Today’s Gospel: Luke 5:12-16
I entered the mostly darkened church at our parish in Estes Park, Colorado. There was enough light to see my way to the door of the sacristy, but not much more. This was a path I had traversed many times in both daytime and evening hours.
All of a sudden, I was aware of a body rising from the left aisle closest to windows. It scared the heck out of me because I truly thought there was no one in the silent church.
It turned out that it was a woman who had a key to the church. She was a part-time sacristan and helper. She had been prostrate on the floor in the almost total darkness. We both were startled, but I will never forget that image of a person rising from prostration but not really alone. She was worshiping her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, present there even in darkness.
Quite often now when I stop to double genuflect before Jesus when I enter the church for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, I say to Jesus, “I would like to prostrate myself before you, but there are people here…and I don’t think many of them would understand.” And you know what? I haven’t been healed of some of the leprosy that I have in my life.
In today’s Gospel, the leper prostrated himself before Jesus and then he pleaded with Him. “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” You may think that my point is that I or we need to be face down on the floor in total submission. And before I respond to that point, I’d like to remind us that every priest and deacon prostrates himself on the floor during his ordination Mass, in total submission to what he is about to promise and to accept.
But, going back to the observation: “Deacon Tom, are you suggesting that I need to get on the floor, face-down, to ask for God’s healing in my life?” No, not exactly. I think that a lesson for us from today’s Gospel is not to hold back. Not to reserve any part of our process of asking the Lord for what it is we’re after.
I have been a “student” of conversion stories over the last ten or more years. Whether in my own reading, viewing, or people I’ve interviewed for our Catholic Vitamins podcast, the majority of conversion and reversion stories reflect a change of heart in the converts. They go from worrying about what people may think or what God might ask of them, to saying “Lord, whatever you want, I accept. I may want a healing. But I prostrate myself to your most holy will. And, like Mary Your Mother, I ask for the grace to say YES.”
Do you confuse dignity and propriety with letting go of inhibitions before the Lord?
Lord, help me to let myself be completely submissive to your will, even to prostrate myself if I feel the urge to do so.
Copyright 2014 Deacon Tom Fox