Sometimes I find myself itching for a good miracle story. And I know I can just open the Bible for one but sometimes I find myself asking, “Lord, how about a good modern day miracle story on the news tonight?” It’s kind of a bad attitude to have because after all, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (John 20:29)
I’ve come to realize that God likes being anonymous. He is the Author of all of creation and yet He’s not a god who flaunts his power or shows off.
Throughout the Scriptures, Jesus performed miracles for people so that they might come to believe that he was God. Miracles defy the laws of nature and the only person that can defy the laws of nature is the Person who created those very laws: God. So when Jesus multiplies bread, walks on water or heals incurable diseases, he does this so that you and I (not just first century Jews) might realize that he is the Creator, that he is God.
Miracles like the kind we hear about in Scripture aren’t as common today. When Jesus does perform miracles though, it’s often through other people, typically the saints.
When I heard this miracle story it blew my mind! It’s about Pope Benedict’s role in the rescue of the Chilean miners, whose one-year anniversary we observed last Thursday. Check it out …
Trapped but Alive
In the early aftermath of the accident, when it was confirmed that the miners, originally believed to be dead, had all survived the collapse, a Chilean flag was sent below ground at the request of a miner’s wife. Each of the men signed it and inscribed it: “The 33 of us are alive in this refuge.”
Through a change of hands that only providence could design, the flag was soon presented to Pope Benedict XVI by a Chilean delegation to the Vatican. The Holy Father accepted it and promised to pray for the miners’ safe delivery.
Saint who? The what?
Not long after, Pope Benedict departed for his visit to England. While in London, he attended an ecumenical prayer service at Westminster Abbey. After the service, the Holy Father went into a small side chapel in the Abbey dedicated to St. Edward the Confessor. Never heard of him? That’s okay. Most people haven’t in spite of the fact that St. Edward was king of England and has a cameo in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth (he’s also briefly mentioned in The King’s Speech). King Edward I died in 1066 and not long after, he was all but forgotten.
Nevertheless, when the Holy Father entered the side chapel, he knelt before the tomb of St. Edward the Confessor and pulled out the Chilean flag he had received from the miners. He spread it before the saint in prayer and asked for their safe delivery.
Meanwhile in Chile, it had been speculated that it would be well past Christmas before the miners would be raised to safety. By some baffling feat of engineering, the rescuers worked at a breakneck speed and, defying the odds, all 33 miners were pulled to safety only 69 days after being trapped, taking less than half the time at first speculated for their rescue. It was October 13th, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima shares her feast day with none other than St. Edward the Confessor.
Seeing through Eyes of Faith
It’s a side of the story that the media never picked up. In fact much of what the media did choose to cover during that period was the scandal that surfaced. During the many days of intense rescue efforts wives and family members had stayed vigil above ground in incredible loyalty and hope. Mistresses had also come forward and families were torn apart by this awful knowledge of sin and betrayal. And yet still another little known fact becomes visible to those with eyes of faith: St. Edward the Confessor, in addition to being the patron of kings, is also the patron of difficult marriages and separated spouses.
The next time you hear the news call something a “miracle of engineering” or “an incredible coincidence” don’t take their claim at face value. Chances are, if you do a little digging and you look at it through the eyes of faith, you’ll be pointed back to a very real miracle. You’ll see God working.
St. Edward the Confessor, pray for us.