The Healing of Ten Lepers

Father Girardey discusses a seventh narrative, The Healing of Ten Lepers (Lk 17:12-19): “As Jesus entered a certain town, there met Him ten men that were lepers, and they stood afar off, and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. When He saw them, He said: Go, show yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God. And he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks. And this man was a Samaritan. And Jesus, answering, said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger.”

Father Girardey notes that these lepers “clung together in their misery, which they keenly felt. They came all together in the neighborhood of the place where Jesus was, and standing at the prescribed distance from Him, they in a loud voice besought Him to have mercy on them. . . . These lepers prayed well. Their prayer was humble, for they stood far off, as being unworthy to approach Jesus; it was earnest and fervent, for they felt their misery and prayed with a loud voice; it was full of confidence, for they did not rely on their merits, but on the Saviour’s goodness, saying: ‘Have mercy on us.’ It was efficacious in kind, for they prayed in common, and God blesses such prayer (Mt 18:20), and our divine Saviour has taught us to make use of it, when teaching us the Our Father.”

“He said to them: ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests,’ requiring them to show obedience and submission to the Mosaic Law, and reverence to the priests. Their cure was also partly owing to their faith, for they believed in being cured by Jesus and at once set themselves on their way to show themselves to the priests, although they were not yet cured, for, says the Gospel, ‘as they went, they were made clean.’”

“The thought naturally entered the minds of all ten to go back and show their gratitude to Jesus. But only one of them gave effect to this thought. . . . He returned all the way to show his gratitude, and he did so most humbly, publicly prostrating himself before Jesus, without human respect. His conduct delighted the tender Heart of Jesus.”

“How many ever thank God for the numerous temporal favors they daily receive from Him! How few even show their gratitude for the spiritual favors and graces God so plentifully bestows upon them, help in temptation, forgiveness of sins.”

Quotations from Ferreol Girardey, Prayer: Its Necessity, Its Power, Its Conditions (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1916).

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