Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.
"Father if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it.?"
—2 Kings 5:13
Such were the words of the young servant of Naaman the Syrian who went to Israel to find healing for his leprosy. When the prophet Elisha tells him to bath seven times in the river Jordan, Naaman scoffs. To him, that just didn't have enough hocus pocus to it. We often have the same mindset when it comes to healing: we just refuse to accept the simplicity of how God can heal us. Instead we search for that magic potion, that fountain of youth that's usually sold on a TV info-mercial.
At the same time we have to really want to be healed. I'm afraid too often what we look for is pain relief not complete healing. We set our expectations way too low. The problem that Naaman faced was that his god was too small to cure his leprosy. Instead he had to travel to Israel to find a really big God who could handle his illness. We have that same God, a God who is really big and willing to take on our problems and sicknesses. So why not step out and trust Him?
A few times a year we have a Healing Mass and on the First Sunday of each Month our Prayer teams are available for healing prayer. If we had as much confidence in the power of prayer to heal as we have in an aspirin to stop a headache how much better would we be?
Our Prayer Ministry is not a bunch of hocus-pocus. None of us have a magic wand. But what we do have is faith in the Holy Spirit to live up to the promises of God that nothing, no matter how big or painful can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Still our Prayer teams are well formed in the practice of praying with others. They are men and women who have learned to yield to the working of the Holy Spirit. Nor would they continue to serve in this way if healing prayer bore no fruit. But it does.
And that's the point of all healing: to strength our relationship with God. Because when it is strong than healing can happen or we learn how to deal with our sickness or we find the solutions that had evaded us. Naaman after he was healed of his leprosy worshipped the God of Israel. At first he tried to worship the prophet Elisha but Elisha quickly stopped him from doing so. Just so we don't worship those whom God uses to effect a healing in us.
So what will happen if you are "prayed over"? It's helpful if you tell the healing prayer minister your name and the concern for which you are asking prayer. If you prefer not to do this, that is fine--everyone's situation is different. There is usually a brief spoken prayer at the beginning and at the end. The healing prayer minister will lay hands on you and join with you in silently opening ourselves and presenting the concern to God. This is not a ministry of magical incantations. Instead, this healing prayer ministry is simply about fellow believers opening us more completely to the healing love of God. Although God is always with every one of us, there are times in all of our lives when we need help in becoming more fully present to God. Much as a group of friends once brought a paralytic to Jesus so that Jesus might heal him, so we sometimes benefit from the loving care of others who bring us more fully into the presence of God.
So I strongly urge you to come this Tuesday at 7pm for our Advent Healing Mass. Bring your friends and family and anyone who is in need of healing. They need not be Catholic or even a believer. We would be happy to pray with them.
You've heard of naturopathic healing well this is prayer-o-pathic healing! Come try it!
Love, Fr. John B.