I was copied on an e-mail with an article attached, titled Science Confirms: Angels Took the House of Our Lady of Nazareth to Loreto. It tells of a miracle supported by physical evidence and papal recognition. Faithful readers are asked to believe that on May 9th, 1291, the house in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born, was angelically transported 2,000 miles from its foundation in Nazareth to various sites in Italy—eventually landing and staying put on a public road on Mount Prodo, connecting Recanati to Ancona.
Prof. Giorgio Nicolini, who has devoted his life to studying and researching the case, has cited several documents and eyewitness accounts of the miracle, but scientific methods have yet to fully corroborate them. There is physical evidence, however. The structure’s stones and bricks are apparently cemented by a mortar with a physical and chemical composition found only in Palestine—precisely in the region of Nazareth. They are nonexistent in Italy. Also, in the process of the transfer, the house maintained the exact geometric proportions of the Nazareth house, whose Nazareth foundation, to this day, matches perfectly the walls of the transplanted structure in Italy.
As you can imagine, this miracle is the source of much debate among God-believers and non-believers. But the real miracle of Christianity is the conversion of hearts made of stone into hearts made sacred by faith. Remember the Stuart Chase quote, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”? God’s word rises above the realm of proof and is infinitely more powerful.
The readings for this Sunday commemorate the baptism of Jesus, and the scriptures from which they were taken have been moving the implacable hearts of earth-bound souls since Our Father resurrected Christ, body and soul, into His Kingdom. But as Isaiah tells us in the first reading (IS 42:1-4, 6-7), it isn’t the loud, unprovable miracles that will move us closer to God. It’s the quiet ones that speak truth to our soul—first spoken by the man whose coming Isaiah prophesied centuries before:
He shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching.
With all the world’s injustices we read and hear about—which are all too well documented and believable—the fact that 21st century people are still moved to hunger for the teachings of the gospels is miracle enough. The Acts of the Apostles continued Christ’s quiet miracles of the soul beyond his earthly life and the accounts of those acts are continuously transported globally every day. How miraculous is that? It all started with that baptism John preached and culminated with his anointing Jesus of Nazareth into a life of sacred public service. As Sunday’s second reading from Acts states (ACTS 10:34-38):
He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Matthew’s gospel gives us further miraculous documentation (MT 3:13-17):
After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
How was that heavenly voice heard? Was it a booming sound that needed witnesses to verify that it was heard? As Isaiah implied, that’s not how God—the Father, Son, or Spirit—communicates. The most amazing thing about our faith is that God’s ancient truth can continue to quietly lift and carry human hearts prone to getting heavier and more immovable with each loud and gaudy miracle human science creates.