by Rev. Roderick MacEachen


Nature is finite and limited.  God is infinite, free, omnipotent.  The whole order of nature came into existence by a mere act of His divine will.  God cannot be bound by finite laws which He Himself has made.

A miracle suspends the operation of natural laws.  some assert that this would mean that God changes His mind.  If God makes a law and then suspends the action of this law it would seem that God had taken a new judgment on the matter and made an exception to His Own rule.  However, this is not true.

The judgments of God are unchangeable.  With God there is no past or future.  All is an eternal present.  When God made the laws of nature, He had n His mind all the exceptions and suspensions to which they are to be subjected.

God raised Lazarus from the dead.  Yet God did not change His mind to do this.  He knew from all eternity that He would restore life to Lazarus.  God here simply suspended the law of death.  God knew from all eternity that St. John would emerge unharmed from the caldron of boiling oil.

So it is with all the miracles that ever happened or ever will happen.  They call for no change in the all-knowing mind of God.  Yet they are a special intervention of divine power in the ordinary workings of nature.  Miracles are not worked according to fixed law.  They are effects produced over and above and outside the fixed laws of nature.

It is contended that we cannot know when a given effect is miraculous.  For we do not fully understand the laws of nature.  We do not know just where the powers of nature end and were the powers of God begin.  They maintain that there was a time perhaps when it would have been considered a miracle if an automobile were seen coming down the road.

They hold that the results obtained by the telephone, telegraph, wireless and electricity might have been considered miraculous a hundred years ago.  Had someone demonstrated some of our modern appliances a century ago, they say, he might have been considered a wonder-worker by many.  Perhaps new inventions that will be made a hundred yeas hence, they assert, would be miraculous to us if we could see them today.

It is indeed difficult at times for mere human intelligence to determine the cause of certain phenomena.  Yet it is enough to know that a given effect is quite beyond the power of nature.  It would be obviously beyond the powers of nature to cure deadly diseases at a distance by a mere act of the will.  It is contrary to the laws of gravitation to walk on the water.  To raise the dead to life is beyond the power of any natural cause.  To cure leprosy by word is surely beyond the realm of science.  To feed five thousand people with five loaves and then gather up twelve baskets of piece that were left is surely a miracle.

God never works a miracle to satisfy idle curiosity.  For every miracle there must be a motive in keeping with divine wisdom. No miracle could ever be wrought in the cause of error, nor in the cause of evil.  Any cause for which even one miracle can be proved is, necessarily, the cause of truth and justice.

If a votary of paganism could perform one true miracle in defense of his religion it would prove paganism divine.  If Protestantism, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, Brahmanism, Spiritualism, Christian Science, or any other cult or sect could prove one true miracle wrought by any of its promoters it would be the one true religion of God.

God has ever employed miracles to confirm His Revelation to man.  The Old Testament relates many wondrous miracles wrought amongst the chosen people of God.  The prophets worked many miracles.  The passage through the Red Sea is one of the most striking miracles related in the Old Testament.  Christ wrought many miracles to prove the truth of His mission and teaching.

In Apostolic times and in the early days of the Church, thousands of notable miracles were wrought to confirm the establishment of the church.  Miracles are less frequent in the Church today.  The Church and her marvelous works for nineteen centuries are wondrous miracles that are ever present to the scrutiny of sincere minds.

Yet miracles have never ceased in the Church.  There are great saints in every age to whom God grants the special privilege of working miracles in His name.  A certain number of miracles must be clearly proved before any holy person can be canonized.

Countless thousands who flock to the holy Shrine of Lourdes each year attest to the truth of the many great miracles wrought there.  They are miracles worked through the intercession of Mary Immaculate.

"Thousands of instances of the best authenticated miracles have taken place on our Church," says Bishop England, "in every age from the days of the Apostles to the present day, in accordance with the promises of the Savior, given without any limitation of time.  'And these signs shall follow them that believe in My name; they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover!"

The same great bishop lays down the rules for deciding miracles: "The proof of the truth of a miracle is to be found in its own nature, and not in the circumstances of the time at which it is wrought.  There is nothing in the nature of things, or in the nature of religion, to make it impossible for God to do now works similar to those done by Him at any former time.  The examiner has only to ascertain two points: first, whether this even occurred; secondly, whether the occurrence could have taken place without God's special intervention beyond the effects of His natural law.  The first he ascertains by ordinary testimony; the second he ascertain by the common belief of competent persons as to what the law of nature cannot reach to."

Those who deny the truths of Faith are forced to deny the existence of miracles in the Church.  then, to deny the existence of miracles in the Church, they are constrained to deny the possibility of miracles in general.

No one that accepts the bible as the inspired word of God can refuse to accept the doctrine of miracles.  The New Testament relates jot only the miracles of Christ but many miracles wrought by the apostles.  To deny the truth of these miracles is to deny the word of God.  If, then, miracles were wrought in the beginning, they can certainly take place at any other time.  It remains with the will of god alone to decree when and where a miracles shall be wrought.