by: Daniel McFeely
“So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times …” (2 Kings 5)
The woman was weary.
She had journeyed for many miles, herding her children like sheep, keeping them in line as they walked the streets of the city, cutting through alleys to stay out of sight.
This was not a casual evening walk. Far from it.
These children … something had to be done.
She had prayed for them. Prayed with them. Prayed over them when they slept.
Constantly she pleaded with God to watch over them … only to be frustrated when her plea’s seemingly went unanswered.
And yet, she journeyed once again.
Block after block, alley after alley, her eyes fixed on the steeple that seemed so close, but yet was far away.
It was there, under the steeple, that she would surely find the answer to her prayers.
Her children – 7 of them – were scattered around her, moving in a pack, but never orderly.
They wandered off, strayed from the path, often became distracted to the point they were nearly blind.
Their names were Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride.
At one point in their lives, they had been known by other names. But as they grew up and grew away from their Mother, their behaviors changed.
It started with just a little bit of temptation. Wandering eyes, insatiable appetites, jealousy and anger. But left to fend for themselves, each child began to lose their humanity … slowly, but surely becoming something God never intended.
Eventually, Mother found a way to reach out to all seven. With much patience and forgiveness, she hugged them and brought them back into her life. Some came quickly, others hesitated. At least one came kicking and screaming.
And so they walked that day … step by step, block after block.
Finally reaching the steeple, they entered.
One by one, each was welcomed, forgiven.
Not once, but many times.
Then they were sent on their way.
They had been bathed in the waters of a forgiving God.
Transforming waters … capable of so much, if only all were so willing.
Lust left that day with a new name: Chastity.
Gluttony became Temperance.
Greed became Charity.
Sloth became Diligence.
Wrath became Patience.
Envy became Kindness.
And Pride became Humility.
Seven children … seven sinful behaviors … bathed seven times.
Mother was pleased.
© A Catholic Moment 2015
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox