ON THE MIRACLES OF CHRIST OUR LORD
Consider first, that Christ our Lord did not only teach us his heavenly truths by his preaching, by his parables, and by his maxims laid down in the gospel, but his whole life, and all his actions were designed to be an instruction to us; and that his miracles in particular were not only wrought to confirm our faith and our hope in him, and to be so many evidences of his goodness and charity to poor mortals; but to give us also great lessons for our practice, if we would take care to look well into them, and to learn the mysterious meaning of them. Especially, we must ever remember, that as the diseases and corporal infirmities we are liable so in this life, mystically represent the spiritual maladies of our vices and passions, so we are to learn from the miracles wrought by our redeemer, in healing all manner of diseases of the body, to apply continually to him for the cure of the like diseases in the soul, which are indeed the far more grievous evils of the two, and if not healed, are attended with far more dreadful consequences. But alas! how seldom do the children of this world take to heart the seeking of the cure of these spiritual diseases; or apply in a proper manner to this great physician for his aid; who when he was here upon earth, never cast off any that applied to him? So much more are worldlings concerned for the body than for the soul; for time than for eternity. O my soul, let us at least be more wise.
Consider 2ndly, what were the miracles which our Saviour more frequently wrought, from the time of his first beginning to preach his gospel. ‘He went about all Galilee,’ says St. Matthew, ‘healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people; and his fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all sick people, &c., and such as were possessed by devils, and lunatics, and paralytics, and he healed them,’ Matt. iv. 23. And there ‘came to him great multitudes, having with them he dumb, the blind, and the lame, the maimed, and many others; and they cast them down at his feet, and he healed them,’ Matt. xv. 30. ‘And whithersoever he entered into towns, or into villages or cities, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought him that they might but touch the hem of his garment, and as many as touched him were made whole,’ Mark vi. 56. ‘and all the multitude sought to touch him, for virtue went out from him and healed all,’ Luke vi. 19. See, Christians, how ready your Lord was, during his mortal life, to cure all kinds of bodily diseases, and how wholesome it was to come near to him, or to touch either him or his garments, by reason of the virtue that went out from him to heal all. O assure yourselves, he is no less ready or willing now to heal your souls; for his power, his mercy, his goodness, his charity and love for you know no bounds! It is no ways diminished since he shed his blood for the love of you, and carried it with him into the sanctuary of heaven, there to present it to his father in your behalf. Examine then, and see what our diseases are, and run with confidence to him for your cure. You need not go far to seek him: for though he is gone to heaven, he still will be with you even to the end of the world. You may find him in the Eucharist; where a virtue continually goes out from him, for the healing of all; you may find him at any time, and in any place, in this divine person; especially in his temple, in the centre of your souls; for there is no place in which he either more willingly resides, or more frequently works his wonders, than in the interior of such Christians, as duly seek him by a spirit of recollection and an internal life.
Consider 3rdly, that ‘Christ our Lord continually went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil,’ Acts x. 38. As he came to deliver men from the tyranny and slavery of the devil, so his miracles were most frequently wrought in casting out devils; in destroying the works of the devil, and in forcing Satan out of his usurped dominions. See, Christians, what occasion your souls may have for this fort of miracles. Are they not spiritually possessed, or besieged by this wicked spirit; by the means of some or other of the capital sins; for where any of these are predominant, there Satan reigns. Does not this wicked one render you spiritually deaf and dumb, with regard to the voice of God, and the confession of your sins? Does he not bend you down to the earth by worldly affections, like the crooked woman in the gospel, Luke xiii. 16. Does he not make you blind, by obstructing your interior sight, with regard to the light of truth, &c.? In all these cases you must run to Christ our Lord to be dispossessed, or to be delivered from this mortal enemy of your souls. Christ’s hand is not shortened; he will cast out this wicked one, at your humble request; but O take care not to be of the number of those who, by wholly giving themselves up to their carnal passions, are rather swine than Christians; for of such as these the devil has so great a hold, that he will not easily be cast out. Our Lord himself gave a licence to a whole legion of devils to enter into swine, and whither did they hurry them, but down a precipice into a deep, where they all perished; Take care this never be your case!
Conclude to consider henceforward the miracles of our Lord, not only as confirmations of the truth of the Christian faith, and evidences of the power, mercy, and goodness of the author of it, and consequently as strong inducements to believe in him, hope in him, and love him above all things – but also to study well the practical lessons which are to be learnt from these miracles; inasmuch as they point out to us the sovereign means of ridding ourselves of all our evils, by having recourse, with a lively faith and humble prayer, to the great source of all our good.