Lent Day 28 – The Gift of Healing

by Bishop Robert Barron


Jesus was a healer: he cured the lame, the blind, and the deaf. He raised the dead to life. And healing, accordingly, has been associated with his followers from their very beginning. The Acts of the Apostles is filled with accounts of healing miracles via the earliest evangelists.

Up and down the centuries saints and holy people have been described as miraculous healers. For example, see Bernadette of Lourdes, who uncovered a spring which, for the last century and a half, has been a source of healing for the world. Even to the present day we have healers in our churches.

Why has this gift been given to the Church? Undoubtedly so as to carry on the work of Christ and to help with evangelization.

Do many people have it? Obviously not, although some people in the church do indeed have the gift of physical healing. It is, as Paul indicates, a sign gift; its purpose is to signal in a remarkable way the mysterious power of God. Count me suspicious of those who go on television with this supposed capacity, but count me deeply appreciative of those dedicated souls who do genuinely have this charism of physical healing.

Does it mean that Catholics ought to eschew ordinary medicine and seek this kind of healing? Obviously not. God loves to work through secondary causes like doctors, medicines, and nurses. Ought we to rely on this gift in a presumptuous way? No, but sometimes it is called for.

Faith, prayer, and an acceptance of God’s will are necessary for this gift. But it can be blocked. What can prevent it? Perhaps an enlightened rationalism that simply rules it out of court—an excessive, unhealthy skepticism.

But perhaps this gift is given more broadly if we construe it along psychological and spiritual lines.

Are you the kind of person who heals others, who brings calm and peace, who soothes troubled psyches and spirits? If so, how generously are you putting this gift to the service of others?

   

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  • https://www.facebook.com/mervyn.gomez Mervyn Gladstone Gomez

    Great explanation Bishop. While pondering on your explanation, i did have a quick thought and thought to share it with you. We see that early on in his mission, when Jesus visited his hometown, He was surprised at their lack of faith and thus was able to cure only a few people there. This shows that the gift of faith of the one being healed is just as important as the gift of healing of the healer! It is further shown again in today’s Gospel when Jesus commands the crippled man by the pool of Bethesda to get up, pick his mat and walk!
    Pax et bonum

  • concerned citizen

    thanks once again Bishop Barron. I think another obstacle to healing is an unforgiving heart. I have heard of many stories including that from the book of Sister Briege McKeenan that some people do not get healed because they have so much bitterness in their heart against some people who may have hurt them. So what they do is to pray for that person to receive the grace to forgive their enemies. After the person has forgiven his enemy, then they pray for his healing and God hears their prayers. It makes sense to me. Because if God will not forgive those who do not forgive others. Then He could as well not heal those who have not forgiven. If only a forgiving heart is capable of receiving forgiveness, then also only a forgiving heart is capable of receiving the grace of healing.

    • Mary Hilchey

      Opening up, emptying out of bitterness, grudges etc so as to receive the Holy Spirit

      • Barbara Ann Baugh

        I have noticed that whenever healing is mentioned in the New Testament it is with the forgiveness of sin for example James 5:13-15

        The Prayer of Faith

        13 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.
        Sin cannot be forgiven unless the sinner has forgiven others.

  • Fran

    Healers are like prayer… You will never know the purpose of your acts.

  • Njideka Bnn

    I have followed Bishop Baron’s word on fire even while he was Father Baron. Thank my Lord for your wonderful spiritual expose. I find fulfilment in reading them everyday.

  • ber

    Dare I say it bishop Barron the greatest healing is spiritual blindness when we open our eyes to recognise that Jesus is lord many blessings on you day

  • Patrick Cassidy

    While the Lord does work in miracles, he does also use us to be the miracles for others. It’s the gift of Free Will in combination to God’s plan that really shows He is at work, at all times, in our lives.

    We need to be receptive to God’s healing love, along with the gifts He bestows on others. If we become to skeptic, the gifts that are given freely become MY talents, MY hardwork. We begin to make ourselves the center of the universe, when in reality God should always be the center.

  • Anton D

    There are some Catholic priests and people who have the gift of healing. But they use this gift to promote their own doctrine such as drinking alcohol is a bad, which is not the teaching of the catholic church. They even go to the extent of saying that the miracle of Jesus turning water into wine was actually grape juice!

    They have a huge following because miracles happen at their services. Drinking alcohol is not the only problem with us. People flock to their services, many of whom do not drink, and this kind preaching makes them feel very good about themselves. They have witnesses come up and speak about how after giving up drinking completely, they became successful in their business.

    What do I make of all this? I do not know. You have miracles and also not right preaching.

    • Elizabeth

      Anton, yes, there will always be those who recognize their gift and use it incorrectly, And it is persons like you and me to ring the warning bell on these people. God Bless.

    • Madzi

      Any “Catholic priest” who says Jesus turned water into grape juice…or anyone else who promotes that falsehood, is a liar or con artist or woefully ill-informed.
      That said…this reflection today speaks so loudly to me in Bishop Barron’s final paragraph: “Are you the kind of person who heals others, who brings calm and peace, who soothes troubled psyches and spirits? If so, how generously are you putting this gift to the service of others?”
      So, perhaps the answer to those who would try to play down the miracle at Cana or advance their own agendas in “healing services” is to speak the truth, LIVE the truth and spread the Gospel message of Christ.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Anton,

      That is a new one on me. Protestant preachers would say that but Catholic priests would be stripped of their powers of a priest for preaching such stuff.
      The Bishop could impose other restrictions.

      Michael
      The Prayer Warrior

      • Anton D

        Could be they are overlooking it because people are benefiting from the miracles / healings.

  • Joseph T. Garcia

    ” Faith ” , “Prayer ” and an acceptance of God’s ‘ Will ‘ are necessary for this ‘gift ‘ .

  • concerned citizen

    In the Gospel today, why did Jesus have to ask the crippled man by the pool if he wanted to get healed. When you first hear or read the Gospel, you want to laugh. You want to say, come on Lord, the guy has been crippled for 38 years and you still ask him if he wants to get healed. Of course he wants to get healed. Yet we know there are some who actually do not want to get healed subconsciously. Perhaps he enjoyed just lying on the floor waiting for people to drop money in his basket rather than working hard to earn it. Some sick people never get healed because they want their wife or husband to take care of them or to pay attention to them. And this is why the Lord asks the crippled man, if he really wanted to get healed. Of course it is also true that Jesus knows what we want to ask from Him even before we say it. But He still wants us to say it as proof of our desire.

    • Seeker

      Speaking from my own personal experience, I know it can be a great leap of faith to heal or want to heal. And for sure, one has to want to, which may not be as obvious as most would think. If I had been crippled for 38 years and kept trying to get to this miracle pool, only to have someone else cut me off each time I have the energy to even try, I am not so sure I would want to keep trying or believe I can heal. I could very much start to believe I am not meant to be healed. Besides, I would probably have no idea what it means to be able to walk and to see. For myself, I know it is hard to desire something I’ve had no taste of.
      I remember when my wife and I were expecting our first child, people often asked me, “Are you excited?” I had no idea what was to come. My honest answer was, “I don’t know, should I?” At that time, I’ve had plenty of nephews and nieces and I knew I loved children, but excited, honestly, was not exactly the feeling. I had no taste of what it meant to be a dad. Boy, did that change after we had the baby. That’s when I got it; that YES! If I had known it would be like this, for sure, I would have been excited!
      My guess is, for most people, to desire something one doesn’t know, can be a bit of a challenge. Can the addicted really desire freedom from this form of slavery when all he can think of is to satisfy this immediate craving for his next fix? Can the depressed/desperate really desire zest or energy, when his/her whole body mind and soul is beat to the ground with no ounce of motivation left for whatsoever? Or can the anxious desire to be worry-free? From what I have seen, myself included, healing can be a long slow process. As I heal, I can gradually let go, or peel off the layers covering my wounds. I only slowly get a taste of freedom from anger, hurt, lust, greed and other sins and aches and gradually come to desire more of that freedom and the good things that come from it: gratitude, joy, faith, love, etc.

      • Elizabeth

        Seeker thank you for your testimony of growth in a living God – Jesus!

      • concerned citizen

        seeker, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I agree with you. So that sometimes, we not only have to pray to be healed, but also pray for the grace to want to be healed and also the grace of faith and confidence that we will be healed.

  • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

    Hi all,

    This is one of many gifts that bring changes to souls and the one that, unfortunately, the draw of which is the Center of the theatrics of con artists and self promotion. This is a sad reality of the self centred, egotistical nature and or character of those who seek wealth and attention….. “Hey, look at me. I am special. I can change your life. I can heal your body…………. “for a fee”!

    These types of people turn my stomach and make me want to throw up!

    What is the definition of the “gift of healing”?
    The gift of healing is when the Holy Spirit chooses a simple soul with a strong love of God, a deep faith and one who is opened to be used by God as a channel of God’s healing power to another! Having this gift does not mean you have the power but that God has choosen you through which that power of God is transferred.

    As a Charismatic Catholic and prayer warrior, as have others I have prayed with, have different experiences of the Holy Spirit’s actions during praying over another person in the group or outside it.
    As Bishop Baron noted, the type of healing will be what God desires for that person and not always what the persons asked prayers for. How dope I know this? Often, prayer warriors share their experiences of what transpired while leading other prayer partners as they pray over someone.

    It has been my experience to “feel” a serge of power” pass through me to the individual. That person may feel it also and say it brought peace to their whole being. Some describe it as a tingling, a warmth all over. Yet some feel nothing. A special notation here…… Not feeling anything does not mean a lack of faith as some “faith healers” claim if there is no healing. You don’t want me to be around those who claims this!

    Also, often the Holy Spirit will give the prayer warrior a “word of knowledge” asking him or her to pray for something different then what the person asked for. Usually this is known only to the prayer warrior.
    Example – A person asks for a physical healing but the Holy Spirit wants you to pray for spiritual healing.

    I could go on and on but my point is clarfication of what the gift is ! Hopefully this will comfort and bring clarity to the misconceptions of the gift of healing protrayed on some “tele-evangilists” programs!

    When you pray, remember, miracles are from God, not people, but it is the prayers of the humble souls that please the Lord Who sends us miracles.

    Peace and prayers,

    Michael

    • concerned citizen

      “A special notation here…… Not feeling anything does not mean a lack of faith as some “faith healers” claim if there is no healing.”

      Thanks for saying that Michael. I have attended several healing sessions and I envied those who got “slain” by the Holy Spirit. In my case, I never fell flat on my back or fainted when the healing priest prayed over me. I always wondered why.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        CC,

        The first time I was prayed over, standing up, nothing happened. The second time I was “slaim” , fell back and the catchers laid me on the floor. Never fainted, no visions just a peaceful feeling.
        I have prayed over others who told me “nothing happened”. I often believe “nothing you could detect”. Here is where faith begins to develope.
        If a person’s only reason for getting prayed over is to feel the “fireworks.of the Holy Spirit” then they are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

        Peace,

        Michael

        • concerned citizen

          thanks Michael.

    • Barbara Ann Baugh

      I not only felt I saw the healing in the form of indescribable drops. It was spiritual healing, I wanted and spiritual healing I received. The physical healing, I will allow the surgeon to brag about. I do know where it came from.

    • Elizabeth

      Michael, when I am prayed over I receive a quietness and calm that goes beyond human understanding. That is , in my estimation, because I usually work on emotions. We receive different healing for what we need not what we want. God bless you Prayer Warrior. God bless all who are doing the will of God.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        Elizabeth,

        Very true! Ask the Lord what you desire or what you need.
        The Lord will give you what you need.
        Sometimes it takes awhile for us to relize He was right.

        Peace,

        Michael

  • Jackie

    I am a Hospice volunteer and when approaching a person at bedside, I leave all my own personal doubts, worries and fears at the door. I don’t come in with vigor, charm or over zealousness. I bring my person-hood. I am not visiting to preach or even make them feel better, I am there to bare a little of their burdens. I am not on an ego trip, just being. I know that I have been effective when I leave and I have been effective by her/him, we have become companions on the journey.

    • Murieta Marsha

      Jackie, thank you for your witness of selfless availability-“Come as you are”- letting God work through you and that His glory shines through your gift of presence. This is my prayer, too, but I forget, sometimes, and I always hope God works His ways in spite of me. “I bring my personhood.” Kind of like ” Be still and know….” Great visual. bless you and bless your good work.

      • Jackie

        Yes, I have to remember to say those words: “Be still and know that I Am”. Thank you for the reminder.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Jackie,

      That is the way it should be especially as a volunteer.

      Many hospitals will not allow prayer groups or like individuals to-do beside prayer unless they are a family member or a Catholic priest or Eucharistic minister. Of course there is the institutes Chaplin.
      There is no difference between praying from home, as praying bedside.

      Peace,

      Michael

      • Jackie

        Most of the time when I say private prayers at bedside the person is usually asleep, which happens often at the end of life.
        Last year on Good Friday, I asked the lady that I was visiting if she would like to go to the Good Friday service in the nursing home. I explained that it would be a Presbyterian service. I wheeled her into the activity room and a few ladies from her town approached her to say hello. When the ministers served bread and wine, she declined but I partook. On leaving I asked her if she wanted to stay a bit to talk to the ladies and she said no but while we were in the elevator she said that she should have stayed and talked with them. I told her we could go back but she said it’s okay, let’s just go back to my room. After she settled in, she says to me: ” You accepted the wine and bread, I thought you were Catholic?” I said: “Yes but I’m very ecumenical.”. That seemed to satisfy her. She never told me that she was Catholic and I never asked. After she died I read her obituary and realized that the funeral services would be in a Catholic church. That day was a warm day and the a/c was on in the church, there were no other people in the pews waiting for the family to come in. The pastor saw me and nodded hello. I was glad that I had made the effort.

        • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

          Hi Jackie,

          Very moving. You are blessed. Not everyone can do that type of ministry!

          Peace,

          Michael

          • Jackie

            Thank you

        • Elizabeth

          Jackie, you truly walk in the footsteps of Christ. Thank you again for all who serve through hospice.

    • Elizabeth

      Jackie, I thank God for you and all the hospice volunteers. My mother was in a nursing home almost 3 hours away from where I lived So I couldn’t get there as often as I would have liked to. Because I did get involved when there, when my mother could no longer take phone calls, through the social director I would email a message and the hospice nurse would read the message to my Mom. On the last day of her blessed life, the hospice nurse read the message quite a few times, my mother placed her hand on the hospice nurse hand to let her know she heard the message. God bless all of the hospice workers for not only helping the dying but the family who is grieving as those we love are passing on to eternal life.

    • Mary Jane Madeline

      God bless you Jackie for a humble attitude and good intentions of truly being there to share another’s burdens. God has given you this gift to help others. Being a retired nurse, and later visiting many residents in nursing home with Holy Communion, I also had an opportunity and was blessed to give peace and comfort. I always felt I received more grace from them. They were an inspiration and true examples of Faithin always being eager to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion.
      Nowadays,my responsiblities is with my husband who has had various health issues and recuperating slowly. I also pray that I can have the Graces needed to be a loving wife.As you say, “lifting burdens and being there” can be a true act of Love.

      • Jackie

        Mary Jane, praying for you and your husband during these difficult times. When I was training for Hospice, I had just finished physical therapy for a double hip operation. My husband during this time was having many angina attacks and he pushed them aside to take care of me before and after my operation. The month that I received my certification my husband entered the hospital and had his third heart by-pass surgery, it was very risky. He rallied for 3 weeks in ICU and than he took a turn for the better. He had 30 days of rehab at the hospital, came home 2 months later, was doing quite well with visiting nurses etc. but collapsed right in front of me on his 20th day of being home. I know what you are going through and hope that all goes well with your husband’s recovery. To quote Martin Luther King: “Free at last, free at last, thank God free at last.

  • kayeloney@cox.net

    One does not know what your prayers connected to other’s who are Praying for the healing of a child or and adult that is sick. We only know that the Father’s Will be Done in all things on Earth as in Heaven. It is the Lord that heals, and all request’s from the Blessed Mother Mary to Jesus will be always granted if it is also the Lord’s will. I have read that Mother Mary has held back the arm of Jesus from striking mankind for their sins, many time’s. I have also read that Mary throw’s herself on top of sinner’s who have past way, in order to save them from going to hell. But request that they go to Purgatory or be sent back to Earth to change their Lives. I have also read that the Soul’s in Purgatory can heal the sick they can Pray for us, they just cannot Pray for their own Soul’s, so we have to do that for them. So Please Please, Please remember to Pray for these Soul’s that suffer in Purgatory. We are in the Hand’s of the Holy Trinity, so I really can not think you can claim to heal only the Lord can do that. The only exception would be a Priest they all have the ability to heal, many do not realize it some do. I know a Priest that has healed people before, a lot depends on the state of grace of the person receiving the healing. That Priest said all ways it was Jesus not him. Peace be with you and with your Spirit.

    • concerned citizen

      Kaye, I agree that all healing comes from our Lord. Everyone including priests and doctors are just instruments. I also believe any prayer to have a sick person get healed (whether miraculously or or medicinally) will be answered if the healing will be good for the salvation of his soul. For it may be actually be better for some people to be bed ridden.

      • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

        CC,

        You, also are correct.

        Michael

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Kaye,

      You are correct!

      Michael

  • Dude_Abides

    BB: “Faith, prayer, and an acceptance of God’s will are necessary for this gift. But it can be blocked. What can prevent it? Perhaps an enlightened rationalism that simply rules it out of court—an excessive, unhealthy skepticism.”

    The 3 necessary components for an extraordinary healing process to occur. But what is this “faith” that is spoken of by BB and so often of by Jesus (mainly in reference to our lack of faith preventing us from achieving the desired goals ex. Peter’s attempt to walk on water; and on and on). The best definition I can find in the Bible for faith is from the Book of Hebrews; may I say one of my favorite Bible passages and one I have committed to memory and used often.

    “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

    Well ok, so what is the meaning of the word “substance” in this passage? The word substance I believe means our confidence or assurance, our ‘child-like’ belief, that what we hope for will take place. That when we place our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, we can know that those sins are indeed forgiven.

    A few meditations back, the one ‘Lazaus, Come Out!’, Martha sorta rebukes Jesus when he asks her to remove the stone. “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” To which Jesus replies, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” John 11:39-43
    And what checkmates faith? A dose of rational ADULT skepticism! We think we know too much.

    • Elizabeth

      Amen to your awareness of rational ADULT skepticism!

  • D Blyth

    I send these reflections to my fellow parishioners each day, but stopped when I no longer received them.
    On of the parishioners contacted me, asking about them.
    I visited this website and sent it to the parishioners.
    When I read the reflection, I realised it was relevant to the parishioner who is undergoing cancer treatment.

  • http://findmeinflorida.wordpresscom Tampa Lady

    We must be open to the possibilities of God’s Healing Love for us. To be open, we must surrender. BB , I love your daily Lenten blog. I read the Gospel today and just realized that Jesus snuck in and healed the Man on the Sabbath. That was a delight to the man and to Jesus Himself. :)

  • Barbara Ann Baugh

    I am not a healer that I know of. However, I am the recipient of the healing prayers of others. When we pray for the healing of others we participate in this gift. I believe this gift is particularly strong when we pray as a group as in church or on a prayer line.

    • http://www.irishmike.org/ Michael Lee Cornwell

      Hi Barbara,

      You are correct. There is more strength in numbers and the others are as much of the healing as the one speaking!

      At a meeting, if I was leading the others in prayer, I would have everyone go to the chapel, providing it was open, to be in sight of the tabernacle.

      I have been in both situation….. being prayed over as well as praying over someone.

      Peace,

      Michael

    • Elizabeth

      Barbara Ann Baugh I have found sometimes is it not through praying but just being there for a person. We don’t know when someone is touched by Jesus through us just by being there. And that is the miracle. Just like the woman touching the rim of Jesus. He was aware because he is God, we may or may not know we have touched someone. We give it over to God.

  • Màire Ní Bhroin

    When I was a child, I contracted polio and was unable to walk and could barely move my arms for months. I almost lost the entire second grade. I can only imagine the worry my poor parents went through. But, I never stoped praying to St. Therese of the Little Flower and miraculously, one morning I was able to get up one day on my own and start to slowly get my legs back under me and take a few steps and eventually strong enough to return to school. I am still walking and using my arms, still painting my art with bright, healing colours and themes and shopping for my own groceries etc. & cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, daily chores and errands, while also able to walk to visit my elderly mother. I still, thank Jesus and praise Him, for giving me independence from care-givers, despite recent symptoms of post-polio syndrome. I hope that my miracle from God through the intercession of the Little Flower, will be a testimonial to inspire healings and miracles in others who believe.

  • Penelope

    For me, the ministry of healing is a gentle ministry. What can be more gentle than quietly praying for someone?

    Some thoughts that come to me as I consider this reflection: a humble heart; a willing spirit; an obedient will; a listening ear; a spirit of love and compassion; obedience to Church, the Magisterium; respect, honor, and dignity for the other; confidentiality; attentiveness to the Holy Spirit; wisdom and discernment; gifts of the Spirit; the sacraments; the virtues; being present to the other; praying; waiting; trusting; accepting; fixing our eyes on Jesus.

    For me, the ministry of healing is a mystery. Should I hear someone say, that some thing, or some way “works” in prayers for healing, I steer clear.

    Because for me, the ministry of healing is mystery.

    It is for our good, for the love of God, and for the good of Holy Church.
    And all is accomplished in the Holy Name of Jesus.

  • Joseph Pasquino

    Sometimes the hardest time to show kindness is for the ones that are the closest to us.I live with my mother who is 92&1/2 yrs. old. To say she is set in her ways would be a gross understatement . So we often clash most often when it comes to the newer innovations and ways of thinking. I try to have patience but often lose it; due to her obstinate way of allowing herself consistently to be caught up in her older habits and way of thinking. For example she believes if you go out in the cold,you can catch a cold. That ‘s just one example . There are many more and she absolutely refuses to face reality. So my prayer for this Lenten Season is to try to find the greater good in each of us. To be patient with those who disagree with us. To offer our up our differences and bathe in Christ’s infinite pool of love and goodness.

  • Linda Dokey

    I am by no means a Healer, but I will Pray with and for all PEOPLES, they are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus. GOD BLESS YOU BISHOP BARRON!

  • rtclovesmac

    While healing takes many forms, there was a time in my life that I thought I had the gift of physical healing…but I became concerned that I would begin to think it was something I was doing as opposed to acknowledging that I was but a vessel of His grace. Because of my doubt I lost the gift

  • Vilma

    Amen to that! Bishop Barron always manages to help me see things in a different light! Thank you. http://www.shepherdoffaith.com

  • Mary Jane Madeline

    Thank you Bishop Barron. So easy to get caught up in everyday stress and serenity goes out the window… To offer calm and peace to others is special.