What Kind of Miracles Do We Need?


A consecrated host turns into a blood clot, covered by the Dallas media.

Last week, a student asked me why God doesn’t work miracles any more. She was thinking about the divine intervention mentioned so often in the Old Testament, plus Jesus’ miracles. The best answer I could devise on the spot was that Jesus must intend for his brothers and sisters to be miracle workers today: that was our charge given at the Ascension and at Pentecost.

We achieve medical miracles, both marvelous (the healings unimaginable to previous generations) and unexplained (the tumor vanishing without expectation for visible cause). I’ve always been far more impressed with the change of heart I’ve seen in people. Do you know what I mean? The people whose lives were going horribly, but through addiction recovery, good influences, and even religion, have managed to steer themselves away from trouble and been led into a more graced existence.

Once I asked God to take away a miracle. I was praying the office many years ago and the palm of my hand had a blood spot. I didn’t think anything of it, and I wiped it on a handkerchief. It reappeared seconds later. Then I got worried. The last thing I wanted was to get caught up in some stigmata thing. I promised God my faith was fine.

I walked to the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror, there was a small cut on my chin. I sometimes curve one hand over my mouth and chin, so that was where the blood was coming from. I felt a little silly about it. “Right. Like I’m really saintly enough for stigmata,” I thought.

So I’m not sure what the point is about this Dallas experience. I guess I’m waiting for something even more miraculous: that more believers who have received Communion will manifest more deeply they have turned into the Body of Christ. Do they know we’re Christians by our love or by our miracles?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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