Miracles and Motherhood

The Miracle9288

What would do if you saw a miracle? Would you feel special? Would you tell people about it? Would you change the way you lived?
In the readings today at Mass, we get two accounts of the miracle of Jesus ascending into heaven, what we commonly call “The Ascension.” The first account is from the Acts of the Apostles. The second account is from the Gospel according to Luke. Both accounts, we believe, were written by the same author. We also get a clue from the gospel as to the nature of how the Apostles responded, “They returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God.” (Luke 24:53).
It seems fitting. Any saint that I have ever heard about has had much the same reaction. They witness some snapshot of something “awesome” and they spend a great deal of their subsequent time doing numerous activities in Church, usually of the “praising God” variety. Why shouldn’t they? They were privileged enough to see a miracle. Right?
Maybe that is why so many people don’t attend church today. There are fewer and fewer miracles. Aren’t there? Everyone is looking up at the sky and instead of seeing Jesus ascend, they see airplanes and cell towers, but not Jesus. With no extraordinary moment in which we are ineffably awestruck, why would we go to Church? We aren’t the same beneficiaries of a beatific vision privileged to the saints. Or are we?
As the sun is getting higher and brighter in the Spring air, I am reminded of one of the most fantastic sensations of my youth, still repeated today. When I would come inside from playing, I could never see anything in the dark room. Everything seemed dim. Now in fact, my house was adequately lit, but I was so exposed to the radiance of the sun outside, upon entering the house I couldn’t see anything.
The effect is analogous to God’s abundant blessing of us. We are so inundated with miracles that our “miracle sensory mechanism” isn’t capable of processing all of it. It makes it seem like there are no miracles at all, when in fact, all that has happened is this – we have been overexposed.
We can correct our maligned inner sight by stopping and realizing that everything around us is truly miraculous. The existence of a planet next to a sun with just the right conditions for life to exist. Abundant breathable air. Food with all its delicious tastes and smells. The 28 students this past week who received the Sacrament of Confirmation. Friendship. Joy. The Cubs and Sox are both in first place. And one very distinct miracle that our entire culture celebrates today, motherhood. The birthing of a child in the world. What a miracle! The fact that it has happened 7 billion times in the last 90 years doesn’t make it less of a miracle. It is miraculous that God could devise a scheme in which there could be 7 billion births in recent history!
On Mother’s day, there is something about the miracle of motherhood that gets to us and because of that, it is not surprising that Mother’s day is one of the biggest days in the life of a Church. Our collective awe for the gift of motherhood inspires many to try a little harder to come to Mass today. In that regard, we’re not that much different than the apostles nor the saints on the Feast of the Assumption. It isn’t that they saw miracles and we don’t. It is that they recognized the miracle around them and responded.
Likewise, if we cultivate our capacity to see miracles, it is likely that we will respond in the same manner as the apostles and the saints. If we nurture the ability in others to see the abundant radiance of the miraculous, chances are they too will be found “continually in the temple praising God.”
The Feast of the Ascension and Mother’s day are a good fit for this Sunday. They both ignite within us the ability to recall the abundance of miracles are all around us, and to praise God for flooding us with God’s miraculous grace. Give thanks for your (Mom) miracle today!
-David Heimann, Pastoral Associate

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.