Cleanse me from the inside

pharisee-and-publicanIn the parable about the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14), I’m the latter. Seriously, by the grace of God, I’ve never really doubted my unworthiness and my lack of holiness.

As regular readers know very well, I can be overly aggressive, impetuous, all-too-often irreverent and all-too-infrequently prayerful. In short, there are a whole host of faults that must be overcome if I ever hope to grow in sanctity.

With this in mind, for more than a year now I have been begging the Lord at every Mass:

Please, cleanse me from the inside out.

Often it seems that our sinfulness creates the very circumstances that, God willing, ultimately serve as purgation; breaking us of our willfulness and humbling us so as to make room for His will to be done.

Please, cleanse me from the inside out.

This is my way of asking the Lord to purify me from within as opposed to allowing my sinfulness to in any way scandalize others, or to give anyone a reason to doubt the truth of our Catholic faith; most especially my family members and close friends.

Given that the Lord has granted me (for what reason only He knows) a public voice, this has long been a concern for me. And so it is that I have been praying:

Please, cleanse me from the inside out.

What’s that old saying, be careful what you ask for?

Without boring you with too many details: I experienced an unusual event that sent me to the ER several weeks ago – sudden severe neck pain, disturbances in my eyesight and dizziness followed by an intense migraine – the latter on its own not being very unusual for me at all.

After a CT scan, an MRI and an MRA (just this past Tuesday), it was discovered that I have a brain aneurysm.

I’ve been referred to a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. (I’m fortunate to have this world renowned institution in my “backyard.”) I’ll see him Monday after next, Oct. 24th, and won’t know much more until then.

Call me crazy (and no doubt some will), but it occurs to me that the Lord has perhaps answered my prayer – that is, if I allow it to be as much.

Look, we all know that we’re not promised tomorrow; we realize that the Lord can call us to our particular judgment at any given moment. Even unbelievers have been known to say, “Treat every day like it’s your last!”

But a brain aneurysm? A time bomb in your head?  And not just any head, but the hot head of a guy like me? Seriously? Talk about heightening your awareness!

Those who know me well know that I am one to keep things to myself; especially anything that might be considered a personal hardship.

In this case, however, the readers of this space have been rather good to me for some time now. We’re brothers and sisters in arms. You’ve earned the right to be informed about this, and selfishly, I could use your prayerful support as much now as ever.

So, long story short, my friends…

Pray for me. Not just for physical healing, but for the grace to allow this trial, whatever it may entail moving forward, to be an occasion of spiritual healing for me and for others.

Pray for me that I might allow God’s grace to manifest itself in this situation; in some way allowing the truth and the beauty of our Catholic faith to show forth through me in spite of my weaknesses; maybe even to the point of drawing souls to, or closer to, Christ.

And please, pray for my family and other loved ones who carry the burden of worrying about me. Honestly, this more than anything else weighs on me now.

Thank you for all that you’ve done for me already, and thanks in advance for keeping me and my family in your prayers.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ be gloried in this and in all things!

aka focus

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