Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Ankler is Lowered Down from the Roof by Wily Seminarians

I was very moved by today's gospel. The spiritual director for the seminary preached this morning tellings that spiritual healing comes before physical healing. The paralytic's sins were forgiven before he rose, picked up, his mat, and walked. I must say that I had a similar experience.

While on the basketball court one week and six days ago, I asked for a priest. Lying on my back, my foot was in a contorted position. One of my fellow competitors called the ambulance, I had another go fetch a priest. The director of pastoral formation for the seminary came. He was perturbed, to say the least, by the current condition of my foot. He brought with him the oil of the sick. I had been present at the Chrism mass the year previous, when that oil was blessed. Lying on the cold court, I received the sacrament of the sick.

Just this past semester, we studied the theology of the sacrament, its effects, its matter, and form, etc. Intellectually I knew what was happening. Spiritually, I experienced a profound grace. There were sins on my soul that needed forgiveness. There was healing that needed to occur within me. The oil on my forehead and hands placed there by hands that were anointed by a different oil, the laying on hands, the words spoken, were means of sacramental grace that was nearly tangible through the searing pain in my ankle. Where before there was a restlessness, in flowed peace. At that moment, from the sacrament I received the grace to bear this burden, to walk with Christ and learn how to be dependent on Him; to walk with Him up the calvary of looking like a bionic man to die to my vanity; to sit, hoping one day to again kneel, with Him in the Garden on Gethsemane and say, "Father, not my will, but your will be done."

Physically healing is ongoing. As it progresses, the Lord means to progress my spiritual healing, cleansing from me pride and vanity especially.

I move one crutch, one turn of the wheel at a time, but the temporary Zion of my ordination looms in the horizon. I see and I hope. I walk with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Like Peter I am learning more about that to which God is calling me as well as learning the gravity of Christ's mission in my life.

Till the next chapter

The Ankler

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