By Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
The Gospel story of the centurion tells us about a man whose faith exceeded that of the Jewish people, although he himself was a pagan. A person dear to him was ill and he came to Christ, asking for a miracle, asking that the Lord should have mercy on him. Christ answered the man saying, “I will come, I will heal him.”
This is where the amazing centurion’s faith was manifested. So often when we pray, we ask the Lord insistently to come close to us, to make His presence felt, so that we may clearly feel His power. This man acted with great simplicity, saying to Christ, “No don’t trouble yourself to come. I am a sinful man and not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but just say the word and my servant will be healed. One word from God – that was what the man asked for, not the joy of contact which we all long for. We ask the Lord that He should fulfil our requests and, in addition to that, grant us the miraculous joy of His presence. The centurion appreciated in his heart how holy the Lord was, how great, and was ready to forgo this joy if only his friend, his servant would recover.
Often we could turn to God and say, “Help me, Lord. I do not need to know what is happening, nor to feel Your action; only do Your will, silently, as it were from a distance, unnoticed by me.” If only we were able to turn to God with such faith, with such a feeling of His holiness, how close the Lord would be. He is always close, He is always approaching us, but we can sense Him only with a loving and humble heart. A spark of love we sometimes have, but there is not much humility. So if we were to turn to God and say, “Lord, let the good, the holiness that my soul longs for be fulfilled for my dear ones, and me you can leave out. Pass me by on your way to them”, how the Lord would rejoice at the love which is ready to lay down its life, its joy, for others. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ,