“Being proactive, and ready ‘to rise, take up our mats, and walk!’”
(Based on Ezek 47:1-9, 12 and Jn 5:1-3, 5-16 – Tuesday of the 4th Week in Lent)
“The seven habits of highly effective people” by Stephen Covey is one of the most popular best-selling book in the world.
The book speaks of seven prime qualities to tap success in life and to achieve one’s objectives and aims.
The first among these seven habits of highly effective people is “to be proactive” in life.
Problems beset every person in this world.
Difficulties surround all of us, in every society.
But, the one who is “proactive” in life, is able to get over these “paralyzing” factors of life.
The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful presentation of this aspect: On how to have our heads raised up, in hope and trust, despite many crushing and crippling causes in life.
Jesus is in Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover.
As he passed through the town, he came near a pool, named Bethzatha.
Jesus encounters a person there, who has been ill for a very long period… thirty eight years! (Jn 5:5)
We are not exactly told what illness was it…
Probably a paralyzing illness… a cripple of the legs… or even a combination of many other sicknesses.
But one thing is known: this sickness made the person to not walk!
The sickness had immobilized him.
But more than his physical body, it seems, that the sickness had crippled also his mind:
His way of thinking seemed jammed in having hope in life…
His outlook to life seemed blurred to see optimism and hope…
His perspective of people seemed to distort his confidence and trust…
When Jesus questions the man, “Do you want to be well?” the man answers not with a positive affirmation or an optimistic assertion.
Instead he begins to get into a complaining and a pitiable mode, “Sir, I have no one… ” (Jn 5: 7)
A ray of hope was offered to him…
… but instead the man continued to see only the dark clouds.
A glimpse of joy was revealed to him…
… but instead the man persisted on the sad aspects alone.
The long period of sickness had blotted his vision and faded his hopes.
But the Lord – the ever-challenging God – does not allow the man to remain in this unfortunate and “look-on-me-with-sympathy-please” mode…
Instead, Jesus charges him, “Rise, take up your mat and walk” (Jn 5:8)
And immediately the man became well, took up his mat and walked!
The presence of the Lord vanished away the man’s doubts and lame excuses…
The man became proactive…
… casting away his attitude of complaining to become a person of courage
… dropping off his crippling attitude of “none-to-help” and picking up the mat of power and grace
Problems beset each of us in this world.
Difficulties surround all of us, at various times and situations
But, the one who is “proactive” in life, is able to get over these “paralyzing” factors of life!
Jesus gives us this courage and the hope to be “proactive” in life, with His grace and mercy.
Pro-activity is not a mere human attitude of determination…
… it is an action spurred by the mighty love and mercy of the Lord.
Pro-activity is not a mere individual display of willpower and resolve…
… it is an approach, impelled by a tremendous faith and hope in the Lord.
You and I, very often may find ourselves in crippling situations of life.
We may keep on lying down…
We may keep on being a “complaint-box”
We may keep on blaming people and situations…
We may raise up our heads to see the Lord challenging us to walk…
We may garner strength and courage and be bold to pick up our mats of suffering…
We may imbue ourselves with the Lord’s power to never let anything cripple our minds..
Shall we be ready, “to rise, take up our mats, and walk?”
The choice is ours…
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
PROFESSION OF FAITH
The first “profession of faith” is made during Baptism.
The symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed…
… since Baptism is given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
The truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.
The Creed is divided into three parts…
… the first part speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of creation
… the next speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery of his redemption of men
… the final part speaks of the third divine Person, the origin and source of our sanctification.
These are the three chapters of our [baptismal] seal.
These three parts are distinct although connected with one another. According to a comparison often used by the Fathers, we call them articles.
Indeed, just as in our bodily members there are certain articulations which distinguish and separate them, so too in this profession of faith, the name “articles” has justly and rightly been given to the truths we must believe particularly and distinctly.
In accordance with an ancient tradition, already attested to by St. Ambrose, it is also customary to reckon the articles of the Creed as twelve, thus symbolizing the fullness of the apostolic faith by the number of the apostles. (CCC # 189-191)