Project Canterbury

Locust Street Letters

By Frank Lawrence Vernon

Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.




The Gospel for today records the beginning of the miracles of Our Lord. A miracle is an event for which no force or combination of forces known to man can account. It witnesses to the truth that with God all things are possible. God, who is the lawmaker, can supersede a lower law with a higher law. God, who is Omnipotent, can reveal forces hitherto unknown to man. This He can do and does do without destroying the order of which he is the author. There is no supposition more suicidal to progress than that which complacently rests upon the assumption that man knows all there is to know, has discovered all that there is to discover, and has achieved all that can be achieved.

That theory would put an end to the activities of the most zealous and jealous guardians of law and order in the realms of natural science. It would inhibit the the impulse to investigation, discovery, experiment and achievement which is the essence of the joy of the adventure of the genuinely scientific mind. All the objectors to the possibility of the miraculous that I have ever known, impressed me at the time, and impress me now, as being possessed with the type of mind which would earnestly endorse Darius Green as being a more reliable authority than Colonel Lindbergh in the field of aeronautics.

A week or so ago I read in my newspaper a presumably accurate report of an address delivered by an accredited, and I suppose eminent, scientist, who gravely and generously affirmed that Science had arrived at a stage of advancement when it might be ready to reverently recognize religion if the element of the supernatural were to be eliminated! It gave me a gleam of momentary amusement to imagine a congress of theologians, enlivened by an equally grave and generous return of the compliment, offered by a doctor in Divinity to his learned brother doctor in Science, that Theology is prepared to reverently recognize Science if the element of the natural were to be eliminated. However, foolish words as well as wise are sometimes uttered in Congresses. Both schools have cause for an occasional smile.

The miracle in Cana is the beginning of the miracles of Our Lord. Many follow. But each is a means to an end. The end is always the same. Each miracle raises the mind to God and the supernatural. Each bears witness to the good news that it is not man's destiny to be imprisoned within an impenetrable, insuperable, inescapable natural world, in which his deepest needs and his highest aspirations are to be reckoned as eternal' impossibilities. Each miracle discloses a door into the supernatural world, through which the Son of God has passed to the sons of men with power to raise them to the dignity of their full heritage as sons of God. Each miracle reveals the supernatural world, not only as actually existent, not as existent in some far off astronomical space, but as interpenetrating the very world of nature in which man now lives. Each miracle reveals the supernatural world which does not destroy the natural world but fulfils it with endless glory and fadeless splendor. Each miracle reveals a boundless range of supernatural laws which supersede, but do not do violence to, the laws designed for the lower and lesser world of nature. Each miracle reveals Divine power against which the impossibilities for man interpose no barrier. Each miracle wrought for the benefit and comfort of the body of man reveals the power for a yet greater miracle, for the endless benefit and eternal comfort of his soul.

The miracle of Cana prepares us for the Sacramental Mystery in which earthly food is changed to Heavenly Food. The Heavenly Food is taken. The soul is strengthened and refreshed.

Affectionately in Our Lord,

Project Canterbury