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Miracles Still Occur. Do We See Them? Do We Ask for Them? Are We Responding?

By Deacon Keith Fournier
July 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Miracles are constantly occurring. The real questions is do we see them? Do we have the eyes of living faith which recognize the hand of the Lord at work? Do we ask for them? Then, we should ask ourselves a follow up question. How are we responding to these great acts of Love? Are we living life differently as a result? Are we finding the true joy and freedom which comes from repentance and conversion?  

CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - The Gospel challenges all of us to consider how we have responded to the Lord's mighty deeds and miracles in our own lives: "Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For, if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes.

"But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the netherworld. For, if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you." (MT. 11:20-24)

Miracles are constantly occurring. The real questions is do we see them? Do we have the eyes of living faith which recognize the hand of the Lord at work? Do we ask for them? Then, we should ask ourselves a follow up question. How are we responding to these great acts of Love? Are we living life differently as a result? Are we finding the true joy and freedom which comes from repentance and conversion?  

Citing the biblical references to the multiple miraculous healings in the earthly ministry of Jesus - as well as the healings which continued through the ministry of the Apostles in the early Church - the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that miracles are a sign of the Kingdom of God:

"Jesus accompanies his words with many "mighty works and wonders and signs", which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah. The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God."

"But his miracles can also be occasions for "offense"; they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic. Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons. By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death, Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God's sons and causes all forms of human bondage."

"The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." Jesus' exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over "the ruler of this world". The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: "God reigned from the wood." (CCC # 547-550)

The Catholic Church has always proclaimed her belief in the existence of many different kinds of miracles. Our tradition and history are replete with examples of miracles. All miracles are due to the Risen Lord's continued ministry of Mercy in our midst. His redemptive work continues through the ministry of the Church which is His Body. All miracles are still signs of the Kingdom of God.

Do signs of the Kingdom continue to be manifested in our own day? The answer is YES!

Sometimes miracles are accomplished through the intercession of the Saints. They are an integral part of the process which leads to their canonization. The prayer and intercession of Mary, the Mother of the Lord, has brought some of the most extraordinary miracles.

Miracles can and do accompany the administration of Sacraments.  The history of Eucharistic miracles is particularly profound and inspirational.  

Great men and women throughout Church history have demonstrated that when the Gospel in its fullness is proclaimed signs and wonders still accompany the Church's apostolic and missionary work.

The ministry of the founders of many religious communities was accompanied by miracles. Many who are reading this article can attest to miracles in their own lives - and in the lives of others. Those involved in, or touched by, the ecclesial movements, spreading rapidly in the Church, often give testimony to the reality of miracles.

However, what about the more dramatic miracles, such as physical healing? Do they still happen? Can they happen when regular folks in love with the Lord share His Word and believe in His promises? Word out of India affirms what many already know, the answer is - Yes!

LaStampa's Vatican Insider published an article last year written by the Italian journalist Marco Tosatti entitled India's Impossible Miracles Here is an excerpt from the Vatican Insider:

"Strange things are going on in the Indian diocese of Itangar and Bishop John Kattrukudiyl spoke about them during a visit to Germany for the periodic meeting organized by Aid to the Church in Need, the international organization that deals with churches and Christians in countries where they face the greatest difficulties." 

"According to the prelate, the numerous unexplained healings which preceded and resulted from prayer, are the main reason for this extraordinary increase in Catholics  - 40% over 35 years - in this remote corner of India. The bishop is informed of things like this on a regular basis; and the stories, "baffle me. I have a theological mindset and it is easy to become skeptical about this kind of thing. But the interested parties are absolutely convinced that what happened to them was real."

"The prelate mentioned the case of a man who stopped persecuting the Catholic Church after he married a Catholic girl."After converting to Catholicism he was asked to pray for a paralytic. He did it even though he did not want to; the next day, the paralytic rose and walked towards the church."  The newly converted man was so shocked by this miraculous experience that he started attending mass and "is now a very active member of the parish."

"Bishop Kattrukudiyl is well aware of the skepticism with which most of these miracles are met; when he describes miracles that have taken place people in Europe sometimes say: "Hey, bishop, you're telling tales." But despite the incredulity "I am told about many cases of healing which we cannot ignore."

"One possible historical- theological explanation is the relative freshness of the local church. It is the experience of a very young Church that feels the grace of the Catholic Church in the times of the apostles," when healing miracles were frequent, as the Scriptures tell us."

"According to the prelate, the faithful of his diocese witnessed these miraculous healings after gathering in the home of a sick person whom they had been praying for. "People who had been sick for a very long time were healed. These people got a real experience of the primitive Church."

"During the early Church period "healing with God's prayer attracted many people to the Church. Belonging to the Church they felt a kind of spiritual peace." The bishop revealed that the number of Catholic faithful has grown by 40% over the past 35 years. The situation in the Church has improved a great deal; now, not only is it tolerated, but it is praised for its philanthropic work. "Politicians never miss an opportunity to praise the Church for its humanitarian work."

I often share with my readers my conviction that we are living in a new missionary age. These accounts out of India did not surprise me. In fact, they gave me great hope. The Christians of India, and in a special way the very Christians experiencing these miracles, have suffered greatly for their faith. The good Bishop is correct in drawing an analogy with the early Church.

Their choice to follow the Risen Jesus in His Catholic Church places them at great risk in India. It not only shows courage, it demonstrates the presence of a living and dynamic Catholic faith in their lives. This is the kind of living faith which comes from an encounter with the Risen Lord. This is the kind of faith we all need. This is the kind of faith which calls forth miracles.

As the hostility toward Jesus Christ and His Church continues to grow in the United States and the West, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon the Church in the West. We need the Holy Spirit in a new and powerful way. We are increasingly placed at risk for even living our faith - at least when we do so faithfully. We need to also ask the Lord to open our eyes to see the miracles in our own lives.

Then, we need to be bold, as the faithful of India demonstrate, and believe that the same Lord who is revealing the Kingdom in their midst is here, with us, ready to act, in this new missionary age. Miracles Still Occur. Do We See Them? Do We Ask for Them? Are We Responding?

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