“Christian optimism is not a sugary optimism, nor is it a mere human confidence that ‘everything will turn out all right.’ It is an optimism that sinks its roots into an awareness of our freedom, and the sure knowledge of the power of grace.” ~ Saint Josemaria Escriva
Optimism abounds in today’s brief Gospel Passage (Matthew 8:1-14) wherein we revisit the leper who approaches Jesus seeking to be cleansed of his incurable, highly contagious, and hideous affliction. “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean,” the leper says, a show of faith in Jesus’ healing power and a willingness to surrender to the will of the Father, a topic that took center stage yesterday https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/A-Battle-of-Wills.
“If you wish.” With these three words, the leper was, in many respects, taking a page out of Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s Playbook, submitting to spiritual indifference regarding his great suffering https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Ignatian-Indifference-on-Steroids.
When we place complete and undying trust in God, afflictions and tribulations become mere circumstance, part of the journey home to the Heavenly Kingdom. May we all get to that place in our spiritual and religious lives. It doesn’t happen overnight.
If Jesus could heal this leper so quickly, so easily, imagine what he can do in your life. In anyone’s life. Saint Josemaria Escriva, the man whose quote kicks off today’s reflection and whose Feast Day we celebrate as well, was known to have lived by the following credo: “Make few resolutions. Make specific resolutions. And fulfill them with the help of God.”
Resolve today to come to Jesus with all of your problems, your worries and your fears. Refuse to believe that he doesn’t listen. Every time. That he isn’t there for you. Every time. Follow the lead of the leper in today’s Gospel and ask him to heal you, regardless of how unclean you may be or feel.
With Eucharistic Adoration Schedules slowly ramping back up at Catholic Churches as we continue to carefully navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic, schedule some quiet time in the presence of Jesus. Pray of course, but listen too. “Our whole day can be a time for prayer,” Saint Josemaria once said, “from night to morning and from morning to night. In fact, as Holy Scripture reminds us, even our sleep should be a prayer…But prayer, our life-giving nourishment, is not limited to one form alone. Our life of prayer should also be based on some moments that are dedicated exclusively to our conversation with God.”
A life replete of optimism and hope is truly tragic. If you are in need of hope, ask for it in prayer and trust that this virtue will soon return to you; “Ask and it shall be given to you.” (Matthew 7:7).
. . . and remember, to quote Saint Josemaria, “To begin is for everyone. To persevere is for Saints.”