Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tuum. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen.
Today is the feast of the Archangel Raphael, who is known as the “angelical physician”, not only for his healing works in the Book of Tobias, but also for his deeds as recounted in John chapter 5, one of the most moving narratives in scripture. It was St. Raphael the Archangel who would agitate the waters once per year at Bethesda which would then heal the first person to touch the waters. In John 5, even though St. John is spare in his prose, one can immediately hear the anguish of the man who tells Our Lord that he has tried every year for thirty-eight years to be healed of his infirmity, but because he has no one to help him, he never makes it to the pool in time. And yet, this man has kept the faith and persevered.
Our Blessed Lord healed the man, and afterward, finding the man at the Temple, Jesus told him, “Behold thou art made whole: sin no more, lest some worse thing happen to thee.”
Mercy is inextricably tied to renunciation of sin. The “worse thing” that would come from presuming upon God’s Mercy and NOT ceasing the sinful activity (or at least having a firm, immediate purpose of amendment) is ETERNAL DAMNATION. Thirty-eight years with a horrific physical infirmity is NOTHING compared to all of eternity in hell in unceasing torment, never, ever to see God, and knowing how being damned was 100% one’s own choice, and thus completely unnecessary.
None of us have to wait for St. Raphael to swoop in as depicted above (wheeeee!), and then win a foot race. All we have to do is enter The Church and go to Confession, wherein the waters of Baptism are perpetually and inexhaustibly available, and the Blood of Christ removes every stain of sin.
Then, we must do what Our Lord commanded the cripple that He healed:
- STAND UP – Stop committing the sin. Do not, after being healed, think you can lie there and continue to wallow in your sin.
- PICK UP YOUR MAT – Do penance and make satisfaction for your sins.
- WALK – Advance in the good, always moving towards greater sanctity.
St. Raphael, pray for us.
Christ, have mercy on us.