Whenever we are confronted with claims of the supernatural the church teaches us to take a middle way between total skepticism and total gulliblility.
No, that bagel that you think has the face of Mother Teresa in it is not a miracle. Thats something called Pareidolia. It’s a natural psychological phenomenon.
Evil is not always caused by demons. There is often a perfectly natural explanation.
So it is with miracles. We’re advised to always look for the natural explanation first. Only when the natural explanations fail us do we begin to grant that the supernatural is involved.
However, while we are supposed to be cautious we are not supposed to rule miracles out altogether. A miracle is, by definition, a suspension or an exception to the usually expected natural laws.
Was our bread flour miraculously multiplied? It’s possible, but there were enough variables and other possibilities that we can’t say for sure. It could be that the baker estimated incorrectly how many loaves we would be able to bake. It could be that the loaves were smaller than he anticipated. Maybe we didn’t end up making as much bread as we thought we were. There are too many other options to allow me to shout from the housetops that a real miracle occurred.
I therefore shrug my shoulders and say, “Well, I believe it was a miracle, and thank God!” As soon as I say that other troubling thoughts come to mind. If it was a miracle why did it suddenly stop? If God provided flour for our bread for a few months why doesn’t he do miracles and stop famines from happening? Why do little children still starve?
At the end of the day a miracle is, by definition, something which defies not only our expectations but our logic. Miracles are outside the realm of human logic alone. They are part of a bigger and stranger plan that we cannot see. That plan and that realm operates with a logic that is beyond our logic and a reasoning that is stranger and greater than our own.
I’ve written a fair bit about miracles on my blog. Go here to read a post about people who were seeing the Virgin Mary in a tree trunk in New Jersey.