Dearly beloved, when our Lord Jesus Christ was preaching the Gospel of the kingdom and healing various illnesses throughout the whole of Galilee, the fame of his mighty works spread into all of Syria, and great crowds from all parts of Judea flocked to the heavenly physician. Because human ignorance is slow to believe what it does not see, and equally slow to hope for what it does not know, those who were to be instructed in the divine teaching had first to be aroused by bodily benefits and visible miracles so that, once they had experienced his gracious power, they would no longer doubt the wholesome effect of his doctrine.
In order, therefore, to transform outward healings into inward remedies, and to cure men’s souls now that he had healed their bodies, our Lord separated himself from the surrounding crowds, climbed to the solitude of a neighboring mountain, and called the apostles to himself. From the height of this mystical site he then instructed them in the most lofty doctrines, suggesting both by the very nature of the place and by what he was doing that it was he who long ago had honored Moses by speaking to him. At that time, his words showed a terrifying justice, but now they reveal a sacred compassion, in order to fulfill what was promised in the words of the prophet Jeremiah: Behold the days are coming, says the Lord, when I shall establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. After those days, says the Lord, I shall put my laws within them and write them on their hearts.
When some tragedy happens -- whether it be an illness, or the loss of a loved one, or the loss of work, home, or fortune -- we all hope and pray for miracles. Unfortunately, when we acquire that miracle, we then return on our merry way, as if nothing unusual happened. Even when we find healing through some 'normal' means we tend to see is as license to return to the life we had before the experience. Of course, life really never is the same....
The good Pope tells us:
"...those who were to be instructed in the divine teaching had first to be aroused by bodily benefits and visible miracles so that, once they had experienced his gracious power, they would no longer doubt the wholesome effect of his doctrine."
So, a miracle has the purpose, not of directly building our faith, but of allowing us to open our minds, hearts, and even our very souls. to the deep mysteries of our Faith.
It 's not a matter of: "Oh! How nice! Thank you, God."
It is an invitation to discipleship, and making a commitment to seeking a more intimate relationship with Jesus -- to leave the rat race behind so that one can sit at His feet and drink deeply of what He has to teach about the deeper meaning of life. The pope tells us: "whoever longs to attain eternal blessedness can now recognize the steps that lead to that high happiness." The great saint, then proceeds to speak of the Beatitudes.