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My soul shall be healed

Christ and the Centurion, Paolo Vernonese
I made a mistake on Sunday.

To be honest, I probably made 10,000 mistakes on Sunday, given the sinful mess that I am, but I'm only going to talk about one of them.

Some friends of ours have experienced a tragedy in the past week or so, and that is weighing very heavily on our family and our circle of friends. We ended up offering Mass for them with our dear Franciscan Sisters on Sunday afternoon. It was an emotional Mass.

Last week was pretty awful. The word of this tragedy for our dear friends, having three meetings for Dark-haired Daughter's on-going recovery, lots of stuff at work, recognizing some problems with Youngest Son that are larger than we previously thought, a bunch of teens who think they know more than me about everything from finances to time management to parenting...well, I was more than weary. Closed to crushed.

I had hoped that Mass was going to offer some miraculous fix. That was my mistake. I thought that maybe just by sitting in that chapel and being in God's presence that something overwhelmingly positive was going to change and all would be well. I thought that perhaps this time, this particular time, magic would happen.

I was wrong.

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

We Catholics say this at every Mass right before we approach the altar to receive the Eucharist. It echoes the words of the centurion who asked Jesus to come to his house and heal his beloved servant. It isn't clear if the centurion had a great deal of faith, but he recognized power and authority, and trusted that this Jesus had it.

At Mass on Sunday, what struck my ear was "my SOUL shall be healed". See, my mistake was thinking that EVERYTHING was going to be "healed": my bank account, my frustrations with my kids, my overwhelming sense that nothing was going right and maybe never would. And, if God chooses, He can do that. But His wish is bigger: He wants and wills that my soul - that part of me that is most "me", that part of me that is His Divine Image - THAT is what He chooses to heal.

I won't lie: I would still really like my whole life to be healed. Maybe the centurion hoped that too. Maybe he hoped that Jesus would look around his house and see that he needed more money, more food, a better relationship with his wife, a new and shiny scabbard. But Jesus did what was truly needed, and I assume the centurion was satisfied. And so must I be.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.