How To Regard Contemporary Miracles

What should be our attitude towards contemporary miracles? Professor A.I. Osipov, of the Moscow Theological Academy responds to this question.


The question is a serious one. The Gospels include the following words spoken by Christ Himself: For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24) Interesting: false Christs, false prophets, will perform great miracles. And I always think to myself: If it is a miracle, it is from God, and I need no further proof. Yet Christ says, to the contrary, that you need to be careful. Venerable Cassian the Roman wrote: Many people whose minds are poisoned, and who have completely rejected the Faith, perform great signs and wonders in Christ's name. We do not want to believe the Gospels, we do not want to listen to the Fathers, and therefore quite frequently we chase after some sort of miracle. Miracles appear to us to be absolute proof [that they are miracles], and we have forgotten that although Balaam’s ass spoke with a human voice, that did not make it more holy. Especially in our times, we should respond to miracles with extreme caution, and not immediately trust in them. In light of the depravity that we observe in our world today, it is indisputable that the end times are approaching. Currently, we should assess the truth of a given sign not on whether it is a miracle, but rather on the holiness of the one from whom the marvels flow. Today as never before it is essential for Christian to remember the maxim of the Fathers: When you do not know where it comes from, whether it is actually a miracle from God, and have doubts—do not blaspheme, for what if it should be from God? And do not accept it, for what if it is from the devil? Remain dispassionate, as if nothing has transpired. Already in the nineteenth century, one of the Fathers, Holy Hierarch Ignaty Brianchaninov, cautioned people against running after miracles; he said that not just anyone but the antichrist himself will be a superlative miracle worker, and that we, used to running after miracles and believing in the one from whom they come, will enthusiastically accept him and renounce our God, Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. It is of utmost importance that we know and remember that…

Susan Thomas12/26/2019 8:21 pm
Discernment is everything, literally, everything.
Nancy Gilbert12/31/2016 6:38 pm
I agree that we need to judge the message given that accompanies the miracle, but not be so suspicious that we question any account of God's grace and mercy active in the world. I hope for miracles because I see so much need for them.
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