Friday, April 16, 2010
When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?'" At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me." Luke 7:20-23
I would like to say a few words about miracles.
Today there is much speculation and doubt on the occurence of miracles in everyday life. Miracles have become synonymous with superstition. In the passage above we see that these signs or miracles were for a purpose. But I do not want to talk about that. I do not want to talk about either how people do not believe in a personal God therefore that miracles cannot happen or how ordered nature does not allow for supernatural phenomena to occur according to our science.
The Saints of our Church worked many great miracles. Infront of ordinary people, infront of servants, lawyers, doctors, prostitutes, thieves, infront of Emperors themselves. They gave back sight to the blind, healed the lame, raised the dead even. Some people believed and were baptised. Others were filled with greater hostility.
Well, where does that leave us? Do we see these great 'signs' today? Are people receiving their sight back, or being healed from diseases or disabilities, or even more extreme, being raised from the dead? If Thomas, the Apostle St Thomas himself, needed proof from God, what chance do we have?
Dear brothers and sisters, I will tell you about modern day miracles, real miracles. They do not involve any form of physical healing. They are not great 'signs' which people flock to see (even though this occurs with miracle-working icons) nor are they obvious to all. To notice these, you have to pay attention to the details, to the little things. They are what is important: the little thing...
I would like to tell you of three recent miracles that I have been privileged to witness. These are the 'everyday miracles' that we experience, as a wise woman from interstate once told me. I cannot disclose a lot of information so as the people involved are not hurst or embarrased or sensitive issue are brought up.
The first one of these miracles occured at the end of last year when a friend of mine discovered that the Saint she was named after does exist. Without going into many details, after much searching and involving people from Sydney, Melbourne, the US, and the Greek island of Kalymnos (where he is locally venerated), this Saint was discovered. His icon, his Apolytikion, his brief life story were all found. It would not be right of me to explain in any more detail at the moment.
The second is of a PhD student at UNSW who discovered Orthodoxy and indeed our Orthodox fellowship at university. Having gone through a state of depression and discovering God through nature, particularly by taking photohraphs of nature, he started practicing Christianity properly more as a Protestant. But it was when he first saw the icon of the Anastasis (the Resurrection) that he felt a connection, a warmth emanating from that depiction of truth and tried to find out what it really meant. And he will soon be baptised.
The last miracle that I would like to tell you of occured yesterday. My auntie, who is Catholic, decided to become Orthodox.
My auntie came from Samoa two decades ago for a holiday and decided to stay because she like Australia so much. If she returned to Samoa she would have probably become a nun. Instead she married my uncle under civil law many years ago, but not in a Church. They also have two young children, my cousins, who were baptised in the Orthodox Church. Of course she could not partake of the Sacraments in our Church as a Catholic even though she fasted and did other spiritual duties, infact she has done more than most Orthodox people. She was going to send a letter to the Bishop about this, but the printer didn't work yesterday morning! My cousin went to confession yesterday and my auntie took her. She decided to speak to the Priest herself about this issue. She spoke to him about her desire to keep the family as one unit, undivided and for her to partake in the Sacraments of the Church. He, in tears, said that he would do whatever he could to grant this to her. She ended in saying that she would like to become Orthodox. This is a very brief outline of the story so that sensitive issues are not enflamed in any way.
These are the miracles of today.
Who is so great a God as our God, You are the only God who works wonders!
Posted by Orthodox Christian Resources at 4:16 PM