09 February 2018

Nothing so Deep

JMJ
The Readings for the 5th Friday of Ordinary Time (B2)
Et suscipiens in caelum, ingemuit, et ait illi : Ephphetha, quod est, Adaperire. Et statim apertae sunt aures ejus, et solutum est vinculum linguae ejus, et loquebatur recte.
And looking up to heaven, he groaned, and said to him: Ephpheta, which is, Be thou opened. And immediately his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke right. 

Corrie Ten Boom said of God, there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. She was speaking of Ravensbrück concentration camp, near Berlin. How one can come to that conclusion in a concentration camp... is proof of Faith.

Physical darkness (blindness) is a thing that comes up in the New Testament, but Jesus' healing stories are also (as Bishop Barron points out) spiritual stories, stories that can apply to you and me in our day to day world. Today's Gospel is no different. We each live in a darkness, imprinted on our minds. But, the Psalm says, "Even darkness is not dark to you."  
Think of Helen Keller, alone in a world with no light or sound...

This healing is so much more than just "Zap! Here's your talking and hearing back." Ephaphtha says Jesus not just may your mouth and ears be open... But rather, May your very being be open to the imprint of the Logos of God. Do you see now? 

He was speaking plainly.


How awesome is our God! Modern medicine, indeed no medicine we have imagined can do this. What is there that God cannot restore to its rightful telos, its lawful use, its natural end?


Et loquebatur recte...Do you know what this healing means? Think how awesome is our God. Look: a mute man has never formed words. His tongue and his muscles are not used to making vowels and consonants. Now... This mute man is deaf. He's never heard words. His very mind is not even used to the concept. Words? People use words? 

There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.


We do try though, to dig deeper pits every day. In a class on Ignatian spirituality and the 12 Steps, I was challenged to offer my emptiness to God. What thing in me has had me asking for healing but still, I hold on to it. In my case it is fear. Offer your fear to God. What? This is the most broken of things: I want to be cured of it. Really: Offer it to God. Stop digging this pit for yourself because you'll never get out. Offer it to God. (Corrie also said, "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. 
When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." Again, remember: she's been through Hitler. I get nervous when someone emails me about a spelling mistake.)

The writer of I Kings (or III Kings, depending on how you count) is saying Recessitque Israel a domo David, usque in praesentem diem. And Israel revolted from the house of David, unto this day.  Israel and all of the rest of us, Sister. Except for you, Sister. You're right with God.


I'm not though. And God in his grace is constantly taking away 10 parts of our kingdom so that we can once again focus on him. God in his mercy knows what we can't handle - even if we think we can. 


There is no pit so deep - even the ones we dig for ourselves - that He is not deeper still. If I offer even my empty fears to God, my empty ears, my empty lips, my empty mind... Can God bring them to Telos?


Ephaphtha!