This weekend’s Sunday Gospel opens with a beggar coming to Jesus. The beggar (begging because he was a leper) kneels down and begs Jesus saying “If you wish, you can make me clean.”
Humans are created to be beggars and we are healthy and happy to the extent that we accept this reality.
A beggar is one who asks.
It is not easy to ask. We are programmed to be self-sufficient. Need is often experienced as a sign of weakness.
While the first two or three decades of life are a frantic rush towards independence and invincibility, we soon taste the isolation that comes with these goals. The maturing person will begin to experience the beauty of human inter-dependance, when our growing self-knowledge and self-acceptance brings a delight in awareness of our human limitations and our need for others.
We discover that human relationships begin to grow to maturity not when we share our successes and achievements but instead with an honest and trusting openness about our weaknesses, our failures and our needs.
This is where love begins, and the most basic human need is for love. This is the start of true human friendship.
We are not our own creation. We are created. We are creatures and we remain dependent on our creator for every breath that we take.
This awareness of our dependance could lead us to feel disempowered and anxiously vulnerable, but thanks be to God there is another option.
Christian faith is the life for those who have matured enough to know their need. The mighty and the powerful have no need for God. The posture and the humility of the beggar is foreign to them.
One of the many beautiful signs at every Sunday Mass is to see so many people who might seem strong and powerful enter the church, genuflect on one knee, enter the pew and kneel in silent and humble prayer.
In this posture before God we find a home. It is as if in these moments we have come home to ourselves, and therefore we are at home with God.
One of the quotations near the top of my favourite quotations list is “The true protagonist of history is the beggar: Christ who begs for human hearts and human hearts that beg for Christ.” Luigi Giussani
I am happy to be a beggar.