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 on the staff of Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center, Houston, Texas.