Be made clean

The Beatitudes, Pilgrimage 2019

When you came down from the mountain, Lord, you surely left a huge amount of teachings to those who had been with you. I walked the ground of this area eighteen months ago and saw it’s beauty. I was in awe then, just content to let my mind look and wonder how it was that I was actually there. I am still today in awe over your many works, you bless me by opening the scriptures and giving me a community of followers to help me in this journey.

Matthew 8:1-4 When Jesus[a] had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper[b] who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy[c] was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

I don’t have leprosy, but have allowed my sins to render me unclean. I often will try to justify my actions or downplay them. My pride tries to hide them. I risk your passing me by and the opportunity to be made clean. This leper had to have had great fear seeing the many coming down the mountain. Perhaps he had been sitting in the bushes hiding, waiting, telling himself he wasn’t worthy. Often when I hide in silence, I hear things both internally and externally. Some good, some not so good. Maybe he had too, but had been following you for some time. Had his faith grown to believe you had the power to make things new? That you could heal him? Did he wonder if it was worth the risk of being rejected?

He knelt before you. He took the risk, the chance to be made clean. He knelt. He lowered himself Lord. His body responded to your greatness and his humility was seen by you. He recognized you as King, giving you the honor you deserve.

You recognized this and stopped to give him attention. You could have kept walking, giving him only a glance, but this humble man, in his ugliness and pain, stepped out of himself and honored you, gave you glory and praise. Kneeling before you. And asked nothing.

He spoke to you. “Lord,” he called you. Now his trust kicked in. “If you choose, you can make me clean.” He didn’t beg, didn’t tell you how unfair this disease had been for him, what he lost or how he got it. He didn’t tell you to fix him. He gave himself totally to you, to the will of the Father for his life. “If you choose, you can” he said. How many times have I lacked the faith of a statement of trust. You know every hair on my head, every bump and wound and pain. You have a journey mapped out for me, as you had him. What you can do when I trust in you is miles ahead of what my desires are. I see so little Lord, and you see my whole life and the life of the world. The mystery of it all is too big for me. Yet I will often think I have control. That the sun sets and rises on what I do, for myself or others. Oh to have the faith of this leper, relying only on you for all I need. The leper didn’t know what you would say. But he emptied himself of everything anyway and came to you.

You stretched out your hand and touched him. You did this for me many years ago. It is not something one forgets. Immense healing from you, my Lord and God, is a sensitivity that one holds dearly in their heart. The intimacy of your hand coming into my space; the awareness of your power to heal my pain, touching not just my body but deep into my heart created a memory never to be forgotten. I do not take for granted that the power was not just for my healing, but for it to be shared.

Your words, “Be made clean” changed me. The filth of my soul was cleansed, emptied and made new. But there was more to come. “Show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” Reconciliation awaited me, the cleansing sacrament of forgiveness. It is there for me every time I fail to listen to your teachings and choose my own way.

Trusting in you is modeled by your holy men and women Saints who have labored in the vineyard. It is also in the broken, wounded people I pass every day. Some know you, others do not. Some I know, others not. But you have shown me my vineyard; the places where you ask me to work. I pray our efforts given to us by your gift of grace and healing is found for the many hurting souls who seek you. May the witness of your healings gather more workers for your vineyards.

Help me to remember to return to the mountain often and recall your many teachings; may I be humbled to kneel and place myself before you, asking nothing, being still, knowing, you are God. That is enough for me Lord.

About Cathy Trowbridge

A faith-led people-person, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, great- grandmother and friend, I am a Catholic Christian striving to union with our Lord. I hope to bring you encouragement to live a closer relationship with Christ, discerning direction in the path to Him, with Him and in Him.
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