I read this to my son Christian this evening. He really likes this story.
It is the story of a sick man who dies and has been this way stinking in the tomb for four days. Everyone who cared for him is weeping and moaning.
It is the Story of St.Lazarus but it is also the story of me and you.
As a convert myself I too was once sick. I was so sick I became spiritually dead to the world. There I lay in the darkness of my tomb, no light to be seen for many many years. My spiritual corpse smelled so bad.
Everyone who loved me (like Martha loved Lazarus) all cried and wept over my rotten corpse. Even ”Jesus wept”(John:11:35) and could endure it no longer.
First he didn’t remove the stone, he ordered my friends and family to do that for me. They were the instrument he used to open my tomb and then he did the rest. They gave me rosaries and books.
He called me forth from the tomb. I came stumbling out of the darkness of sin but according to Jesus there was still more work to be done. Ok I’m free now but… I was all tied up and mummified in the cloth of spiritual imperfections.
He ordered those who would spiritually guide me (the Orthodox and Catholic fathers of the churches) to unbind me and loose me that I may at least have some kind of vision of who it was that called me from the tomb.
When I look at myself today and the state my soul is in, I realize there’s always going to be more unbinding to be done and that the work of those around me is never finished.
I just pray that Jesus never has to call me out of the darkness ever again.
Looking at my bonsai tree today got me thinking. When we find a plant that is suffering from drought and it is beginning to show signs of decay, a thorough regime of watering gradually brings it back to life. Giving it just one soak with the watering can isnt going to bring it back to life straight away. It takes time and patience and a lot of weeks before it comes back to life and is blossoming, becoming the tree it was always created to be.
We unlike plants have the ability to call on Christ and have our souls watered with grace. However we can still apply all of the above to our souls. Prayer is our water, but prayer is never always answered in an instant, and its effects are never always experienced as quickly as we would often like it to be. Like with water and my bonsai tree, prayer has the purifying effect on the soul and with time and patience the gradual effects of prayer will shine through in time, bit by bit, purifying our sinful souls, so black with sin, so blind to the spiritual. Like Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, prayer raises us from our dark tombs, and then begins the gradual process of unravelling the bandages that covered our sinful secrets, so that they may be seen by the light and purged of all the ugliness.
Having drawn those comparisons between the bonsai tree and the soul, we have to remember to keep it watered, otherwise it will slip into decay again. We must attend to the garden that is our souls, lest through neglect it becomes so unfit, that even the demons just abandon it having seen it is already ruined to the point if no return. Because nothing gives the devil more of a foothold than a soul who is without need of temptation.
Categories: Prayers, The Catholic Family
Tags: blind, Bonsai Tree, Catholic, Christian, devil, Lazarus, Orthodox, plants, Prayer, temptation, Watering the soul