Being with Jesus in the Ignatian style of prayer (see https://www.loyolapress.com/catholic-resources/ignatian-spirituality/examen-and-ignatian-prayer/praying-the-ignatian-way-reflective-prayer/) I found myself praying with Jesus in Capernaum this week. Sometimes it’s hard to find time for prayer in the busy of the winter, but we can use our imagination and be with Jesus if we can prioritize some time to be in prayer.
This winter season has been busy with ill children. The schedule for today was full, a mix of routine care with children who were mostly ill with upper respiratory infections and its secondary bacterial infections. After waking up early around 4 am and not being able to go back to sleep, I decided to get ready to go work. Illnesses presented themselves in many forms, from simple colds to ear infections, pneumonias and bloody stools. Routine care visits sprinkled the schedule throughout the day, including well child visits and ADHD follow ups. Every parent had an opinion of their child’s illness and part of my job was to educate them on the current illness and how to help their children get better. It was a hard pace to keep up, to the point that sometimes it was a challenge trying to figure when it was a good time to go to the bathroom.
Nevertheless, after working for almost 12 hours, I came home, had dinner with Anne, took a shower and proceeded to pray in the Ignatian style of prayer. As I centered myself and prayed with God our Father, I closed my eyes and began to place myself in Capernaum with Jesus. The gospel readings this week in January have been from the Gospel of Mark, starting with Jesus being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (Mark 1: 9-11) and hearing, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
The Holy Spirit then takes Jesus into the wilderness (Mark 1:12-13) where he is tempted by Satan for 40 days. He then goes to the Sea of Galilee and begins to call his disciples, first Simon and his brother Andrew, and then James and John, sons of Zebedee (Mark 1:16-20). They then head to Capernaum and Jesus teaches in the synagogue on the Sabbath. Upon learning that Simon’s mother-in-law is ill, they go to her place. It is here that I begin my prayer.
I can see that the house is rustic. Simon’s mother-in-law is in a room by herself, the entrance is covered with a red curtain. Jesus proceeds to enter the room and I can see empathy in Jesus’ facial expression as he looks at her. He holds her hand and closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and just rests with her. It’s as if his energy if flowing out to her and soon thereafter, she opens her eyes and smiles. As Mark states in the gospel reading, “The fever left her, and she began to wait on them” (Mark 1:29-31). Jesus thanks our Father for helping him heal her.
Many others come for healing that evening: leprosy, pneumonias, stomach ailments. It turns into a long day for Jesus, and he decides to get up early the next morning to pray. I decide to join Jesus in prayer and head out in the cool morning. There is dew on the grass and the sun light is just barely coming up in the horizon. I close my eyes while Jesus and I sit together in this solitary field under a fig tree. We pray in quiet as we feel the Father’s peace and love. For a moment, we are one with the Father, feeling God’s love for us. It is here that we find our source of energy, full of love, as we ready to tackle another day to heal people. I thank Jesus for letting me be with him, we smile at each other, and proceed to look straight ahead as the sun continues to rise.