"The age of miracles past? The age of miracles is forever here."

Thomas Argyle (1841)


"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."

-Willa Cather


When you relax, you can make miracles."

-Tan Dun


"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."



"Existence in itself, taken at its least miraculous, is a miracle."

Rebecca West


"Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one's bath like a lump of sugar."

-Pablo Picasso



"True miracles are created by men when they use the courage and intelligence that God gave them."

-Jean Anouilh


"Moralities, ethics, laws, customs, beliefs, doctrines-these are of trifling import. All that matters is that the miraculous become the norm."

-Henry Miller


"Some people think it's a miracle to walk on water. I think it is a miracle to walk on the earth in peace."

-Thich Nhat Hahn


"The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous, and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable fact he would rather disbelieve his own senses than admit the fact. Faith does not….spring from the miracle, but the miracle of faith."



"The task of genius, and humanity is nothing if not genius, is to keep the miracle alive, to live always in the miracle, to make the miracle more and more miraculous, to swear allegiance to nothing, but live only miraculously, think only miraculously, die miraculously."

-Henry Miller

The Colosus of Maroussi


"The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen."

G.K. Chesterton


"An act of reason is a miracle."



"There is in every miracle a silent chiding of the world, and a tacit reprehension of them who require, or who need miracles."

-John Donne


"Every cubic inch of space is a miracle."

-Walt Whitman


"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."

-C. S. Lewis


"A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug."

-Patricia Neal


   "The thaumaturgic element in ancient Sufism was not so important as it afterwards became in the fully developed saint-worship associated with the Dervish Orders. "A saint would be none the less a saint," says Qushayri, "if no miracles were wrought by him in this world." In early Mohammedan Vitae Sanctorum it is not uncommon to meet with sayings to the effect that miraculous powers are comparatively of small account. It was finely said by Sahl ibn 'Abadallah that the greatest miracle is the substitution of a good quality for a bad one; and the Kitab al-Luma' gives many examples of holy men who disliked miracles and regarded them as a temptation. "During my novitiate," said Bayazid, "God used to bring before me wonders and miracles, but I paid no heed to them; and when He saw that I did so, He gave me the means of attaining to knowledge of Himself." Junayd observed that reliance on miracles is one of the' veils' which hinder the elect from penetrating to the most inmost shrine of the Truth...."

Reynald A. Nicholson

The Mystics of Islam


"A second or two passed, and I understood that I was in the presence of a miracle…The Buddha saw me, saw in me that which I could not see myself, all that was hidden in the most secret recesses of my soul. And under his gaze, which as it were passed me by, I began to see all this myself."



"The miracle that saves the world, the realm of human affairs from its normal, "natural" ruin is ultimately the fact of nativity, in which the faculty of action is ontologically rooted. It is, in other words, the birth of new men and the new beginning, the action they are capable of by virtue of being born. Only the full experience of this capacity can bestow upon human affairs faith and hope, those two essential characteristics of human existence which Greek antiquity ignored altogether, discounting the keeping of faith as very uncommon and not too important virtue and counting hope among the evils of illusion in Pandora's box. It is "this faith and hope for the world that found perhaps its most glorious and most succinct expression anthem few words with which the Gospels announced their "Glad Tidings": A child has been born unto us."

Hannah Arendt


"Then a truly phenomenal thing happened. Let me say that I am not predisposed to believe in miracles or in superstitions. But what happened was a miracle and one of a religious nature and I assure you that I am not bucking for sainthood when I tell you about it. It was as if an impalpable hand were placed upon my head, and at the instant of that touch, the phobia was lifted away as lightly as a snow- flake though it had weighed on my head like a skull-breaking block of iron. At seventeen, I had no doubt at all that the hand of our Lord Jesus had touched my head with mercy and had exorcised " from it the phobia that was driving me into madness. "

Tennessee Williams


"The miracles of the church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made fine, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears hear what is there about us always."

Willa Cather
Death comes for the Archbishop


   "As I sat in my little "den" reading and pondering over it, nature came to my relief when I was attracted by a strangely mellow light falling upon the paper. I looked up and out of the window toward the setting sun, which was just disappearing behind the horizon leaving a halo of never to be forgotten glory and beauty behind it. It seems as if I have never been conscious of such beauty and sublimity. The variety, brilliancy of color and arrangement were awe inspiring. As I sat there unconscious of everything except the scene before me, behold, before my very eyes it changed from the marvelous rainbow colors to the soft, ethereal "Rembrantian" browns and the midnight blues of Maxfield Parrish. But the most marvelous of all was the pristine light which came from behind those strangely beautiful clouds; the light was like unto bright silver dazzling in its brightness, and weird in the manner of its diffusion.

   As I came to myself I said aloud. O God. I Thank Thee for such a direct manifestation of Thy goodness majesty and power."

(a letter from George Washington Carver Dec 13,1927 to Judge Leon McCord)


"I had barely uttered these words, when that invisible being, like a whirlwind, caught me up and bore me away into a large room, where he made himself visible to my eyes in human form, appearing like a young man whose beard is just growing, with a face of indescribable beauty, but austere, not wanton. He bade me look around the room, and said: "The crowd of men thou seest in this place are all those who up to this day have been born and afterwards have died upon the earth." Thereupon I asked him why he brought me hither, and he answered: "Come with me and thou shalt soon behold." In my hand I had a poniard, and upon my back a coat of mail; and so he led through that vast hall, pointing out the people who were walking by innumerable thousands up and down, this way and that. He led me onward, and went forth in front of me through a little low door into a place which looked like a narrow street, and when he drew me after him into the street, at the moment of leaving the hall, behold I was disarmed and clothed in a white shirt, with nothing on my head, and I was walking on the right hand of my companion. Finding myself in this condition, I was seized with wonder, because I did not recognize the street; and when I lifted my eyes, I discerned that the splendor of the sun was striking on a wall, as it were a house-front , just above my head. Then I said: "Oh, my friend; what must I do in order to be able to ascend so high that I may gaze upon the sphere of the sun himself?" He pointed out some huge stairs which were on my right hand, and said to me: "Go up thither by thyself." Quitting his side, I ascended the stairs backwards, and gradually began to come within the region of the sunlight. Then I hastened my steps, and went on, always walking backwards as I have described, until I discovered the whole sphere of the sun. The strength of his rays, as is their wont, first made me close my eyes; but becoming aware of my misdoing, I opened them wide, and gazing steadfastly at the sun, exclaimed: "Oh my sun, for whom I have so passionately yearned! Albeit your rays may blind me, I do not wish to look on anything again but this!" So I stayed awhile with my eyes fixed steadily on him; and after a brief space I beheld in one moment the whole might of those great burning rays fling themselves upon the left side of the sun; so that the orb remained quite clear without its rays, and I was able to contemplate it with vast delight. It seemed to me something marvelous that the rays should be removed in that manner. Then I reflected what divine grace it was which God had granted me that morning, and cried aloud: "Oh, wonderful Thy power! Oh, glorious Thy virtue! How far greater is the grace which Thou art granting me than that which I expected!" The sun without his rays appeared to me to be a bath of the purest molten gold, neither more nor less. While I stood contemplating this wondrous thing, I noticed that the middle of the sphere began to swell, and the swollen furnace grew, and suddenly a Christ upon the cross formed itself out of the same substance as the sun. He bore the aspect of divine benignity, with such fair grace that the mind of man could not conceive the thousandth part of it; and while I gazed in ecstasy, I shouted: "A miracle! a miracle! O God! O clemency Divine! O immeasurable Goodness! what is it Thou hast deigned this day to show me!" While I was gazing and exclaiming thus, the Christ moved toward that part where his rays were settled, and the middle of the sun once more bulged out as it had done before; the boss expanded, and suddenly transformed itself into the shape of a most beautiful Madonna, who appeared to be sitting enthroned on high, holding her child in her arms with an attitude of the greatest charm and a smile upon her face. On each side of her was an angel, whose beauty far surpasses man's imagination. I also saw within the rondure of the sun, upon the right hand, a figure robed like a priest; this turned its back to me, and kept its face directed to the Madonna and the Christ. All these things I beheld , actual clear, and vivid, and kept returning thanks to the glory of God as loud as I was able. The marvelous apparition remained before me little more than half a quarter of an hour; then it dissolved, and I was carried back to my dark lair.....

                     Benvenuto Cellini

 The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini



Book: "The Book Of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam" by Kenneth L. Woodward

Book: "Miracles At The Jesus Oak: Histories of the Supernatural in Reformation Europe" by Craig Harline

© 2001



Back to Chrestomathy           Next Page