Genesis 8:6-13, 20-22
Jesus, whenever I read of your curing of the blind man I am reminded of a visit to the Shrine of Our Lady in Lourdes, France. It was at the grotto that Mary appeared to St. Bernadette. I joined the many pilgrims were present there. Everyone there was praying either for themselves or for others who were ill. There was a prayerful atmosphere which was very tangible.
I went to the baths, was totally submerged in the pool of water and prayed for by a priest and layman. I don’t think I have ever heard such fervent prayers, begging for healing. A young crippled boy was brought in by two men. As the little fellow was placed in the pool of water he let out a little scream of surprise…the water was not that warm! Watching and listening to the priest and layman again, you knew that this little guy was their sole attention, begging for a miracle.
I wandered around the grounds afterwards. Approaching the old church I saw a piece of statuary, depicting a woman sitting on a stretcher placed on the ground while two men stood at either end. They were stretcher bearers. I looked at the woman and noticed that around her head, covering her eyes was a piece of cloth. I didn’t quite understand what that meant. Then I looked down and saw an inscription on the side of the stretcher. “I came here seeking sight for my eyes, and left with sight for my soul.” I have never forgotten that line. It has given me a broader picture of what prayer is all about.
Never would I tell anyone not to pray for a healing, for a miracle. The people in the gospel narrative for today brought the blind man to You. He wanted to see, and You healed his blindness. .
What comes to mind is that all of us are asked to be open to the answer You give to us. Any loved one or friend is often challenged by a request that starts, “I want….” That’s honest. But not the total picture. Isn’t the need I have the most important part of any request. And that need that I see might also have to be filtered through “…but I leave it in Your hands as to what I really need.” Jesus, You said in Your own words, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, but not my will but Yours be done.” I wish that I could say that this was easy for You. It wasn’t. But neither were You alone. The Father was with You.
Can I/you who are reading this put into the Father’s hand my/our need when we pray…”Our Father, who art in heaven…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
Fr. Peter Berendt, C.P. is a member of the St. Paul of the Cross Community, Detroit, Michigan.