What comes to mind when you hear the word, healing? Is there an image, word or phrase that resonates with you? How would you define the word healing from your own experience?
When I think of the word healing, I imagine every single person having an invisible rug behind them. Some people have large, colorful Persian rugs, others have smaller knit ones. Some people have many heavy items, several items or nothing at all on their rug. The journey of healing in life is about letting go or removing those items on our rug that weigh us emotionally and spiritually down. Jesus does not want us to be burdened by the unhealthy, harmful things that hurt us interiorly and spiritually, which is exactly why every disciple needs to experience Jesus as healer.
Healing matters in the life of a joyful, missionary disciple for two reasons. First, Jesus wants us to experience greater wholeness, peace, freedom and abundance to help us fulfill our unique mission. And second, because each of us needs healing on a personal level. Jesus always has more for us, and he wants us to experience more of his peace and carry around less baggage.
In his pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel, Archbishop Vigneron mentions two Scripture passages that remind us of the importance healing plays in the life of an individual. Jesus, quoting from the prophet Isaiah, described his own mission as a work of healing and liberation: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free…” (Luke 4:18-19) Jesus also instructed the disciples that healing should play a role in the proclamation of the Gospel: “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you… cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ “ (Luke 10:8-9)
Sometimes we can think that the healing ministry of Jesus existed only in the life of the Church. However, that is the furthest thing from the truth! Healing in the name and power of Jesus still occurs to this day. We as his disciples are called to be both agents of healing in our broken world, while also inviting Jesus to take us deeper to heal our hearts and minds.
As Catholics, we know that the apostolic ministry of Jesus continues on to the current day through the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing of the sick. The Archbishop reminds us, “This includes making the two sacraments of healing, reconciliation and anointing of the sick, easily available. It may also include the establishment of healing prayer ministry teams or providing prayer for healing on a regular basis after Mass.” Healing is not a substitute for the hard work of growing in discipleship; rather, it is a gift to encourage and support us on that path.
What are some resources for Catholics to learn and experience more?
John Paul II Healing Center – Dr. Bob Schuchts is the founder of the John Paul II Healing Center and author “Be Healed: Encountering the Powerful Love of Jesus in Your Life.” The Center offers five-day intensives and weekend healing retreats to help men and women experience freedom in Christ, living in the abundance he has for them.
Unbound: Heart of the Father – Unbound Ministry is a type of healing and deliverance prayer that has been developed by its founder, Neal Lozano. Unbound prayer applies principles and truth to our lives through five basic responses called the Five Keys: repentance and faith, forgiveness, renunciation, authority, and the Father’s blessing. These five keys are ways to uncover pain and trauma, expose the lies, and replace them with God’s truth.
Encounter Ministries – The Mission statement of Encounter fully captures what they are about: equipping and discipling Catholics to bring God’s love through the power of the Holy Spirit through a ministry school, conferences, and retreats. Their focus is to raise all Catholics to fully live out their baptismal call in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
In closing, I want to leave you with an invitation for prayer and reflection.
Imagine yourself as the little girl or boy version of yourself. Look behind you and what does your rug look like? What kinds of things are on it? Invite Jesus, and talk to him about them. Ask him what he wants you to do about what you are carrying around and ask him to help you. Pay attention to what comes up, and listen to what the voice of love says back to you.
Jesus, come and be a healer in each of our lives more and more!
Help us to become the men and women you created us to be.