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Friday, March 13, 2009

Jesus and the Sick Girl

I think I recently read it in Luke, for class, or maybe came across the story in passing. At this point, I can't really remember much of anything.

In any case, it's a story I've been pondering, because I think maybe I finally understand it to some degree. If you'll recall, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him into a home to visit a girl who has died. But Christ said no; she was only sleeping. He raises her from the dead and tells her family to get her something to eat.

In meditating upon this event, I think about the girl, and how she must have been sick for a long time. As I'm currently sick myself, I'm understanding, too, how she likely wouldn't have been eating much, or at all, for the duration of what was clearly a worsening sickness.

For days, I've barely been able to eat. And when I do, even if I'm hungry, the food loses its flavor, and my hunger is abated in only a few bites. There's absolutely no pleasure in eating, and no satisfaction. So I package up the leftovers and put them away for later.

So it is that my lenten fast has drastically changed this all fast, all the time. Yes, I'm eating, a little, and only what's necessary.

There's a lesson in this, I'm discerning. How often do we eat or go about many of our daily tasks and take pleasure in them? How easy it is to sit down to a nice dinner..when it TASTES good! And yet, when it doesn't, we partake in only what we need in order to function. Even more oddly...we don't really miss the pleasure it used to give us.

The sick girl must have experienced something like that as well, in her sickness. But when she was healed, when Jesus raised her, His first concern was for the need He could not heal; the ongoing need to eat. We HAVE to eat; it's how we're designed, and it keeps us going. Whether it's pleasurable or not is a moot point; the fact is, our bodies need fuel.

The concern Jesus has for us is of course primarily ordered to our eternal salvation; He did not die a horrible death in order to redeem our appetites, but to restore our relationship with God. But that's not that He disregards our temporal needs, and throughout the Gospels, revealed this deep concern for those needs. Jesus didn't just care about the soul, but about who we are, together as body and soul.

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit; we have to show regard for that. Yes, we are often called to suffer, but we oughtn't suffer through intentional severe fasts, or self-inflicted "scourges". To do so is an insult to God himself, who created us and loves us beyond measure.

So although I know I'm going through a temporary "fast" as a result of this illness, I'll not feel guilty once I'm released and able to enjoy food once again. It will perhaps be just as the story in the Gospel; arising out of sickness, starting over, and once again finding pleasure in the simple needs of life.



Maggie said...

This is a beautiful post. Thank you! Even ripped out of context, Jesus' words to the little girl (Talitha kum; Little girl, get up!) are encouraging to me when I'm feeling down or less than in tune with God.

I'll pray for your health.

Anonymous said...

Maggie ~ There are 2 stories...that wasn't the one I was thinking of, but I can't remember the other one, which is really frustrating. If I find it I'll give the proper context.

Thanks for your prayers.

I like the one you cite, too.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Just want to ask if you've checked with a doctor to make sure you don't have pneumonia? I had it for the first time last year and not being able to eat was one of my symptoms. You are in my prayers. lois

Adoro said...

Lois ~ Thanks for your comment, but check a post a couple days ago..I have bronchitis, not pneumonia. (As I already posted that info I didn't mention it in this post).

I am looking forward to being able to breathe normally again! lol

Sorry to hear about your bout with pneumonia..that's nasty stuff!

Mark said...

St. Augustine sees in the three whom Jesus raises from the dead, the three levels of sin; temptation to sin, not acted upon, but not rejected; rather savored, is the secret mortal sin which the young girl represents; no one sees this in the recesses of our soul; Jesus comes to us and raises us back to life. The second level of mortal sin is when we commit that which we have been tempted to; this is the young man in the funeral procession whose mother gets Jesus to intervene on his behalf, raising him from the coffin. the third stage of mortal sin is lazarus, the habitual sinner whose conscience is so dead, he has no idea of the foul stench of his guilt. This requires not just Jesus, but the assistance of others to bring him back.

Grace takes us on three opposite levels of charity; the first is when we savor a good though inspired by grace, but fail to act on it. the second level is when we actually perform the act grace has inspired. the third is habitual grace, when we act in concert with grace, no longer even aware of it.

be well, dear friend!

Hidden One said...

"How often do we eat or go about many of our daily tasks and take pleasure in them? How easy it is to sit down to a nice dinner..when it TASTES good! And yet, when it doesn't, we partake in only what we need in order to function. Even more oddly...we don't really miss the pleasure it used to give us."

I learned just that when I experienced that horrible phenomenon known NA-wide as mealhall.

Adoro said...


Kiwi Nomad said...

Hope you are soon feeling better, and I commiserate with the lack of appetite. I was once sick in Italy, far from home, and the guy in the hostel kitchen could barely believe it when I asked for just the tiniest portion of vegetable and that was all. But I knew that if there was any more on my plate, I would eat nothing. So I hope you soon have that sign of returning wellness, and want to eat up large for recovery!!