Friday, December 4, 2015

First Friday of Advent: Still Flawed, but No Longer Broken

"The blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, 'Do you believe that I can do this?' 'Yes, Lord,' they said to him.  Then he touched their eyes and said, 'Let it be done for you according to your faith.' And their eyes were opened." - Matt. 9:28-30

The healing miracles of Jesus are passages I revisit and relate to deeply. Unlike the lame, deaf, and lepers of the Gospels, my affliction was that I spent much of my life trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be -- clinging fiercely to ego and image over authenticity. Like an artist carefully crafting his own portrait, I tried to control life, even manipulate it, hoping to get the love, understanding, and validation absent in childhood.  I refused to see that the more I tried to get these things from others, the more it eluded me. Year after year, the yearning consumed me like a fire, and stumbling like a blind man, I only hurt others and myself.

After a tremendous loss, turning away from God, and long period of profound desolation, I was gifted with the blank canvas needed to ask his mercy and have faith. Christ invited me to let go of my self-inflicted blindness and to instead trust him.  It took time, but with sight restored, I finally saw how masterful an artist He is, how with every slow and beautiful brushstroke He illuminated the grace that had been there all along. With his love, I have realized a new me, the real me, and for the first time in my life I feel a deep gratitude, wholeness, and understanding -- still flawed but no longer broken.

Pope Francis has called Christian life "the journey of endurance" -- a sometimes painful but hopeful walk toward a strength and peace made available only through faith.  Let us remember that with a hand outstretched, Jesus patiently stands with us ready to share our journey.  Through the darkness and light, he is there, and all we must do is dare to trust again.

I invite you to take a few moments in your busy day. In this present moment, what does my faith means to me?  How does it strengthen me? Is there any blindness within me waiting to be healed? 

Albert Wolff

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