Monday, May 12, 2014

We Are All Violently Ill

We cannot be healed unless we show ourselves to the doctor. Not only is it embarrassing to be naked (or partially so) in front of a complete stranger, but there is always that unspoken fear of “How much will this hurt?” and, even worse, “Will the doctor even be able to help me?”

Hospitals are no fun. Just ask Sherlock.

 Two summers ago I underwent several extremely invasive procedures at the Mayo Clinic, all of which were expensive, humiliating, and eventually proved to be fruitless (imagine eating radioactive scrambled eggs and coming back every 2 hours for x-rays to be taken of your stomach: anything but pleasant).

But Jesus is a better doctor: the best doctor there is, in fact, and because He created you, He knows exactly what’s wrong with you and exactly how to fix it. The problem is that we lie to Him and to ourselves by pretending that everything is OK. And because Jesus is a gentleman, he’s not going to force His way in until we give Him permission. 

Sorry, Doc--even you can't handle these wounds.

 If you’ve never thought about being honest in your prayer life, consider giving it a shot. Not only is it extremely liberating, but it will help you realize just how much you need Jesus’ grace to survive and be the best version of yourself. The truth is, we are all violently sick from sin, and all the pleasure, money, and episodes of Sherlock in the world won’t make us better.

We can lie to ourselves and say that sin doesn’t exist. We can pretend that “everything is awesome” (to quote the Lego Movie) and that we don’t need to rely on anyone for help. But we will quickly begin to hate ourselves, because we can never satisfy our most intimate desires alone. After each failure, each ephemeral pleasure, each used-up fantasy, we will be more alone than ever. No matter where you go, or what you do, you can never escape from yourself.

Father Jean C.J. d’Elbée, in his book I Believe in Love, said it quite succinctly:

“Modern man has lost his way in his search for happiness and has alienated himself so profoundly from God that he has become alienated from himself, and is engaged in a sick and futile search for his own identity. What loneliness he suffers! A theme song of desolation reverberates in his soul. He despairingly seeks guidance among those who are quite as lost as he is, and all his chosen guides lead him to the same abyss from which there seems to be no way of return. In the very end, suicide presents itself as the logical answer to those who choose this broad path—as modern literature and the newspapers bear witness.” 
...except it's not...

Jesus knows everything about you anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to hide it when you pray to Him. A friend once told me “Sin loves the darkness of solitude and hates the light.” Once you bring your wounds and sin out into the open, Jesus can heal them. Ask Him for the courage to bring your ugliness into the light. And if you don’t want to bring your sins to Him, ask Him for the grace to want to be healed.

Most of all, do not be afraid. You are certainly not the worst sinner in the world, and you have done nothing that God’s infinite power cannot heal. Another beautiful prayer you can say (also from I Believe in Love) is this: “Jesus, repair the wrong I have done badly, supply for what I have not done; bring about a greater good than if I had not sinned.” Then the humble simplicity of your heart will touch Him even more and He will be all the more pleased to shower His grace upon you. 

Do Not Be Afraid...unless you're Luke Skywalker...

If you haven’t gone to confession in a while, do it. Make it one of your new summer habits. And I dare you to add I Believe in Love to your summer reading list.


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