“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.” (Jn 15:12) In a world that can be cold and unfeeling, how do we love one another when many of us have been harmed and injured by other people, by institutions, and by their own sins and the sins of others? Healing of the heart is needed. What does God tell us about healing? The New Testament reveals that it is through the Passion and death of Jesus that we are healed: “But he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) It is by seeking Jesus and following the narrow path that he asks us to walk – the path of love, forgiveness, and obedience – that we can be healed and restored. We should thank and praise him daily and constantly for HIS great love that inspired him to sacrifice, to lay down his life for us.
Loving Like Jesus Did
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated. It is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury. It does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Cor 13:4-8) St. Paul’s description of love is a lofty standard to live by. This level of Christlike love does not come naturally or easily; we must work at purifying and increasing our love so we love like Jesus did, and this is accomplished often through our own healing. Through the many healings that Christ effected in the gospels, from the leper to the blind man, it is apparent that Our Lord loves us and desires our healing so that we can become more whole and disposed to love and forgiveness. What are some practical ways we can experience his healing and forgiveness? Three avenues of that are readily available to us, even daily, are the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and forgiving those who have offended us.
1. Healing Power in the Eucharist
Jesus promised that he would be with us until the end of the world, and he keeps this promise through his Divine Presence in the Eucharist. He makes himself available to us every day through Holy Communion and Eucharistic Adoration. There is power in receiving and adoring Christ in his Eucharistic Presence. Eucharistic Adoration has been described as “divine radiation therapy” to heal our spiritual, emotional, and even physical ailments. Spending time with Jesus in Adoration is essential is growing in the spiritual life and helps to purify and sanctify us. Reception of Holy Communion can also bring about inner healing, and when we receive Communion our venial sins are forgiven and we receive strength and power. Fr. John Hardon reminds us, however, that in order to receive healing through the Eucharist, it is essential to believe and have faith in Jesus’ True Presence and to believe that he has the power to heal and restore us. He states, “However, let’s have no misunderstanding; Christ the Almighty Son of God, who became man, worked miracles during His visible stay on earth only in favor of those who believed. Those who believed that the man they called Jesus was no one less than Almighty God. We should therefore expect this same Jesus to continue working miracles. But I repeat, only for those who believe that the same Jesus is still on earth, but now demanding our faith twice over. He wants us to believe that He is in the Holy Eucharist with the fullness of His humanity, and also to believe that His human nature is united with the second person of the Holy Trinity.” We must have faith to receive what God wants to give us. Our healing and transformation, and the answers to our prayers, are dependent upon this.
2. Your Sins Are Forgiven – Healing in Confession
Another rich source of restoration is through receiving the sacraments of healing – Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick. Reconciliation is the most available of the two and should be frequented. In an address given by Cardinal James Francis Stafford in 2006, the cardinal recalled remarks by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: “‘Sacramental Confession calls us to “a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing,’ according to Pope Benedict XVI. Like Jesus we stand similarly stripped before God. The penitent’s eros is cleansed by the costly grace of the cross in order “to rise ‘in ecstasy’ towards the divine glory.” We are stripped before God because we are required to lay bare our souls before Jesus in his representative in the confessional. Our passions and attachments are purified and cleansed when we go before the priest and humbly confess. Doing so can seem unappealing and difficult; however, the graces one receives after absolution are absolutely worth the sacrifice. Confession is often compared to the cleansing and medicating of a wound. The wound must be exposed and cleaned out before healing can begin. This process can be painful; however, without it, infection can set in and healing can not take place. The same is true of our souls. It has been said that we are as sick as the secrets we keep and there is some truth to this. The priest represents Jesus and has authority to administer absolution, which effects the healing of our souls. Going to Confession is also a wonderful source of peace and healing. We should not fear it but run toward it. “Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.” (St. Isidore of Seville)
3. Seventy Times Seven – Forgiving Others
A great burden is lifted off of our shoulders when we can forgive and move past the hurts that prevent us from loving like we should. If we are still suffering from injuries done to us and have not yet forgiven, a simple prayer of, “Lord, give me the desire to forgive,” can be a good place to begin. The Lord answers prayer if the answer will benefit and not harm our souls, and he always desires for us to forgive others. Therefore, we should pray for the desire to forgive, and then we can begin to experience the forgiveness and healing that he desperately wants to give us. When we release our anger and desire for revenge, peace, joy, and love can enter our hearts and we can begin the process of being restored and healed and of reconciling with our neighbors and loving like Jesus desires us to.
Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/dengri-3457401/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1718596″>Dennis Gries</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1718596″>Pixabay</a>