“O my God, what has happened to the head and the master will also happen to the members and the disciples. This proud world is not worthy to see the disciples and imitators of Jesus Christ, nor to know them. They must be disdained and contradicted, places in the ranks of the mad, the outmoded, the feeble-minded, who put on a good show, but inside nourish themselves with glory and vanity like everyone else.” (Note 1)
“Jesus’ question to the paralytic seems very insensitive. He has been infirm for 38 years. Of course he wants to walk! Why ask him such a question? Jesus knows the human heart well. Many of us do not want to be healed. if we are sick we do not have to ‘pick up our mat and walk.’ We can continue to simply lay still and watch the world go by. We don’t have to change. Jesus reminds us of the pain that comes with all true healing. We must relearn to walk on our own and take responsibility for our actions. We must live out our healing in our daily lives. this is frightening. We find it much easier to lay on our mats and simply let others do things for us.” (Note 2)
Today’s meditations made me think of a couple of things. First, Bossuet’s readings made me think of so many religious people today who seem to be just going through the motions with no internal life lit by Christ. I feel that in myself a lot, seemingly not matter how hard I try — but I have to remember that it isn’t me, it is God who has to work, I just have to let him. That seems to be the hard part — letting go of things so God can help me. This is one area where I definitely need to improve my prayer life to help fix it. But more than just praying — I have to listen — which is even harder to do. Further, this made me think of the charlatans who aren’t really trying to help anyone, other than to help them part with their money. There seem to be far too many of them out there — and I mean religious charlatans.
Insofar as the second quote, I quoted it in its entirety. It made me thin first of, I don’t remember where I read it, but one of the Marian apparitions. Mary was asked if God can do so many things, why doesn’t he just do them, or if Mary and the saints can intercede in so many things, why don’t they just intercede instead of waiting to be asked. The answer was because men have free will and they have to ask before God and the saints can intervene. If they just intervene, in runs counter to free will. Thus, in my mind, it’s just like grace, it is there, a free gift, but you have to ask for it and cooperate with it. Secondly, the quote speaks of taking responsibility for our actions. This is one of the most profound problems of our modern age. Everyone is quick to claim victims status, but so very few are willing to assume responsibility for their actions. It’s funny that even in reading Walden by Thoreau, he notes the rise of lack of personal responsibility. We’ve made it worse by declaring victim status for everything, then exacerbated that by failing to hold anyone accountable for their actions, especially the political class — who should be held not only accountable, but accountable to a much higher standard. I fear those days are gone, and I think we need lots of prayer and conversion to help this country — if it can be helped.
Have mercy on us, O God. Amen.
1. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, Meditations for Lent, trans. Christopher O. Blum (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2013), 109.
2. William F. Maestri, “Do You Want to be Well?”. In Renewing Our Discipleship, Daily Reflections on the 2017 Lenten Readings for Mass, ed. Steve Mueller (St Louis, MO: All Saints Press, 2017), 28.