I Spy… Miracles!
Humans thrive on miracles. We know this as children, but the world tells us (in the voice of the devil) that we’re supposed to grow out of it. We’re supposed to become mature, independent adults. The wonder we experienced as children were flights of imagination. We need to see the world as it really is.
That viewpoint is totally wrong. We are not supposed to become independent of the wonder of children. If we abstain too long from miracles, part of us dies. Besides “the world as it really is” IS FILLED with miracles. We just have to develop our talent to see it.
Of course, there are the science-defying miracles, such as someone being healed at the intercession of a Saint, the dance of the sun at Fatima, or the defeat of an invincible evil. Since we are looking to practice, however, I will concentrate on the everyday miracles. Sharpening our vision every day will help us to believe when the big ones come along. (And they surely will!)
Even everyday miracles can be broken into large and small. Large everyday miracles are true on a grand scale. They’re so true that we never stop to notice them. I love, for example, what St. Patrick’s Breastplate tells us:
I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heavens,
The glorious sun’s life-giving rays,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightening free,
The whirling winds tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.
This is one verse of many in this amazing hymn of praise and power. I love this one particularly for three reasons.
First, praise of creation. That creation has “virtues” is amazing. In our science-crazed world, so fixated on understanding nature, we have really stripped her of her greatest glory–that she is a creation of God, and that He has given her goodness derived from His own. Each creature listed here is praised for a strength, each strength is called “Good” by Him.
Second, the power that God has given to man. He has made us to be creatures who, simply by noticing His creation, can make ourselves better. Even at times when we feel only our poverty, He has given us the richness of creation. When we say this prayer, we “bind unto” ourselves all the goodness in God, both in creation and in the depths of His uncreated goodness.
Third, the praise and power due to God. This struck me recently–we are so lucky to have a God who cares at all what we do. Compared to all other gods throughout history, our God is solicitous of our love. He made us. He made material creation for us. He made us creatures to appreciate His material creation. He made us to be creatures that could please Him by smiling at a flower He grew for us. Awesome!
Little miracles are things are true in the moment. These have been most powerful to me recently. When we’re really sad, even big everyday miracles are overwhelming. They highlight how unworthy we are for any such goodness. They can plunge us into greater sadness.
In such cases, we must turn our minds from those large miracles and concentrate on the small ones. Sometimes one is enough to make us laugh. My favorite recently, as I dug my toes into a plush rug after a shower, went something like this.
“Ah! Clean toes and this soft rug. And I don’t have webbed toes! HAHA!”
Other favorite examples are waking up for Mass, when that used to be impossible. A beautiful sunrise that reflects off the hills and into the clouds. A good day at work. A functioning nose. A beautiful prayer time. The warmth of home after a chilly walk. The coziness of my favorite bed–my very own!
When listing these little everyday miracles, get creative and whimsical. All things are miracles, and there are no rules in listing them! It may seem silly, but (like it or not) we need silly!
The Necessity of Miracles
If we’re not careful, these wonderful things blow by. Our rational minds categorize them as everyday events, hardly worth recalling. If we don’t notice them, and rejoice in them, our spirits will die. The world will tell us to wait for something “spectacular”, but if we’re blinded by the mundane, if we don’t see the wonder in our everyday lives, we won’t accept anything as spectacular.
Our spirits need the sense of magic. Don’t settle for less.