“What is a miracle? To some people, it is a sign from the heavens, reaffirming their faith in God. To others, it could be evidence of the supernatural, a chance to document an unseen world that exists all around us. But what if you really did see something so physically impossible that it could only be explained as a message from above? Would it be life-affirming, or would it terrify you?”
Show creators Richard Hatem (The Mothman Prophecies) and David Greenwalt (Angel) are no strangers to genre work infused with spirituality. Miracles feels like the X-Files with God and His mysterious ways as the working mythology instead of aliens. Since the X-Files comparisons are inevitable, then like the X-Files, Miracles would’ve needed time for an audience to find it. Luckily, it is available in its entirety on DVD.
“What’s the point of faith if it’s never tested?” Father ‘Poppi’ Calero (Hector Elizondo)
Father Paul Callas (Callas/callous - neat, eh?), played by Skeet Ulrich, is an investigator for the Catholic church. His job is to debunk the miracles that people report. “I feel like a doctor who never cures anyone; I just show up, deliver the bad news, and move on.” Paul quickly becomes tired of being the one doing all the testing and goes on a sabbatical, like some desert father. He hasn’t seen the miraculous, he hasn’t seen the movement of God in any sort of miraculous way, and his faith is in tatters because of it.
“Maybe we’re on our own down here.” –Paul
Faith is a tricky thing, or as Paul puts it, “The harder I work at having faith, the further away it feels.” We all have faith, good faith, bad faith, or misplaced faith. Likewise, we all go through periods of doubt. When you know something, you can’t have faith in it because there is no need for faith. God is big enough for us to question, doubt, and wrestle with. In fact, He expects us to. The thing is, once we have all of the answers, we don’t need God anymore.
Faith “is like falling in love: you never believe it can happen until it happens to you” as Paul’s blind friend puts it. The bottom line is that you have to make faith your own. Confess your unbelief while you struggle through it. I don’t know what it says that he felt that he couldn’t explore his doubts within the church, but too often that is the case. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with doubt and questions. They see it as a failing of faith. Doubt is a natural part of faith, not its opposite (certainty is the opposite of faith).
“People like to believe in magic.” –Doctor
All Paul wants is to see some true miracle, a sign of God’s presence in our reality and once more we get to observe the lesson of being careful what you wish for. During his first investigation after being called back into service, he is asked by a boy capable of miraculous healings, that are debilitating to him, “Why is this happening to us?” We underestimate “I don’t know” as a theological answer, though the scarier prospect might be that we aren’t alone at all. Which is why we continue to look for miracles. They are God’s calling cards. We believe that if only we could have some proof positive of God at work in our lives, in our world, then it would heal our faith and sooth our doubts. What we fail to take into account is that people can see the exact same things, the exact same set of circumstances and evidence, and come to very different conclusions: “God is no where” vs. “God is now here.”
We can’t go through life solely seeking signs of the miraculous out in order to build our faith upon, nor should we deny them when we come across them.
As creepy and engaging as the X-Files, with religion as backdrop instead of science, has its flaws. It lacks MiraclesX-Files light touch, with Ulrich’s dour lead having little to off set it. And it’s conspiracy mythology had too many shades of Millenium’s joylessness and also shared its end of the world paranoia (Left Behind angst). However, the show is every bit as much about faith and the search for truth.