“‘And, behold, they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son. Thy sins are forgiven thee’ (Mt 9:2).
As the Gloss says, sometimes illness is a result of sins, and so they must be forgiven first, so that health may be restored. Illnesses happen in five ways: first, so that the just may increase their merits by patience, like Job; or to preserve their virtue, lest pride tempt them, like Paul; or to correct their sins, as the leprosy to Mary, Moses’ sister, and like this paralytic; or for God’s glory, as with the man born blind, and Lazarus; or as a beginning of eternal punishment, as with Herod, that he might see here what would follow in hell. So Jeremiah says, ‘With a double destruction destroy them, Lord (Jer 17:18)… ‘Putting away lying, speak ye the truth, every man with his neighbour; for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil’ (Eph 4:25-27).
[SPIRITUAL REMEDIES: VIRTUES]
…there are four virtues that carry the paralysed soul to Jesus, humility, poverty, patience and obedience; by which we put away the four things spoken of by the Apostle. By humility, we put away the lying of pride or vainglory, which lies by claiming to be something, whereas it is nothing. Lying is deceiving another’s mind. ‘Speak ye the truth’, by love of poverty. Why is it that nowadays almost everyone speaks falsely to his neighbour, if not from avarice? This is what divides from one another those who should be members of Christ. ‘Be angry’ with yourselves, by repentance, ‘and sin not’. The angry man [other than being angry with oneself alone] thinks evil, and so the devil gets into him, to perform evil deeds. Patience is necessary, to drive out anger. Alternatively, ‘Be angry’ means, show such vehement indignation towards yourselves that you desist from sin. Let not the sun which is Christ set, by deserting your mind. He is obscured from us by anger, as by a mountain standing in the way. Here, then, is why the Apostle invites us to have patience. He also invites us to obedience, saying, ‘Give not place to the devil’. When the first man [Adam] fell into disobedience, he gave place to the devil. You must obey, because obedience shuts out the devil, and he cannot get into the soul.
We ask you, then, Lord Jesus Christ, to put away the lying of our pride; to drive out our avarice by poverty; to break our anger with patience; and to crush our disobedience by the obedience of your Passion. By this, may we be presented to you, and receive the forgiveness of our sins; and be made fit to rejoice with you for ever. Grant this, you who are blessed for ever and ever. Amen.”