One day, since my younger daughter was quite ill, I made an appointment for her at the doctor’s. I wasn’t feeling all that great myself, but I was nowhere as sick as she was. Fortunately, I was able to get an early appointment that morning. After dropping my older girl off at our local parish kindergarten, I headed to the clinic.
But on the way there, I started feeling worse, a lot worse. By the time we arrived, the illness had come upon me in full force. I was so sick I was having trouble standing in line to get my daughter checked in.
I began to worry. I knew my HMO, a stickler for details, wasn’t going to squeeze me in without already having made an appointment for myself. I was concerned about not only getting my kid through her exam, but driving the car home in my condition seemed dangerous.
Then, while I was still standing in line, something very strange happened. Something like a wave washed over me. I could, physically, feel it hit from outside my body. I had never experienced anything like it before—or since, for that matter. And, just like that, I felt better, incredibly better. I was still sick but nowhere as ill as I had been. What was that? I wondered.
I had no idea, but I was grateful for it. I got my kid through her doctor’s visit and drove home with no problem. The rest of the day went smoothly too. Since I was only a little sick, I got my housework done.
That afternoon I picked up my older daughter from school. Imagine my surprise when, on the way home, she asked me, “Mommy, did you start feeling better at 8:30?”
I nearly slammed the brake pedal to the floor. How had she known? “Well, yes,” I stammered. “In fact, I started feeling a lot better. And it was a good thing too, because I had been feeling pretty bad. But how did you know?”
“Oh,” she said as though it were the most normal thing in the world, “that’s when my class prayed for you.”
Okay. So what was that? Is that something the Church would call a miracle?
Actually, no. The Church would call it nothing of the sort.
You see, in order for the Church to proclaim a healing miraculous, it has to meet certain qualifications. One of them is proof of a previous medical condition. Another is that the healing be full and complete.
What happened to me does not fit those criteria.
So does that mean the Church would say it wasn’t a miracle?
Actually, no. The Church would remain silent about it.
It’s possible there’s a natural explanation. Maybe the calories from breakfast kicked in right then. Maybe my immune system started producing a lot of antibodies.
Or maybe it was something supernatural, like kindergarteners’ prayers. Maybe.
This side of Heaven there’s no way to tell. That’s why if this were a quiz given in class, the Church would be right to leave the answer space blank.