Are you ready for a miracle?
As ready as I can be.
Are you ready for a miracle?
The Spirit will set you free.
Are you ready, ready, ready, ready?
I’m ready, I’m ready for a miracle.
It’s been said that we tend to over-use the word miracle, because if the definition of a miracle is an event that overturns one or more laws of physics and could not happen without Divine intervention, then birth, for example, is not a miracle, even though we often speak of the “miracle of birth.” Some say that even when a person survives a horrific car accident or recovers from a disease that is fatal 99% of the time, it’s technically not a miracle because according to the odds, there is always somebody in the world who is going to walk away from the accident or recover from their illness. Frankly, I think that’s a little hard hearted. I walked away from a collision with a truck this summer, and I can tell you that the fact that I not only survived, but did not break any bones felt like a miracle to me, even though I suffered severe whiplash.
I’m sure that people who win big prizes in a lottery feel that they have experienced a miracle, too, even though we know that somebody has to win. It’s just that the odds against winning are so great. The same goes for someone who survives a plane crash where everyone else is killed, a child who survives in the rubble of an earthquake for a couple of days, or mountain climbers who survive an avalanche.
The problem is that many of us – perhaps most of us – are unable or unwilling to accept miracles. Miracles happen to other people, but not to us. We don’t feel deserving enough. So we explain away our miracles with scientific facts and statistical odds.
A quote that is often misattributed to Albert Einstein goes like this: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” It doesn’t even matter who did say it. (Probably my good friend Anonymous.) If you think about it for a while, there is no way that life as we know it here on earth (or anywhere else, for that matter) could have just “happened” by random chance. There had to be some conscious choice involved. In fact, if you follow the math of the Big Bang back to the first nanosecond after the event, you realize that at some point right at first, the math indicates that there must have been some conscious intention set into motion. In that sense, everything in Creation is a miracle, because it couldn’t have happened without God. Oh, sure, there are all kinds of natural processes, and science is great at explaining those. I just think that God created those natural processes, that’s all.
Miracles are, on the whole, unplanned events, so how is it possible to “get ready” for a miracle? Well, you can’t get ready for any particular one, but you can get ready in a general sense, by keeping an open mind and an open heart. An open mind means that you are willing to entertain an idea, even if you don’t necessarily understand it or agree with it, at first. You are willing to look at the idea, live with it a bit, and study it. An open heart is a willingness to give and receive unconditional love, which means you give love to and receive love from people without conditions or judgments of any kind. Most people find this difficult, to say the least.
We fail to be open-minded when we say, “That doesn’t make any sense.” Or, “This is impossible.” We are not being open-minded when we protest, “But this goes against all the teachings of the Church!” We are not open-minded when we refuse to consider an idea that comes from someone from a different faith or a person who has renounced religion, a person from a different country, or members of a different political party.
We fail to be open hearted when we pick and choose whom to love, when we give or withhold our approval based on our judgment of other people. Hitler? He’s evil, so I certainly don’t love him! Well, sure, you probably don’t approve of his actions. I don’t either. And you wouldn’t want to have a relationship with a person like him. I wouldn’t, either. But can you extend Divine Love toward this person? Can you at least say, “OK, that Soul is a child of God. He messed up, big-time, but he’s still a child of God.”
We fail to be open hearted when we put conditions on our love, such as “if you do what I tell you” or “as long as you never cheat on me.” (Oh, so you think it’s OK to withhold love from someone who cheated? Really? Think about this, then: Have you ever cheated on God? Go on, think about it. Take as much time as you like. And do you believe that you can still ask God for forgiveness? If you believe that you can refuse to forgive another person, then you must also believe that God can refuse to forgive you. In that case, I feel for you, because your life must be absolutely miserable. Hell, even. (But then, that’s what hell is, isn’t it: separation from God?)
So our ideas about ourselves (I’m unlovable.) and about other people (He’s evil.) and about the world (That’s impossible!) keep us from accepting God’s love in the form of miracles. And the conditions we impose on others (…if you do what I say, ….if you give me what I prayed for, … as long as you don’t screw up) keep us from giving love in return and therefore, we are kept from being part of a miracle for someone else. These are some things to think about when we are talking about “getting ready for a miracle.”
As my friend Brad Szollose says, “Miracles are what happen when you get out of the way of yourself.” 🙂