Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
The normality of a miracle
Then the high priest rose up and all his companions …, filled with jealousy … and put them in the public jail. But during the night, the angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, led them out, and said, “Go and take your place in the temple area, and tell the people everything about this life.” … When the high priest…arrived, they … sent to the jail to have them brought in. But the court officers … came back and reported, “We found the jail securely locked and the guards stationed outside the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” … Then someone came in and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are in the temple area and are teaching the people.” Acts 5,17-25
One would think that this releasing the first Christians from prison by the angel did not really happen, but that it is a very fictionalized way to tell the story of the first preachers of the gospel. It would be a too human assessment criterion, and certainly a wrong one. The events of those who have chosen to risk their lives for the Lord, as the first apostles did, are beyond the human logic and their whole life becomes a miracle. Jesus’ life was like this; his opponents could do nothing until his time was accomplished; then, when his last hour came, his Father’s protection stopped, and everyone could do any harm to him. Pope John Paul II, when asked to resign because he was old and sick, replied that there were no problems; when his term was due, the Lord would call him quietly to his home. Until the last moment, however, the lives of the saints are always extraordinary, not because they were born as exceptional people, of course, but because they have only complied to God’s exceptional project on them. Let’s try to think of how the world would be if everybody completely worked out God’s plan for him. History would be an interplay of acts of love, just the opposite of what it is now, more or less as if the force of gravity disappeared. The miracle would become the norm, and the norm would be a sequence of generosity, sharing, reciprocal smiles and exceptional events. The church knows all of this up to the extent that, while discussing the causes of beatification, it verifies if miracles have happened around the people in the odour of sanctity. This criterion, set in the small sized reality of our lives, might also be the litmus test to verify if we are working out God’s plan. If exceptional things happen in our life, if the divine Providence reaches us every day, we can rest assured: we are on the right path.