St. Alphonsus Ligouri
But she answered him, “Yes Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For saying this you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone. Mark 7:28-30
I find that the prayers of most people are for healing and relief from suffering. Many people contact me asking for prayers for their sufferings and healing for themselves or their family members. I believe deeply that prayers have efficacy, and that as part of the communion of Saints we are bound to one another so we must pray for one another.
I do not pretend to know the mind of God as His immensity is far beyond my capacity. I also know the fullness of healing will be when we are glorified is in heaven. I know that our suffering is supposed to be redemptive. I also know that we can be filled with the Divine Will if we run toward the suffering because it is when we empty ourselves like Christ did on the Cross, we become like him.
But we should ask for healing. Jesus tells us to ask and it will be given. He has revealed His glory with miraculous healing, as we know about in the bible when he healed the man born blind. Sometimes he grants healing to us here.
I was reading the Gospel of Mark today, and the exchange between Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman seemed strange to me. Jesus seemed so, well, un-Jesus like! She wanted healing from a demon for her daughter, and his response was to say, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” This is not the kindest response I have heard from Jesus. Then I got to thinking, He is talking about bread here… is that an allusion to the Eucharist? She is not of Jewish lineage, is he saying that perhaps His sacrifice would not be appreciated by someone who doesn’t understand? Would it be like throwing pearls to swine if there is no transformation of life? It’s a rebuke to be sure. It’s a rebuke about belief and faith. And many of us, who in hearing something like this, well we would be OFFENDED, and stomp off, and talk about ourselves and our hurt, instead of looking at the truth of his words. But she didn’t. She humbled herself. She recognized what he was saying. And she responded. She responded in faith, knowing she had been humbled, humiliated even, but knowing she was before the one who could cure her daughter. And her faith in Him showed. And He cured her daughter. And we got to see the God of everyone. He is for all of us. He wants to transform all of us.
Which brings me to the fact that if you want to be healed, we must humble ourselves. The very first place that healing begins is inside the confessional. Spiritual healing must take place before any kind of physical relief is given. This is why the Sacrament of the Sick is most often accompanied by Confession. Because it is our souls that are the most sick. We must humble ourselves and receive the graces that Confession has to offer. Realize the Priest is “in persona Christi” and hold nothing back. I don’t know if this will physically heal you or not, because that is up to God, but I do know it will heal your soul, and once you have emptied all of you, you can be filled up with God. And being filled with God, well, that is healing.
In the words of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, the patron of Confessors, “But you never reject a repentant and humble heart.”
God will not reject you if you sincerely humble yourself before him. He has been chasing you for your whole life. Let Him in.