Emmitsburg Council of Churches

God Heals Us: Notes for a Healing Retreat…

Father John J. Lombardi

"On Loving Detachment: God Heals our Minds and Memories".

Today, more than ever, it seems, there are two currents of seeming opposites pulling at our minds, bodies and hearts: On the one hand, so much suffering--wars, violence on tv and in culture, cancers, emergency visits, psychiatry and doctor visits… And, on other hand so many "avenues" of healing (medicines, talk show-therapy, health plans, herbs-organics, health spas and plans, exercising…

How are you being healed?

God wants to heal us-physically and metaphysically- (and this includes in our "spirit," morally, psychically and emotionally). Salvation literally means "healing" . Meditate over the following Bible verses and healing:

-Mt. 11:28= "Come to Me all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will give you rest, take My yoke upon you, for My yoke is easy and My burden light"…-Naaman the Syrian is healed of leprosy…-Song of Songs 3: the disciple goes out in search of the Beloved-people are searching for the Lord…-Rm 8:28ff: "What can separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus?"… -Jn 6:56-"He who eats My flesh and drinks my Blood will abide in Me and I in him"…-Jn21/Mt 16:18ff=Sacramental confession and reconciliation heals us…-Jn's Gospel -Woman at the well is healed by Jesus the Lifegiving Water-healed of her past, infidelities…-Acts 3:1ff-a Crippled man begs for help--St Peter says: "I have neither gold or silver but what I do have I give to you in the Name of Jesus Christ…walk! Then Peter took him by the right hand and raised him up" …-Jn 10:10Jesus says-"I came that you might have life, and life abundant" …-Mk 6:31: "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while"

How do you experience healing in your life?...What are sources of healing for you?

How does God heal you? How do Sacraments, community life and others heal you?...How do you open yourself and past to healing without "getting stuck"?...How do you help heal others?

+How do we achieve, with God's Help, wellness, wholeness in our lives?…How do virtues-temperance and prudence,etc.-help us to heal-using right judgment in healing (proper medicines, amount of, need of therapies, etc)?

The Catholic Church is a treasury of healing-the Sacraments, the Scriptures, the saints lives, prayer -do we utilize these sacred avenues of healing for ourselves and others today? Esp when many are turning to "New age" and "alternative therapies' of healing?

Areas of in need of healing…+Physical ailments …job loss…abuse situations form past…hurtful/harmful relationships… pornography…materialism…capital sins=pride, anger, gluttony, avarice, lust, envy, sloth, ….nervous illnesses… maladies…. general angst/anxiety…overwork…Every person is in need of healing-consciously or unconsciously-how do we help them take advantage of Lord's and Church's Powers to heal? How do we heighten our own, and their awareness of deep recesses of sickness, hurts and therefore need of healing?

Prayer of St Thomas: "O Lord, you are the Divine Physician, and I am the sick man." …Traditionally classically spirituality has highlighted the sickness of the soul, the person-the Fall from Grace (maybe sometimes overly so) but have we lost this sense of awareness of need of healing or do we give into pride,

The essence of this retreat is an ABC Healing Progress and Process : Awareness of hurts; Binding the thoughts /memories into blessing and healing reason"; Continue-- move on-can't continue on in darkness or therapy forever

Ways of Healing:

-God, the Sacraments-God's supernatural Grace heals-gratia sanans-the sacraments are healing power…Healing services/Masses are sometimes popular-do we provide these to others, ourselves?

-In Prayer- meditation -allowing peace to settle in heart and not be overwhelmed and thereby allow God's graces to fill and heal; object of meditation can be directly about healing: "Lord, wash all of me" St Peter said of Jesus' power to heal…Ignatian meditation/active meditation=imaging within Heaven, celestial Light, God's Grace spirating within body and soul to heal-some non-Christian practices do this well for wellness (biofeedback, brain scanning, diff forms of meditation) but do we Catholics capitalize on our sacred tradition?

-Others-in community-relationship -children's voices, laughter, care freeness are healing in themselves, en-lightening.

-Environment -holy events, nature--signals of God's "other-ness" -the mountains, lakes and sea can all be indirect sources of God's re-creative Love and Mercy

+Re Healing--Avoid extremes: One extreme is repression =never dealing w/ past or current hurts, and thereby these unseen/unfelt exp's recur, reappear cause anger, resentments …Other extreme=fixation= inordinately focusing on past wrongs, hurts…How does one achieve balance between them?

+Need of "expansion"… to loosen mental-tightness: a nemesis of our souls is fixation (inordinate pre-occupation upon bad, harmful thoughts and feelings)-we need to expand our consciences, powers of mind, memory into God-Rm 12: 2=be transformed by your mind…St Paul says in Eph: "be transformed by renewal in the Spirit…The Holy Spirit as Source of healing-do we rely on Him to heal our memories, past exp's, current troubles? John of the Cross indicates that in deep prayer He purifies and cauterizes caverns of darkness and attachments to free us to love and be loved

+"The Wounded Healer" (Henri Nouwen) -ability of those who have suffered much to empathize much/ others …Balance of Head and Heart, intellect and will, mind and emotion-do we have this balance of "right knowledge' about our sicknesses and proper means of healing, and also pliant hearts to receive healing. Do we help others in this balanced way? I.e., some hurts and physical sufferings need medicine, some are emotional and don't require this. +Painful memories as "clots" which block healing power of God and others…+Worst pain experience or memory=child abuse-perhaps you've heard about this extreme suffering, from first hand accounts and yet how people overcame this by deep healing -and are helping others.

-Saints & Healing - St. Margaret Cortona-attached sexually to person and then repented and then lived a life of holiness and was healed-she became a saint after all these sinful and traumatic experiences-so take the steps of healing, transformation …N American Martyrs-tremendously tortured and in love of Christ still chose suffering and eventually martyrdom-shows the power of heroic virtue in overcoming sufferings in Him, thru Him and with Him, Christ Jesus …Padre Pio-gifted healer-one who healed much because he suffered much-sacramental and spiritual healing by his priestly ministry…St Bernadette-vicarious atonement-"Victim Soul"…Mother Seton-suffered loss of husband and two children yet still carried on-by Grace of Sacramental life

-The "Human Condition"--Mind's attachment---is, at worst, like a kind of mental glue…Person can't let go and replays old "tape" of suffering, hurt, sickness: again and again…becomes an inner broken record.-How to surrender? We need to practice "Mind over What's the Matter"-ie., using mental-intellectual choice and thought to overcome repetition of "bad tape" .

You see: much or our sickness and pain is form Original Sin-because of the Adam and Eve we are not right, banc lend healthy or whole all the time .Sin is the brief answer to the Question: Why suffering ? Why death? And ocne asking these querisons we being to look to God and Jesus more in realizing we will always be sick to some extent and that He will heal us within, and that Heaven is the Ultimate Healing Place!

-A man in treatment center once said to me, : "In reflecting I realized I needed to confront and heal past memories-events before moving on. I needed to integrate and become a whole person and not leave past out. I'd repressed past-it was easier to run. Now it's time to heal…"

-Different temperaments require diff levels of healing-a man once said : "Yes analyze past hurts, but be sure to take action steps too In bible and Catholic-Christianity classically, emphasis not on causes of sickness/hurt, but on conversion---not why but what and how to respond.

-Types of Healing: need of inner healing and also physical healing…but, as Christians always stress healing is within soul first and foremost…Christ's Mystical Medicine---Eucharist and Grace. How did Christ teach Apostles? 1) He prepared disciples for His own death, 2) and for their own death,

Always remember: I Pt 2:21= "Christ suffered for you and left you an example to follow in His footsteps" -How do we imitate this and how do we help sufferers to offer up suffering?-- Redemptive suffering, attach suffering to Christ's, and "fill up what was lacking in Christ" (Gal 1:24)

Think of others' suffering/martyrs and compare to yours. This will help "lift" you out of any excessive egoic attachment.

"Static"/noise prevents healing-stillness promotes settling healing-spend time in still prayer.

Focus on God/His healing-not on scrupulous self (always centering things around you) or even fixated on spiritual self (I am trying to get holier; I am in need of grace, I am sick,etc.)

So: Pick up broken record needle/turn off CD player from "continuous play" of bad thoughts and hurt feelings and focus on God, the saints, Heaven, the Martyrs. Get focused on others.

Another blockage of healing is the Fear of being loved: we all fear in some way the vulnerability of total exposure to God and His Mysterious Ways -we may say or think: He/God will do same thing what all others did to me in past-hurt me. In midst f this we need docility/pliant hearts.

- St. Teresa of. Avila: uses image of water and deeper prayer-spiritual life. On one hand water from a well is hard work is from of external prayer and spirituality-whereas water welling up from a spring, within- is God's grace and an image of God's healing-not from outside, but within -we need God's Divine Grace that way

-Healing seems far off/distant for some people who have lived often in a state of pain and fear, perhaps because - a) they're used to control; b) afraid of unknown (can't imagine life without hurt)…There's something holding you back from healing-even negative tapes form past played again and again can be let go of. Some in this state may tell themselves: I need this pain; there's nothing greater I can imagine-this pain at east gives me some meaning or some rhythm of pattern I life (I can't see/feel perceive it)…

There is a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is involuntary, physical and immediate; sufferings is what we do, how we react to pain, and what we continue to embrace. If we focus on pain too much we will begin suffering often. But if transfer pain to Jesus, the Cross or to help others, there will be less suffering, anguish, self-fixation. The essence of love is sacrifice and Jesus shows us that to love much is to embrace much pain, loss of self. In order to undergo suffering (in marriage job, terminal sickness) we need to lose self, stop fixating, and focus on God. "Therapy" doesn't always solve someone's pain or even suffering; and, besides we sometimes need Sacramental forgiveness which a therapist cannot give--God's deep inner healing and supernatural Medicine to be healed.

Sometimes, also, we must just join a solidarity of "victim" with Jesus Christ-this was His Mission and beautiful sacrifice-He took on other's pains, sins and punishments and never complained but used them to save soul. So become like Him as a kind of "victim soul' in your own sufferings.

Read the "Divine Mercy" Diary of St Faustina-these are the words of Jesus to our aching mankind in need of healing and also the witness of a heroic soul(Faustina) min being a channel of healing peace and inspiration .

Complete change of heart to not ask "What do you want from me?" Ask "How deeply can I receive all you want to give me."

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi