A “Thanks Giving” Leper

The day of  giving thanks is upon us.

A day to stop and assess all the ways we are blessed.

A day to recognize how we could do better in practicing gratitude.

And if we are honest we realize that we are all a little spiritually leprous.

Though not physically in our first world countries, a different kind of leprosy prevails.

That of the interior man.

Foolish, disobedient and just plain deluded at times, we chase our false gods and idols,

and we allow ingratitude to poison our hearts….

making ourselves unclean.

We walk in the dis-ease of life.

This happened to the ten lepers in the Gospel.

“Unclean”, they found themselves living together, the outcasts of their time.

Will we cry out as they did?

“Lord, Master, have pity on me!” 

“Go, show yourself to the priests”.

(Possible translation: “Go receive my Mercy in confession, my friend!”)

“Lord, Master, I crave worldly attention and praise. I am misguided in my charity, having only selfish aims.

I consistently look not to serve but to be comforted.

I have walked in the muck of this world.

You have given me so much and I thank you so little. “

Then the richly poured out generosity and love of God appears,

And He turns heads and hearts in the direction He is walking.

I want to be….

the one…. of the ten.

Crying out and being healed, I can either take possession of the gift and run away clinging to it for myself alone.

Or I can run back to the Healer and fall at His feet, and glorify and thank Him.

If I fall at His feet and ask Him to have Mercy on me, He will take this leprous spirit and heal it.

He will integrate my will into His own perfect Will, so that even in afflictions I can thank Him for the great grace.

“Stand up, go, your faith has saved you.”

I might even remain leprous-looking to the world for His sake, but no matter.

He says I must stand.

He says I must go.

He says my faith will save me.

Even if I remain a leprous-looking fool to the world, I am clean in Him.

Let me glorify Him as He makes me clean.

Let me be the thanks giving leper.

Believe It or Not….My Choice!

God does not want to lose me. He wants to raise me on the last day.  

Today I choose.

 Will it be Him and His grace?  Or not?

He leaves me with a hope that “does not disappoint”.  This must be sufficient- He says it is.

I will believe.  I will believe like Mary did.  

Is this belief easy to come by?  NO!

This is a belief that stares in the face of horrible things… with courage!   And still believes!  This belief accepts the contradiction of feelings vs. truth-as-a-purification-and-healing.

This is what Mary shows us:  something more lies beyond what we see.

  Something beautiful is yet to unfold.  God mysteriously enters the mess that is life- the sins, the mistakes..

and this Presence within the mess is transforming it.

Believe like Mary did….

At Annuciationwith no clear sight of future things unfolding.

 She will believe! Hope!

See through condemning words that would stone her pregnant being.

In flight to Egypt, over fog covered roads lacking sleep.

She will believe! Hope!

 See through trails leading away from home and family and security

…see through  shrill cries of children being slain- sobs of mothers holding death.  Believe with Joseph, Joseph is strength.

Hearing Simeon’s words of swords,

She will believe! Hope!

See through unclear meanings of rise and of fall

as she gave Him away to this man with clear eyes, who seemed to know when those eyes met the Savior’s.  The Babe gave Simeon the message to hand on to His Mother, to prepare her for things yet to come.

Losing Him for three days…

She will believe!  Hope!

 See through crowed, crazy city streets, noisy voices, always questions.

 Have you seen Him?  There is more, He is here.  Answering questions, right there, in the Temple Father’s house.

And who could meet Him there on the Way,

and still believe?  Hope?

 See through blood and sweat, tears and grime covering His eyes.

 All that is in her wants to remove thorn- crown.  This is the fall, where will be rise?  Simeon has promised.

 See through to the promise.

This belief that can stare in the face of horrible things

and still believe, still hope.

 Stare in the face of  and see through crucified Body, flesh torn loved one, lanced pierced Heart.

 At the foot of the cross, equality not grasped, slave humbled and obedient until death.

See through hours of desolation and feelings of abandonment

to promises this would be the Son of the Most HIgh

who would save their people from their sins.  Angel’s voice is remembered, greeting from on High.

 She believed then, she’ll believe now.  She hoped then, she’ll hope now.

Never again would there be more belief and more hope than this moment!

Be like Mary!

Holding His dead body, hugging death, embracing Will.

She still believes and still hopes.  On the other side of the huge cold rock that seals Him off from the world, seals off His Heart from hers.  No!

She sees through rock…to resurrection!  She sees their hearts are still one!

He was sent so as not to lose anything, anything….that the Father gave Him.

Believe it or not?

Receive Him or not?

Hope or not?

See through or not?

Our choice.