My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
Christ is in our midst! He was, is, and ever and ever shall be.
THAVMATA (WONDERS) – GOD’S MIRACLES
+ In the Name of the Father and of the Son of
the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray to the Lord. Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us,
For in You we have put our trust;
Be not exceedingly angry with us,
Nor remember our many iniquities;
But look up us now as the Compassionate,
and deliver us from our enemies;
For You are our God, and we Your people,
We are all the work of Your hands,
And upon Your Name, we have now called.
(Small Parklesis to the Theotokos)
"The Lord said to him, ‘IF YOU BELIEVE, ALL THINGS ARE
POSSIBLE TO HIM WHO BELIEVES" (St. Mark 9:23).
A miracle or wonder is a Divine and supernatural act whose origin is that of God and His infinite mercy. It is the product of God’s unconditional Love. It is a mystery that is beyond man’s understanding. It is extraordinary because what has occurred cannot be explained rationally or scientifically. Our Lord says clearly, "If you believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (St. Mark 9:23). Therefore, faith is essential for a miracle to take place.
God’s every Divine act can be described as a miracle (thavma). Every miracle has its origin, it’s beginning in God. It is a sign from God to man of His presence, of His love, of His compassion, of His grace, of His power, of His mercy, of the fact that He is The Physician of our souls and bodies. Whatever is impossible for man is possible with God. Everything rests in God’s will. "He is everywhere present and fills all things." "Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘WITH MEN THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE, BUT WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE" (St. Matthew 19:26).
We see God’s miracles through the Holy Scripture. God reveals His presence through His Divine miracles as mentioned in the Old Testament through the venerable and righteous prophets. It is shown clearly to the chosen people of God, To the holy people of God, the people of faith. And what is faith? "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). "For by it (faith), the elders obtained a good testimony. Some of God’s servants who acted by faith were: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Sampson, Jephthah, and David. Everyone of one of them witnessed God’s miracles.
With the Incarnation of the Logos/Word, "The unutterable, unknowable, invisible, unattainable God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, became man in the form of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and dwelt among men on earth." Is that not the greatest of all miracles? While on earth the Son of God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ out of love and compassion, conducted countless miracles. Let us listen to the Lord Jesus Himself: "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: THE BLIND SEE AND THE LAME WALK; THE LEPERS ARE CLEANSED AND THE DEAF HEAR, THE DEAD ARE RAISED UP AND THE POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM" (St. Matthew 11: 4-5). The Holy Apostles were given the power of miracle-working i.e., Saint Peter who conducted many miracles. The miracle of Ananias who was bedridden for eight years and was paralyzed and was healed by the holy Apostle. The miracle of Dorcas (Tabitha) who became sick and died. The holy Apostle raised her from death. Miracles did not cease with the death of the Apostles but continued and will continue forever within our Holy Church.
Miracles are not unfamiliar to me as a Christian and an Orthodox priest. I was the recipient of a number of miracles as a child and as a boy. One of the miracles that I wish to share with all of you took place when I was a young boy and in elementary school in Athens, Greece. I was in class at the local school on a stormy day. It was raining all day and the area around the school was flooded. The street had become a raging torrent. School let out and all the students were heading home. Some of us had to cross over this torrent at the most narrow point by jumping over it to reach the other side. For the older children, it was not too difficult to do. For me, it was very frightening. The intimidating sound of this river of muddy water and I was reluctant to jump over it until my schoolmates assured me that I would make it over. With all courage that I could muster, I leaped to go to the other side, but instead, I fell in it and disappeared completely under the muddy water. My schoolmates were horrified and ran home to tell what happen to their parents and that George Konstantopoulos drowned. By the grace of God, I was saved. At some point, I came to my senses. I found myself standing full of mud. I had no idea where I was and what happened to me. There was no one around and the surroundings were not even familiar to me. It was as though I was on another planet, as I recall. Finally, I got my bearings and started running home. At the same time, the parents of schoolmates were approaching my house to offer their condolences to my mother who was the only one at home at the time. My mother happened to be outside in the front of the house when she saw me running towards her, muddy. Her immediate question was ‘my child what happened to you and why are you so muddy? My answer to her was ‘mom i drowned.’ Then she saw our neighbors and the story of what happened was told to her not by me but by my schoolmates and eyewitnesses. She made the sign of the Cross and thanked and praise God for this miracle.
As a Greek Orthodox priest of fifty-one years, I have witnessed personally numerous miracles at every parish that I have served over many years. At my last parish of Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox church in South Bend, Indiana, I witness a number of miracles. One of the miracles deals with a young man who fell from the second floor of his apartment on his head. He was taken to Saint Joseph’s Hospital Emergency room where the doctors attempted to revive him. He was placed in the Intensive Care Unit. His family called me to offer prayers and to bless him, which I did. Soon, after, however, while I was present, the doctors informed his parents that there was nothing more that they could do for their son. They advised them to decide if they would be willing to donate various organs to people than needed them. The Coroner of the Hospital had signed the death certificate. It was a very painful time and all grieved. The following morning before the nurses were about to take the body, the nurse walked into his room and saw him trying to remove the tube from his nose. She immediately dialed the appropriate code and they rushed the young man to perform brain surgery on him. The surgery went without any complications and the young man, over time, recovered completely. He used to serve in the Holy Altar and sometime after he returned to serve again. We all rejoiced with this wonderful miracle. Even the physicians and nurses at Saint Joseph’s marveled and they too referred to it as a true miracle.’
Personally, I feel that not enough is said about miracles, nor are the miracles that are witnessed every day preached about enough. Our faith is A LIVING FAITH AND OUR GOD IS A MERCIFUL AND COMPASSIONATE GOD AND WE SHOULD GLORIFY HIM UNCEASINGLY FOR HIS MIRACLES AND HIS LOVE. I know that once you experience a miracle in your life, you are never the same, you are a changed person, a more faithful person, a more loving and caring person. You are grateful for everything in your life and you are inseparable from our Savior Jesus Christ.
Let us not neglect to mention the countless miracles that are attributed to the Mother of God, our Theotokos, to the Saints of our Church, and including the miracles that have taken place by venerating the holy relics of our Saints, and holy miraculous icons of our Church.
GLORY BE TO GOD!
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George