After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. … Cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' Luke 10:1,9
A cup of cold water. A shared piece of bread. A touch on the arm. The gentle stroke of a hand on your hair as you lie in pain. A kind word.
Jesus sent the seventy into the towns where he would eventually preach. These forerunners, charged with a sort of knightly code of honor, healed the sick and proclaimed the Kingdom of God.
There's a danger in attributing acts of mercy to the presence of Christ, and acts of carelessness, indifference, and cruelty to the devil. Both diminish the choices human beings possess to act with courage, kindness and self-sacrifice, or to be cowardly, malicious, and greedy. Human acts of kindness most transfigure our lives in times and places of stress: war zones, prisons, hospitals, in oppressed societies, during tragedies. We make hundreds of such choices in the course of a day and countless choices through a lifetime.
We are changed by our acts of mercy. Rather than our actions bringing about the Kingdom in the world, the Kingdom of God comes forth in us through our actions and our interaction with those we serve (meditation one). Love's demands transform us (meditation two) but it's worth any sacrifice (meditation three).
Blessings upon your meditations this week. Amen. -Suzanne
Meditation One drawn to Christ through you The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference toward one's neighbor who lives at the roadside assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease. As each one of this Society is to become a Co-Worker of Christ in the slums, each ought to understand what God and the Society expect from her. Let Christ live and radiate his life in her, and through her in the slums. Let the poor seeing her be drawn to Christ, and invite him to enter their lives and their homes. Let the sick and the suffering find in her a real angel of comfort and consolation. Let the little ones of the streets cling to her because she reminds them of him, the friend of the little ones. Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God the better because of them. -Mother Teresa of Calcutta 1910-1997 quoted from Mystics, Visionaries, & Prophets, Shawn Madigan CSJ, ed.
Hymn to John the Baptist
Oh, may the power of your intercession, all stony hardness from our hearts expelling, smooth the rough places and the crooked straighten here in the desert.
Thus may our gracious Maker and Redeemer, seeking a station for his hallowed footsteps, find, when he comes here, temples unpolluted, fit to receive him.
vs 3 & 4, Hymn for First Vespers of the Nativity of John the Baptist A Monastic Breviary, Holy Cross Publications
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Communion of The Apostles, Albrecht Altdorfer, 1516. Clearly not the sending of the 70 as the disiples have staffs and cloaks, but interesting contrast to other "communion of Apostles" where Jesus formally distributes communion like a priest at mass. Here, the disciples serve out in a wilderness, an abandoned place.
Meditation Two love's demands Love will make demands on us. It will question us from within. It will disturb us. Sadden us. Play havoc with our feelings. Harass us. Reveal our superficialities. But at last it will bring us to the light. -Carlo Carreto 1910-1988 God does not hurry over things; time is His, not mine, and I, little creature, have been called to be transformed into God by sharing His life. And what transforms me is the charity which he pours into my heart. Love transforms me slowly into God. -Carlo Carretto
Meditation Three it's worth any sacrifice
It's worth any sacrifice however great or costly, to see eyes that were listless, light up again; to see someone smile who seemed to have forgotten how to smile; to see trust reborn in someone who no longer believed in anything or Anyone.
-Dom Helder Camara 1909-1999
The Last Word We are the wire, God is the current. Our only power is to let the current pass through us.
-Carlo Carretto 1910-1988
Fall of the Rebel Angels, Limbourg Brothers, Tres Riches Heures, c.1410
The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!" He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.” Luke 10:17-18