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Saint John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church (Optional Memorial)
Your priests, O Lord, shall be clothed with justice;
your holy ones shall ring out their joy. Cf. Ps 132 (131):9
Grant, we pray, O Lord,
that we may be helped by the prayers
of the Priest Saint John Damascene,
so that the true faith,
which he excelled in teaching,
Daily Meditation: Matthew 9:27-31
Son of David, have pity on us! (Matthew 9:27)
Can you imagine being blind and then suddenly being able to see? What a stupendous miracle it was for Jesus to restore the sight of these two men! And yet consider the other miracle—that two blind men called out to Jesus because they had the faith to believe that he could heal them.
Invoking Jesus for help is the first part of any healing miracle. That’s why this verse has been used for centuries by the Eastern churches as the basis for prayer. Since at least the sixth century, both religious and laypeople have gone through their days reciting the “Jesus Prayer”: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Because the Jesus Prayer, like the Rosary, is both simple and repetitive, it helps us to cry out continually to the Lord. In this prayer, the mercy we are asking for certainly includes physical healing, which was the request of the two blind men. But it also includes any other kind of healing we may need Jesus to do in us—spiritual, emotional, or relational.
To better prepare for the grace God has in store for you this Christmas, you might try praying the Jesus Prayer yourself. But before you begin, imagine you are one of these blind men. You can’t see Jesus either, but you know he is there. As you say the words “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God,” visualize him standing before you. Think of how amazing it is that the Lord of the universe came down from heaven so that you could speak to him personally.
Then, as you pray, “Have mercy on me, a sinner,” focus on the word “mercy.” When you encounter Jesus, you can’t help but encounter his mercy. His mercy encompasses everything he is—his unfailing love, his forgiveness, his kindness, and his goodness. As you repeat the words of the prayer, receive the Lord’s mercy. Remember, he came not to condemn you but to heal and deliver you. He came to help you “see” the truth that he is all you need. And knowing that is a miracle in itself.
“Lord Jesus, open my heart to know you in a deeper way.”
Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14
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