Much Will Be Required

I read the following scripture passage yesterday, one that I’ve probably read or heard a bajillion times. It’s the story of Peter and John curing a crippled man and I can’t get it out of my head. It goes as follows:

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple area for the three o’clock hour of prayer. And a man crippled from birth was carried and placed a the gate of the temple called “the Beautiful Gate” every day to beg for alms from the people who entered the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked for alms. But Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “look at us.” He paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rise and walk.” Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles grew strong. He leaped up, stood, and walked around, and went into the temple with them, walking and jumping and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the one who used to sit begging at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with amazement and astonishment at what had happened to him.

Acts 3:1-10 NAB

As I read and reread this passage, I’m struck by the crippled man being healed and the idea that, even though he experienced a miraculous healing and his life was obviously immensely improved, much would now be required of him. Being healed took away the impediments holding him back, but I wonder if this new development also took away a certain level of comfort. I can’t presume to know what the crippled man was thinking or feeling as his life began to unfold in such a new and dramatic way, but when I put myself in the situation I’m left with a lot of fear, if I’m honest.

This healing meant that he would no longer have to beg for alms at the temple. But now he’d have to find work, reintegrate himself into society, essentially come to terms with an entirely new identity. Let me be clear: these things are not bad. Working, contributing to a community, embracing an identity based on Christ, these are all deeply good and holy things. Yet I can’t help but imagine how difficult it would be to navigate these life changes after the miracle. When I put myself in the place of the crippled beggar, of course I am delighted to be healed, yet so wary of everything that is sure to come after.

As I dig deeper into the feelings that this story draws up in me, I’m forced to ask myself, where am I crippled? Where am I in need of healing? Where do I cling to my pain or my crutches, or the mat that I’ve laid on so long that it conforms to my body?

Am I hesitant to claim healing because of what it will require of me, of what I will be asked to give up? Am I letting my fear of the unknown drag me every day to the Beautiful Gate of the internet, the pantry, the world to beg for acceptance that won’t sustain me?

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.

Luke 12:48 NAB

Have I become so comfortable in my infirmities, so dependent up on what I know now, that I’m unwilling to trade in my paralysis for the opportunity to run and jump and praise? I wonder.

I think part of my fear is rooted in the idea that maybe I won’t be strong enough to rise to the challenges of adapting to life after healing. That I’m not strong enough to fully give up the things I cling to: the likes, the sugar, the idea that I’m in control and if I do the right things, I’ll be whole.

It’s hard to let go. It’s hard to step out in faith even when I know that the One beckoning me forward is only concerned with my ultimate good. And the truth is, I will never be “enough.” I will never be equipped to do battle with my addictions, dependencies, worldly alliances, or to reconcile my humanity with my call to holiness, at least not on my own. And that’s the point, right?

The crippled man doesn’t get a happily ever after tied up with a bow. He is arrested, along with Peter and John, and put to trial before the Sanhedrin where Peter boldly proclaims the truth of Christ. However, it is on his account that they are all released, as the community knew him and his story well: “…they released them, finding no way to punish them, on account of the people who were all praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing had been done was over forty years old.” (Acts 4:21 NAB)

Being healed, knowing Christ, being transformed in Him is not a one time event. The crippled man wasn’t healed and then allowed to walk off into the sunset. Much was given him and much was required. The path to holiness is one that we have to keep choosing over and over and over again, knowing full well that more will be asked of us than we think we can give. We aren’t called to a happily ever after, but rather to work out our salvation with fear and trembling even and especially in moments of doubt and fear, trusting that He who tells us to get up and walk will be guiding us on every step of the way.

If you’re like me and can identify with this struggle and the difficulty to trade the battle for control for an alliance with the Holy Spirit, I guess I just want you to know that this is all normal. You’re not alone and, while I certainly don’t have all the answers, I do have faith despite my doubt. I realize my struggle is not due to any failing on the part of God, but due to my fallen nature and my humanity. And that’s okay. God blesses the struggle. There is holiness in admitting that we don’t have it all together and still struggling on toward Him. We don’t always have to get it right and I truly believe that any forward movement toward holiness is honored by Christ, whether that’s a full on run, a stumble, or a crawl. Jesus meets us where we are, as we are, no matter what.

If you’ve never prayed the following prayer, I highly suggest it. I usually follow it up with, “Lord, help my unbelief.”

LITANY OF TRUST

From the belief that I have to earn Your love
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that I am unlovable Deliver me, Jesus.
From the false security
that I have what it takes
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that trusting You
will leave me more destitute

Deliver me, Jesus.
From all suspicion of
Your words and promises

Deliver me, Jesus.
From the rebellion against
childlike dependency on You

Deliver me, Jesus.
From refusals and reluctances
in accepting Your will

Deliver me, Jesus.
From anxiety about the future
Deliver me, Jesus.
From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past
Deliver me, Jesus.
From restless self-seeking
in the present moment

Deliver me, Jesus.
From disbelief in Your love and presence Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being asked
to give more than I have

Deliver me, Jesus.
From the belief that my life
has no meaning or worth

Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of what love demands Deliver me, Jesus.
From discouragement

Deliver me, Jesus.

That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me
Jesus, I trust in You.


That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings and transforms me Jesus, I trust in You.

That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You Jesus, I trust in You.
That You are with me in my suffering Jesus, I trust in You.

That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next Jesus, I trust in You.


That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church Jesus, I trust in You.

That Your plan is better than anything else
Jesus, I trust in You.


That You always hear me and in Your goodness always respond to me Jesus, I trust in You.

That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others Jesus, I trust in You.


That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked Jesus, I trust in You.

That my life is a gift Jesus, I trust in You.

That You will teach me to trust You

SISTERS OF LIFE
Annunciation Motherhouse 38 Montebello Road Suffern, NY 10901 845.357.3547
sistersoflife.org
Written by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, SV

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