The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern to which events conform but of feeding new events into that pattern.
My sainted mother taught me how to drive, and I was a hideously bad driver at first. She would take me out to drive and come back and take a “nerve pill”, as she called the tranquilizers that she reserved for encounters between me and the horseless carriage. I improved with time, I certainly couldn’t get any worse, but my mother remained nervous about me having some mishap on the road.
She died at 48 on Easter Sunday 1984 after a heroic battle with cancer that lasted a year and a half. For the remainder of my life I will remember the courage, grace and humor with which she fought the disease that took her life. Cancer conquered her but it did not defeat her spirit. For her last two weeks of life she was hospitalized in a coma. My wife and I would stay with her during the day and my Dad and brother would take the night shift. Come what may Mom was not going to die alone. On Easter morning, as my wife and I approached my mother’s room, my brother came running out to get us saying that Mom was waking up from the coma. We ran into the room, and Mom’s eyes were open. She looked at the four of us, said that she loved us all and died. I told our priest about this and he said that we had been granted a great privilege that morning and I agreed with him. I regard this as my first encounter with the miraculous.
My second encounter with the miraculous occurred a few months later in September when my wife and I were planning to drive from Mattoon, Illinois to Meridian, Mississippi to attend her sister’s wedding. We were driving around town when the power steering went out on the car. As I was driving it to a garage to get that fixed, one after another of the tires began to go flat, until by the time we were at the garage all the tires were as flat as a losing lawyer’s argument. Everything was repaired and my wife and I drove safely to and from Meridian. Coincidence? Perhaps, although in 38 years of driving and having owned many cars I have never experienced anything like it. I think it more likely perhaps that in the world to come my Mom, a woman of awe inspiring love and willpower, was doing her best to make sure that her worst fears regarding me and driving did not come true due to a blown tire or failed power steering.
It seems appropriate to me that both of my experiences with the miraculous involve love, because the ability of humans to love and to be loved has always struck me as the greatest of miracles God has bestowed upon us. Large miracles like Fatima or small miracles like the two I have related reveal the great truth that we are not alone in this Universe and that a loving God presides over it.
At any rate those are my two personal brushes with events in my life that I regard as miraculous. I invite my readers who have experienced what they regard as miraculous in their lives to mention it in the comment thread.