Posted by: fvbcdm | May 29, 2013

Feast of Saint William Arnaud (29 May 2013)

One of the things that is most impressive at the shrine of Lourdes in France where Our Lady appeared repeatedly to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858 is the procession with the Blessed Sacrament every afternoon. The sick on their stretchers and in their wheelchairs as well as those on walkers, crutches, and canes, are arranged so that the bishop or priest with the monstrance can approach each one and bless him or her with Our Lord’s own body in the Holy Sacrament of the altar. And while that is being done, someone reads into a microphone so that all can hear, a litany of petitions which are appropriate for the occasion.These prayers are taken from the four gospels, and are a collection of the simple, heartfelt prayers addressed to Our Lord by those who approached him, wanting cures for themselves or their loved ones. “Lord, that I may see!” “Lord, grant that I may walk!” “Lord, he whom you love is sick.” “Lord, my servant is dying. Please come and cure him.” “If I just touch the hem of his garment, I shall be healed.” “Lord, even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table!” “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would never have died.” “Lord, help me!” And then, the urgent prayer of the blind man Bartimaeus in the gospel of today’s Mass: “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!”

The brevity, the urgency, the faith and hope expressed in these cries for help are touching, moving … and each of them can be an appropriate prayer for us. We might not be sick physically—not blind or lame or dying—but we all have needs that might be physical, emotional, mental, financial, familial, for which we need the help of our God since they are beyond our ability to handle.

The more we are willing to admit and confess our needs and our faith that God can and will help us, the more we open ourselves to the healing, soothing, life-giving touch of our Savior. Let me suggest that you take the cry of the blind Bartimaeus and use it, today and every day, as a faith-filled and hope-filled prayer to Our Lord Jesus Christ: “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me!” That doesn’t mean that we are miserable and in the depths of suffering. But it does mean that we are aware of our needs, our deficiencies, our weaknesses of various kinds. And that we know where we can seek the solutions to our problems. Only the pierced hands of our divine Lord can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves, so, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on us!” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.

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