In the time of the Old Testament, if anyone had the horrible disease of leprosy, their life was condemned to suffering, isolation and loneliness. As soon as it was detected, the leper had to leave his home and family to live outside of the city or town where he could not infect anyone. He could never touch anyone, hold anyone, kiss anyone, unless they too were lepers, and had to warn people to stay away far away from him so that they would not be infected.
Slowly his body’s extremities begin to decompose as the disease progresses and to eventually kill him. His face, at times, would become grotesque as the mouth, cheeks and nose would be eaten away. A bad stench accompanied the decomposition. So, not only was he isolated, lonely and depressed, but he was sick and repulsive as well.
In the Gospel, Jesus cleanses 10 of these lepers, but after all they are going through, or will go through, only one comes back to thank Him. All ten were given a total new lease on life. They could go back to be with their families and friends in society. They now have a life to look forward to. They could touch, hug, hold and kiss their family once again. Yet only one came back to thank Him.
Every time we sin, we are infected with spiritual leprosy. The sin of impurity of the flesh especially mimics leprosy. Then, when we cry out to God to heal us and forgive us in Confession, He does. Are we grateful for the healing miracle of the sacrament of Confession?
Now, after we are confessed and healed, do we going to go right back into the company of lepers to be infected again? Do we adequately remember the horrors of the spiritual leprosy of which we were just healed of?
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Did we learn our lesson? Are we going to go right back to hanging out with our friends who get drunk or do drugs? Are we going to allow ourselves to be infected again by listening to bad music, seeing bad movies, or using our smart phone to look at pornography again? When will we learn our lesson? How many times do we need to be infected, wounded and isolated? Have we infected others?
When only one leper came back to thank Jesus, it bothered Him because He asked; is this the only one, where are the other nine? God wants us to be grateful for all He has given us and is doing for us.
We are fallen humans. The matter of fact is that we are not grateful for all we have, we just want more. And, with reason, when everything is going wrong, it is truly hard to be grateful for the things that we still do have and that are not going wrong. But it is still a very profitable exercise to go over often what we do have, even if there are things we do not have or we are going through a very difficult time.
Here is a list of things that we can be grateful for:
- Faith in God
- God the Father
- God the Son
- God the Holy Spirit
- Mary’s maternal love and help
- The Angels help
- A special Guardian Angel to watch over us
- St. Joseph and the others saints intercession
- The Catholic Church
- The Sacraments that give us strength, especially the Latin Mass
- An opportunity to go to Heaven
- We are not in hell yet
- The knowledge of what is moral and the ability to live it
- A clean conscience
- Holy friends
- A dad
- A mom
- A brother
- A sister
- A child
- Order in our lives
- A house to live in
- Legs that walk
- Eyes that can see
- Mouth that speaks
- Teeth the chew
- A job
- A car that runs
- A body free from pain
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know what blessings we have. Let us try to always have grateful hearts.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.