Monday of the Third Week of Lent Reflection

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Today’s reflection was written by Alice Hession, Director of Sponsorship for Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools.

If the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary, would you not have done it?…

[2 Kings 5:13]

 

In today’s first reading, Naaman, the army commander for the king of Aram, refused to do a very ordinary thing. When told by the prophet Elisha to wash in the River Jordan in order for his leprosy to be cured, he refused. He became angry, first of all, because Elisha sent a messenger to give these instructions instead of coming himself. He was also angry because, as he says, “I thought he would surely come out and stand there to invoke the LORD God, and would move his hand over the spot, and thus cure the leprosy.” Instead, he was told to go wash in the river. Naaman expected the extraordinary, but got the ordinary instead.

Most of us are a lot like Naaman when it comes to our relationship with God. We want the extraordinary, the stuff of the saints, and assume our experience is just not spiritual enough. The insight that the Dutch mystics, Theodore Ryken, and the Xaverian Way brings to us is stated in this week’s theme, “The ordinary is the ground where we were first located, where God has known us – and delighted in what we already knew and had…” Like Naaman, we let our bruised ego get in the way of being at rest in the ordinary of God with us, and like Naaman, our hearts come home when we respond to the ordinary presence of God. The challenge for each of us is to truly believe that we are graced.

 

Recommended Exercise

Recall a specific experience in the past year where you felt God’s presence in an actual, ordinary event. It may be an encounter with another, an experience of laughter, a disappointment, a conversation, or an experience of learning something new. Whatever it is, it should be something real, where you felt the presence of God. Recall the experience in detail, who was involved, what led to the event, the sights and sounds of it, and its effect on you. Spend a few minutes in the awe of experience, its ordinariness and its blessings.

 

Prayer

God, You are our ground and our origin. We ask that You give us the grace to accept the “givens” of our life and to face the reality of who we truly are, so that we may return with gratitude to an innocence and nakedness that allows us to see, through new eyes, the incommensurable brightness of your creation. We ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son and our brother. Amen.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Jim Malone, CFX says:

    I love Naaman because his story is a conglomeration of good intentions, crazy assumptions, skewed expectations, verbal and written misunderstandings, rapid decision making and solutions from unusual sources. This could have been the plot of an “I Love Lucy Show” with the accompanying giggles and belly laughs. The Syrian ruler hears that a miracle worker in Israel can cure Naaman. Assuming that only a king can have such powers he sends a letter and gifts (along with Naaman) to the king in Israel which almost causes an international incident because the letter is seen as making fun of the king. A servant clues the king in about Elisha and his anger abates, but Naaman’s anger aroused when Elisha sends a note instead of appearing personally. The note is stupid and Naaman storms off (with the gifts?). Servants convince him to try to bathe in the Jordan (notice it is the servants who have the real story and the wisdom and two kings and Naaman do what the servants say). Voila! Naaman is cured. I see myself as the bumblers in this story often tearing clothes, storming off and muttering reprisals. When will I learn to listen to the “servants” and thus experience the miracle of God? It is all so “ordinary” that it is funny and oh so human!

  2. louis r. calmel says:

    You’re not the only one who feels like this from time to time.

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