”A sacrifice to God is a broken spirit, a broken and humbled heart God will not despise” (Ps 50 (51):19)
What does Gods’ grace mean for us?
What do we see in the example of the woman with the flow of blood?
Jesus was walking along the road and the multitudes thronged Him. A woman having a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the border of His garment. ‘’immediately her flow of blood stopped’’ (Lk 8:44), and she felt much better. Jesus stopped in His course as He noticed something had happened, and said: ‘’Who touched Me?’’ (Lk 8:45). The Apostles replied: ‘’Master, the multitudes throng and press You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’’ (Lk 8:45). Jesus replied, yes the multitudes throng Me but somebody touched Me in a ‘different way than usual’ because ‘’I perceived power going out from Me’’. This ‘different way than usual’ is what matters, and what we learn in the example of the woman with the flow of blood.
There belongs the possibility of a secret internal message to be conveyed, in the contact between a person and the God-Man, and with the Saint. The Saint – like the Lord who revealed Himself as a common human being – is also a common human being. And in our community there are saints, but we do not notice them. Why? Because we are not like the woman with the flow of blood. So what can be done? How can one become a partaker and acquire the strength from the Holy One, from the Saint. As we have seen, a secret message and exchange was given on the road. This secret message is not disturbed by the throng of the multitude, nor does it give any sign to others that it exists, that something has happened. Only the woman with the flow of blood and Jesus knew what happened since she was healed and Jesus had perceived power going out of Him. Only after she declared to the multitude ‘’how she had touched Him and how she was healed immediately’’ (Lk 8:47), did they have knowledge of this secret message.
How can something great like this occur for us?
The great thing is that if we can be contrite and displeased with ourselves like the woman with the flow of blood, then it can occur for us.
The woman with the flow of blood, who was exhausted and expended of all her energy, ‘’who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any’’ (Lk 8:43) but was getting worse said: ‘There is no one else that can help me. I will go to the Lord, but I don’t want to speak to Him, I don’t want to call Him to my house, I will simply touch His garment and He will make me well’.
So we see that even if we are discouraged and crushed, let us have the joy of complete failure. When we are aching, we can become more sensitive to Christ’s love and mercy. This is what matters. And the joy of complete failure is that we are led to Christ and we receive His grace, which becomes our joy. The woman with the flow of blood received this joy when she heard the Lord say to her: ‘’Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace’’ (Lk 8:48).
But the tragic thing is that many times, even though we have a thousand problems and we are crushed on all sides, we do not develop this same contrition and humility like the woman with the flow of blood. This is the reason why we do not have the sensitivity to communicate and receive messages from the saints.
The Son of God became a human being. He did not become a system, neither a law, neither a theory. As a human being He became a citizen like us, although, He was sinless, simple and humble. He showed us love and said ‘’Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well’’ (Lk 8:50). He spoke the language that the whole world could understand. That is, when someone wanted bread He gave it. When a father was distressed because His daughter had died, He raised her from the dead (Lk 8:54). Others were blind and they were asking the Son of David to have mercy on them, so He granted them their sight. The other was a leper who was suffering and was an outcast in society; Jesus healed him in his diseased environment from his wounds. So we see that Jesus spoke the language of humanity. He did not speak an incomprehensible language.
We see again how much He tolerates and endures us: ‘’And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead’’ (Lk 853) … ‘’Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them’’ (Lk 8:37). We see that He wants to excuse and justify our reactions. That is why He doesn’t take us seriously. And when we draw on all of history to provoke Him, to torture Him and to mock Him, He doesn’t open His mouth at all. Here we find that there exists in Him a great dynamism and power. The greatest resistance is when one reaches the state of non-resistance. This is the manifestation of the highest dynamism, not to disobey and not to oppose or take revenge. We however are weak, that is why we disobey and counterattack.
Jesus was a wounded human being and for this reason He knew how to endure pain. And this is the great lesson which our Lord through His example has taught us, how to endure pain, how to suffer well.
To become deified (a god by grace), is the end and the purpose of a human being. Human beings have no other reason to exist. All the things that are said today, about the systems that want the human being to be more economical, more modern, post-modern…Well, what can we do with all these modern ideas when death is ready to eat us? The point is to overcome death, this is deification! This is why the human being was created by God according to His image and likeness. So, while humanity fell from communion with God, God cared for humankind and waited for the right moment to come. The right moment was the birth of the Virgin Mary (Theotokos).
As humans we should be grateful to the Theotokos, who established human nature not simply as God-giving and God-bearing, but Mother of God and birth-giver of God. This is the kind of relationship each person must have with God, to give birth to God. For this reason the Son of God came and became the Son of Mankind and has honored us to have again all the lost powers that we require if we want to enter again into communion with God.
In communion with God there belongs happiness, joy, and a gladness which comes out of you. You become surprised and say: ‘this joy is not mine. But it was given to me. Why was it given to me?’ Because God is beyond good. So you say, ‘what happens now? I did not deserve it, I should have been punished’. Then you understand the saint who says that ‘God is not fair, He is unfair’. Why? ‘Well, if God was fair He should have burnt us all’. St Isaac the Syrian said that ‘God is feared not because of His strength, but because of His love’.
We are all brothers and sisters. Aren’t we all from the same dust? We are suffering, but we have one power. This power is that someone exists who loves us. And He loves each person with the same love that He has for the whole universe. A love that makes things exist. Then we feel that the most natural work of a person is to accept love and to offer love. Since human beings have been designed and created free – by God Who is Love – that is why only if one freely loves God, they accept the love of God as a life-giving blessing and they glorify God and progress from glory to glory. On the contrary, if one succumbs to the tyranny of self-love, if by chance one forsakes or forgets this ecstatic nature of Gods’ love, they are destroyed.
If we can stop living for ourselves but live for the One who died and rose for us – like the examples of the woman with the flow of blood and Jairus – then we acquire our true orientation, we become truly human and we realise what it means to say that the human being was created by God. In these miracles Christ upholds and gives life. His divinity works together with His humanity to accomplish these miracles. Being sensitive to the touch of His garment and taking the child by the hand is an action of His humanity. Healing the woman with the flow of blood and restoring to life the daughter of Jairus is an action of His divinity. These two operations are inseparable because He is One undivided Person, God-Man and we too are to become gods, by His grace.