February 2022



If You Will, You Can Make Me Clean

In the previous newsletter, we talked about hope and faith amid suffering. This month, which is dedicated to the sick, our eyes and thoughts turn toward the mystery of human suffering once again. St. John Paul II said: “Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ... To the suffering brother or sister, Christ discloses and gradually reveals the horizons of the Kingdom of God: the horizons of a world converted to the Creator, of a world free from sin, a world being built on the saving power of love. And slowly but effectively, Christ leads into this world, into this Kingdom of the Father, suffering man, in a certain sense through the very heart of his suffering” (Salvifici doloris, 26). Suffering has meaning solely when it is united to Christ, Who introduces us into a deeper meaning of it. He redeemed us by his cross and invites us to take up our cross and thus join Him in his redemptive mission. In Garabandal, we see how Jesus spoke to Conchita about the cross on at least two occasions: “You will find the Cross and suffering everywhere;” “When I asked Him for it, Jesus answered me: "Yes, I will give you the cross" (Conchita's Diary, 81).

Accepting suffering and the cross does not mean that our heart cannot turn to the Almighty so that He may help us and even cure us of our corporal and spiritual ails. The Gospel is full of episodes in which we see the Lord go to the sick to cure and console them and give them new life. In our weakness and needs, we can and ought to go to the Divine Physician to be cured, if such is His will. We should set time aside to meditate on these passages in which God’s heart is moved.

On occasions, the Gospels tell that He cured many sick in general; on others, the accounts are more extensive and details. In these, we can stop and contemplate Jesus’ motions. Maybe many of us can relate to the woman with the hemorrhage who did not dare to draw near to Jesus, but faith tells us that just by touching his cloak we will be healed; or to Bartimaeus, who when he heard that Jesus was passing by, started to shout for mercy; or to the paralytic near the pool of Bethesda who had no one to put him in the water; or to the leper who said, full of faith, to Jesus: “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean” (Luke 5:12); and the list goes on of all the people who drew near to Jesus to be touched and cured by Him. We can observe one condition: drawing near to Him. In the case of the centurion's servant, or the paralytic who was introduced by his friends through an open hole in the roof, we see the power of intercession. That is, we draw near to Jesus not only to pray for ourselves, but also for our loved ones as well as those we do not know personally to present their needs to the Lord through our prayer. In prayer we can have the same dispositions as the ones cured by the Lord: faith, humility and trust. Let us not seek a physical cure alone. The Lord elevates us, speaks of sinning no more and that faith has saved us.

Often, despite having real physical illnesses, these are not the ones that have the most need of a cure. Rather, our spiritual illnesses, which come first and foremost from the seven capital sins, are the illnesses that have more need of healing. Spiritual illnesses such as lukewarmness, mediocrity, and the wounds left by voluntary sins urgently need the touch of the Lord’s hand. There is something even worse than these illnesses: spiritual death, which is mortal sin. We pray to be freed from it, and when it does befall us, let us run immediately to the saving fountain of grace in the sacrament of confession before it is too late.

Before concluding our reflection, let us turn our eyes toward Mary, who we remember this month under the title of the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Lourdes. As she was under the cross of her Son, She is also close to us when we suffer and carry our cross. “The Divine Redeemer wishes to penetrate the soul of every sufferer through the Heart of his holy Mother, the first and the most exalted of all the redeemed. As though by a continuation of that motherhood which by the power of the Holy Spirit had given Him life, the dying Christ conferred upon the ever Virgin Mary a new kind of motherhood—spiritual and universal—towards all human beings, so that every individual, during the pilgrimage of faith, might remain, together with Her, closely united to him unto the Cross, and so that every form of suffering, given fresh life by the power of this Cross, should become no longer the weakness of man but the power of God” (Salvifici doloris, 26). She intercedes for us and we can turn to Her with complete trust in our needs.

God bless,
Garabandal.it Team

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