Thursday, 30 April 2015

Augustine Reisenauer, O.P.: Wonder and Significance in Augustine's Theology of Miracles

Augustine sees miracles as significant wonders that provide their spectators with further insights into the reality of creation and its Creator. God performs miracles, whether spontaneously or through angelic or human agency, in order to alert and elevate fallen human persons to his own omnipresent and omnipotent divinity. On account of pride and its introduction of a dull and deadly complacency, humans have lost sight of the astonishing aspects of sensible creation and have anesthetized their sense of wonder. The value of wonder and of creation have become cheapened by familiarity such that human persons have ceased to appreciate the wonder and worth of their own existence which God has brought into being from nothing. Particular miracles function to revive and revitalize humanity’s deadened sense of wonder and to reawaken them to the grand miracle of creation. Miracles burst open the visionary and eschatological horizons of humanity such that we can behold in faith new possibilities. Miracles serve as signs of the wondrous love of God for humanity. Augustine appreciates that the love of God is so wonderful that it not only elevates the human perspective to glimpse in faith the divine, but also lifts humanity up to an eternal participation in God thanks to the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. For Augustine, the grand miracle of visible creation, including humanity, discovers its ultimate significance and wondrous destiny in the greatest miracle of Jesus Christ raised from the depths of death and ascended into the heights of glory.

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