It isn't easy being a Catholic these days. No it is a breeze, if you live somewhere politically and geologically stable, you've got food in your belly and some money in your bank account. But I digress. Here in 2012, if (like me) you have fallen in love with the old collects, antiphons and ancient hymns and say Lauds and Vespers, then you meditate on the readings from the EF of the Mass. You may then (like me) always end up at a NO Mass on Sundays, so you meditate on the readings in that too. Sooo much scripture, so many blessings! But I digress again. What I've been ruminating over this morning is the Gospel for the day for the EF form of the Mass; the story of the 10 lepers (Lk 17: 11-19).
Those lepers have been bugging me for years.
When people ask me why I have such difficulty in praying to be well again, I always cite those lepers. I say I'm terrified, that once I'm cured I'll go off doing my own thing and forget to give thanks to the Lord, like 9 out of the 10. However, that isn't the whole story for me.
The lepers knew they had leprosy. They knew what they wished to be cured from and they implored Our Lord to be cured from that which they knew was ailing them. The passage is always taken metaphorically as well to show us how leprosy of the soul can be cured, when we know our sins and go to the priest to confess those sins. My problem quite simply is I don't now what ails me physically. Therefore I can't ask to be cured from it. There are a range of unpleasant symptoms and like the Lernaean Hydra, you think you've got to manage one of them and two more spring up in its place. Yet the illness isn't a beast. It is a burden. Nobody really has a clue what I am carrying (not even me) and it changes its shape and weight and burdensomeness at random.
But just maybe for now, this burden is necessary. It certainly comes with many blessings and has increased my faith. I am not attached to it, that would be wrong, I am detached from it and bored by it. I am however slightly fearful of being without it, slightly scared of what God may have in store for me next. I accept it, but I don't want to be resigned to it.
So, how will my story progress? Will I get a diagnosis and implore the Lord to cure me of my ailment? Somehow that seems too simple. I accept that in my illness there is a purifying element for my soul. I rejoice that God has looked so favourably on me so far, when by all rights I should be long dead through my own mischief and bad living.
Fiat voluntas tua
What else can I say?