Friday, March 14, 2014

Mark 1:40: Prayer, Love, and Mercy: Witnessing Jesus Christ in Others

Have you ever contemplated the ways in which our Lord communicates with us?  For mystics, it is clear and vibrant. He appears and speaks in a very corporeal way. Few are mystics, however. But the Lord does communicate with us in equally clear ways.  We have to pray for His grace, the eyes to see, and the ears to hear His presence. In seeing Christ among us, we have to look at the ordinary in an extraordinary way. Jesus uses the faithful to affect others.  We, too, then can be operatives of God’s love and grace.
            I have the privilege of attending 15 minutes of prayer each morning in front of the tabernacle on my way to work.  This opportunity is a gift from God, and there are many graces that lie within these precious minutes each day. Today, for instance, I had an incredible moment of spiritual consolation.  I met a man who reached out to me in kindness.
            Today, I was compelled to pray the following words from the synoptic gospels (Matthew 8:2; Mark 1:40; Luke 5:12): “Lord if you will, you can make me clean.” This quote comes from the beautiful scene in the gospels where Jesus instantly heals the faithful leper and makes him clean.  Our leprosy is sin, and although I regularly seek Reconciliation and offer true contrition for my sins, I know that I still sin and hurt God. Jesus Christ is mercy and love and infinitely offers His mercy and love to us when we ask in prayer. When we pray for the grace of true contrition and offer ourselves to His will, God always answers.  I am far from perfect and need Christ’s healing touch daily.
After this prayer, I felt peaceful silence and love fill my heart. Consolation abounded.  In the distance of the church behind me, for it was empty besides a few attendants and me, I heard the slow approach of padding footsteps and rhythmic swishing vinyl-on-vinyl.  I was almost irritated that this sound was disturbing my tranquil consolation.  I looked up, however, and saw a man whom I never met before with tears in his eyes.  He said, “Thank you,” turned around, and left.  I responded with the same and a “God bless,” not realizing at first what had happened.
Maybe my simple witness of prayer affected someone else, brought them closer to Jesus.  If I was a conduit of grace to this man, then he was a message of love from our Lord.  After I finished my last few minutes of prayer, I looked for the man in the church, but he was gone.  Jesus uses ordinary people to communicate His grace.  We truly encounter the living Christ in others, for He is truly in and with all of us.  

"Faith Matheny" by Edgar Lee Masters
At first you will know not what they mean,

And you may never know,

And we may never tell you:—

These sudden flashes in your soul,

Like lambent lightning on snowy clouds
At midnight when the moon is full.

They come in solitude, or perhaps

You sit with your friend, and all at once

A silence falls on speech, and his eyes

Without a flicker glow at you:—
You two have seen the secret together,

He sees it in you, and you in him.

And there you sit thrilling lest the Mystery

Stand before you and strike you dead

With a splendor like the sun’s.
Be brave, all souls who have such visions!

As your body’s alive as mine is dead,

You’re catching a little whiff of the ether

Reserved for God Himself.