It was just announced that Pope John Paul II has a date set for his beatification process that may end up with him officially becoming a saint. With the beatification date set for May 1, 2011, he just needs one more documented miracle to become a full saint.
The current leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed that a French nun had been miraculously cured from Parkinson’s disease directly through the prayers and intentions of John Paul. But a second confirmed miracle is needed for sainthood to be official.
One of my first memories of Pope John Paul was his assassination attempt in 1981. I was just 7 years old at the time so while my memory is a little blurry about the actual coverage, I clearly remember my small Brooklyn neighborhood in tears over the event.
Shortly before that in 1979, my husband as a child traveled along with his parents, eight brothers and sister to Shea Stadium to hear Pope John Paul say Mass. From what I’m told, it down poured and the family was entirely soaked. My mother-in-law says that her kids were dripping wet and she started to wonder if she made a wise choice traipsing them all out that day. But then the Pope emerged in his Popemobile … and so did the sun. She felt that was a sign.
But was it a miracle?
Was the Pope’s curing of the woman with Parkinson’s disease a miracle, or his surviving being shot? Is Gabrielle Giffords’ remarkable recovery so far a miracle? Even her surviving a point blank gunshot to the head at all is surely miraculous, isn’t it? And what about the Chilean miners? Or the people who escaped the Twin Towers on 9/11 or called in sick that day?
Call me naive, but I am a firm believer in everyday miracles.
Four days after my birthday last year, my son and I were hit by a car while crossing the street. We had the light, a crossing guard was there (not doing much) and my son just got off the school bus. Thank God, His angels, and my uncle in heaven for intervening that day in what I believe was a miracle. While we both had injuries, they were not life-threatening. My son hit his head and suffered no permanent damage. To this day, I relive the scene in my mind and feel a mix of fear, severe fright, and disbelief, at how life can change in an instant. Look at many people don’t ever get that chance.
On a lighter note, I also believe that the miracle of birth is more than just an old saying.
Childbirth is utterly amazing. Through each of my children’s births I knew, of course, that there was a baby inside me. And yet every time I was handed that baby for the first time, I was truly taken aback that such a beautiful being had been living inside me up to that moment. I would watch my newborn and study their movements and think “I remember feeling that little foot when he would press it up against my ribs” or “I remember when she would jump like that and startle me when I would sit down at night”.
I replay the births of my children over again in my mind. What makes such an extraordinary painful event a highlight of my life? Why in the world do I want to live through the birth all over again? I know that it came from heaven. When I was delivering my children into this world, I was on a much higher level than I am now. I feel I was very close to a higher spiritual being. It was not only myself pushing them out but the whole universe lining up to welcome them to the world.
Is that a miracle? Well, I think miracles depend a lot on how you look at them. I see small acts of kindness in a violent world as miracles sometimes, or the sun coming up over the bay outside my home. I tend to think that miracles happen everyday and are waiting for us all if we just stop to look.
I hope my kids continue to see that too, through the ups and downs of life. If John Paul needs just one more miracle to become a saint, I don’t think it will be that difficult to find.
Have you ever experienced what felt like a miracle or witnessed one yourself, and do you talk to your kids about miracles?