In a world that offers coping mechanisms, Jesus Christ offers true and authentic healing.
Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
—The Liturgy of the Eucharist
It seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea at the time. Mark and I would move back downstairs to the master bedroom and give the upstairs bedroom, which I’d moved into after the death of my late husband, Bernie, to our 17-year-old son. We spent the entire day hauling furniture up and down the stairs, making each room beautiful as we hung artwork, placed lamps, and lovingly made beds.
Then came the moment of reckoning. As soon as I was flat on my back in bed in my old bedroom, I was slammed by a dizzying array of disorienting dreams, thoughts, and emotions that seemingly came out of nowhere.
Where was I? Who was I with? Had Bernie just died the night before? Or was he still alive? I literally had no idea what was going on.
Seized with panic and grief, I intermittently cried and prayed through the long night as I tried to get my bearings. I hadn’t felt that battered since the day Bernie died, and after another night of panic-stricken sleeplessness ensued, I took the matter to prayer.
Seated in the adoration chapel before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I closed my eyes and asked the Lord what he wanted to do with all of this. Suddenly I saw him clearly in my mind’s eye entering my bedroom dressed in a long white robe with his right hand raised in the air.
Peace be with you, I heard him say as I watched him make the Sign of the Cross and bless my bedroom. Jesus then walked around the bedroom pronouncing blessing and peace over every inch of the room. He then came and stood beside my bed, where I saw myself in my mind. Placing his hand on my forehead, he spoke the same words: Peace be with you.
I spontaneously saw a review of each painful trauma that had occurred in that room—jolting news of too many tragedies and too much death; long nights of grief and pain after the sudden deaths of my husband, two brothers and stepson. But this time I could see that I was not alone: Jesus was next to me, tenderly touching me, speaking words of comfort and healing over me. It was clear that I had never been alone, and that I simply needed to consciously, prayerfully welcome Jesus into the past events and emotions that I had stuffed into my subconscious; memories and feelings that had unexpectedly erupted when I unassumingly re-entered a long-deserted space.
I suppose it was “God-incidental” that I had just begun working through a small book entitled Walls and Bridges: Healing of the Heart. In the Foreword, Fr. Richard McAlear, O.M.I., who is renowned for the gift of healing, writes:
We all have inner hurts, carried in our hearts. There are negative feelings and emotions that swirl around in the subconscious and unconscious realms. Touching them with healing grace is essential to a full awareness of God’s loving presence and subsequently to the fullness of life in God… Jesus brings the love, the security and the healing that are needed to make the difference between coping and healing. Jesus’ love alone is adequate and can touch the wounds that human insight and self-knowledge have brought to light.” (Walls and Bridges: Healing of the Heart, page 10.)
I had coped with my pain, but God wanted it healed. I was powerfully reminded that healing was, and is, an essential part of Christ’s person, presence and message—a truth we have largely forgotten both in the Church and in a hurting world that largely offers coping mechanisms instead of authentic healing in and through Jesus Christ.
Author’s Note: Fr. McAlear’s books on healing can be found at http://www.frmac.org.
Our Fiat’s Walls and Bridges: Healing of the Heart can be found at http://ourfiat.com.
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