Do you want to be well?

Jesus (John 5:6)

by Christine Sine

by Bill Borror

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
Sylvia Plath

What do we really want?  Sometimes it is straightforward: 

 A nap
A sandwich
For it to stop
For one more…..

But frequently we have trouble connecting our desires and our needs.  Jesus asks a guy, who has been ill for thirty-eight years and who spends his days waiting for a miracle, if he wants to be healed (John 5:1-9)?  Is Jesus is being “Captain Obvious,” or does he perceive a deeper malaise in the man than his physical paralysis?  According to the gospel of John, the man chose to lie on a mat waiting for the miraculous periodic angelic stirring of the water, without any way of getting to the water even if said angel should decide to stop by.    On one level, of course he wants to walk, but he also seems comfortable in the role of “sick guy by the pool that no one helps.”

Our desires exist because of some kind of deficiency.  And because nature abhors a vacuum, a lot of our energy goes into filling those empty places.   The problem is like toddlers trying to make a square fit into the circle space of a shape sorter, we often try to fill the holes in our soul with things that are never quite going to be able to fill the void.   As Pascal most famously stated, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each person which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.”

Lent is an opportunity to recalibrate our hearts and minds through willful acts of devotion and sacrifice.  It’s a reordering of our loves to seek the things that truly satisfy our deepest longings found only in God.   It is our yes to Jesus’s grace-filled asking “do you want to be well in your soul?”  

The Liturgical rebels is now Live. The second episode – Poetry as Spiritual Practice with Drew Jackson is now available. Don’t miss this interview with an amazing poet.

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