Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, 1938.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His Glory; and His disciples believed on Him." The word for miracles in this text means "sign." The sign was a manifestation of the Divine Glory of the Son of God. It was also a sign of the compassion of the Son of Man. The Divinity is manifested through the Humanity. We see the union of the Divine and the Human in one Person in the public life of Our Lord as we see it in the infancy. In His public words and works we see the Divinity manifesting itself through the Humanity in One Lord Jesus Christ.
Remembering this we look for and find miracles, from the Virgin Birth to the Resurrection. Miracles do not surprise us. The absence of miracles would be inexplicable. What else could be expected from Him who is God-Man? We expect from the Son of. God signs and powers and wonders for which no force nor combination of forces known to man can account. We expect from the Son of Man the satisfying revelation of the love of God, brought intimately near to us and affecting the intimate affairs of simple human life, as we experience them in the lives that we live and the deaths that we die. It is this revelation of Divine Love which is the motive for every one of Our Lord's miracles. Each miracle is a victory of love. It is the love that conquers all things. It is the power which makes all things work together for good to Those who love God.
Look back over your life and think. How many events and sequences of events can you account for by any other means than by the intervention of God's love and power? Who is there who is not compelled to say, "I too have had my miracles."
The miracle today reveals God's love for homes and families. As we almost hear Our Lord's voice saying, "Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast," we may look ahead three years and hear almost the last words He spoke when He provided for His own home. "Woman, behold thy Son." "Son, behold thy mother."
"Fill the water pots with water, draw out now." Draw what? Reason answers water. Faith answers wine. God does not destroy the natural. He lifts the natural up into the supernatural, and being lifted up the natural is transformed. It remains what it was and becomes that which it was not. This is the supreme miracle of change promised by the first miracle.
A little child is brought to the Font, taken into the arms of the Minister of the Sacrament of Baptism, is baptized, and given back to the arms of the God-mother, the same child, but now regenerate, born again, a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven.
A child on the threshold of life's awakening is brought to the Bishop to be Confirmed. Apostolic hands are laid upon the head. The seven-fold gifts of the Holy Ghost are bestowed. The child returns to the nave, the same child, but now filled with the strength of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
A penitent kneels confessing sins, the absolution and the grace of the Sacrament of Penance are received, the person returns to the nave to give thanks, the same person, but cleansed from all sin by the Blood of Jesus Christ.
A communicant kneels at the Communion rail, trusting not in personal righteousness, but in God's manifold and great mercies. The Blessed Sacrament is received. The person returns to the nave to give thanks, the same person, but now with a body made clean by His Body, a soul washed through His Most Precious Blood, incorporate in the mystical Body of Christ.
All the while this person is going on living through all the experiences, each one of which makes a chapter in this particular person's book of life. The years bring changes, very gradual, but changes. This miracle of change is not a swift one. It doth not yet appear. Then, a few last things, a passing from probation to purgation, then the perfecting, then the command, "draw out now." The miracle is complete. The soul is changed.
Affectionately in Our Lord,