Sunday, 22 June 2014

Miracles and Fulton Sheen

Right, so I'm not a huge fan of the late Archbishop Sheen - I don't mean that as a reserved manner of articulating a dislike for the man; simply I have watched one or two of his broadcasts on youtube and they are fine and interesting. However, I see him oft quoted and he seemed to have an entertaining and commanding manner of sharing a strong Catholic identity - this seems like a fine endeavour. But what caught my attention was a number of months ago reading about a miracle attributed to his intercession; a miracle since approved by a vatican commission of theologians. The cause of canonisation is someway off, as this miracle still must be reviewed by various cardinals and finally the pope himself before Sheen will be pronounced blessed.

But his purported miracle is remarkable. A baby is delivered still born. The mother simply repeats over and over 'Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen, Fulton Sheen'. An hour later the heart starts beating, and three years later the child is developing normally.

I say it is remarkable, but I don't really have much to add to that. Many saints are reported to have raised the dead in their lifetimes (from Peter raising Dorcas in Acts 9 to St Patrick to Padre Pio), and many of the saints have miracles like this case of Fulton Sheen involving recover after death. Nevertheless, somehow we know this is extraordinary. But yet our Faith teaches us to live the extraordinary daily. Surely it is more marvellous that we are called to communion with God the creator of the universe? Our that God humbled himself to became a man in Jesus Christ, who continues to be found under the simple appearance of bread and wine. So vulnerable and hidden, yet this is our God who is all powerful, omnipresent and King of the Universe. Our God is a God existing in three persons; Father, Son and Spirit. Unity in diversity. Unity for us is never conformity or even normality as the Spirit brings about our oneness precisely through our diversity. Different members of one body.

Recently with the Confirmation candidates, the subject of miracles came up. Discussing the Spiritual Gifts of the Church today, the place for miracles and healing seems to be a bit sanitized. We hear of people being healed after receiving the Sacrament of the Sick, but to me, this is presented as the exception to the common rule.  But this seems not to be quite the expectancy merited from the New Testament accounts. In terms of healing, Catechism 1508 reminds us that "the Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing (see 1 Corinthians 12:9) to make manifest the power of the risen Lord". Perhaps, we need to revisit the teachings of the Faith and frequent the Sacraments in order to build our own faith in the power of God present here and now.

His Kingdom Come!




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