Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Mark 7:24-30
February 11 is the traditional feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, patroness of the shrine in France where St. Bernadette uncovered a miraculous healing spring in 1858; as well as the World Day of the Sick, when we commemorate those suffering from illness and entrust them to God’s mercy.
But God’s mercy can be a tricky thing sometimes. The Syrophoenician woman—a non-Jew—risks everything for her child. This Gentile woman approaching a Jewish man, upending every societal convention in complete abandonment and self-abnegation, begs for her daughter’s healing, with blind faith and simple trust.
Jesus tells her no.
His first words to the woman, her vulnerability notwithstanding, are plain, bordering on harsh: “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”
God invites us, in our most desperate moments, to deepen our faith and persistence in prayer. Very often, He extends this invitation by providing an answer that is not the one we want: No. Not yet. Wait. This isn’t for you.
The beautiful moment in the parable, though, is the woman’s humble response to Jesus’ chiding. She persists not only in her prayer but in her humility and her faith. She meets Him where He is, adopting His analogy: “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
She is not defensive. She does not ignore His rejoinder. She listens—the most crucial step in any prayer of supplication—and responds directly to His response.
She continues to trust that even the scraps of His mercy will be enough. Her belief runs so deep that when Jesus finally acquiesces, she goes straight home in perfect trust that He has already accomplished what He promised.
How can you maintain an attitude of humility and faith when an answer to a prayer was not the one you hoped for?
Lord, grant me a spirit of trust when it feels like my prayers are unanswered. Allow me the grace to believe that Your will is better than mine, always. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Copyright 2021 Christy Wilkens
About the Author
Christy Wilkens, wife and mother of six, is an armchair philosopher who lives in Austin, TX. She writes at FaithfulNotSuccessful.com about disability, faith, doubt, suffering, community, and good reads. Her first book, Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed Our Family and Restored Our Faith, a memoir about a pilgrimage with her husband and son, will be released by Ave Maria Press in 2021.