Yesterday's gospel reading was on the healing of Peter's mother, who was abed with a fever when Jesus visited, and he healed her on the spot.
Fr. Larry thus addressed the subject of healing, surely a perplexing one for most of us, since we all have had the experience of praying–desperately–for a loved one to get well, only to suffer the heartbreak of loss.
But of course Fr. Larry was talking about healing, not curing, which is a different thing. Filtered through Judy's brain, here is his explanation:
Healing is not just about making us feel better physically. Healing is about the assertion of God's rule over illness, be it mental, spiritual, or physical. Something has gone awry, off-center, out of tune. We don't live in a perfect world, with perfect bodies or perfect psyches. We are scarred and marred, by life and family history, by where we came from as human creatures, and by what we endured in our evolutionary history.
And when all is said and done, we die anyway, so healing is only temporary in any case–whatever the cause, whatever the cure. Seventy years is our lot in life, says the Psalmist, 80 “if we are strong.” Amazing that what was true several thousand years ago remains pretty much true today.
So, what does it mean to “assert that God rules” over illness, as over everything else? I have to go very personal at this point.
I wrote in my notes, It may be a question of affirming that Jesus rules my life, and not my sickness.
I have suffered all my life from a body that just won't “stay in tune.” I am so reactive to stress that I joke that I must have adrenal glands the size of footballs. I finally came to the conclusion that in many ways I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from a childhood growing up with a violent alcoholic who ensured that life was continually off-balance and out of tune.
This has manifested in panic attacks, wild swings of blood pressure, cardiac arrythmias, and off course all the effects of drugs prescribed to deal with these disorders. On any given day I have sinking spells where I feel weak and as if I will faint. If a car cuts me off on the highway a flood of adrenaline sends my heart rate and blood pressure soaring. I flush like I'm burning up, or freeze when the sun is warm and shining.
I've wound up in the ER because of my blood pressure roughly once a quarter for the past several years.
Then last summer I went to a six-day silent retreat focusing on centering prayer. We had four 45-minute silent meditation periods per day. I completely fell apart on the second one. The retreat mistress said this was not unusual and I should just stick with it and bind my heart to selected scriptures. This I did.
I experienced amazing healing during that retreat. Shortly after, I was working at home in a journal on confronting shortcomings and sins. The question was asked, “With what do you entrust God?” and I wrote immediately My health. My wealth. And all I love and pray for.
Since then, whenever some physical discombobulation arises, I say to myself, “I entrust to God my health, my wealth, and all I love and pray for.”
Or as Fr. Larry said, “[Healing] may be a question of affirming that Jesus rules one's life.”
Exactly so, I have found, and no more so than