This painting has always enchanted me. The first time I saw it I was in high school. I was in an art class and I had paint something then ink it. I decided to use this painting. It is one of my favorite pieces of art I ever made. I changed the color in it to reflect my atheistic/communist views. I gave the man in the image a Red hat and shirt. I also gave him a gold scarf. The colors with the ink were quite impressive.
I have a ritual which I have been doing for the last couple of weeks now. Since I have been using a straight razor and in the mornings I have been listening to Billie Holiday while shaving. Then I started to trying to turn my morning ritual into a prayer. So I started listening to this website's podcasts.
It is run by the Jesuits in Britain and I love it. They have some really deep stuff. They focused on today's reading from the gospel of Luke.
Basically the story is of the blind man who hears that Jesus is passing by and wants to be healed. The blind man yells and Jesus calls the blind to him and heals him. The man follows him and leaves all happy.
So this is what happened when I took this passage to prayer and meditated on it:
"As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging and hearing a crowd going by, he inquired what was happening. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." He shouted, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent. And because he listened to others he remained blind."
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Though this didn't happen in the Gospel, I think this does happen today. In spiritual direction my director always tells me, "... yes, but are you praying?" Sadly, my answer is, "I am trying to pray." And to quote the great spiritual master, Master Yoda,
"Do or do not, there is no try."
Prayer is listening to God. So I guess it really matters who you listen to.
Going back to the the original story. "But he kept calling out all the more, 'Son of David have pity on me!'" I think he listened to his heart here. "Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"
My God what a question.
How do you possibly answer that? What a level of honesty you would need to answer that question.
There is a story told of St. Thomas Aquinas after he finished writing about the Eucharist in his Summa Theologica. The story goes that St. Thomas was praying before the tabernacle and placed his finished work on the altar. As he was deep in prayer the crucifix came to life and Jesus pointed to the book and said, "You have written well of me Thomas, what do you want from me?" St. Thomas' answer was, "Only Thee my Lord, only Thee." If I was asked that question part of me wishes I would say, "Only Thee my Lord, onle Thee." I would probably say, "Fantastic Four Issue # 48 the first appearance of Galactus and the Silver Surfer! Duh Lord, I thought you were omniscient."
Yeah this is a big deal.
The first time I read the question Jesus asked I read it wrong. Jesus' question is an action that he will do for us, not a thing he will give us. Sadly, I still think in materialistic mindset but I am working on that. There is no thing which will make me happy. Only true and intimate union with God, which is what I really want. It is a relationship that I hunger for not a thing to possess. I have to remember that Jesus is not my personal genie.
The Sacred Heart of Genie
He is a person who wants to do something for me.
"He replied, 'Lord, please let me see.' Jesus told him. 'Have sight, your faith has saved you.' He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God."
The first things this man saw was the face of God, the face of Jesus. Everything else was compared to this. When I read this I always laugh because the same people who told him to shut up are the same ones giving praise to God for him not listening to them!
He asked for what he needed to bring him closer to God.
Part of the application process for the Jesuits is writing you Spiritual Autobiography. In thinking about what to write about I wonder if I should mention how many people tell me, "Why do you want to do that for?" Or people making comments like, "Oh I'm sorry to hear that."
What if I listened to them? What if I just said, "OK you're right."
Who do I listen to?
Who am I listening to?
Others haven't called me. God has called me.
Others can't heal my blindness. God can heal my blindness.
So it comes to the same question: Am I praying? Am I listening to God?
Last week I was on a men's work retreat. One of the brothers said, "You don't have study to be a saint... you just have to listen."
At the vocation weekends for the Jesuits, for all the studying that they do, they always say, "This is all about falling in love with Jesus. If you can do that here in the Society, great. If you can't, then to go do that."
Who do I listen to?
I thank God everyday that I don't have an ipod. If I did, I would always have music on and constantly try not to listen to the silence. I think if I keep avoiding the silence I couldn't be happy.
For a long time I did avoid the silence. I filled up my prayer time with stuff and never prayed. Since sitting in the silence, I came near and I heard the question, "What do you want me to do for you?" or "What do you need me to do for you in order for you to come to know me?"... "Help me to become a Jesuit." I think that is better than, "Hold on let me ask other people what they think."