What Have You To Do with Me?

Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before Him, crying with a loud voice, “What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”(Mark 5:6-7).

This sounds like a man in a fit of desperation. We never know exactly what someone is going through as none of us wear identical pairs of shoes.  But in some ways, I can relate.   There are elements that resonant with the common human experience of suffering:  “Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.”

Metaphorically I have had my days of crying out with some hefty emotional damage to myself.  A tendency for negative thought patterns, guilt, and self-deprecation is a type of bruising that can result in a huge hematoma on the self-concept.  Such attitudes can cause a person to be bound by the shackles and chains of isolation.

However, what particularly draws my attention is that the fellow in the Gospel caught “sight of Jesus from a distance.”

My own journey of faith has been one of desperation intertwined with catching glimpses of “Jesus from a distance.” Somewhere in the process, my desperation got caught up with a sense of awe at the wonder of God.  Brief glimpses of Jesus were so compelling that I could not forget.  It is like what the First Letter of Peter states (2:3):  “For you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

 It is the invitation and experience of God that keeps one coming back for more. While on earth we eat but we are never full.  We drink from the springs but still thirst.  I think that the state of heaven is being imbued with the fullness of God.  As St. Augustine once said, “Our hearts are restless until we rest in Thee.”

“Learn to savor how good the Lord is; happy are those who take refuge in Him.”(Psalms 35:9).

Some theoretical orientations in psychology try to teach persons to center on themselves.  But another approach is to put God in the center.  Putting God in the center does not deny our humanity or personhood.  It only enhances it.  As we grow closer to God we see how good He really is.  He has our best interest at hand.  In fact, He is closer to us than we are to ourselves (St. Augustine).  Remember He stepped down from His heavenly throne and became Incarnate, to be like us – so that we could be like Him.

Being God-centered rather than self-centered is what humility is all about.  It is not about being self-deprecating.  It is not about hating ourselves.  It is about being who we are meant to be as created images of God.

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