Updated: Oct 18, 2021
“There is nothing as strong as true meekness, there is nothing as gentle as true strength.” (Saint Francis de Sales).
I have been meditating upon the Gospel passage that describes the Roman centurion who called for Christ to come to his home to cure his sick slave…
“A centurion had a slave who was dear to him, who was sick and at the point of death. When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave... And Jesus went with them. When He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, ‘Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy to have You come under my roof; therefore I did not presume to come to You. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.’” (Luke 7:1-10).
These are powerful words used by the centurion – so powerful that we repeat those words – two thousand years later – every time we celebrate the Sacred Mass when we say… “I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof … but only say the word and my soul shall be healed…”
When you actually stop and think about it, just that very repetition of these words is amazing. After all, how many people are quoted on a daily-basis millennia after they speak? And the Roman centurion was not a learned man and his words were simple, and yet… inspired as they were by the Holy Spirit – they are an insight into so much about Our Blessed Lord…
And so, it makes me think – what is so important about those words?
After all, the man was a Roman centurion…
Christ was later TORTURED and KILLED by Roman centurions who sent the Jewish High priests to collect Him, just as He was collected by the Jewish High Priests in this case too. And yet – knowing what was to come to pass – Christ went when the man called… But the fact that the man was a Roman Centurion is important also, because he was NOT a Jewish man. That meant that Christ was willing to help all people – not just Jewish people.
And who did the Roman Centurion want Christ to heal? A SLAVE! A person who was bought and sold like an animal and who had no rights at all. This is important too, because Christ would later die on the CROSS to liberate us – the SLAVES OF SIN. In fact, a CRUCIFIXION was the death penalty reserved for those who were the lowest of all slaves, which really means that an eternal CRUCIFIXION is what we had merited as slaves through the fall of mankind. And yet – instead of bearing our Cross ad infinitum through eternal damnation, Christ BORE a Cross for LOVE of us to save us from eternal crucifixion in Hell.
That means something… you see, Christ went out of His way for a human being who nobody else thought had any more value than the price paid for the labours of his body and mind, and He did it at the bidding of the slave’s master… This is really the same as what He did for LOVE of us – to SAVE all humankind – God the Son went out of His way to become INCARNATE to suffer and die for OUR sins so that we would be freed of the slavery of damnation.
There is such meekness in the actions of that Roman centurion, which we see through His words – but upon reflection, it is the meekness of Christ which I see in that story. For Christ became a SLAVE to Human Flesh to FREE us of our enslavement to the flesh. That is how He triumphed over Sin… And when I understand this, I conclude that Saint Francis de Sales was right when he said, “There is nothing as strong as true meekness, there is nothing as gentle as true strength.”
For there is such GENTLE strength in MEEKNESS – the strength to OVERPOWER THE DEATH OF SIN! That is the strength of Our Blessed Lord!
And it is for that reason, that though we have been prevented – through the latest lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – from receiving Christ sacramentally, we are not deprived of Him entirely.
During Communism in Vietnam, many Catholic priests were incarcerated for practicing their faith. One prisoner described what he found in the cell he was placed into after the previous prisoner had been moved… Using a loose stone, the previous prisoner – who was a priest – had drawn the Eucharist and a Chalice on the stone wall. I imagine that priests longing for the Hidden Christ, and his hours of adoration inside that cell...
For Saint Teresa of Jesus wrote… “When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you.” For “...when we cannot go to the church, let us turn towards the tabernacle; no wall can shut us out from the good God.” (Saint John Vianney).
Because, in the words of Christ dictated to Saint Faustina in her Diary 526, “Fix your eyes upon Me and live according to what you see. I desire that you penetrate into My spirit more deeply and understand that I am meek and humble of heart.”
For “I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof … but only say the word and my soul shall be healed…”
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.