Seeing Our Soul Sickness

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

I joke with friends that there are two kinds of people when it comes to physical health: those who get sick, and those who secretly believe that sick people are faking it. There is a kind of impatience that the latter cannot help but feel for the former. I imagine even hypochondriacs "feel" bad: it is just that their sensitivities do not match up to reality. They are oversensitive, and it is a problem. Physical insensitivity has its down side, too: pain warns us that something is wrong and must be addressed. We see this easily when it comes to our bodies. We recognize instinctively - or we train ourselves to recognize - our body's "cues": when we're hungry, dehydrated, tired. We know that by familiarizing ourselves with the signs of our needs, we can live better, eat healthier, and be happier. But we don't realize the needs of our sould in the same way. We don't pay as much attention: we tend to wait until things are desparate before we recognize our soul sickness. But our souls are always in need. When Jesus tells the Pharisees it is the sick who need a physician, he does not mean that the Pharisees do not need him. But the poor Pharisees, ignorant of their own needs and their own souls, don't see it.

Reflection based on Luke 5:27-32
Rebecca Vitz Cherico

Lord, help us learn to be attentive to the needs of our souls,
and attentive to the One who answers those needs.

Today's suggested penance: Visit an elderly person.