Richard Rohr, one of my favorite writers on male spirituality, has a meditation on blind Bartimaeus in Mark 1o:46-52. If you remember the story, Bartimaeus is desperate to get to the feet of Jesus. He shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” He was rebuked and told to be quiet. But he shouted all the more. Jesus stopped and asked him what he wanted. He said that he wanted to see. Jesus said to him, “your faith has healed you.” “Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.”
Rohr notes that for a blind man, his cloak represents security. “A blind man was considered cursed by God” observed Rohr. “Their only protection against the elements was their cloak.” The blind man dropped his cloak. “In doing so, he dropped all the security he had even known to follow the one named Jesus.” I wonder what our security blankets are as men. I suppose it will vary for each of us. But certainly our security blanket brings us a sense of the familiar and some sense of assurance that we can protect ourselves.
Why do we have security blankets? Isn’t part of the reason our hidden fears that we find hard to admit and face. I know for myself when I think of my security blanket I have to acknowledge there is a little boy inside who is afraid that he will not be understood. I especially begin to have these feelings when I am threatened or misunderstood. These are moments when I reach for my security blanket to provide protection from what I consider a cruel world that does not seem to understand. This is the response of a immature boy, who has not yet grown up. This is very hard for me to admit. But time and time again these are my responses
What an example Bartimaeus can be to us. He wants to see. He is willing to give up his only security to have the opportunity to come before Jesus. First, he had to have faith that is was going to be ok to leave his security. Second, he wanted very badly to receive his sight. Even when he was told to be quiet, he kept on calling out to Jesus. Third, his cry was for mercy. He had nothing to offer Jesus. He was totally dependent on Jesus to help him.
Men this is a wonderful example for us to ponder. Like Bartimaeus we have to set aside our security blanket, whatever than may be. It will prevent us from coming to Jesus. Bartimaeus might have missed Jesus if he had not throw off his blanket. We, like Bartimaeus have to be somewhat desperate. His prayer is one of the most heartfelt in all the gospels. It was short and to the point. That’s says something to us men. Make our prayer sincere and from the heart. Probably the greatest witness for me, as that fact the Bartimaeus believed that Jesus could help him. So with us men. We will not move toward Jesus till we believe he will take care of us. We have to get up, throw off the blanket we hide behind, cry out in desperation, and come to Jesus. He will receive us. We will never be denied when we come in such simple, heartfelt faith.
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