/December 2007 issue of the Mancipia (see page 8). Badde is the Vatican correspondent for … More →
CNS: Before making his documentary on Our Lady of Guadalupe, “The Blood & the Rose,” director and co-writer Tim Watkins said, “I knew very little about Our Lady of Guadalupe.” Now, with his film out and available on DVD, he wants the world to know about her. “I reinvigorated my faith about three years before I started making the film,” Watkins said before a Jan. 24 … More →
LifeNews: “We did a lot of soul-searching,” said Mary Gundrum, who is 40. “I was thinking, ‘That’s my child. It’s that simple. I’m not going to take the life of my child.’ ” Read more about this here.