Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lazarus, Come Forth!

Rembrand'ts The Raising of Lazarus
Christ commanded Lazarus to come forth from the tomb.  To me, He extends not a command but an invitation.   That invitation is to be raised from the dead and share in the glory of His Kingdom.  Before I can share in His Glory, I  must also share in His Passion.  I  have to detach myself of everything that contributes to my  own decay.  It's a tall order and the state of the world today tells us not too many people are interested in accepting this invitation.  I am, but I am weak.  Christ knows this.  He knows that I need His help.  He is only too glad when I plead with Him to help me.  The beauty of a Catholic grammar school education is how many sayings stay with you throughout your life.  Sayings like:

God helps those who help themselves!

I have to make an effort.  I can't just sit at home on Sunday and say "God knows what's in my heart, I don't have to belong to a church for Him to know I love Him".

I can't continue to wallow in the same sin and say "God made these things for me to enjoy, He does not expect me to deprive myself of this or that pleasure."

I can't carry the decay of sin around with me and say "I know God forgives me,  so I don't have to confess this to a priest, who is a weak human being himself."

I can't spend the bare minimum in prayer and demand God's friendship only when it suits me.

I can't continue to harbor the decay of jealousy, resentment and impatience with others and expect God to ignore my faults simply because He loves me.  It is precisely because He loves me that He wants to help me shed myself of these sins.

I'm always intrigued by the fact that Christ delayed His visit to Lazarus, Martha and Mary, yet wept with the sisters when He saw their grief.  He had to permit things to happen so that the greater glory of God would come from it.  Still, His heart being both human and divine, He was moved with pity by how much they mourned their brother.

There are times when it seems very hard to carry on, when I begin to question whether something I cannot even comprehend is worth the trials and tribulations of this life.  In these instances, the Lord makes me wait longer than I think He should to show me that He is listening.  But when He responds, what relief and what joy!  St. Therese wrote about this when discussing faith in Story of a Soul (p. 142)

"...the One Whose Heart watches even when He sleeps made me understand that to those whose faith is like that of a mustard seed He grants miracles and moves mountains in order to strengthen this faith, which is still small; but for His intimate friends, for His Mother, He works no miracles before testing their faith.  Did He not allow Lazarus to die even after Martha and Mary told Him he was sick?....But after trial, what reward!  ... Lazarus raised from the dead!  Thus Jesus acted toward His little Therese, after having tried her for a long time, He granted all the desires of her heart."


  1. What a wonderful reflection! Thanks Joyce and have a blessed Sunday.~Theresa

  2. Jesus wept. The shortest sentence in the Bible. It chokes me up every time I hear it, as I did today.

    This was a beautiful reflection. Thank you.

  3. I think the visible liturgical life
    the Church is offered as a mercy,
    not a chore.

    To be able to relate to God in
    prayer, through Christ and our
    blessed saints, is a manifestation
    of grace. I think the catechism
    backs me up on that.

    He cares about what we do because He
    loves a contrite and faithful heart.

    Good reflection on your part.

    Pax Christi,


  4. I love the Lazarus story. And Fr. Veras had a great homily today on connecting it with God's signs in our daily life. I wish I could remember his homilies, but I could never reconstruct them. I remember the gist but he tells his homilies in such a improvised way that one just absorbs it and left to wonder how he just did that.


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