Today’s word is taken from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 7, verses 31-37 where The Lord is asked to heal a man who is deaf. The application to those of us who really need to hear a comforting word about recovering our life from a dreadful addiction is quite obvious. Yet, do we really want to hear a word of comfort and healing? An illustration about reluctance might be seen in this story told by Deacon Dick Folger.

“Grandpa was almost stone deaf. He finally went to the doctor to see if anything could be done about his condition. The doctor fitted him with a set of hearing aids that allowed him to hear like new. When Grandpa went back to the doctor for his monthly checkup, the doctor said, your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again. Grandpa replied, Oh no, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around the house and listen to their conversations. I’ve already changed my will three times!”

The word that Jesus used when he healed the deaf man was “ephphatha,” which means “be opened.” How crucial for those of us in recovery to “be opened” by someone greater than ourselves. Why do we resist such an offer, such a gift? Could it be that the possibilities of hearing new ways of living scare us off? Could it be that opening to a way of life foreign to us would exact too much from us?

The fear of the unknown resides deep within us. Yet, once we take this initial step and give in (better, give up) we inevitably are blown away by a new, until now unknown, freedom of spirit. This is a freedom to enjoy life in a rich and startling new and unselfish way. Getting out of self is a major fault line for us and, once tried, a major breakthrough for us.


Lord Jesus, open my ears today but most of all my heart to the new life You wish to give me. I ask this humbly but confidently in Your name by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.

These thoughts offered by Brother Richard Hittle, S.J., a grateful 1980 graduate of Guest House and an employee since 2004.