As a priest, we get many requests for prayers. By and far, the most popular are prayers for healing. Nowadays, there are just so many people dealing with sickness. While our bodies will someday fade away – from ashes we came and from ashes we will return – it doesn’t help that our lifestyle is not healthy either:
- Most of the food we eat is processed and/or filled with sugar and fat (although I must admit very delicious).
- Due to technology, we are also eating more. Once upon a time, eating in a restaurant was only for special occasions. Now out of impulse, we are eating out or ordering out.
- We are exercising less.
- There is more stress, tension, anxiety, and fear that we deal with.
Further, when we deal with sickness, we will do everything and anything. Such is the official in the Gospel. His daughter died and this is a very painful experience. Then there is a woman who has been hemorrhaging for 12 years. Also, a very difficult situation. They did not lose hope; they had faith and they received their healing.
Hence if we are dealing with sicknesses, three things we remember:
- Remember the power of Prayer. There was an experiment made wherein a group of people who were sick was divided into two groups. One group was given prayer intercessors for their healing. Another group, no one prayed for. At the end of the experiment it was found out that those who had intercessors had more healings experienced. We Catholics are even more privileged because we have saints who are praying for us: Saints Peregrine, Padre Pio, Jude, Dymphna, and Mother Mary.
- Body and Soul. Notice that Jesus, before curing someone, would always say, “Your sins are forgiven.” Jesus would like us to remember that as human beings, we are body and soul. Many of the sins of our souls affect the body: unforgiveness, resentment, jealousy, anger, and hopelessness. Even science mentions that many of the sicknesses come from negative emotions.
- God uses people for Healing. Let us remember that all of us have our own gifts and mission. God uses people to be his healing instruments: the doctors for the body and the priest for the soul. Further, just a word of caution: Be very, very discerning when we go for healing using albolaryos, manggagamot, or faith healers. They may be the kindest and well-meaning people but the question is what kind of spirit, what kind of energy are we tapping? We might be opening ourselves to spirits that are not from God. Bottom line: If these are really from God, then the Church, with its 2000 years of wisdom and guidance from God, would not have second thoughts in including these in her healing ministry.
In the Mass, we pray for those who are sick and in need of healing. While these are very difficult times, three things we remember:
- The body will soon pass; it is the soul that is most important.
- Visit the sick.
- Trust in God.