20 February 2010

Lenten Reflection 3: the Divine HMO

“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

Jesus isn't known as the Great Physician for no reason. The word “salvation” has its roots in the Latin word for health, “salus, salutis.” Our spiritual health is our salvation in Christ. To get well implies that one was sick. The well don't get well, only the sick can get well. Lent is a season of sacrifice to be sure, but it is also a season for diagnosis—to dia is to “split apart” and gnosis is knowledge, so to diagnose is to split apart knowledge, or dissect what you know in order to learn more. The exploration of your interior life with God is what the Church's Lenten exercises are all about. Think of fasting, prayer, alms giving, and charitable works as diagnostic tools for figuring out what's wrong with you spiritually. Difficulty fasting? Perhaps you are inordinately attached to food, drink, TV, smoking, etc. Having trouble with prayer? Maybe you are experiencing a profound lack of humility, a reluctance to submit to your total dependence on God. Alms giving causing you problems? Looks like trusting in the Lord's loving providence may be at the root of the problem rather than simple greed. Not open to doing charitable works? Could be that you are less than pleased to receive the charity of others, or perhaps you are making an idol of independence. Jesus says that he calls sinners—the sick—to righteous—good spiritual health. Those among us who live and breath righteousness have no need of a cure. The rest of us are in need of a good physician. Fortunately, we all participate in the Divine HMO of the Church. No exclusion for pre-existing conditions. No co-pays. And all the nurses are angels!

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  1. Anonymous5:53 AM

    "Take two askesin and call me in the morning????"

  2. Anonymous6:41 AM

    I am a horrid sinner. I try (too often unsuccessfully) to avoid the near occasion of sin.

    Constant prayer. Offer up all your joys and all your sorrows.

    "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner."

    "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of hell; take all souls to Heaven; and help especially those most in need of thy mercy."

    "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world."

    ""Forgive all injuries."

    "Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever."

    Repent. Confess. Do penance. Amend your life. And, do good works for the greater glory of God and for charity to your neighbor.

    "May the Divine Assistance be always with us. Amen."

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