28 March 2006

Healing Words

There is an interesting exchange in today's Gospel. Jesus asks the man sitting near the temple gate if he wants to be healed and Jesus never gets an answer. The man, instead, tells Jesus why he has not been able, for 38 years, to enter the pool and receive healing.

For most of us, there is at least one "thing" in our lives that warrants healing or correcting but which we are reluctant to address. Sometimes we become very comfortable in our patterns of living, working, behaving, etc., and even though we know that we should work on this "thing," it has almost become too comfortable to change. Perhaps we have a co-worker with whom we could work better -- but we don't try. Perhaps there is someone we avoid, whose company we find troublesome. Maybe we make excuses about why we should avoid him or her and why it is okay, even profitable, to do so. And, like the man at the temple gate, when Jesus asks us if we want to be healed of this situation, if we want to change, to be changed, we have a ready reply of why it has not been possible for us to change -- or why it would not be convenient to change. We, too, avoid the question. Sometimes we can be so busy explaining our excuses to ourselves (and to Jesus) that we do not take the time to ask the Lord for the healing grace we need. Acknowledging that we need this grace is, itself, a great grace. Let us ask the Lord for the vision to see where we need to grow and the grace to respond to this invitation.

In a letter to St. Jane de Chantal while she was still Madame de Chantal, St. Francis de Sales wrote the following:

"...now although we may love our abjection [wretchedness] that comes from a fault, still we must not neglect to correct the fault."

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