One of the most widespread definitions of “miracle” is that of St. Thomas Aquinas: “works done by God outside the order usually observed in things”.
A miracle, from a believer’s point of view, is a divine sign, a material and tangible wonder, such as a miraculous healing, an inexplicable phenomenon; in short, a marvelous event, which does not correspond to any logical, natural or scientific explanation.
Among other miraculous events, there are miraculous healings, the appearance of stigmata, bilocation, the separation of waters, unexplained astral events (such as the “dancing Sun”), stone sculptures that cry or smile, etc. Inedia can also be mentioned, that is, surviving without food and water.
In different cultures, miracles are a way to persuade people to believe in the existence of a certain deity. It is a sign that supernatural things happen, which, in a way, confirms the existence of a higher being.
In recent years, miracles have become the talk of the town thanks to a movie called “Miracles from Heaven”, directed by Patricia Riggen starring Jennifer Garner, Kylie Rogers and Martin Henderson.
It is based on a true story, in which a girl with an incurable disease is miraculously cured after a near-death experience caused by a very serious accident.
The true story behind “Miracles from Heaven” happened in 2011, in Texas. A 9-year-old girl, Annabel Beam, was suffering from a chronic disease of the digestive system, which caused her such severe pain that she even told her mother that she wished to die. Although her parents took her to several doctors, none could find a cure for the little girl.
One day, encouraged by her brothers, she climbed up a tree in the family yard, and suffered a fall. Her parents feared that the accident would make her health problems worse. At the hospital, doctors run all kinds of tests and X-rays, but it appeared that she had nothing but a minor concussion. It is said that one of the doctors approached her parents and told them: “Jesus was with this girl in the tree”.
The next day, Christy, the mother, found her daughter sitting in bed, chatting and laughing with her father, Kevin, who gave her the good news: the girl was fine. She had no more pain.
Soon after, the girl explained to her mother that she had a near-death experience that led her to speak to Jesus. “Mom, I went to heaven when I was in that tree. I sat on Jesus’ lap and he told me it was not my time”, Annabel said. The girl also explained that the gates of paradise were golden, and that she saw Mimi, her grandmother, who died in 2010.
Miraculously, after that encounter in Heaven, the incurable disease of the digestive system that she had been suffering for years disappeared.
The case showed in the “Miracles from Heaven” movie is not the only one. There are many cases of miraculous healing that have been gathered throughout history.
Around the world, there are places where people go to ask for the miraculous healing of their diseases. Among these places, there are Fatima, in Portugal, and Lourdes, in France; two towns linked to Marian apparitions. When one of the millions of pilgrims who come to these (or other) places believes that he has been healed after his visit to the temple, an investigation begins.
So that the Catholic Church performs a beatification or canonization, there must be a miracle, which shows how God intercedes for men through one of his servants. One recent example is that of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was beatified after a woman suffering from a tumor in the abdomen healed after placing a locket of the famous nun on the affected area. Her sanctification took place after a Brazilian man prayed to her to heal from a hydrocephalus, from which he miraculously recovered.
For the Catholic Church, Christ’s resurrection is the greatest of miracles. Jesus Christ, in his 33 years of life, also performed numerous miracles, such as the multiplication of loaves and fish, walking on water, calming storms, making the blind see again and resurrecting the dead, such as his friend Lazarus, who came back to life after Jesus said, “Lazarus, come forth”.
Other religions also have an important part of their faith based on miracles. Muhammad, like Christ, is said to have multiplied food, performed miraculous healings and possessed a special power over nature. Buddha created water and fire with his body, and made trees and flowers grow from the ground.