Thanks guys for the replies. I am trying to be humble in learning, seeking truth. I will look into the websites, etc. that were suggested.
As others have said, the miracles and apparitions affirm and attest our faith…to help us in our journey.
The thought that keeps occurring to me is that possibly these miracles or apparitions were caused not by God but by some other spiritual force?
That is a big possibility, that is why the Vatican takes careful study and discernment before approving such miracle and apparition. There are a lot of claims of Marian sightings…(sorry, forgot the website that listed these)…and a handful have been approved.
The most notable I would recommend are Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe.
For Lourdes, the miracle cures have been well documented, and of the hundreds of claims, I think only about 67 or so have been authenticated.
There are also the Stigmatics…Padre Pio, Gemma Galgani…(stgemmagalgani.com/)
There is also one important factor the Church uses to see the truthfulness of apparitions…obedience…based on this verse: 1John 4…6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
If you note in Gal 2, the revelation to Paul was to go to Jerusalem, not go out on his own…Galatians 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.
Sometimes I get uncomfortable with statements like, “The Blessed Mother has really powerful intercession, etc.” because it makes me think of the Prosperity Gospel that I have been warned about in my previous church background.
The BVM will not do anything contrary to the will of God. Everything granted through her intercession is as per God’s will and divine providence.
But then I ask myself about my understanding of God as a loving Father, provider, etc. Do I not ask Him for things because I lack the faith that He will give them to me, that He really loves me, etc.?
Am I more comfortable with a distant God who did great things in the past (and will do great things in the future) but is not really responding to our prayers in miraculous ways now?
Yes…He is a loving provider…but I think the difference with others and Catholics is…we ask them in total obedience and submission to His will…He provides and answers our requests as per His will, not as per our will. Sometimes, these prayers are provided in some other way…not something we would expect, some time, it is not immediate…but God takes His time…for some other purpose for us.
I am sure there are others who can relate to this struggle. I love you faithful Catholics. Lots of times I wish I could be more like you. But it’s hard to overcome habits, tendencies, and theological dispositions.
Dan…it will take time…just persevere…take courage and refuge and learn from the Saints. They are provided to us as gifts from God…to help us.
Have you read St. Augustine? He was a natural born sinner… His mother prayed for 16 years before he turned his life around.
Another book I would recommend…The Perfect Joy of St. Francis.