I read an article about the definition of a miracle according to the Catholic Church. They defined a miracle as “an extraordinary sensible effect wrought by God that surpasses the power and order of created nature”. The author proceeded to explain her definition by analyzing each part of the definition.
First of all, God is the sole source of the miracle. The miracle must surpass the powers of nature in effect of the miracle. Also, it must surpass the both powers of the subject that the miracle happened to and the manner in which the miracle occurred.
Divine acts such as the creation of the world do not count as miracles because they are within order meaning they were willed by God from the beginning of time. A miracle is not within the realm of order. It also is above the ordinary natural and supernatural (i.e. grace bestowed by God).
Lastly, a miracle must be subject to perception by the senses. The author argues that the purpose of miracles are to prove the authenticity of God’s revelation and the validity of the Catholic Church. A miracle is another way in which God can communicate with humanity.
The author includes a quote from the First Vatican Council “[I]n order that the submission of our faith should be in accordance with reason, it was God’s will that there should be linked to the internal assistance of the Holy Spirit external indications of his revelation, that is to say divine acts, and first and foremost miracles and prophecies, which clearly demonstrating as they do the omnipotence and infinite knowledge of God, are the most certain signs of revelation and are suited to the understanding of all (The Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, ch. 3; emphasis added)”.
Miracles need to be clearly defined in order to accurately decipher the validity of miracles in different situations. Once parameters have been set, situations can be examined according to the boundaries declared by the Church. A miracle is not subject to nature or a substitute answer for a circumstance that cannot be explained. Therefore, the Catholic Church carefully lays out what constitutes a miracle in order to ensure that only valid miracles are confirmed.
Broussard, Karlo. “What Constitutes a Miracle?” Catholic Answers, Catholic Answers, 20 Feb. 2019, http://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/what-constitutes-a-miracle.