On Miracles: Part 3, Hallowing

I recently did a series on this blog entitled "Edging Toward Enchantment." In that series I talked a great deal about recovering a sacramental ontology where, in the words of Gerard Manley Hopkins, "the world is charged with the grandeur of God."

A part of recovering this sacramental ontology, I argued in that series, is practicing acts of hallowing. We hallow when we recognize a person, place or time as sacred and holy. This hallowing gives life sacred texture.

Miracles stories, as I've listened to them, are a hermeneutics of hallowing. And the hallowing here is less about persons, places or things than about events. Miracles are the hallowing of events.

To hallow, to name something as holy, is to set it apart from the mundane and common. To hallow is to give something existential weight, sacred import.

Miracles hallow events by giving them holy heaviness.

Whatever miracles might be, they name sacred events in life, experiences we set apart from the rest of life. Just as prayer hallows the needs, worries and burdens we share with each other, miracles name events that fill us with wonder, awe and gratitude.

I was watching the Netflix documentary The White Helmets about the Syrian volunteer force that rushes to locations of bombings to rescue those trapped in the rubble. In the documentary there is amazing--miraculous--footage of the White Helmets rescuing a baby only a few weeks old from the rubble of a bombed building.

The While Helmets call the baby "the miracle baby." The word miracle here isn't just saying that this child was very, very lucky. Hermeneutically, the word miracle hallows the event. For the White Helmets the rescue of that baby wasn't just a lucky break.

The rescue of that baby was a sacred and life-giving sign that gave the work and sacrifices of the White Helmets holy meaning and significance.

The rescue of that baby was an event that was holy and sacred.

A miracle.

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