In the message of April 25, 2001, Our Lady said:

Little children, prayer works miracles.

The concept of a miracle coming from God is for some Christians an idea belonging to the past, while others run after false miracles. These two opposite positions have the same origin: the thought that a miracle is reducible to a challenge to natural laws, forgetting its role of a sign accessible to every man.

The Bible recognizes everywhere the hand of God who manifests His power and His love. The created universe is “marvellous” (Psalm 89,6) and a “sign” (Psalm 36), just as special interventions of God in the history, renewing the creation (Numbers 16,30; Isaiah 65,18). The Bible invites the faithful to what is essential, and it is the religious significance of facts.

Miracles in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, miracles happen in the important moments of the history of the chosen people: they are linked to Moses and his successor Joshua at the time of the foundation of the people of God and their placement into the Promised Land. They happened to Eliah as well as to his disciple Elisha, who renewed the Covenant concluded by Moses.

For men with open hearts, miracles always awaken and strengthen faith, trust, gratitude, humility, obedience, hope and the fear of God. (Psalm 105/104,5). For those who, like Pharao, expected nothing from an unknown God, they provoked the contrary effect (Exodus 7,13).

The entire Israel nation admired the greatness of the faith of Abrahan who obtained what was humanly impossible: the birth of an offspring (Genesis 15,6; Romans 4,18-22).

Miracles in the life of Jesus

By the miracles He did, Jesus confirmed the Good News and showed that in His person the announced messianic kingdom had arrived. He forgave sins (Mark 2,5-12), He was greater than the Sabbath (Mark 3,4; Luke 13,15), He announced His Messianic kingdom (Matthew 14,33; John 1,49), He was sent by the Father (John 10,36), He demanded faith in Him (Matthew 8,10-13; 15,28). When He raises Lazarus, Jesus invokes the Father, Jesus prays, knowing that the Father will hear Him: “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” (John 11,41-42)

The Good News of the Kingdom preached by Jesus and incarnated in His person had to be accepted through conversion and faith (Mark 1,15). John’s Gospel spoke about “signs” which goal was to let Jesus be recognized as sent by God (John 3,2; 9,16; 10,36), as a prophet (John 4,19), Christ (John 7,31), Son of Man (John 9,35-38). Those who saw “signs” (John 6,36; 7,3; 15,24) and refused to believe (John 7,5; 12,37) had no excuse (John 9,41; 15,24).

If many rejected the “witness” of signs (John 5,36), it is because they were blinded (9,39; 12,40) by a spiritual numbness, pride, jealousy or false prudence (6,15-26; 5,16; 7,49-52; 9,16; 12,11; 11,47). They knew neither abandonment nor openness to God, and made Jesus, powerless (Matthew 13,58). How could they have recognized “His signs of times” (Matthew 16,3) if they sought signs only in order to test Jesus (Mathew 16,1) and His miracles attributed rather to the demon, than to have recognized He as a supernatural power (Mark 3,22.29)? For closed hearts that do not want to hear the Word, His signs are incomprehensible.

To this generation “no sign will be given except the sign of Jonah” (Matthew 12,39), said Jesus, and gave a rendezvous to his opposites the day of His Resurrection. The Resurrection was the most brilliant sign, but also the easiest to be denied, since the possibilities of verifying were only indirect: the empty tomb, apparitions to some (Matthew 28,13; Luke 24,11). The main support of the faith is its’ principal test.

In the Church

After the Resurrection, the Ascension and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Jesus remained forever with His disciples, and they also worked signs He did (Acts of the Apostles 3,1): Jesus gave them the power and ordered them to do it. (Mark 16,17; Matthew 10,8).

The miracles manifest the quality of those who are sent: their steadfastness (2 Corinthians 12,12), sureness and indifference (1 Thessalonians 2,2-12). This is how the true and the false prophets can be distinguished (Acts 8,9-24; 13,4-12). Everything comes form the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1,5; 1 Corinthians 2,4; Romans 15,19).

Even today this language remains incomprehensible for hearts closed and proud, but is accepted by those who know that “nothing is impossible for God” (Genesis 18,14 = Luke 1,37).

(Cf: Xavier Leon-Dufour : Vocabulary of Biblical Theology)