Hope Is in His Power

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

As a young girl, I said a number of novenas for things I wanted. One novena noted that "it had never been known to fail." Afternumerous unsuccessful prayers, I considered amending that part. I have various friends who are still single or who have homes to sell, and are frequently asked whether they have said certain novenas (which they usually have). Novenas are a beautiful and good thing, but we can risk believing in the power of the novena rather than in the power of the One who answers our prayers. We cannot force his hand by our actions, and we need always to remember that our relationship with him comes before any gifts that he gives us, because it is truly more precious. Today's Gospel tells of a man, sick for thirty-eight years, who is lying in wait at a pool believed to have special powers. He stays there, though he is crippled and has no possible way to get to the waters when the pool of Bethesda is stirred up (when it was believed to have its great curative effect). All of his hope is in an elusive cure. Jesus, instead of bringing him to the waters, heals him on the spot. But after curing him, Jesus seeks him out; he knows the man needs much more than just a physical healing.

Reflection based on John 5:1-16
Rebecca Vitz Cherico

Lord, do not let me mislead myself into thinking that the cure
for my ills is in my efforts; help me to realize that my hope
can only be in you.

Today's suggested penance: Prayerfully make a list of the greatest desires of your heart.