Hope in the Lord

If we should ever feel especially discouraged by some spiritual illness that seems incurable, let us not forget these consoling words of Jesus: Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Everything has a remedy. He is always very close to us, but especially in those moments, no matter how great the fault may have been, even if the miseries are many. It is enough to be truly sincere.

Let us not forget it either if at some time in our personal apostolate it seems to us that someone has a sickness of the soul without apparent solution. Yes, there is, always. Perhaps the Lord expects from us more prayer and mortification, more understanding and affection.

All your illnesses will be cured," says St. Augustine, "but there are so many of them," you will say. More powerful is the Physician. For the Almighty there is no insurmountable sickness; just let yourself be cured, place yourself in his hands".

We must come to him like those simple people who surrounded him. As the blind, the lame, the paralyzed..., who ardently desired their healing, came to him. Only he who knows and feels himself stained experiences the deep need to be cleansed; only he who is aware of his wounds and sores experiences the urgency of being healed. We must feel the concern to heal those points that our general or particular examination of conscience teaches us must be healed.

Matthew left his old life that day to begin a new one with Christ. Today we can make our own this prayer of St. Ambrose: "I too, like him, want to leave my old life and follow no one else but you, Lord, who heal my wounds. Who can separate me from the love of God that is manifested in you...? I am bound to faith, nailed to it; I am bound by the holy bonds of love. All your commandments will be like a cautery that I will always have attached to my body...; the medicine stings, but it drives away the infection of the sore. Therefore, Lord Jesus, cut away the rottenness of my sins. While you hold me in the bonds of love, cut off all that is infected. Come quickly to cut out the hidden, secret and manifold passions; cut out the wound, lest the disease spread to the whole body.

"I have found a physician who dwells in Heaven, but distributes his medicines on earth. He alone can heal my wounds, because He does not suffer from them; He alone can remove sorrow from the heart and fear from the soul, because He knows the innermost things."

Many of Matthew's friends who were with Jesus at that banquet would feel welcomed and understood by the Lord's kind treatment. He would have with them, undoubtedly, singular signs of friendship. Later, they would be converted to him with all their hearts and would fully accept his doctrine, which obliged them to change their lives on many points. They would form part of the primitive community of Christians in Palestine. Matthew's friends met the Master at a banquet. Jesus always took advantage of any circumstance to lead people to salvation. In this we should also imitate him in our personal apostolate.