Sunday, August 28, 2016
Earthquakes and Miracles
When an earthquake hit the central Italian town of Amatrice the nuns of the local convent were asleep in their beds. A young man heard cries for help and pulled three of the nuns from the building, perhaps saving their lives.
One of those rescued nuns, Sister Mariana, said that is was a miracle that the man heard them from so far away. I'm grateful that they were rescued, yet several other nuns, along with several visitors, are still buried in the rubble. Why was there a miracle, which would be God's extraordinary intervention, for some of the sisters and not for others? And why have hundreds, including children, had their lives snuffed out? Rather than a benign, loving presence, God would be capricious and unfair. When one person walks away from the plane crash, or the trailer park after the tornado roars through, can he or she claim that a miracle has occurred?
I'm not denying the existence of miracles, either the miracles we read about in scripture, or the possibility for miracles in the present. I am much less certain about their possibility than I once was, and I have come to realize that we are not magically protected from illness, or suffering, or the effects of the natural processes of the planet, including earthquakes.
I do trust that God is the source of our strength in every circumstance in life, even those dark mysteries which are beyond our comprehension in the moment. We can pray for these devastated communities and consider how we might respond with practical compassion.
What do you think about claims of miraculous intervention? Have you every experienced a miracle? What about Sister Mariana's comment?