“Praise the Lord, who heals the brokenhearted.”
Poor Job, poor poor pitiful Job crying all the time about “life on earth” being a “drudgery”! He slaves in the beating sun, longing for some shade for a little respite. He has been miserable for months with troubled nights, sleepless restless nights. Job sees his life fleeting by like a swift wind and happiness eludes him. Poor Job, poor poor pitiful Job.
We are so much like Job at many times in our lives as we complain and whine about the drudgery of our job, the work we need to do around the house, the weather…definitely the weather in this dreary month of February. Yet, in today’s readings for Mass (Job 7: 1-4, 6-7, Psalm 147: 1-6, 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23, Mark 1: 29-39) we catch a glimpse at the response God will have to all of Job’s whining and ours too. God “heals the brokenhearted” and did so for Job at the end of that particular book of the Bible. If you look at Job’s life you see that he eventually stops wrestling with God and realizes that he is not in control of what life brings. The God who loves him deeply is in control of everything and all he needs to do have faith in HIS abounding love.
We can identify with Job and even commiserate with when life is difficult. When you have a string of bad luck and find your attitude toward life much like that of Job, be sure to follow his attitude past his misery and all the way to the end of the book to realize God’s loving care in your life. Truly, the Lord reaches out and touches our hearts when we are broken. Only HE can read the depths of our hearts and knows our greatest needs and desires.
St Paul knew the importance of having faith in the Lord and the importance of allowing the Good News of the Gospel to be proclaimed through his life’s work. In our second reading, (1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23) St Paul impresses upon us the importance of getting ourselves out of the way when it comes to allowing others to see the movements of God. Again, the lesson for today is recognizing God’s omnipotence. Paul takes this lesson a little further and shows us the rewards we will discover when we truly allow God to work through us. He does everything “for the sake of the gospel” so he may have a share in the Good News.
This is a difficult and great balancing act we are asked to achieve in our everyday lives. Somehow we must live our faith and live out the Good News of the Gospel all while being humble and realize all the good we do is God acting through us. There is no way we could orchestrate all of creation the way Our Loving Father has done. Yet, He loves us with an everlasting love (see Jeremiah 31:3) and desires to reveal His presence through our broken lives and hearts. In doing so, we are able to recognize His undying devotion and presence, just like St Paul did in the second reading. This, in turn, builds a desire in the depths of our being to share His love with everyone and anyone who crosses our path.
After sharing this intense and “everlasting” love, we are often tired and need to rest. Once again, Jesus gives us the perfect model to follow. In the Gospel for today (Mark 1: 29-39), we see Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law along with many others. Jesus is following His mission by offering healing to all who come to him. Yet, He is tired at the end of a long day just as we are tired when we have worked hard to follow Him, especially if our day has been filled with one difficult person after another.
When life is this demanding, where do you go? What do you do? Jesus “went off to a deserted place” to pray, and this is exactly what we need to do, too. In fact, we need to make this a trend in our lives just as Jesus has made quiet prayer a trend in His ministry. We can do this in a variety of ways.
Make a new habit of shutting off the television or the laptop a little earlier each evening. Find a quiet place in the house to pray in your own words to the God who loves you and knows your heart.
Or, try spending some extra time in adoration. I know whenever I make a specific point of getting up at 2am to be with the Lord, I am showered with an abundance of His Graces.
Another option is to take a weekend and make a retreat. You won’t regret it and may even find it becoming a yearly treat. We have a variety of options in this area:
– St Emma Monastery offers weekend retreats year round
– St Vincent Archabbey offers a summer retreat program
– St Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat Center in Pittsburgh has been providing retreats for 90+ years in a beautiful facility which dates back to the 1850’s
Come to an out of the way place to pray, embrace God’s tremendous love for you, put away the whining and allow Him to heal your broken heart. You are blessed, I am blessed, we are blessed with a God who loves all of us with an everlasting love!