God respects our freedom

– Monday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time –

[A] blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:35-39)

There is a certain kind of freedom necessary to shout out in front of a crowd what you really want; and even more to insist on it, when others seem to think you should keep quiet. But such is the freedom and courage we need to want Jesus in our lives, in an ongoing and real way.

Following Jesus is not a journey we can travel on our own strength. And the voices that hold us back are not always external: “you are not worth it”; “you’ve tried before and failed” are some of the censuring whispers that can emerge from within, to halt our progress.

But God melts in front of the humble person who does not mind naming what is missing and begging for it, as this blind man does. This is not because God is mean-spirited or unwilling to pour out graces, but rather in the deepest respect for our fundamental freedom. God “stands at the door and knocks” (Rev 3:10), but will not knock it down to get in. God does not force our decisions, but rather trusts us! We need to reflect upon this truth: God trusts humanity, often more than we do ourselves.  The key is to listen to what our soul longs for – we are well-made – and to not hold back in our open-hearted petition to God, who longs for our presence, and is awaiting our permission to receive.

by Maeve Heaney

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