Monday of the Seventh Week of the Year I
A Tormented Child
Today’s Gospel recounts the deliverance of a boy tormented by an evil spirit from his infancy. “And oftentimes hath he cast him into the fire and into waters to destroy him. But if Thou canst do anything, help us, having compassion on us” (Mk 9:21). The Evil One throws the boy into extremes; this is characteristic of the devil’s work. Whereas the action of the Holy Spirit is marked by a sweet discretion, by gentleness, and by moderation, the action of the Evil One is marked by exaggerations, by excesses of all sorts, by imprudent starts and by bitter endings. These are the things that cast the soul into discouragement and sadness.
How does one restore order and balance to a soul that has lost both? “And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mk 9:22). Our Lord asks for one thing only: a little faith. Here, faith means trust. Faith is not an intellectual assent to a