Take Up Your Mat and Walk

“Do you want to be well?” he asked. (John: 5:6)

Six words. A simple question. But what do I answer?

Yes, Lord.

Of course I want to be well. To be healed. To be who You made me to be. But how?

It has been so long. And I feel so alone. How can I be well in the midst of this brokenness? How can I heal when I feel such pain?

How do I move forward, into Your arms, when the harsh gaze of others reminds me of my wounds and holds me back?

How do I make it to You?

“Rise, take up your mat and walk.” (John 5:8)

Seven words this time. A simpler statement. But how can it be so?

Can’t You see that I am weak? How can I possibly rise, let alone carry this load?

I am scared.

Yet I feel a warmth in Your presence. My heart is stirring at the sound of Your voice. If You say I can do it, it must be so.

Jesus, I trust in You.

And so, I rise, pick up my mat, and walk.

I walk past the faces of disbelief. I walk past those who stare and whisper doubt about the worth of this miracle. I walk past their judgement, as well as my own, past my vices and my fears, the things I idolize and the things I cling to.

I keep walking forward, feeling stronger with each step, pushing through the stumbles, until I am there, in Your embrace, safe, loved, and free.

[Tweet “In Your embrace I am safe, loved, and free.”]

What’s holding you back from walking toward Jesus’ loving embrace? Make a good Confession, get to Mass, pray with a wide-open heart.

Sarah Stanley is a small town Ohio girl who is mildly obsessed with all things Ignatian and is very passionate about faith, social justice, and the intersection of the two. She recently earned her Master of Divinity and now serves as the Director of Christian Service at a high school in New England. When she’s not working, she enjoys contagious laughter, travel, clever puns, and finding the good in all things. You can find out more about her here.


  • Reply
    Tanya Hielke
    March 13, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Thank you Sarah for your very Ignatian words. I was at our parish mission last night and this very topic of “what obstacles are keeping you from God” was the topic. We are called, loved and forgiven by an adoring God.
    Through regular confession, I am a better person, a better servant. A good confession for me is going in with the purpose of unloading the the very sin that I repeat and that weighs me down, keeping me from crossing that river. Thank you for saying those words; “Make a good confession, get to Mass, and pray with a wide-open heart.”

  • Reply
    March 13, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for such a heart-felt reflection

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