Monday, June 22, 2009

There Must Be An Explanation

An article in the Wichita Eagle describes what a miracle it is that a young man survived a severe skull fracture and the resulting swelling of his brain.

[A Vatican investigator] will investigate on behalf of the church in Rome whether 20-year-old Chase Kear's survival qualifies as a miracle; whether he survived a severe head injury last year in part because his family and hundreds of friends successfully prayed thousands of prayers to the soul of Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain from Pilsen, Kan., who died a hero in the Korean War.

When something occurs that's beyond our capability to explain--and mostly when it's a good outcome--we curiously try to attribute that to a higher power. If the outcome is bad then the higher power chose not to intercede. Years of constantly improving medical intervention has limited those miraculous survivors to fewer and fewer extreme cases. Two hundred years ago a woman surviving giving birth by Ceasarian section--an extreme last resort--would have been miraculous. Now it's common place--and not such a last resort--in the modern world.

Had the young man not survived, would his family have questioned whether their fellow parishioners prayed hard enough to be successful? Probably not. More than likely it would have been "God's will" and not the fact that the trauma caused his brain to swell enough to kill him.

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