“Overcoming our ‘spiritual paresthesia’ and fully cooperating with the Grace of the Lord!”
(Based on Acts 13:26-33 and Jn 14:1-6)
Most of us would have experienced the “falling asleep” or “numbness” of arms, legs and feet, especially while sitting cross-legged (usually while sitting on the floor).
Technically known as “peripheral neuropathy” or “paresthesia”, this syndrome is caused by the compression of specific nerves.
When one sits cross-legged, sleep with arm above the head, or position any limb in such a way to put excess pressure on a nerve, that nerve will stop sending impulses normally.
If the pressure is great, or the duration long, the nerve will eventually stop sending impulses altogether.
That particular area will essentially then “fall asleep” or feel “numb”.
Once the pressure is relieved, the nerve starts functioning normally again and one is able to move the limb.
It may, however, take some time to work properly and one may feel some tingling, “pins and needles”, during the process.
Spiritually speaking, it is very much possible that one experiences such “falling asleep” or a “numbness” in one’s conscience.
This is Spiritual Paresthesia!
This “lack of sensation” can cause one to be “life-less” and “feeling-less” to…
… constant occurrences of sin and evil doings
… frequent aberrations in moral and ethical life
… even constant spiritual reminders that the Lord gives us
The Gospel of the Day presents a case of “Spiritual Paresthesia”, which could perhaps, be a reality in our lives as well…
Jesus, in the Gospel of the day, declares Himself as “The Way, The Truth and The Life” (Jn 14:6)
This reply of the Lord came in response to the query of Thomas, the Apostle who asked Jesus, “Lord, we do not know, where you are going; how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5)
Thomas, along with the other disciples, had by now, spent quite a lot of time with Jesus, their Master….
They had encountered Jesus as The Way….
… the Way Forward: when sicknesses and problems of life had crippled the lives of many
They had encountered Jesus as The Truth….
… the Truth Uncompromised: when lies and malicious forces sought to thwart the plans of the Kingdom of God
They had encountered Jesus as the Life….
… the Life in Abundance: when hopelessness and sin would cause people to give up any aspirations for life
Yet, the disciples failed to recognize these aspects in Jesus.
They were perhaps, in a state of “spiritual paresthesia”…
… being numb to understanding Jesus
… unable to sense the words and depths of the Words of Jesus.
And so when Thomas put forward the doubt: “Lord, we do not know, where you are going; how can we know the way?” (Jn 14:5)…
… Jesus emphatically declared, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE!” (Jn 14: 6)
The Lord wanted the disciples to overcome their “spiritual paresthesia”…
…and come to be aware of the Reality and Greatness of His Presence in their life!
Perhaps, we too often find ourselves in a state of “spiritual paresthesia” or “spiritual numbness”!
One of the main factors, which can cause this state of “spiritual numbness”, is the reality of sin in our lives…
… which many times, we either deny or fail to acknowledge.
In the teachings of Jesus, one of the stand-out factor was His uncompromising attitude with respect to sin.
And perhaps, this is where Jesus as a Holy Person stands out incomparable with all other great spiritual or philosophical leaders of the world.
This is also where Christianity as a religion stands out unmatched with any other belief system or practice of spirituality.
For Jesus and in Christianity…
… there is an uncompromising teaching on the need to root out sin and evil offences
… there is an absolutely unparalleled insistence on removal of sin for spiritual progress
… there is an unsurpassed assertion on being holy and pure to be in communion with Him
We need to make an honest examination of our conscience…
Is our life suffering from a “spiritual Paresthesia” or “numbness to what is holy” or a “lack of sensation to sin”…
… Do I continue to pursue, persevere or promote deeds of sin, even though I am aware of it, or has been brought to my notice?
… Do I fail to be sensitive to issues of immense sin and evil happening in and around me, in people and situations, and instead become indifferent and uninterested?
A persistence in this spiritual “Paresthesia” or numbness can very dangerously sever our relation with the Lord.
The Lord proclaims that “In My Father’s house, there are many rooms…” (Jn 14: 2)
St Paul beautifully proclaims the wonders of the Resurrection of Jesus and the promise of blessing that is enshrined to everyone who follows Him: “But God raised Him from the dead; and for many days, He appeared to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now His witnesses to the people.
And we bring you the Good News that what God promised to the fathers; this He has fulfilled to us their children, by raising Jesus!” (Acts 13:30-33)
Yes, the Lord wishes and desires, that all of us….
… should dwell with Him!
… should enjoy eternal life in Him!
… should reach the heights of holiness!
But this also requires our genuine co-operation to the Grace of the Lord…
… by seeking to get over our spiritual Paresthesia or numbness…
This process of getting out of this spiritual “Paresthesia” will involve feeling some “tingling pins and needles” of reparation, penance and atonement.
Let us be willing to…
… let go a life of sin
… embrace the words of the Lord
… and live it joyfully and fervently in our life!
God Bless! Live Jesus!