Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, 1930.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
From now on in the course of the Gospels we shall be re-reading the records of the miracles of Our Lord. One of the words which we translate as miracle means a sign. Another means a power. Another means a wonder. A miracle is a wonderful sign of power—of power that belongs to God. Behind the power is wisdom. Behind the wisdom is love. The power and the wisdom and the love are Divine. They are the things signified. They are changeless. The outward signs are given in one age in one way; in another age in another. It is not the sign that matters but the reality. The thing for us to remember is that the things signified are eternal and ours. If signs and wonders of a certain kind are not given to us, it is because we do not need them. We have only to look back through the years that are gone to see that there were miracles of love and grace all along the way. Unperceived at the time perhaps, but recognized now.
Supernatural intervention is a constant occurrence in our lives. There are miracles- of prevention and protection and provision. There are miracles of recovery and restoration. The miracle of the working together of all things for good. These are the miracles of love which patience procures and time reveals. Life is filled with such miracles. Every prayer calls for a miracle. Every prayer obtains a miracle in the long run. In the long run—for we have to wait. The waiting is the test. And the waiting itself is attended by a miracle—the miracle by which a person passes beyond passive endurance and rises to glory in tribulation. The glory of patience. The glory of experience. The glory of hope. The glory of the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost. Now and again we see persons to whom this miracle has been given. We wonder at them. Every one who sees them wonders. Those who know them best know most of the miracle. For such qualities are not born of nature. They are supernatural. How much more edifying such a person is than a person who has never been spiritually educated in this heroic schooling of the Saints. How much more fruitful their lives are. How many people turn to them and trust them and are made strong by them. It is so evident that they have learned the secret of Divine consolation. It is so apparent that they have in a wholly unlooked for way been comforted in their own tribulations only that they may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith they themselves have been comforted in God. Such persons are living miracles.
The miracles of grace are as common as the miracles of love. Take the persons who are born with a strong tendency toward a sin which most easily besets them. What fires they pass through. What agonies they endure what terrors of troubled mind. What sorrows of broken and contrite hearts they know. What humility they gain. What love they attain. What strength. What gentleness. What sympathy. What hope—what joy. They seem to have been tempted only that they may be able to help the tempted. These persons are living miracles. The fact is we live in a world of miracles.
Affectionately in Our Lord,