My morning lectio continued to take me through Sirach, a book which has been partly fruitful, partly routine. I was struck by a section in chapter 38 today:
My child, when you are ill, do not delay,
but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.
Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly,
and cleanse your heart from all sin.
Offer a sweet-smelling sacrifice,
and a memorial portion of choice flour,
and pour oil on your offering,
as much as you can afford. (9-11)
The writer’s narrative is about physicians, but we Christians recognize Jesus Christ as Healer, don’t we? What is that sacrifice, meaning something more than the Temple ritual? Is it the letting go of need? Of want? How much vulnerability can one soul afford before the Lord?
Then I found my friend John’s blog yesterday. He’s been reading one of my favorite spiritual writers, the Trappist monk Michael Casey. From his essay, quoting his source:
I thought back to the Cistercian monk Michael Casey’s Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology which I recently read. Speaking of prayer in the midst of crisis he noted
We begin to find peace in the very act of owning our interior malaise, in opening up our woundedness before the Lord and, in a wondrous way, feeling ourselves welcomed and loved.
Casey opens up a facet of Bernard’s mysticism that can open us to the healing love of the wounded Christ if we open ourselves:
Uncover the wound so that you may receive the physician’s attention.
It is so tempting to cover over our wounds – and let them fester. It is so tempting to try to look healthy and powerful.
As my own fatigue continues with the preparations to take my leave of the campus parish, getting a house ready to sell, and preparing to move, even my spiritual director was taking this theme the other week. Bring the wounds to the Physician. We can’t heal by ourselves.
Jesus knew well the wounded human condition. He was a heart of God’s compassion for us, and he experienced the wounds of the Passion. So naturally, he is prepared to know our needs and address them, if we are willing.