From Empty to Full.

Maria asked for a miracle and God said Yes!

What about you: did he definitely say No? You should have known you could have asked for that miracle from someone else and he could not have refused! Here’s my little story of how I could say that.

I have just been editing (and enriching) a book on the power of faith healing and natural healing. (This book will be quite a story when it comes out: ideated by a Protestant, him, edited by a Roman Catholic, me. We just happen to be open-minded about the whole thing.) The author, let’s call him Manuel, had a good list of verses on God’s promises of healing, along with selections from the Old and New Testament about a joyful heart, happy countenance, faith, salvation, Paradise, Adam and Eve, Satan, sin, disease. Some 20 pages of these, but I couldn’t find a how-to: How to invoke the power of God for a miracle of healing?

So I said, let’s go back to those passages and in their context try to discern a how-to, or gain an insight as to what was necessary for any of those healings to occur. I’m referring to the miracles during the ministry of Jesus the Christ. How did they come to deserve a healing where others did not? ‘Lord, heal me.’ Why was the answer Yes for some but No for many?

From Catholic Resources I found a good list of more than 20 healings in the New Testament( I examined the list, and I could discern clearly only two things:
(1) Faith is a precondition for healing.
(2) Distance is not that important.

Faith is quite necessary

If you yourself are asking for your own miracle of healing, you have to have faith. If it’s your friends asking in your behalf, you don’t have to have faith but they have to.

Distance is not that important

Distance is not a consideration for a miracle – Jesus healed the sick at arm’s length as well as from a distance. His grace was sufficient for all who asked.

At arm’s length

In healing Peter’s mother-in-law, Jesus ‘stood over her and rebuked the fever’ (Mark 1: 29-31,Matthew 8: 14-15 & Luke 4: 38-39).

The leper approached Jesus; he said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus answered, ‘I am willing; be cleansed’ (Mark 1: 40-45, Matthew 8: 1-4, Luke 5: 12-16).

They lowered the paralytic on a mat to Jesus through an opening in the roof they made. That’s when ‘Jesus saw their faith’ and he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven’ (Mark 2: 1-12, Matthew 9: 1-8, Luke 5: 17-26).

It was the Sabbath, and he was healing people. ‘Stretch out your hand,’ he told the man with the withered hand, and instantly his hand was as sound as the other (Mark 3: 1-6, Matthew 12: 9-14, Luke 6: 6-11).

What about the woman who had a hemorrhage? She touched the stranger’s cloak and she was healed. ‘Your faith has made you well’ (Mark 5: 25-34, Matthew 9: 19-22, Luke 8: 43-48).

‘Ephphatha!’ Jesus said and put his fingers into the man’s ears; then he spat and touched the man’s tongue, and the deaf mute was healed (Mark 7: 31-37).

Jesus spat on the eyes of the blind man at Bethsaida, and his sight was restored (Mark 8: 22-26).

It was the Sabbath again. Some people brought a woman who has been crippled for 18 years, disfigured. Jesus saw the ‘faith of the people who brought her’ and he healed her (Luke 13: 10-17).

And again the Sabbath. There he was in front of Jesus, the man with the dropsy (edema). ‘He took him, and healed him’ (Luke 14: 1-6).

There were those 10 men who had leprosy, and he cured them all; ‘Your faith has made you well.’ Only one remembered and came back to give thanks for his cleansing (Luke 17: 11-19).

At Jericho, there was this blind man sitting by the roadside. ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ He commanded that the blind man be brought to him. ‘What do you want me to do?’ ‘Lord, that I may see again.’ ‘Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you’ (Mark 10: 46-52, Matthew20: 29-34, Luke 18: 35-43).

Many disabled people lay at the pool in Bethesda in Jerusalem. This one had been invalid for 38 years. ‘Do you want to get well?’ Jesus asked. ‘Sir, I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’ ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk’ (John 5: 2-47).

He had been born blind. Jesus spat on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.’ And he did and he was healed (John 9: 1-41).

At a distance

In healing the centurion’s servant, Jesus didn’t have to go near. ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.’ ‘I will come and heal him.’ ‘Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.’ And Jesus was astounded at such faith; and Jesus healed the servant not seeing and not touching him (Matthew 8: 5-13, Luke 7: 1-10).

Sitting by the roadside, as Jesus was passing, the two blind men pleaded, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Lord, we want our sight.’ And they got their wish (Matthew 9: 27-31).

There was the young daughter of a Syro-Phoenician, and he healed her too (Mark 7: 24-30,Matthew 15: 21-28).

And there was the son of a Royal Official at Cana. ‘Sir, come down before my child dies.’ ‘You may go. Your son will live’ (John 4: 46-54).

Mary, Mary not quite contrary

All those miracles here and those I have not mentioned, including that of Lazarus rising from the dead, told me you could be healed by touch or by distance. Healing by laying on of hands had a biblical basis; so did healing by distance.

With God’s love infinite and his power without limit, any request for healing is not the problem: If your faith is sufficient for you, the miracle is yours.

What is the implication of that? If you ask for a miracle and God says No, you don’t have enough faith even if you say you do. Faith is enough for salvation; if you can’t ask for a miracle, your faith is not enough even for salvation. No matter how you define faith.

Looking for miracles beyond healing, I remembered the miracle at the wedding in Cana in Galilee(John 2: 1-11). This was Jesus’ first miracle ( Mother Mary had told Jesus that they had run out of wine (original image of Mary 'imploring' by Durer). No more, nada, zilch. Now, wine was of such importance in Palestinesince water was scarce, people drank wine at breakfast and feasts ( In a literary sense, that’s wine becoming water. At first, Jesus had been reluctant to display the power of God in such a public gathering, and then he did it anyway: he literally turned water into wine.

This time, at this point, a thought occurred to me: The mother had asked the son, and the son had obliged the mother. In my off-and-on engagement in the Roman Catholic Charismatic movement since 1991, I have never heard it said that John 2: 1-11 is proof enough, if proof was needed, that you can ask for miracles through Mother Mary! How can Jesus the son refuse?

And then of course we go back to your faith: Do you believe enough? Another way of putting that is this: You have to have been a good child to ask Mother Mary. Are you?

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