By Amanda Weaver
My youngest son has autism. Our family often enjoys the different perspective he brings to our lives. One day I described an event and then said, “Can you believe it!?” My son replied with a quote from one of his favorite shows, “Yes, I believe it because it’s true. And, it wouldn’t make any sense not to believe something that’s true.” Fair enough. However, I do find myself having trouble believing things I know to be true. I know Jesus loves me and forgives me. And because he loves us all so much, he doesn’t just forgive us (relinquishing the right to hold a grudge), he heals us (helping us become better and not sin again). I know that to be true, but I find it can be hard to believe.
At Mass we profess our belief that God created the entire universe out of nothing, Jesus rose from the dead, and the Holy Spirit turns bread and wine into flesh and blood. Even so, do we doubt this miraculous God with what is broken in our lives?
I imagine healing of physical or mental disease is one of the things all of us have begged God for, whether for ourselves or a loved one. It may be that we have prayed so fervently for a miracle that didn’t happen that we begin to doubt miracles even can happen. I experienced this most acutely when my dad died of colon cancer despite prayers for his cure.
These disappointments can make it difficult to believe Jesus still heals us today. But he does. Even when our disease is not cured, Jesus heals us in a much more powerful way. He heals us of sin. This might seem trite, but truly, this is the most important healing we can experience. God not only forgives us of our sin, he enters into our lives to help us change so we do not continue in sin.
In his book, “Into His Likeness,” Edward Sri suggests we may not recognize these healings in our lives because they often happen gradually; whereas, most of us expect miracles to happen instantly. Sri offers several reasons why God would delay or prolong our healing. It allows us to grow in humility, develop compassion and learn to be patient with others’ faults. When we need to be healed again and again from a sinful way, we can more easily discern the healing comes from God, not from our own efforts. Sri also points out we may be asking for healing in one area of our life while God wants to heal us of a different sin. If I ask God for a more prayerful spirit so I can pray as deeply and as long as my friend, God may not give that to me because he wants me to acknowledge my pride so I stop comparing myself to others and come to him in prayer as I am.
And, we must want to be healed. It may be obvious the paralyzed man wants to walk and the blind man wants to see, yet in the Gospels, we repeatedly see Jesus asking people what they desire of him (Jn 5:6, Mk 10:51). Before healing us, Jesus seeks our permission and cooperation. He respects us so much, he won’t act against our will. (If only we could do the same for him, right?)
When Jesus healed Bartimaeus of his physical blindness Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you” (Mk 10:52). The Greek word used for save in this passage is sozo, which means both heal and save. Does it seem difficult to believe Jesus will heal our marriage, or past traumas, or addictions? Which seems more miraculous: curing a blind man or healing us of sin? Let us have faith as confident and enduring as Bartimaeus that Jesus, who saves us from sin and death, will also heal us.
- Do you think of God more as a judge or as a doctor?
- Look at the Divine Mercy image. Meditate on this image and its words, “Jesus, I trust in you.” Become convinced that you can trust Jesus to forgive you, heal you perfectly.
Amanda Weaver is a current member of the Archdiocese’s IMPACT cohort. She is a wife and a mother of two boys. She works part-time at a public library and likes to ride bike and read.
The Disciple’s Corner is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Office of Faith Formation and Education and is funded through the Archdiocesan Educational Development Board. It is designed to help catechists, teachers, parents, grandparents, guardians and other adults grow in their appreciation of their role as disciples of Jesus Christ.