Monthly Archives: October 2017

The Mystery of Miracles

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For me, the mystery of miracles is not the how or the why of miracles themselves but why they are so ignored.  There are miracles happening all around the world all the time.  How is it that we never hear about genuine miracles like healings at Lourdes or scientifically-tested Eucharistic miracles in the mass media?  We see plenty of people on news reports saying things like “It was a miracle…” but we don’t seem to be expected to believe that God had anything to do with it.  When people hear about miracles they mostly seem to just shrug it off. ‾\_(ツ)_/‾

I know someone who, decades ago, cried out to God in extremis and was answered in abundance.  When our prayers are answered they are often answered with overflowing generosity, as at the wedding at Cana.  I know that this person was relieved and thankful that her prayer had been answered but she didn’t respond in kind.  She did what many people do.  She treated it as a welcome anomaly and then got on with life as usual.  People often only turn to God when they want something.  As Our Lord says in Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel:

Amen, amen I say to you, you seek me, not because you have seen miracles, but because you did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that which endureth unto life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you.

Shouldn’t miracles prompt at least a little curiosity or a desire to do something in thanksgiving?  When a hardened heart is granted a miracle or is a witness to one, it is a call and an opportunity for that heart to respond.  God loves us so much, shouldn’t we try to love Him in return?  When we witness or hear about a miracle, we shouldn’t shrug it off, we should get curious.  The Lord is reaching out to us.

I leave you with this link to a beautifully-written, moving story of what happened to a sick little boy after a trip to Lourdes.  The writer (his mother) is not claiming that this is a miracle healing but it certainly sounds like a miraculous transformation to me.  Here are some excerpts:

Before his pilgrimage, at almost eighteen months old, Oscar was functionally stalled at a developmental level between three and nine months…

Within a week of returning home, however, we had appointments with his physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, and neurologist, … I didn’t say anything about the remarkable changes I had noticed in Oscar. I didn’t need to. Every person who knows him well and has spent time with him this month has commented that he is markedly different.

… By the end of the hour, she [the physical therapist] told me, “I’m a little freaked out.”

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Icon O’Class

Here is a photo of most* of the participants of the recent icon course at Knock, Ireland.  The teacher is the tall guy in the middle at the back, and I’m third from right at the front (with my red painting pinny still on).

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*A couple of people had to leave early so they didn’t make it into the group photo.

Here is a photo of my icon after I touched it up a little at home.

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I have since coated it with a thin protective layer.  I have to wait at least six months for the tempera to harden before I can varnish it and protect it properly.  I will probably hang it on the wall to dry so that the cats don’t get at it.

My First Icon

I was on an icon course this past week.  The teacher, Theodoros Papadopoulos, came all the way over from Greece and he was excellent.  He managed to get a packed room full of people of very different skill levels to produce a difficult icon despite coming down with a cold.  We worked for six days from about nine in the morning until after six with about forty-five minutes for lunch.  Sometimes we stayed later in the evenings.  It was very intensive and we were feeling a bit fatigued by the end.  One poor lady had a funny turn on the last day, and Theodoros had to help her finish the icon.  Despite the intensive pace I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.  I’m sure the others would agree with me.  Some people had come all the way from the U.S. and one was a Chilean living in Ireland.  Anyway, enough waffle, let me show you some photos:

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