Frassati Reflection: The Extraordinary Within the Ordinary

Naaman came with his horses and chariots
and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house.
The prophet sent him the message:
“Go and wash seven times in the Jordan,
and your flesh will heal, and you will be clean.”
But Naaman went away angry, saying,
“I thought that he would surely come out and stand there
to invoke the LORD his God,
and would move his hand over the spot,
and thus cure the leprosy.
Are not the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar,
better than all the waters of Israel?
Could I not wash in them and be cleansed?”
With this, he turned about in anger and left.

But his servants came up and reasoned with him.
“My father,” they said,
“if the prophet had told you to do something extraordinary,
would you not have done it?
All the more now, since he said to you,
‘Wash and be clean,’ should you do as he said.”
So Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

He returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before him and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.”

—2 Kings 5:9–15

I can really relate to Naaman here. He wants to know why it has to be done this way—why would miraculous, divine healing come from something so mundane and ordinary? Why should he believe Elisha? What makes this river different than any other river he’s washed in before? If he’s supposed to be expecting the kind of miracle that turns his life upside down, then why would it come through him carrying out an ordinary, everyday action? If God doesn’t answer our prayers in the way we anticipate, how can we trust that He’s really listening?

Naaman’s healing shows us that miracles begin with ordinary actions, with faithfulness and trust in God through times when things are not clear to us. God’s ways may not make sense to us every step of the way, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. When Nathan put aside his anger and his ego and lowered himself into the waters, when he followed through on the simple, mundane instructions that were given him instead of demanding instant satisfaction, he experienced full and complete healing. We, too, can experience the extraordinary through the ordinary if we awaken ourselves to see the miracle hidden within every moment. Every simple action we take can bring us closer to God.

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth:
“Amen, I say to you,
no prophet is accepted in his own native place.”
—Luke 4:24

Just as Jesus was rejected by those in His native land, Pier Giorgio Frassati was not appreciated by his own family during his lifetime. He experienced rejection from those who were closest to him, from the parents he most respected and loved. They were blinded to all the goodness within him; all they could see is that he was not the son they had expected or wanted. To them, Pier Giorgio’s virtues and noble deeds were so interwoven and hidden within the normal, everyday moments of their lives that they didn’t even notice or value them. They had hoped for a son who would make big waves in society and make his family proud, but they didn’t realize their hope was being fulfilled in a way much different—and much more significant—than they had ever imagined. While he was still living, they didn’t appreciate the gift God had given them through their son. They were underwhelmed by Pier Giorgio, but this is only because, to them, he was an ordinary part of their everyday life, nothing special. They didn’t understand that through these everyday moments, they were raising a saint.

Lord, open our eyes to see the blessings that we miss, the ones right under our nose that we take for granted. Help us to let go of the preconceived expectations we have for our lives and see the path You have laid before us. Show us the gifts you’ve given us within our ordinary lives.

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