“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
SUNDAY, SEPT 13TH Mt. 18:21-35 “Peter approached Jesus and asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’”
This is not a suggestion from Jesus, this is a command. Jesus never commands us to do anything that He will not give us sufficient grace to fulfill if we have good will. We offer two reflections for your meditation today.
Fr. Jacques Philippe insists on the necessity of forgiveness. Fr. Ed Broom gives a thorough exposition on how to arrive at the demanding virtue of forgiveness.
FORGIVENESS… by Fr. Jacques Philippe
There are cases when the suffering other people causes us is due to a real fault on their part. The proper attitude then is not understanding in accepting differences, but something more demanding and difficult: forgiveness.
Modern culture doesn’t rate forgiveness very highly. More often it justifies resentment and revenge. But does that reduce the amount of evil in the world? The only way to diminish the suffering that burdens mankind is by forgiveness.
It bears repeating… that unless we understand the importance of forgiveness and practice it in our relations with others, we will never achieve inner freedom, but will always be prisoners of our own bitterness.
When we refuse to forgive someone for harm done to us, we are adding another wrong to the first. That solves nothing at all. We are increasing the quantity of evil in the world, which has quite enough as it is. Let us do not join in the propagation of evil! Saint Paul tells us, Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good!
BEING A WOUNDED HEALER IN A WOUNDED WORLD by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
As a result of Original Sin, the sin that our first parents, Adam and Eve, committed at the beginning of human history, a moral, spiritual, and physical tsunami descended and exploded on all of humanity. The effects of Original Sin and this tsunami will be felt until the end of the world, and is felt by all of us collectively and individually, and in many ways.
THE ORIGINAL SIN AND OUR WOUNDED HUMAN NATURE. In a very real sense, the entire universe has become a gaping wound and all of the individuals who constitute and compose the human family are wounded. In what ways are we wounded? Put better: in what ways are we not wounded? Our whole being, while essentially good, limps with wounds. Let us venture to give the list: our body is prone to sicknesses which terminate in the eventual death of the body. The mind is impaired and has difficulty in discovering the truth, much less retaining the truth. Emotionally we are a wreck: sad, depressed, nervous, confused, worried and fearful, anxious and tense—we all experience the whole gamut of a disorderly array of emotions that wreak havoc within us. Moral and spiritual wounds are at the heart of the matter. God seems at times to be very distant. Due to Original Sin, we commit sins. And we wound our relationship with a loving, kind, and merciful God due to ingratitude, which St. Ignatius of Loyola says, is the essence of sin.
O HAPPY FAULT. Saint Augustine says that God allows evil only to bring good out of evil. The classic example is that God allowed Adam and Eve to commit the Original Sin starting this moral tsunami. However, as a result of this, God the Father willingly and lovingly sent His only begotten Son, Jesus the Lord, to the world to show us the Way to the Father, the Way of the Cross, to suffer and die on the cross and after the third day to rise from the dead to open up the gates of heaven and attain for us eternal life!
SOURCES OF HEALING AVAILABLE TO US. On a very positive note, in this short essay we would like to offer a number of concrete, practical, and accessible ways in which we can work on our inner healing so that we can heal others. In other words, may we all become wounded healers so that we can be a source of healing in a wounded and broken world! It must be said before offering a list of positive sources of healing that it is Jesus who is the ultimate source of healing. Saint Peter in his letter says: “By His wounds we are healed” (1Pt 2:24), quoting the Prophet Isaiah. Therefore, let us first and foremost turn to Jesus and He can heal us. He is the Divine and Perfect Physician. Let us expose our wounds to Him and He will heal us.
WAYS THAT WE CAN UNDERGO PERSONAL HEALING…
1. SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM. The first powerful source of healing at the start of our life is when we receive the Sacrament of Baptism. The graces and blessings are indeed numerous. However, of paramount importance is the fact that the gaping wound of Original Sin has been washed clean from the soul and a deep healing has taken place in the inner depths of that person. The healing has taken place by the first encounter with Jesus the Wounded-Healer. For this reason, the Baptism should be done as early as possible.
2. FERVENT PRAYER. Every time we apply ourselves to faith-filled, fervent, and frequent prayer, once again, Jesus, the Divine-Physician intervenes as the Wounded-Healer. Healing might not take place at the speed that we desire, nor even in the manner we expect. Nonetheless, God’s healing power is operative in fervent prayer.
3. ANOINTING OF THE SICK. This is actually one of the seven Sacraments that has as one of its basic functions that of healing. At times, after receiving this Sacrament, there is actually a physical recovery and strengthening, if this serves the person’s eternal salvation. However, the inner healing of the soul is of greater importance. Actually, even if a terminally ill person is in a coma-state, and they would have desired to confess their sins to the priest with true sorrow, then the Anointing of the Sick serves to heal the soul of these sins. What a great Sacrament and how little we really understand it!
4. THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST. Indeed, every one of the seven Sacraments has a specific Sacramental grace that differentiates it from the others. The specific Sacramental grace and effect of the most Holy Eucharist is that of NOURISHMENT. If you like, what a nourishing meal does to the body, the most Holy Eucharist does to the soul. However, given that Jesus is truly present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in every consecrated Host, He has not only nourished, but actually healed many people through the worthy reception of the Eucharist. We pray with the Centurion: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.” May we say this prayer of the Mass with greater faith and devotion!
5.THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION: THE TRUE SACRAMENT OF HEALING. Once again referring to the specific Sacramental effects, the Sacrament of Confession or Reconciliation has as its specific effect that of healing, most especially the healing of the soul. The priest, being the minister of this wonderful Sacrament, represents Jesus the Divine Physician who came to save us and to heal us. We bring our spiritual leprosy to the Divine Physician and He heals our wounded, leprous soul, just as we see time and time again Jesus healing lepers in the Gospels. The Prophet Isaiah offers us these most consoling words: “Though your sins be like scarlet, I will make them as white as the snow.” (Is. 1:18) The most wounded soul can be healed if they have trust in Jesus and true repentance.
6. FORGIVENESS. Many people, all too many, carry within their hearts gaping moral and spiritual wounds for the simple reason that they have been hurt by someone and have not forgiven them, rather they are holding on to resentments and harboring grudges. Until this individual is able to come to terms with their lack of forgiveness and take the first step in striving to forgive, they will be a living and walking gaping wound oozing out moral pus. In other words, to forgive is to set the captive free; and that captive is you and me! Jesus came to break the bonds of our moral slavery! As the poet Alexander Pope expressed with such poignant precision: “To err is human; to forgive is divine.” Allow Jesus to heal you by forgiving right now!!!
7. LOVING KINDNESS. We live in a world immersed in egotism and selfishness where many are just interested in their own plans and projects, not giving an ounce of concern for others. But we have all experienced some time in our life, especially when we have been in profound desolation, some person that God sent to us with a smile, a kind word, a kind gesture, a token of friendship, words and expressions of encouragement. As a result of this encounter with this really kind person our state of soul was transformed from deep desolation to an over-flowing consolation. The storm-clouds dissipated and the sun came shining into our souls. In other words, someone’s loving kindness and human compassion can be a most powerful source of healing!
8. BECOMING THAT KIND, MERCIFUL GOOD SAMARITAN. On the flip side of the coin, when we have been living a selfish and egotistic life and then make the decision to go out of our selfish-shell and seek the good of others through kindness, not only do we heal them, but by loving others we are being healed! Might seem paradoxical, but it is real! In other words, love always heals—both those who receive it and those who give it!!!
9. VISITING THE SICK AND THE SUFFERING. Of great importance in the modern world of Utilitarianism—in which the person has value inasmuch as they are economically productive—is the importance of visiting the sick, the suffering, the abandoned, and the dying. There is often a double-healing in this mutual encounter. For example, a Eucharistic minister who visits, attends, encourages, and converses with an abandoned and sick person is doing a gesture that is highly pleasing to God. In this visit great healing is taking place—not always on a physical level, but on a moral, spiritual, and emotional level! It might even happen that you as the Eucharistic minister are not really feeling good yourself—physically or emotionally—but after visiting this sick person, who is much worse off then you are, giving them Holy Communion, praying with them, talking with them for at least a short while, you end by leaving with a radiant smile, in which case both the minister and the sick person are healed. Once again love transforms; love strengthens; love heals; love saves. God is love!
10. MOTHER MARY: HEALTH OF THE SICK. It is recorded in the life of Saint Therese of Lisieux that she prayed in a special way in front of a small statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The future saint had been sick for a while and there seemed to be no apparent remedy. Therefore, she had recourse to Mary through this little statue. Therese noticed that the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary actually smiled at her and she was immediately healed of her ailment. How often has it been recorded in the History of Catholicism that Our Lady has come to the rescue of sick people and healed them, especially in Lourdes, France! One of her many titles is “Health of the Sick”. These of course are physical healings. Many more unrecorded spiritual healings, the conversion of sinners, has become a reality through the powerful presence and intercession of Mary, under the title of “Health of the sick.” Let us bring our many ailments to Mary and she will help us!
In conclusion we are all wounded, from the moment of our conception with Original Sin and during our life, we are wounded constantly and end up by wounding others. Either we become wounded-wounders or wounded healers. If we do not seek out healing, especially from God, then we end up by wounding more and more people in our walk of life. However, if we allow Jesus the Wounded Healer to heal our wounds, then we can truly be wounded-healers in a broken and wounded world. Let us go to Jesus because “by His wounds we are truly healed.” (Is. 53-5)
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA