January 8, 2021
It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” (Luke 5:12)
The leper “fell prostrate.” Prostrate defined: lying stretched out on the ground with one’s face downward, especially in reverence or submission.
Can you imagine the sense of awe and wonder of the leper? He had heard of this man, Jesus, who healed the sick and forgave sinners. This same Jesus was in his town; he might have the opportunity to meet him and ask for help.
When he did, in fact, have that opportunity, he was overwhelmed. He threw himself on the ground at Jesus’ feet, an act of abject humility, a complete “death to self.” His actions said to Jesus, “I am completely unworthy of what I am about to ask. I leave my life in your hands.”
When I was ordained to the diaconate, a part of the Rite called for us, the candidates for ordination, to prostrate ourselves on the floor of the cathedral prior to our ordination. It was a profound experience and served to offer the same message to anyone witnessing it: “I am completely unworthy of what I am about to ask. I leave my life in your hands.”
Perhaps this gives us pause. How do we approach God with our needs? What is the state of our heart? Do we “check our selfishness” at the door, or are we thinking to ourselves, “I deserve this.”
May God grant us the humility we need.