Decades ago, I read an insight by Jean Vanier, a Canadian Catholic philosopher and theologian, “You can be right. You can be dead right and bring death to everyone around you”. These words stripped bare my arrogance, profoundly affecting the way I expressed my faith to others and especially the way I wrote about the Catholic… Continue reading Catholic Writers- How To Avoid Being Dead Right
Sometimes our most deeply held religious opinions contradict spiritual reality. Look at the Pharisees who were so outraged by Jesus they thought He was possessed by a demon:
The Jews said to him, ‘Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, “Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.” Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, “He is our God”, though you do not know him. But I know him; if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.’ Then the Jews said to him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.’ (John 8:53-58).
The Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus meant; He was telling them, “I am God”. So, they tried to stone Jesus to death for claiming to be God because they believed He had committed an act of blasphemy. The Pharisees did not recognize God in their midst. When we really are set in our own religious opinions, Christ must symbolically knock us off our horse like Saint Paul before we can see the truth. As Pope Francis once said at an Easter Vigil, God delights in shaking us up. Just when we think we have Him all figured out, He pulls another fast one on us.
I have been surprised by three miracles in my life so far- a physical healing and the multiplication of heating oil and of decorative wood. Even my skeptical teenagers could not deny the miracles they witnessed with their own eyes, nor could they explain these events as anything other than miraculous. For all of us, they were “a sight to behold”, manifesting the glory and power of God. As for me, I am no longer afraid of future catastrophes either in nature or in society for I am a child of God; I can trust no matter what happens, the Almighty is in control and will intervene in my life if and when He sees fit.
At least Catholics believe theoretically in miracles even though most modern, educated folk tend to dismiss the miraculous, believing science will eventually provide a plausible explanation for the inexplicable. For the cynical, only the ignorant or gullible set out on desperate pilgrimages seeking cures or chase after signs and wonders. Many Protestants think miracles were only for the age of dispensation of grace. However, there are countless, hidden souls who have experienced authentic miracles but they have been bullied into silence.
It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me. Daniel 4:2-3