I wonder if every Lazarus we encounter is special blessing just for us. Far from an obligation, our Lazarus’ seem to invite us into a special soul work, unique to each of us on our journey and, yet, also so necessary for all of us on our collective journey of healing and transformation. The gift of Lazarus is the repeated opportunity to say yes to letting the incomprehensible, unconditional love of God flow through us.
As we all know, this is not a simple thing. We humans are adept at getting lost in our distracting thoughts. Is this person safe for me to approach? What if they use what I give them for drugs or something I don’t think is appropriate? Will I still have enough for myself and my family if I give? Our minds are masters of calculation, of fomenting anxiety and fear. Even reading this, we may be thinking, “Well, those all seem like reasonable questions to consider.”
I wonder though, what if we choose not to push away from the surrender necessary for such an encounter and, instead, allow ourselves to relax into it, like the flow of a gentle river on a sunny day? We don’t need to reject any of the fears or concerns or judgments that arise in meeting our Lazarus’; we can just let those concerns flow too, held in that love much larger than ourselves, that love made abundantly manifest in Jesus’ sacrifice for all of us. All of it is sacred. Nothing is outside of God. And then we can choose to engage with the Lazarus before us.
In every encounter, we have the possibility of choosing to participate in the flow of divine love, to claim our rightful place in the Kingdom. Sometimes we’ll be able to do it, sometimes we won’t. But we can hold the vision that surrendering to love has the power to change the course of human destiny and all of creation. And we can keep trying. Our salvific soul work.
We see everywhere in the news today the message that real power is dependent on military might, on money, on positioning oneself to have power over others. We, as followers of the crucified Christ, stand in something else: a self-giving love that has the power to transform each of us and all of us.
And God never tires of placing just the right people in our path, always inviting us into active participation in divine Love.
Lissa Romell is the Administrator at St. Vincent Strambi Community in Chicago, Illinois.