Darrell Todd Maurina
Sister Rose Urban, pastoral associate at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Clovis, believes in miracles.
Urban is hoping to see God heal Father Edward Rivera — an Albuquerque priest who is suffering from cancer — through prayers to Kateri Tekawitha, a Native American woman who died in 1680 and is a candidate for sainthood.
“She needs just one more miracle to be declared a saint in the church, and we are praying for her intercession to cure Father Rivera,” Urban said. “We definitely believe in miracles.”
A lot of people do.
Rev. Frank Sherman of Clovis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church said it’s important to remember that miracles aren’t necessarily spectacular events.
“I think that a lot of so-called psychics try to play on the idea of miracles but I think that miracles come in various shapes and sizes,” Sherman said. “God is at work today and he does this work in various ways, but I don’t think he’s into changing water into wine or parting the Mississippi River, he’s more into changing individual lives.”
Permanent Deacon Bob Pullings of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church teaches Catholic doctrine to adults preparing to enter the church, and said the Catholic doctrine of miracles is sometimes difficult for people to understand. Pullings cautioned that people should not view miracles as a proof of Catholic doctrine but rather believe in miracles because they believe Catholic doctrine.
“There is a story of a man who prayed daily for a miracle so his tooth would stop hurting, but God had already provided a miracle by giving him a dentist,” Pullings said.
Pastor Rodney Shipman of First Assembly of God said his denomination teaches a different view with a strong emphasis that miracles can and do serve as means to bring people to faith in Christ.
“For the Assemblies of God (miracles are) a strong witness and testimony and it helps us reach people,” Shipman said. “We are blessed in the United States with so many doctors, but I believe one of the reasons the Assemblies of God are growing so rapidly in other parts of the world is it brings such a great testimony of how great God is and how much he does love the people.”
Shipman said people shouldn’t avoid doctors but rather view medical science as one way to prove miracles.
“People should not limit God and should believe he is a God who can do anything and everything,” Shipman said. “It is not that God lacks power or ability; if we believe in him there is nothing we cannot do. We are to believe what God can do and watch him come through again and again.”
Dr. Glenn McCoy, a religion professor at Wayland Baptist University in Clovis, said all true miracles center on God.
“So often we as humans make miracles ends within themselves or something to satisfy basic or deep needs that we have. That is not the purpose of miracles,” said McCoy. “The ultimate purpose of any miracle is to glorify God.”
McCoy said physical healings are a good example of a miraculous answer to prayer.
“I think of a physical illness that seems to be fatal or incurable otherwise. Even after the examination of a physician, the physician recognizes that something has radically changed for the better in the health of that person,” McCoy said. “What might appear to be an act of nature to one person, with another person would be perceived as a result of faith.”
However, McCoy said Christianity doesn’t teach that people should neglect medicine to seek miraculous cures.
“God has given us an intellectual capacity and physical strength to do many, many things for ourselves that we ought not to wait upon him to do for us,” McCoy said. “In a sense, his miraculous activities are an extension of our effort in areas that we are simply incapable of accomplishing what needs to be done.”