Often, the familiar things in our lives become - well, normal. They fade into the background and are the predictable, "beige" backdrop for the varied goings-on that each day reveals. Every once in a while, though, some part of the mundane will burst to the forefront, dazzling us with fresh insight, new discovery, or broader understanding.
I was at Mass on Friday with the school kids. Consecration was finished, the Agnus Dei had been sung, and Father lifted the host: "This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to His supper." We responded in one voice: "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed." And there it was. Words spoken time and again, suddenly alive with new meaning. "Say the word, and I shall be healed"...this is true. I speak it in faith before approaching the altar to receive Holy Communion. So then, the converse must be true as well. "...and if you do NOT say the word, I can not be healed...." My soul cannot be made whole but that He ordains it so. None of the things that fill my day, whether they are noble or servile, bold or subtle, faithful or false, whether I am proud of them or ashamed, no word or deed will heal me. The Latin word we translate as "healed" is sanabitur - sound, healthy, sensible, sober, or sane. It is the word from which we take "sanitary" and related words. This simple response in Mass is a reminder that our wholeness - our redemption - is only possible because He has spoken the word. I imagine that the "word" is not unlike what was spoken to those who came to Jesus for healing: "Your faith has healed you."
What a way to walk into my day! The idea that nothing I will do or say will trump God's grace...that He has spoken the word, healed me, and permitted me to approach the altar and receive Him! What can I do but offer all else that I have in faith? Even my failures are redeemable if I repent. It is at once humbling and empowering. I pray that my memory of this is long, and that I can be obedient to the word...that I can always approach Him in faith, offer all that I have, and be healed by the complete outpouring of His redeeming love.