I don’t know how anyone can look at a newborn baby and not believe in miracles.
I remember that being one of my first thoughts as I was holding my son shortly after he was born. This was more than thirty years ago, but I can still recall the sense of awe and reverence I felt as I gazed at the gentle rhythm of his breathing, at his tiny, fragile fingers, and at his small but perfectly-formed features. How could all of this not be a miracle?
More recently, I was reminded of a different kind of miracle – from a woman I was coaching at the time. As we completed a session about believing in your dreams, she told me she had crossed out the word “dreams” in her workbook and written in “miracles” instead. She said, “I decided that each day last week I would look for a miracle in my life. And you know what? I found one – every day!”
She then told me about being at her kitchen sink one afternoon, washing dishes. Looking out the window, she saw a spider building a spider web.
“I never thought of that as a miracle before,” she said, “but as I watched him work, I realized what a miracle of nature it was.”
Miracles have been on my mind lately, because in the near future I’m going to be visiting the site of one of the big ones. It’s the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
I was still in grade school when I first heard the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared to an Aztec Indian peasant named Juan Diego in 1531. She asked him to go to the bishop with instructions to build a church, but the bishop requested a sign that the apparition was really the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady then appeared again to Juan Diego, telling him to go and gather roses from a nearby hilltop, a patch of land that was barren and frozen. After finding roses growing there, he gathered them in his cloak – known as a tilma – and took them to show the bishop. When he did, an image of Our Lady appeared on the tilma, which has remained intact to this day even though the cloth should have deteriorated long before now.
There’s a quote from Stuart Chase that says, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
I’m sure that’s true of stories like the one about Our Lady of Guadalupe. But even though I’m already a believer, I’m looking forward to seeing for myself the tilma that still bears her image, and to learning more about its historical, cultural, and religious relevance.
I’m sure I’ll return with a renewed sense of faith, appreciation, and reverence. For miracles of the recent past and of ancient history. For miracles of Biblical and historic significance. And for the miracles of life that happen all around us – the ones we could see every day if we would only take the time to look for them.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on January 28, 2016.
©Betty Liedtke, 2016
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