About I AM : What is a Miracle? : Meet Rev. Susan Sager

About I AM

The Institute's tongue-in-cheek name reveals a profound purpose. Our mission is to inspire the mindfulness that makes all of life a miracle ! It is a mindset that cultivates reverence ... awe ... awareness ... love ... and faith.

Perhaps you're wondering: What is an "applied miracle"? An applied miracle is one that you participate in creating. You create it by applying certain principles to your life; among them -- kindness, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness. If you've ever experienced the radical power of forgiveness, you know firsthand that the freedom it brings is nothing short of miraculous. When you participate in creating a miracle, you are partnering with God !

In the end, a miracle is about your way of seeing as much as it is what you see. Think about the miracles you have experienced in your own life. How many others have you missed because you failed to see them ? Look closely, and discover the miracle that is already there, waiting inside each moment !

As the famous physicist, Albert Einstein, once wrote, "There are only two ways to live your life. One way is as though nothing is a miracle. And the other way is as though everything is."

At the Institute, we choose to live life as though everything is a miracle !

This vision shapes the dual roles that the Institute plays. One role is to provide a clearinghouse for sharing the extraordinary events we call "miracles." Our other role is an educational one. We provide spiritual direction for those individuals and organizations who want to open themselves to the miraculous. Towards that end, the Institute offers a speakers bureau, classes, and consulting as well as other services. For more information on the Institute's offerings, check the "Offerings" section of our website or contact:

The acronym for the Institute for Applied Miracles is I AM. This simple acronym carries a powerful message. When Moses encountered the burning bush, he wanted to understand the source of that miracle. So Moses asked what God's name was. God answered with the words, "I AM THAT I AM."

The acronym, I AM, is a reminder of the eternal identity of the Almighty. It's also an invitation to explore your own personal identity. When you ask yourself, "Who am I ?"... what do you answer ?

The Institute for Applied Miracles invites you to discover your true identity. As the late Teilhard de Chardin noted, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Once you understand this, you will begin to comprehend the miracle that you are !

What is a Miracle?

The media termed it a miracle when a toddler survived a fall from a highrise with barely a scratch. Yet, in its own way, it was also a miracle when parents who had lost their child in an auto accident chose to forgive the other driver. Both events go against what we believe is possible.

A miracle is an extraordinary event that tends to defy explanation. It contradicts what you know about reality. In truth, the only thing a miracle contradicts is the preconceptions you have about reality.

A miracle prompts a shift in perception. It moves you beyond your limited way of thinking to an unlimited sense of possibility. When you experience a miracle, you finally realize that anything is possible ! The ultimate value of a miracle, though, comes not so much from the outer event as from the inner experience it inspires. In its way, a miracle never leaves you where it found you.

Miracles generally fall into one of three categories: The ones we're privileged to experience ... the ones we're called to create ... and the ones we are. At the Institute, we appreciate each miracle as a precious gift of grace. Go to the "Sharing Miracles" section of the website to read some actual personal experiences, and perhaps ... to share one of your own !

Meet Rev. Susan Hawkins Sager

The Institute for Applied Miracles was founded by interfaith clergy, Rev. Susan Hawkins Sager in 2004. The idea for the Institute came out of her lifelong fascination with miracles and how they transform peoples' lives. Susan lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Alan. Their family includes four wonderful children: Erica, Jessica, Rebecca and Jacob.

Susan holds a bachelor's degree from Douglass College. She also earned a master's degree from Indiana University. Susan studied pastoral care at The Ecumenical Center for Religion and Health. In addition, she completed requirements for interfaith ordination through All Faiths Seminary.

In what she considers "almost another lifetime ago," Susan was an educator, involved in everything from classroom teaching to federal policy development. During that time, she co-authored three books, and published a number of articles on educational issues.

For more than twenty years now, Susan has been a consultant and community advocate. Her work has focused on the transformation of individuals and organizations. Susan sees spiritual formation as a core piece of that work.

While Susan always felt a calling towards religious life, she was unsure how to proceed. "I'm sort of a mongrel puppy," Susan jokes. "I was baptised a Presbyterian, raised a Christian Scientist, and at age 30, I converted to Judaism. All my life, I have been a serious student of comparative religion, mysticism and metaphysics. So I'm afraid that I don't fit neatly into any one category."

In the summer of 2001, Susan found an unexpected solution to her dilemma. She had already begun work towards pastoral care certification when she heard about an interfaith ordination program. "Here it was ... the very thing I never knew I always wanted ! "

"Interfaith ordination expresses my conviction that God is revealed at all times ... in all places ... to all people. No one religion has a monopoly on the Infinite. Yet, I still believe in the value of affiliating with a particular religion. It's almost a paradox. Most of us are able to approach universality only from inside our own understanding of a particular religion. Then we are able to move out towards the universal. "

"Interfaith clergy use the title of 'reverend.' The title is so closely identified with Christian clergy that it's often hard for folks to understand the ecumenism involved. However, until another title comes along, this is the one I'll use."

Not long after Susan enrolled, September 11th happened. "Our world fundamentally changed on that day. Our sense of security was shattered. To get through that tragedy, we looked to our faith traditions for strength and solace. The tragedy underscored the importance of interfaith outreach and understanding. It was clear to me then what my calling was."

Often asked if she intends to start her own congregation, Susan always answers,"No." "The world doesn't need another congregation, much less another building fund. What it does need, though, and needs desperately, is more pastoral care and more interfaith outreach."

''In a world like ours, we must never underestimate the power of light to dispel darkness. Each of us wants to believe in the possibility of miracles. However, it's not enough to believe. We need to remember the part we play in making miracles happen. In the end, miracles are a reminder that God's grace is available to us in each moment !"



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