The Search for "Miracle Cures"

March 15, 2013 | 0 comments

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a pushover for products that have the word "miracle" on the label. I can’t tell you how many miracle cleansers, sealants, detergents, or garden plant foods I’ve bought over the years, each promising to do something exceptional. Some come close to living up to their claims, others not so much. While I don’t buy every product with a promise, I still read the label and wonder if it could be true.

I also like formulas or strategies that are ‘proven’ to work. Just go online and you’ll find hundreds of books offering ‘proven’ formulas and techniques for things like, successful parenting, raising your self-esteem, or even catching trout. Insert the word "miracle" or "proven" into a book title or a label and you’ve got the attention of millions (unless it is a truly proven miracle like the Resurrection!). Why? It’s simple: We all want something that guarantees results.

And that’s what I was looking for in this year’s Lenten experience: Results. My last Lenten observance fell short of producing the kind of spiritual fruit I was hoping to see at the end of my six week journey. My pre-Lenten preparations went well. At least I thought so. Perhaps my Lenten expectations were too high, or my Lenten to-do list was too long—I don’t know. I just know that it took only a few Lenten missteps to move me down that slippery slope to discouragement.

So, I vowed that wouldn’t happen again this year. No more missteps. I tossed out my typically ambitious Lenten to-do list and all the spiritual expectations that went with it. Then, I asked the Holy Spirit to lead the way. Not long after my petition I came across Pope Benedict’s (now His Holiness Benedict XVI, Roman pontiff emeritus) recent address on the meaning of conversion and Lent, in which he posited the questions: “Everyone should then ask himself: What is God’s role in my life? Is He the Lord or am I?” I knew right then and there what my Lenten meditation was going to be, and I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be easy.

And, I was so right. The more I meditate on my two Lenten questions, the more I realize that I am my own worst enemy. I have to get off the throne of my heart so I can make room for God. Uprooting self-centeredness is always a challenge because self doesn’t like to be easily identified.  It hides in our ego. To help identify and root out these self-centered habits, I have taken to pray Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val’s Litany of Humility once a week.

Deliver me Jesus …

From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it ...

That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be esteemed more than I ...

Read more.

It has been a little over three weeks since I began my Lenten exercises, and things are getting easier and I’m seeing light in the process.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this:  the process of conversion is never easy, nor are there any shortcuts to sanctity, or any special techniques or formulas that can whisk away sin with no pain or discomfort.

And as our Roman pontiff emeritus reminds us, the emptying of self is in giving God first place, “recognizing that we are creatures who depend on God, his love, and that only by “losing” our life in him can we truly have it.”

Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there. For you alone are my King and my Lord. --St. Dimitri of Rostove


Peggy Frye is a staff apologist at Catholic Answers.
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