The Mystery of the Miracle

St. Romanos the Melodist wrote a hymn based on the Gospel lesson,  Matthew 14:14-22 , in which Jesus Christ feeds more than 5,000 people by blessing five loaves of bread and two fish.  His blessing multiples the small quantity of food into a banquet in desert land.  The Gospel narrative gives no description as to what exactly happened to the bread and fish or what people might have seen of the miracle.  Romanos is quite comfortable with admitting he has no idea how the event actually unfolded,  what the people experienced or what the event might have looked like to an observer.  The reality is we are entering into a mystery of God – God is revealed to us while the physical details are lost to us.  For Romanos part of the mystery and miracle is that the bread itself obeyed the Word of God to multiply.

See how, like lords at a table, Christ’s slaves waited

for Jesus the servant and found him at once.

For the Master blessed the five loaves,

saying to them with an unseen voice,

“Increase perceptibly and multiply

and now nourish all those present here.”

At once the loaves obeyed the Lord.

They gave birth invisibly,

as Christ told them to, he who is

the heavenly bread of incorruption.

No human mind can wholly reason out this wonder,

how the invisible loaves flowed on invisibly.

Where did their ineffable increase occur –

in the hands of the disciples or was it on the tables?

Since I do not know the manner of the inexpressible sight,

I keep silence at the wonder, while by faith I correct

my mind, for I do not apprehend the depth of the mystery,

as I now see the twelve baskets

filled with fragments, as he alone knows

the heavenly bread of incorruption.

So also multiply for us all the multitude of your compassion

and just as then, Savior, you satisfied with wisdom

and fed with power the multitude in the desert,

satisfy us all with justice.

Strengthen us in your faith, Lord.

Nourish us all, as you are merciful,

and give us your grace and forgiveness of offences

at the intercessions of the Mother of God,

because you alone are good and full of pity as

the heavenly bread of incorruption.

(On the Life of Christ, pp. 96-97)

For St. Romanos, the more than 5,000 people present experienced a multiplication of the fish and bread, but an even greater miracle is possible for us as God multiples His blessings on us – His compassion, His wisdom, His justice, His mercy, grace and forgiveness.  We may experience even more of a blessing  than those folks who had only their hunger relieved.

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