Pray to God, allowing for the transformation of your being and feelings. Give to God what you have found in your heart.
Is there someone in your life that you struggle to love? Perhaps someone who has hurt you deeply, and for whom you experience much pain in just thinking about them, much less praying for them? I have someone like that in my life – and I’d imagine most of us do.
The “word” that came off the page for me today was Jesus’ statement to Martha: “Your brother will rise.” I’ve prayed with this text and illumination many times over the past few months, and every time I got to that part I’d quickly move on. I didn’t want to think about that where this person is concerned…so much pain inflicted, and seemingly dismissed as if nothing. But in this prayer today, that statement stood out so clearly and resonated so deeply, that I did not read the rest of the passage. I felt the Holy Spirit calling me to sit with this, and talk to God about what I was thinking and experiencing. This form of prayer is like that. Sometimes we’re called to just stop and pray with a particular word or phrase in the text, as opposed to continuing on in the effort to “finish” the reading.
I stopped and sat with God, and I let Jesus’ statement surround me: “Your brother will rise.” God gave me a great gift in this prayer today, by showing me what is authentic in the depths of my heart where this person is concerned. I realized that underneath all the pain, anger, and sense of betrayal, lies a core bit of truth: I really do want this person to “rise.” I really do want this person to be freed from the burial bands of denial, shame, and anger. Then my eyes darted down to Jesus’ question: “Do you believe this?” I felt a great sense of freedom as I realized that not only do I wish healing for this person, but I also know that it’s not up to me. All I have to do is believe, and then give the rest to God. This doesn’t mean that the pain I still feel has somehow magically been erased – in fact, it may never go away completely. Deep wounds are like that sometimes. But the gift for me today is greater freedom, deeper healing, and more willingness to simply allow Jesus to do what he came to do: free us…love us…heal us…bring us home.
As you continue to walk with Jesus in his suffering, death, and resurrection this Lenten season, is there an area of your life in which Jesus wants to walk with you, in your particular Paschal mystery?
©Raising of Lazarus, Donald Jackson 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.