I read a newspaper article a few years ago called Easier Miracles? and this is what it said:
“The Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes in France has announced a ‘reform’ of miracles at the Catholic shrine of Lourdes. Henceforth, there will be new categories of ‘healing’ recognized that take into account advances of modern science. These will include ‘unexpected healings,’ ‘confirmed healings’ and ‘exceptional healings.’ Critics say Msgr. Jacques Perrier is ‘devaluing’ God’s interventions in order to counter increasingly fierce competition in France from evangelical and Pentecostal churches, but the cleric denies this. The problem for Lourdes, says the London Observer, is that there have not been many miracles recently. A total of 67 miraculous healings have been recognized since 1858, however, there have only been four miracles since 1978– the most recent last year when an Italian woman was said to have been healed of acute rheumatism.”
This is a most interesting situation as one contemplates the movement of God. Is something lacking in the people of our time? Is God not granting miracles as He once has? Why would miracles in a place of miracles suddenly trickIe where once there was a flood?
I think this is interesting because in our own parish we have witnessed wonderful healings and tremendous and outstanding answers to prayer over the last couple of years, as well as movements among our youth and a congregation that is steadily growing, yet we are anything but a shrine. God is not subject, of course, to geographical boundaries and place. God can and does move in great and wonderful ways among those who call on his name. What is most important is that we have a welcome and open spirit and attitude towards God as the center of our lives. So often we don’t receive because we don’t ask.
In all of the wonderful things the Lord has done among us it will always be most important that God is glorified in what has taken place and that He gets and deserves all the credit for it. If we build the forms the Lord will fill them, but we must ask and we must also thank him for the gifts we have received. If God were to touch me and wonderfully grant me something I had been asking for, he will also do it in such a way that others will know about it as well. When others know they in turn will give witness to what God has clearly done and the experience even for them will lead them to a deeper relationship with the Lord and a realization of his presence among us.
There exists an exciting fruitfulness which seems to be taking our parish, not by storm but with the softness of a gentle breeze – the breath of the Spirit. Healings, conversions, a return to the sacraments, a lively sense of community and welcome, all stand as visible gifts from God that can so easily be taken for granted.
That is not to say that we are a perfect parish with every ministry and every parishioner working in perfect harmony with one another. There is always plenty more in us which needs to be subject to the power of God, things we need to improve upon within ourselves and our community.
God is doing some wonderful things in our presence and we need to be grateful to the Lord for this gracious time of visitation and power. (Fr. Charles)