Today's readings are extremely difficult. This morning, as I prayed, I thought how easy it was for me to focus on the silliness of Naaman not wanting to follow the instructions given by Elisha....or thinking, "well, he ONLY wanted to worship God AFTER he was healed, or maybe to focus on the ungratefulness of the nine other lepers.
But as I reflected on the scriptures I thought of the fact that the healing of both Naaman and the tenth leper were more than just physical. They were healed in body AND heart. Naaman requested two mule-loads of earth to build an altar for the living God and the Samaritan, another foreigner, believed in Jesus and his faith saved him.
I think of Naaman and his wanting to pay back Elisha, wanting to do something for God's servant and Elisha's strong refusal. God's gift of healing is pure grace, it can not be earned. In her autobiography, Jeanne Chezard de Matel wrote: "With great charity, You let me understand that my sins were forgiven, that You had washed them away in Your Blood. In my zeal, I wanted to be treated rigorously for the faults You had taken away which served to humble me, but Your love preferred to make me holy." Jeanne Chezard de Matel, Autobiography 1, Pages 30-31
Again, God's healing love is pure grace, it can not be earned. This is a story about faith. The second reading says that "God remains faithful because he cannot deny himself" (2Timothy 2:13)
This is a beautiful statement. I believe the Liturgy of the hours says somewhere that God is never outdone in generosity. "God can not deny himself", the thought is so overwhelming!
God said to Jeanne: "I prefer mercy to sacrifice...Since in My goodness, I have chosen to delight in you, you would make me suffer...if your heart were to reject My caresses...With humble gratitude, then, accept My graces, and allow me to love you and to pur out the torretns of My goodness upon you." Jeanne Chezard de Matel, Autobiography 1, pages 30-31
So, then, the call for me is to allow God to love me, to allow God to heal me and not to wallow in misery as I know well how to. The call is for a grateful heart who knows that God's graces can never be repaid and to say with St. Paul:
"Always thank God...because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus." (1 Corinthians 1:4)
Praised be the Incarnate Word!