A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Only through prayer

Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:14-29) involves a relatively long and complex account of an exorcism that includes ministerial failure by the disciples and a dialogue between our Lord and the possessed boy’s father that begins almost pediatrician-like and culminates in powerful statements about faith.

Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’
Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

Then the boy’s father cried out,
“I do believe, help my unbelief!”

Then, after restoring the boy to health, our Lord answers the disciples questions rather enigmatically.

This kind can only come out through prayer...

(Sometimes this is read as “prayer and fasting”) However, the text that we have does not really show our Lord saying or doing anything different in this exorcism.

What is meant here is not that prayer and fasting need to be added to the rite of exorcism like specialized modules for specialized cases, but rather that a person who wishes to prevail against such evils must be a person thoroughly devoted to God, with a strong life of prayer and self-mortification.

Not all of us are perfect in this. We do not always pray as much as we should and we are sometimes more self-centered than God-focused. And so, as we struggle against evil in the world and in ourselves, together with that desperate father we ask our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the grace we need.

“I do believe, help my unbelief!”