Do you believe in miracles? Many people apparently do. A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention, alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. What about the Jesus tree, sightings of the Virgin Mary, evidence of stigmata, the shroud of Turin, etc.? Join the X-Files today as various stories of miracles and visions which have astounded millions of people, were investigated by the Church, and were seen live on TV.
A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws of nature to perform what people perceive as miracles.Theologians say that, with divine providence, God regularly works through created nature yet is free to work without, above, or against it as well. In casual usage, “miracle” is seen as any event that is statistically unlikely but beneficial, (such as surviving a natural disaster), or simply a “wonderful” occurrence, regardless of likelihood, such as a birth. Other miracles might be: survival of a terminal illness, escaping a life threatening situation or ‘beating the odds.’ Some coincidences may be perceived to be miracles.
Criteria for classifying an event as a miracle varies. Often a religious text, such as the Bible or Quran, states that a miracle occurred, and believers accept this as a fact. Many conservative religious believers hold that in the absence of a plausible, parsimonious scientific theory, the best explanation for these events is that they were performed by a supernatural being, and cite this as evidence for the existence of a god or gods. Some adherents of monotheistic religions assert that miracles, if established, are evidence for the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent God.
The Jesus Tree
The life size figure of Jesus Christ protrudes mysteriously from a knotted growth in an old tree in the tiny Roman Catholic Cemetery located in Quincy, Illinois which has a pop. of less than 45,000. According to reports, a cemetery worker stood in awe upon making the discovery a few years ago and kept the secret to himself for several days before he began to share it with other people. The miraculous image cannot be fully appreciated unless one stands at a certain distance and angle thereby explaining why the figure had not been discovered earlier. Both the Quincy Herald-Whig newspaper and KHQA television station ran stories on it and provided coverage. When word got out people flocked to the cemetery to see the spectacular site. Did this vision evolve through natural means or perhaps through some divine intervention? Feelings are varied.
The Virgin Mary
Some say that when the Virgin Mary appears somewhere in the world, she serves a warning for us to prepare or take heed, others say it is to perform a miracle. While people all over the viewed the live war reports from Vietnam in the 60s or were being mesmerized by the Watergate hearings, the Mother of Jesus appeared for tens of thousands in Egypt at a Coptic church constructed to commemorate the area where she had come with Joseph and Jesus when they all fled from Herod. Starting in April, 1968, her apparitions of light changed the lives of thousands. Her appearances at Zeitun were astounding. She was seen by more than a million people. The apparitions were broadcast by Egyptian TV, photographed by hundreds of professional photographers and personally witnessed by Egyptian President Abdul Nasser. The apparitions lasted for three years with numerous unaccountable healings recorded by various medical professionals. The local police, who initially thought the apparitions were an elaborate hoax, searched a 15-mile radius surrounding the site to uncover any type of device that could be used to project such images. They were completely unsuccessful.
Our Lady of Fatima
Our Lady of Fátima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora de Fátima) (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈfatimɐ]) is a famous title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she appeared in apparitions reported by three shepherd children at Fátima in Portugal. These occurred on the 13th day of six consecutive months in 1917, starting on May 13. The three children were Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The title of Our Lady of the Rosary is also sometimes used to refer to the same apparition (although it was first used in 1208 for the reported apparition in the church of Prouille), because the children related that the apparition called herself “Lady of the Rosary”. It is also common to see a combination of these titles, i.e. Our Lady of the Rosary of Fátima (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima). The events at Fátima gained particular fame due to their elements of prophecy and eschatology, particularly with regard to possible world war and the conversion of Soviet Russia. The reported apparitions at Fátima were officially declared “worthy of belief” by the Catholic Church.
Here are a few more unexplained miracles:
Crosses of light – In 1988 glowing crosses of light suddenly appeared in windows of homes in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte, California, US. The phenomenon spread to nine other US states and many other countries including Australia, New Zealand, India, the Philippines, the UK and Germany. Miraculous healings have been attributed to these crosses of light with people speaking of a peaceful, healing energy emanating from them.
Nairobi – Maitreya’s miraculous appearance – On Saturday 11 June 1988, Maitreya miraculously appeared at an open-air prayer/healing meeting on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, and addressed the gathering of 6,000 people. Photographs taken at the scene were carried by major news media around the world including CNN and the BBC. Job Mutungi, editor of The Kenya Times, witnessed the event and wrote: “The tall figure of a bare-footed, white-robed and bearded man appeared from nowhere and stood in the middle of the crowd …” He spoke for around 18 minutes and many of those near him were completely healed. He then departed as mysteriously as he had appeared: “Several people who witnessed this were astonished by his mysterious disappearance,” wrote Mutungi.
In increasing numbers, reports of miracles involving people from all faiths (and those of none) are reaching the media. These include religious statues and icons weeping tears, real blood and even pearls; the extraordinary Hindu ‘milk-drinking’ statues in 1995; appearances or sightings of the Madonna; holy messages in fruit and vegetables; sweet-scented healing oil weeping from icons and paintings; spectacular coloured lights in the sky; the gigantic Marree man drawing in the Australian desert; a Lebanese girl weeping razor-sharp crystals; andnumerous reports of rescues and encounters with ‘angels’.
The video series presented in this week’s X-Files examines a number of startling religious and spiritual phenomena. Hosted by Roma Downey, star of the popular CBS television series Touched by an Angel, the film uses photography and eyewitness accounts to explore in depth these miraculous events. Experts and self-described authorities scrutinize the evidence and interview those who have experienced phenomena first-hand. Segments include the Jesus tree, sightings of the Virgin Mary, evidence of stigmata, milk-drinking statues, new information on the shroud of Turin, and more.
Stories and events such as the above, and such as the ones documented in the series we present today are found in all the religions of the world and while accounts of wonder-working saints and sages and the ancient acts of divine intervention in human affairs are celebrated regularly by the faithful who gather in churches, synagogues, and mosques throughout the world, contemporary Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims still get on their hands and knees and silently (and sometimes secretly) pray for and expect miraculous occurrences in their own lives.