Today in front of the Blessed Sacrament, right after I had finished another novena for someone, I was reading the Scripture Mark 10:46-52. It is when Jesus healed blind Bartimaeus’ eyes. As I read this I was struck by how simple and direct the conversation was between Jesus and Bartimaeus.
Bartimaeus starts by yelling out, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” The people around him try to shut him up. But Bartimaeus was not distracted from his prayer. He called out even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus heard him and stopped. He said, “Call him over.” The people who had been telling him to be quiet are now encouraging him to go to Jesus. Bartimaeus did not hesitate. He sprang up, threw off his cloak, and ran to Jesus. Jesus simply asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
Bartimaeus plainly replies, “I want to see.”
Then Jesus says, “You may go, your eyes are healed because of your faith.” Bartimaeus’ blindness is miraculously cured and he follows Jesus. There was no flowery conversation that took place, there was no beating around the bush, there was no reading prayers out of a book. I don’t think their dialogue could have gotten any simpler, clearer, or shorter.
So there I was sitting alone in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I put my novena book aside, and I pictured Jesus say to me, “What is it you want?” So in less than 10 words I told him what I wanted. I smiled, and I left the chapel confident that that prayer will be answered.
I want to state, I am not against novenas. They are a part of our Catholic faith and tradition. However, the lesson to me today was that Jesus likes when we are pure and simple, with direct and honest prayer with Him. We simply say what is on our mind and believe Jesus can do it. We don’t have to complicate or dress up our prayers in any way.
Fr. Thomas used to say that there is no substitute for prayer in your own words. Bartimaeus’ sincere prayer from the heart shows how true that is. It was enough for Jesus to give him back his sight.