As Jesus disembarks from his boat
in a Gentile territory,
there is a man possessed by many demons
who runs up to him, falling at his feet.
This man, living lost amid the tombs,
has strength which none can match.
He cannot be held by any chain,
but breaks them all to pieces.
And yet he is unable, in his weakness,
to control his very self.
What is this mysterious paradox?
No human shackles can contain him
and yet he is a slave to himself.
The many demons who inhabit his body
have power over his very flesh.

Perhaps this mystery,
though an extreme case,
is not so difficult to understand…
for we experience this too, do we not?
In our fear we grasp for power,
for freedom from the shackles
of our weakness and human limitation.
And in this fear of being little,
of being weak, humble, and in need,
we are tempted to sell ourselves
to the demons which give us strength,
which provide a sense of domination,
which promise freedom and liberation.
And yet what is the result?
“Night and day among the tombs
and on the hillsides
he was always crying out
and bruising himself with stones.”

This is what our sins do:
they isolate us from others
and close us in ourselves,
and then, in this isolation,
we hurt ourselves in self-hatred,
we bruise ourselves with lust,
we burden ourselves with possessiveness,
and we find ourselves, at last,
naked, defenseless among the dead.

But look!
Look at this, feeble little heart,
and do not despair!
The demons which have power over you
have no power whatsoever over the Lord.
At the sight of him
they come running and fall at his feet!
Then comes the amazing exorcism—
which, for you, little heart,
comes with each Confession,
with each heartfelt plea for mercy,
and with each humble reception
of that Eucharistic gift of grace.

Indeed, little one, do you realize
that you have already been set free?
Even if you still bear the scars of sin,
if you bear the painful tug of lust,
of pride, or of greed,
this disordered nature received
through propagation from Adam and Eve—
even though this is true,
has not Jesus already cast your demons
into the depths of the sea?

Thank him for this,
for the grace of Baptism,
and cast yourself upon him anew,
anew, anew each and every day.
And he will grant you to realize,
more and more, the gift already given,
which burns in you by his mercy,
and beckons you to belong to him,
to be his yet more totally still.

All you need, little heart,
is to run up to him
again and again, in every need,
and to cast yourself at his feet!
Yes, you will find yourself,
delivered by pure grace,
sitting at his feet,
contemplating the beauty of the One
who has become the Center of your life.

And you will dwell, no longer in fear,
but in the truth of his love,
which is the Power made perfect in weakness,
sheltering you, unceasingly, in the truth of belovedness.
And from this place he will send you
to share the joy of your true liberation
with those who are still burdened by fear,
so that they, like you, may not fear
to draw near to the great Physician,
this awesome Healer of the heart.