Fatima: ‘If Miracles Can Happen, Let Them’

In the words of the skeptic Roger Lacassagne (put on his tongue by Franz Werfel in his book Song Of Bernadette), “If miracles can happen, let them.” Lacassagne’s son Jules, who could no longer eat, was cured at Lourdes. Read the story in my article here.

One thing that irked Brother Francis was when some “expert,” who was “humble” enough not to deny the possibility of miracles, went ahead explaining them according to some scientific phenomenon. As if it were simply an extraordinary event, rather than a miraculous event outside the laws God put in nature. I refer to the comet that swept the earth 3500 years ago and dried up part of the Red Sea so that the Israelites could pass through it. Moses, don’t you know, just embellished the account with his description of the wall of water standing up to the side and then crashing down on the Egyptians.

Did the sun dance at Fatima?

Yes, it did. The sun did. And it was hurled towards the earth in Portugal on this day in 1917. It was raining hard that day and the rain ceased exactly at 12:00 noon when Our Lady told the shepherd children she would give them a sign. She then directed them to look at the sky and, behold, the clouds parted and the sun put on a spectacular show witnessed by 100,000 people, and not just those at the Cova.

The theologian and physicist, Father Stanley Jaki, contends that the Miracle of the Sun was natural, a meteorological event, and that what was miraculous was only that it occurred exactly when the children pointed to the sky at noon.

Miracles, to be miracles, must be unexplainable by natural laws. They are not like lightning or gravity, which are natural but, nevertheless, a mystery to man. I mean who really knows what gravity is? We measure the force, and deal with it, but no one really knows what it is. Same thing with electricity. But a dancing sun, on the other hand, defies the laws of nature. How could it dance at Fatima and not dance everywhere else in the world? How could a plummeting sun not devastate the earth and the whole galaxy? The fact is that it didn’t. That’s the miracle. Just as the pools of rain water and the mud drying up instantly at the holy site. That’s the miracle.

Similarly, but not so dramatic, I ask how could Joshua make the sun stand still for three hours in Chanaan whilst his army defeated the Amorrhites?

No, the Fatima miracle was not some angelic sleigh-of-hand, where the good spirits culled matter from the atmosphere, made it look like the sun, and turned it into a swirling ball of color zig-zagging to earth. If this is what happened then it was not a miracle in the strict sense. One can say that the angels did this manipulation with serpent matter for Moses when he and the pagan magicians changed sticks into snakes. But one cannot say that matter was manipulated by natural means when Joshua stopped the sun in its tracks. How it happened, we do not, we cannot, know.

Once we start explaining miracles away by inventing natural causes, then where does that stop? Did Jesus not perform hundreds of miracles that totally transcend nature — more than “transcend” but defy nature? These miracles cannot be “explained.” Neither can what Our Lady did at Fatima. Neither can what Our Lady did at Lourdes to Jules Lacassagne.

“If miracles can happen, let them.”