Although Brother André considered the healings miracles, the Church pronounces on very few miracles because some of these healings may be within the possibility realm of creatures. For example, we know that the body has a tendency to heal itself over time, so healings taking place over the period of a novena to St. Joseph could have a natural cause . Brother André's understanding of miracles is in line with biblical view defined as anything which witnesses to God by being wonderful or outside the ordinary.

The Church has a much more precise understanding of a miracle which is an event produced by God. The questions below will probe the meaning of a miracle.

(Garfield by Jim Davis)

According to our scientific view, "Laws of Nature" are statements or descriptions of how the world works based on our observations. But these laws do not exist only in our minds, they are principles which govern the natural phenomena of the world. The law of gravity is one example. But, we do not have an exhaustive set of the laws of nature. Keith Ward states, "The idea of a finite and exhaustive set of laws of nature collapses with the thought that some laws can never be known until the history of the universe is complete." Arthur Peacocke, All That Is, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2007, p.157) So, there are events that do not fall under the universal and necessary laws of nature which we call miracles.

Some think that miracles violate the laws of nature but this is not so. When we go against the laws of nature by use of our minds and technology do we violate the laws of nature? The answer is no!, We simply introduce a modification into these laws. Keith Ward expresses this beautifully, "Miracles are not violations of the laws of nature, for laws of nature are self-limitations of the personal influence of the Supreme Mind, which are necessary to allow finite, morally responsible, and relatively autonomous minds to exist and grow. A miracle is the withdrawal of this limitation, disclosing a unique and unrepeated way the personal ground of all existence and something of the directions and goal of its ever-present sustaining influence." (Ibid., p. 159) To put it simply, the divine art of miracle is not the art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but a feeding of new events or information into that pattern. (C.S. Lewis, Miracles, Harper Collins Pub., Inc., 1974, p.95)

The whole creation itself is a miracle because its has no ultimate natural cause. We do not think of it as such because we are primarily aware of secondary causes at work in nature. Miracles involves intermediate persons such as the miracle worker and the recipient, but a true miracle can only be the work of God who is able to modify the structure of creatures by a power and knowledge superior to human knowledge and ability. So called "miracles", brought about by angelic power and knowledge are not strictly speaking miracles because they are the works of creatures. They may appear as miracles because these events are beyond human power and understanding.

There are two basic types of miracles: 1) an effect produced by a power above nature (e.g, raising Lazarus from death) and 2) an effect which could be produced by nature over time but is now produced instantaneously (e.g. Christ multiplication of loaves of bread and fishes).

 

"Him [God] who alone does great wonders"
(Ps 136:4)

9. Wonders of Wonders