The Significance of Biblical Miracles in the Modern Age
The modern application of the rationale for miracles.
1. The Starting Point
The conversion of the vessels of water into wine at the Wedding Feast of Canna in Galilee when the wine ran out. The first miracle we are taught. Not a bodily cure but we are lead to believe Jesus prompted by his mother performed this miracle of his public life and the Wedding Host was asked why keep the best wine to last. It signifies the essence of wine in Christ’s life including the new wine in Heaven after his crucifixion which He speaks of at the Last Suppler. The appearance of wine in Holy Communion is actually transformed to the blood of Christ under the colour, taste, form and shape of altar wine. We speak of wine, women and song and drink our friends’ health in wine. Wine has been at the heart of the life of the civilizations since time immemorial. We mention bonhomie and bon viveur in the same breath as le vin. Wine is at the centre of our celebrations and festivities and therefore vivacity and the vivacious in our lives. Christ wanted to be associated with this bonhomie spirit as sincerity is the root of all happiness. He desired this joy for us all. Hence the best wine for last in the Wedding Feast at Canna as the Bible recounts. There is no point in Holy Communion if we do not derive the grace of God from this sacrament meaning true social and personal pleasure in all its meanings apart from the other inward signs of grace.
2. The Miracles of Healing by Christ in the Bible
What do I relate? Sight to the blind (Bartimaeus) – the Leper cured of his leprosy – the crippled walking – Lazarus restored from death to life – the dumb speaking – the deaf hearing – the demons cast out of the possessed to name several. They stand in the New Testament testimony and they leave us struck with awe yet dubious. How do we resolve this contradiction? It is natural to be cautious with these miracle cures. Medical Science did not exist in Biblical days. Our Judgement is suspended in the modern age.
3. The Modern Life Changing Experiences and Medicine.
This is the key to understanding these scriptural miracles. Nowadays little is left to chance or the imagination unlike in the days of Christ. Everything now is noted, tested, diagnosed, treated and quite often cured. A lot of modern miracles are carried out through medicine and we may be very thankful for that. Not possible in Christ’s life so he was fulfilling a demand and gap. Nevertheless there is room for miracles in the changes that come over men and women in matrimony, birth and rearing of children, grandchildren, death of a relative, insight into mental illness or emotional turmoil, pursuing a professional career and then changing that career and yes a new found religion newly discovered desire to practice that faith or religious growth. I argue that these exceptionally significant and precious metamorphoses and living these transformations out in their ultimate meaning to those persons are the modern miracles derived from Christ Himself. He is the way, the truth and the life and the only way to the Father. Christ performed His scriptural cures before his death. We are now in the post Ascension of Christ to Heaven era with the Coming of the Holy Ghost immediately after Christ’s Ascension in time. He does not come down to earth to perform cures – that must be accepted. The Patient cannot cure himself but Christ may inspire these transformations I speak of and has promised to send the Advocate namely the Holy Ghost and his promise has been carried out. The Holy Spirit generates the power in these fundamental transcendental changes. Let us not underestimate His power to lead whether we admit and acknowledge his presence and promptings or not. God the Father is the ultimate goal for all of us and makes no discrimination in his love for us. The miracle is our following his Leadership in our lives.
4. The Supposed Healings Since Christ’s Ascension
These have been carried out in the name of Christ and quite often are linked to the elevation of a Holy man or woman to Sainthood or Beatification e.g. St Bernadette of Lourdes, St Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Cardinal Newman all 19th Century Roman Catholics. I cannot argue over miracles attributed to these Holy persons but I would urge caution. The miracle is Newman’s life as an Anglican and Catholic and his literary output. St Therese’s espousal of humility and charity in so short a life and Bernadette’s undoubted witness to the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary – those apparitions were real if not tactile. Miracles have been claimed by the intercession of these three Holy persons. Who am I to contradict these findings. The lives of the Holy always take different courses and their vivacity is in the contrast and individuality of these three lives well lived in the most Holy sense. The miracles play second fiddle in my view to that Holiness.
I am no modernist. I seek the essence of Christianity from Saint Francis of Assisi and the Saints onwards as the great exponents of Christ’s religion. Yet Christ is my guide and the great teacher and mediator. What matters to me is the present and the future built upon that present. I will drain the past for the present. The Sacrament of Holy Communion I have referred to namely the change in the reality of the bread and wine to the body and blood of Christ yet the bread and wine remain physically unaltered. This is the Sacrament begun on Holy Thursday at the Last Supper on the High Table and repeated ever since the world over. Thus I argue this sacramental transformation on the altar is mirrored in the personal sacrificial life changing experiences I refer to. The sacrifice of the Mass is offered for all so that Holy and Living sacrifice again of Christ Himself may lead to the forgiveness of sins and renewal of each member of the human race. Through that renewal all men and women are set free to win eternal life and fulfilment on earth. I end as I began Christ desired goodness and meaningful life for all his human flock. He will never stop working this miracle for us nor will his priests ever cease from feeding his sheep. This life changing vivacity will never end amongst the peoples of this earth. Thanks to Christ’s working of these miracles in our lives he creates effervescence in our hearts never to die away.