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May 15, 2018 475 0 Alan Scott
Encounter

There Will Be Miracles

“Pray for a miracle and it will happen.” Throughout my life I have heard that phrase many times. To be honest, I have been skeptical. In the past when the mention of a miracle pops up, I normally smile back at the other person in neither belief nor disbelief, but usually with a bit of indifference. My problem is that I am too practical. This practical gene that flows throughout my body has definitely benefited me many times during my life, but when it comes to my faith, it has not exactly been helpful. I have issues with the word “miracle.” At times the mere mention of the word has even made me wince a bit. Sorry, but it is true. The word just seems, well, too easy.

Recently, when my mom had a severe stroke the word “miracle” was uttered to me a lot. When I informed those closest to me of my mother’s stroke, I felt that many people brushed over the seriousness of her condition with what seemed like an easy request for a miracle.

“Alan, pray for a miracle and she will be healed.” Do not get me wrong, I also wanted a miracle to happen. I prayed, I begged and I pleaded for a miracle.

Many of the people I spoke with seemed convinced that I would witness a wonderful miracle take place before my very eyes. A miracle that would not only heal my mother, but help me to be stronger, perhaps even help me to trust and love God more.

So, I prayed for that miracle. For months. Every day. And that miracle, well, it never came. Not only was my mother not healed, but also in the subsequent months since her stroke, her condition became worse. Somewhere along the way my belief in miracles felt shattered.

I started to feel unworthy of a miracle. Perhaps I did not pray hard enough. Perhaps I did not have enough faith. Perhaps I did not believe enough.

And after a while, realizing that this miracle was never going to come, my prayers for my mother’s healing changed. My prayers became less about her recovery. My prayers acknowledged the inevitable and became more focused on her soul and less about her health. Prayers that focused on her eternity.

I also prayed that my mother’s past cynicism toward religion and her anger for a past that did not turn out the way she had hoped would shift and turn to a focus and love for God. That was the hope for my mother that I began to cling to.

Since the stroke, it was very hard to understand my mother’s speech. In fact, I normally comprehended about twenty percent or less of all that she said. But, some time after, my mother began to talk about some specific things and, to my surprise, I was able to understand her. She began to speak of her past regrets.

She began to speak about forgiveness. She began asking me questions about God. She began asking me questions about my Catholic faith. These were never topics of discussion with my mother in the past. It turns out that the miracle I was looking for was not her recovery.

On May 2, 2017, my mother, Margaret Rose Himmelright, was received into the Catholic Church. Even though she could barely speak, was unable to read or write, and was often very confused, for this she was lucid, clear, and very accepting. My mother’s faith and her soul are the miracle.

I have prayed for many years for my mother to grow closer to God. I was often left feeling like it would never happen. For her to want to know and love God more— even in the midst of pain and suffering—is nothing short of a miracle. Perhaps not the miracle everyone had in mind though, including myself.

I now know there are different kinds of miracles. Miracles that present themselves in unforeseen ways. We just have to be able to recognize them through the disappointment of not receiving the miracle for which we had originally hoped and prayed.

I had to free myself of the false notion that miracles only come in magnificent gestures of divine intervention. In reality, sometimes miracles dwell even where there resides grief and sadness.

Do I believe in miracles? Yes, I do. Just not the way I did before.

Alan Scott

is a writer and blogger. His work has been published on the Catholic Exchange, One Peter Five, The Stream and Catholic Today. His blog “Grow in Virtue” is about the journey towards a life filled with more virtue, faith, simplicity, generosity and far less complexity. He is listed on Top Catholic Blogs and is writing his first book, which he hopes to publish this year.

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