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Mar 11, 2019 797 0 FATHER JILTO GEORGE
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Padre … Would Jesus Heal Me?

Looking for a way out of those menacing addictions? Worried about relapsing into your old habits? Here is the answer!

On a solemn evening after the culmination of the three-day Shalom retreat, I was observing the happy faces going back to their homes, renewed in spirit. My heart rejoiced in gratitude and then I heard a voice from behind, “Padre, would Jesus heal me?” This question caught my attention and I recognized the young man in his twenties, standing beside me. He looked perplexed. While everyone was getting ready to leave, this young man stood in hesitation as if he was in dire need of answers to all the questions that still loomed his mind: “Will I be able to lead a life of holiness? Will I fall back again into my old habits?”

From the first day of the retreat itself, I came to know that this young lad had lost everything: family, friends and relationship, due to his addiction to pornography. It knit him into a toxic relationship, a life that was totally messed up and devastated. It seemed as if he had lost all hope. Such was his plight that he was unable to look at anyone with good intention, not even his parents. His whole life had turned filthy and his mind was drenched with guilt. Though he had tried many alternate methods to break this bondage of addiction, nothing worked and he fell back into the same sin over and over again.

Is Anything Impossible for God?

As Saint Augustine said, “There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future.” The young man recollected that it was during confession, the mercy of the Lord touched his heart. This gave him a deep realization of how important it is to depend, like a child, on God. In fact, his continuing anxiety about the future revealed his hunger to pursue a life of holiness. I was reminded of what Saint Francis de Sales used to say: “The Lord delights in every little step you take to lead a Holy life.” I urged this young man to “Keep on trying!” The key to growing in conversion is to keep on trying, even if you do not see an apparent result. God sees your efforts. The inability to see our own progress helps us to depend more on God.

Conversion happens in a moment but it needs an entire lifetime to be complete. The Bible shows us three important milestones to remain in holiness:

1. It all begins with desire.

What are you looking for? Like a fuel that leads to ignition, it is the desire that drives us into action. A google search history of an individual would reveal that person’s interests and secret desires. “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew 6:21).

In Maria Valtorta’s “The poem of Man-God,” there is a narration about a group of people standing around Jesus and asking Him “Why have you never sinned in your life?” Jesus’ reply is simple: “I have never desired sin.” The first step to being holy is to desire purity, because desire leads to effort. Apostle Paul had gone through the same war on desires: “Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

Desire controls our steps; we need to shun away certain desires while others need to be cultivated. Very often those unfulfilled desires lead to addiction. In order to pursue a holy life, one must cultivate the desire for holiness. Cultivating Godly desires helps the soul focus on God. As Saint Augustine said, “The entire life of a good Christian is, in fact, an exercise of Holy desire. You do not yet see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when He comes, you may see and be utterly satisfied.”

2. Flee or fall?

Very often we are the result of the environment in which we live. Context and circumstances exert a great influence on our actions. The change in a situation can make a lot of difference. To live in a holy atmosphere and context is invariable to lead a holy life.

Every human being has a natural inclination to do what is forbidden. Apostle Paul makes it clear in Romans 7:23: “But I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of the sin that dwells in my members.” The life of Holiness is one of the battles; each and every moment, there is a battle between flesh and soul, and the conducive context produces corrupt desires of the flesh.

Saint Bernadine of Sienna teaches us that the best of all counsel is to avoid the occasion of sin, and this indeed forms the foundation of holiness. “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Evil comes disguised, often in the form of our weakness. Saint Philip says that in the battle against impurity, the victory will be for the one who flees away from the occasion of sin, not the one who exposes himself to it and harms his flesh, making it impossible for him to resist the attacks.

3. Take heart!

Trusting and relying on the mercy of the Lord is the easiest way to advance in holiness. God is not a judgmental figure waiting to make things complicated. He is our Father, abounding in mercy, waiting to embrace anyone who comes before the throne of mercy. Trusting in ourselves and relying on our effort alone is a sure way to be lost, but by trusting in God we can do all things. Little shortcomings may come our way but they are only meant to humble us. “I am love and mercy itself. There is no misery that could be a match for My mercy, neither will misery exhaust it, because as it is being granted—it increases. The soul that trusts in My mercy is most fortunate, because I Myself take care of it” (From “Divine Mercy in My Soul: Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska” 1273). Mercy of Jesus is an invitation for us to totally abandon ourselves to His will. What is impossible for man is possible through the mercy of the Lord.

Cue Point

Peter was a liar; Mary Magdalene was a party girl; Mary of Egypt was a prostitute; Paul was a persecutor; Augustine was a wayward son; but they all became Saints by journeying through the path of holiness!

Always remember that His grace is sufficient for you… and now is the time to rise again and continue. Desire holiness, make a bold decision to keep away from all occasions of sin and just trust in His mercy!

Prayer

“O Lord, instill in our hearts a strong desire for holiness so that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we may keep away from sin. With great confidence, we come to Your fount of mercy, entrusting ourselves into Your loving arms. Amen.

FATHER JILTO GEORGE

FATHER JILTO GEORGE is a priest belonging to the congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI). He is a prominent speaker at the Shalom events conducted throughout the year in the US and abroad. As a gifted priest, Father Jilto spends several hours for hearing confession and spiritual sharing. His intercessory prayers and gifted counselling shines forth the light of Christ to others.

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