Reverend Ioan Istrati
Christ heals a hunchbacked woman. Hunched by sin, bent toward the earth, gazing down at the ground, unable to look at the heavens. She is the symbol of each one of us. We are all magnetically attracted to the earth, fixing our eyes on the soil for sustenance or pleasure, like creatures without speech, forgetting to strive towards the heavens like the fire within us. The hunching of the unfortunate woman under the weight of sin is essentially our inability to penetrate the heavens, due to our obsession with materiality.
Sin is a terrible spiritual gravity through which humans burden themselves with matter and its non-existence, constantly tending downward, towards the earth, until they return to the earth of their ancestors. For the one blinded by matter and the pleasure derived from it, the sky is distant, the body becomes a temple of corruption, and even the soul becomes earthly, filled with soil. Concerns and priorities become earthly; everything originates from the body and returns to it, in a vicious circle of redundant sin until death. Everything spiritual acquires absurd material connotations, and the whole world becomes a marketplace where the soul is sold for thirty pieces of silver in a trade between being and non-being.
The death is, in fact, the result of our inclination towards the earth. You become what you love, you turn into dust if everything you loved belonged to it. The saints ascend to heaven, and even the dust of their bodies remains as a testimony to the sanctification of their bodies.
The fundamental miracle of the world is precisely the one accomplished today by God. The person hunched by matter is lifted towards the heavens, the eyes fixed on the ground are fixed on the Cross of God’s love, and the hunchback receives an eternal spinal column.
What should we do with people who no longer want to turn their gaze towards Heaven? The tragedy of our days is no longer the scoliosis acquired through sin, but the stubborn desire of people to remain in it. People no longer conceive of eternal life, they do not want to hear about unity with God, about the verticality of celestial heights, they no longer feel the coolness of Heaven and the hand of God in theirs, they refuse miracles, and they remain burdened until death by the wickedness of this world.
A holy father was walking through a city when he saw a monk being horribly dragged with a chain by a devil on the city’s dusty and rocky roads. The man was in terrible agony, crying for help, but the chain between him and the devil prevented any movement. He was covered in wounds, blood, and tears. The Holy Father stopped and shouted to the cunning spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to stop! Wretched and deceitful spirit, how dare you drag this monk, who has dedicated his life to God, through these stones?”
The evil spirit stopped, looked curiously at the priest, and said: “Father, I am dragging a chain, but the monk is holding onto it stubbornly. He just needs to open his palm and he would be free from all this pain. He wants to be dragged through the dusty road”.
Sin is the stubbornness of humans to live in pain, the obsession with pleasure that brings suffering, and our inability to release our hands from the chains of passions and embrace the One who awaits us for eternity, eagerly desiring our return to His arms. The hunchbacked person is the one who has forgotten to look towards the heavens and has numbed the senses of eternity within them. They dwell in the insignificance of matter as in the womb of death and await eternal suffering.