Tuesday, January 09, 2018

“A Loud Cry Came Out of Him” by Melanie Rigney

“A Loud Cry Came Out of Him” by Melanie Rigney

(Hannah said to Eli:) “I have had neither wine nor liquor; I was only pouring out my troubles to the Lord. Do not think your handmaid a ne’er-do-well; my prayer has been prompted by my deep sorrow and misery.” (1 Samuel 4:15-16)

My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior. (1 Samuel 2:1)

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!"  Jesus rebuked him and said, "Quiet! Come out of him!" The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. (Mark 1:23-26)

Lord, I cry out for Your help.

We like to be comfortable.

Change is hard for us, whether it comes in the form of relationships, possessions, locations, parishes, positions, habits, or anything else. Whether the change appears to be good or bad, it takes us out of our routine, makes us think about activities that had become routine.

It’s hard on demons as well. They like things to be predictable. It gives them more room to work. If we pass the same beggar every day, we become inured to him or her, no longer offering even a smile. If we have friends who delight in gossip, we are all the more likely to pass along juicy tidbits and rumors. If we get into the habit of using food, alcohol, or other aids as self-medication, it’s easy to gradually increase our intake, never noticing the effect it’s having on us.

Small wonder, then that the unclean spirit of the man in today’s Gospel cried out when he recognized Jesus. The unclean spirit spoke the truth, perhaps for the first time: “Have you come to destroy us?” And of course, Jesus had, to destroy the forces that keep us from the hope of salvation. The unclean spirit cried again as he exited the man.

And so, may we remember this as we seek to remove the unclean spirits within each of us with the Lord’s help. It won’t be easy. It may make us cry. But ultimately, the pain is worth what’s on the other side.

Examine one thing in the way that you think or conduct yourself that needs to change. Consider availing yourself of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation as a first step toward the Lord’s healing balm.

Image credit: By Philip De Vere (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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