Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him;hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him.
Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The last line in this gospel strikes me as a bit unusual.
If Jesus had just miraculously cured many of debilitating diseases, would he expect witnesses to proclaim the healing with evangelistic fervor? Not in this story. Jesus sternly warns them “not to make him known.”
Scholars note that here Jesus is attempting to communicate his truth on his own terms. Personally, I have come to view spiritual direction, as a directee and a director, as a sacred space to explore where God is calling each one of us to uncover our own truth, to live the life that only we can lead.
Sometimes a new truth emerges when preparing for an appointment; sometimes a graced understanding spills out at the meeting; and sometimes a new perspective gently unfolds in hindsight. But, for me, my favorite revelation of a new truth is when I am doing something a bit later and notice I am responding with a new instinct, a new sense of generosity.
Like Jesus in this reading, how are each of us being called to communicate our own truth in this world? Do we have the space and time to explore that truth?
—Charlotte Ahern is a wife and mother of three college-aged children. She is also a spiritual director and retreat leader at Jesuit schools in the Chicago-area.
Oh, Lord my God,
You called me from the sleep of nothingness
merely because in your tremendous love
you want to make good and beautiful beings.
You have called me by my name in my mother’s womb.
You have given me breath and light and movement
and walked with me every moment of my existence.
I am amazed, Lord God of the universe,
that you attend to me and, more, cherish me.
Create in me the faithfulness that moves you,
and I will trust you and yearn for you all my days.
—Joseph Tetlow, SJ in Hearts on Fire, ed. Michael Harter, S.J. © Loyola Press, 2004.