Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Healing My Irreverence

Does anyone else ever get creative when asking for things in prayer? 

I felt a bout of diverticulitis, a colon infection I get that is gnarly if not caught in time, coming on while at church this past Sunday.  My lower left abdominal area was really painful, and I thought to myself, "I'm gonna be toast for the next week if I don't get out in front of this."  At that juncture, I really couldn't afford the time in bed or the frustration.  The pain was pretty intense and was causing me, unfortunately, to focus on it during the service...also couldn't afford for my focus to be split for a week.

Some of you may know that the Catholic church has, over the last ten years, been totally reworking the language of the Mass.  The new translations which were introduced last November are based more literally on the original Latin text and now match every other English speaking country the world over.  It's been very difficult for many Catholics to get behind this change and get used to it.  For myself, it has made me more attentive and reflective in an effort to remember the language while feeling the subtext...which is definitely a good thing.

One part of the new Mass language replaced my previously favorite line spoken before the Communion rite. The old line said, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the Word and I shall be healed."  This made me feel humble and so willing to work harder to live up to God's expectations for me.  I looked forward to speaking it each week.

The new prayer, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed," is based on the request to Jesus by a faithful centurion to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5-13).   Once I researched the background of the translation, I loved it even more than the previous prayer.  This week, however, I impulsively added my own ending:  "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed...also my colon."

I'm embarrassed to say that I did pray this aloud (though softly) and then followed it with an audible chuckle.  But I have to feel that God's understanding of how He created me...mischievous, laughing, hopeful to find the positive in a negative situation...can forgive the cheekiness in me and see past it to the sincerity of the prayer.  After all, if a centurion can ask Jesus to cure his servant from afar, without even entering his house, surely I, not a leader but a servant myself, can ask God to cure my colon in the context of diligent prayer so that I can go on about my business of helping spread the Word.  I hope that this is the case as I'm wondering if next week's prayer should include "but only say the Word and my soul shall be healed...also my irreverent humor."

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