The "Gospel of the Paralytic" - as we call it in the ecclesiastic
experience of the community - is a narration which, no matter how
many times I may read it, I will always recognize something new,
something radiant and contemporary in my own history!
Probably the most important thing to be done now - today - is for
Christ's word to become people's history, their road, their
One of the many points where one
can find inner consolation and be
broadened existentially is a question that Christ very frequently
directs in the narrations of the Gospels; to be more specific, in
several cases of healings.
Before attempting to cure a person, Christ often asks him: "Do you
wish to attain sound health?" Do you want to get well, to be
A logical question that arises in many people's minds (and I must
confess in mine too, in older times) is: "But why is Christ asking
them? Is there anyone who is suffering and in pain - and
especially in cases of grave illnesses - who does NOT desire to be cured?"
The most frequent - but I must confess inadequate in my opinion -
reply that they used to give us in the schools of theology was that
Christ respects each person's freedom, which is why He does not want
to perform any miracle without the consent of the ailing person.
I am not saying that this interpretation is incorrect, however, I do
sense that this is not the only reason that Christ insists so much
on the patient's consent, on the path to his rehabilitation.
I think Christ asks him, because He knows that therapy - as an
external act by man which can transform his life and change his habits
as well as the forms of
self-evident false things - is not a simple
matter. In other words, it is not self-evident that all
people, in the deepest level of their being, do in fact desire to be
cured - even during the moment that they persistently ask for it.
Quite often, a sickness is far more "convenient"
than health; many people have learnt to live and to exist (in the
literal sense of the term) by playing the role of a victim: an
"unfortunate" - "unlucky" - "weak" person... They purposely seek to
feel incapable of undertaking life's demands, its responsibilities,
its harshness, its uncertainty... They prefer infirmity: the
"problem", the "inability", because without it, they will have to
take a substantial position and stance in life. They will have
to struggle against the internal and the external nightmares. And
there are many of our fellow-men who cannot bear this; they cannot
suffer it. The stress, the fear and the panic that
responsibilities and the cruel reality called "life" cause in their
existence is unbearable.
Being aware of all the above, Christ
also knows full well that a sickness will complete the
rehabilitation process, only when our sick way of life is changed.
The essence of therapy sets in, when our life,
our relationships and our association with persons and events, our
self, society, nature... and life itself are transformed !
Otherwise, we are confined to the surface of the symptomatology - (ie.,
the shell surrounding the hidden essence) - the essence being none
other than our full presence in the art called "life".