For most of my life as a Catholic, I would hear people talk about Christ’s healing power, but I never really understood how it applied to my life. What did I need healing from? What did healing look like? How do you get it? I didn’t understand the importance of healing because I was never really in touch with my need for it. That changed during my last year of college, when I found myself depressed and broken after ending a string of unhealthy relationships. I had lost all sense of identity, worth and purpose and most devastating…I had lost sight of God in my life. It was during this time that I started walking to the Catholic Church down the street and began sitting with God in adoration. For the first time in years, I started to dialogue with God again as I sat in my pain and loneliness. I don’t think I went there at the time because I fully understood my need for the Lord yet, but mostly because I was so restless at home and just needed somewhere to go-anywhere to get away. From adoration, to therapy, to surrounding myself with faithful Catholics who had the faith I wanted, I began a journey that I continue to this day. What I learned over the next few years and continue to learn everyday still, is that healing is central and essential in the Christian life and recognizing our continued need for it is a grace. There is nothing that brings God greater joy than being able to heal His children.
During this time of getting in touch with my brokenness, I started to question how I got to this place. Why did God make me so broken? So empty? So restless? I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me and that everyone else had it together…everyone else was naturally more whole and less broken than I was. Granted, I contributed to my own brokenness through my sin and choice to lead a life apart from God’s grace, and there were many experiences throughout my childhood that left me wounded and aching for love that led me to searching in the wrong places, but there is also the events of the garden that helped put my brokenness in context and led me to greater understanding. If you’ve ever read through Genesis then you know where the origin of our brokenness comes from and you know that our broken humanity is not an isolated experience but a shared experience between us all. Since the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we have been in need of constant healing. Once disobedience and sin entered the garden, God’s plan for our healing and salvation began. This after all is the mission of Christ and the purpose of the cross- to heal us from our sin and brokenness so that we can be restored back into full communion with our Heavenly Father. To be healed means to be “made whole” or “restored to wholeness”. This is God’s plan for us: to be made whole in & through Jesus Christ.
We see all throughout the Gospels Jesus’ mission of healing-offering physical, spiritual, emotional & psychological healing to those who cried out to Him. The healing He did in the hearts, minds, souls and bodies of those He encountered highlight in a powerful way the compassion, love and mercy of Jesus and points us to His desire for the freedom He wants to give us. With every passage of healing in Scripture, it’s as if God is communicating to us, “This is what I can do for you, this is what I long to do for you.” There is another powerful message for us in the reading of these healing accounts and that is the disposition of the healed. The people who were healed by Jesus recognized their need for healing and they desired to be healed. We know their desire because they expressed it when they cried out to Jesus-calling to Him, reaching out to Him, showing up where He was, touching Him. In their desperation for healing, they became courageous, vulnerable, humble before God and they took a leap of faith to DO something to aide in their own healing. Healing is not something we can do for ourselves, but it does require our yes, our participation, our openness to show up so that God can do His work in us.
A desire to be healed is the foundation of all healing. God will not heal us without our consent.
Our God is a gentle God. He does not force Himself upon anyone, nor does He force us to receive the gift of His healing. He will freely give it to us, but like the hemorrhaging woman who reached out to touch the cloak of Jesus and was healed, we have to cry out in humility and faith, trusting that He can and will heal us from the things we are most ashamed of, most afraid of and most paralyzed by in our lives. In Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical Spe Salve he said,
“Jesus’ gaze, the touch of his heart heals us….enabling us to become truly ourselves and thus totally of God.”
In order to live our lives in fullness and freedom, becoming the person that God created us to be, we need Jesus to heal all the broken, wounded parts within us. This takes time and this takes trust. As Pope Benedict said, we need to gaze upon the Lord & be embraced by His love. It is this love that creates in us the confidence to trust God with our entire being. One of the surest ways we can find healing is through the Sacraments and letting ourselves be seen by Him in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s been over 5 years since I started walking to the Church down the street and sitting with Jesus in adoration and to this day, I cannot imagine my life without this Sacred time. Making space in our lives for this intimate time with Jesus will leave us transformed over time. Every encounter we have with Jesus leaves us more filled and more whole. It’s impossible to be in His presence and be left unchanged.
What area of your heart do you ache most to be healed? What aspect of your life hasn’t been fully handed over to God yet? No matter where you’re at in your healing journey-whether you’re just starting to wonder about some of the areas of your life you want transformed or you’ve been on this journey for a while, we have nothing to lose when we entrust ourselves to the Divine Healer. When we get tempted to pull back from God, fearing what entrusting our healing and our lives to Him might require of us, let us remember the words of Pope Benedict XVI:
“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? . . . No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.”
May you continue to be blessed in your journey towards wholeness 🙂
© 2017 Drewe Dejesus
Image by Joseph Hooper, Freely Photos