We can start the healing process anytime in life. But the first step is probably the hardest. If you are diagnosed with an illness, you cannot begin to heal until you admit to the diagnosis. Healing is sought after for physical, mental, psychological, and spiritual illnesses. Admitting an illness is the first of twelve steps required in addiction recovery, a reality promoted toward healing in Alcoholics Anonymous and successfully working for millions since the late 1930’s.
The next step is getting to the root of the wound or illness. It has to be excised, removed, sometimes with greater pain than the illness itself. Then comes the healing, the application of remedies and therapies requiring discipline with a goal in mind: You want to get better! But there is one more element of healing we should not overlook and that is the power of personal meditation and prayer. Sometimes the healing we seek cannot occur despite the best efforts of science and medicine. But we still seek whatever healing can take place, even if only a small improvement stumbles before the Goliath of the sweeping invasion unsettling our life.
Sometimes when we pray for physical healing we eventually find a trove of peace or serenity, a letting go attitude. This is healing of a different nature. Remedies abound when we care for a loved one because we hope one of the remedies will stick, be it a salve, or a pill, or an injection, or yes, holy water. We want healing. We beg for it.
Currently, we are hearing in speech after speech from political leaders that we need to heal as a country. Some very respectable analysts, both Republican and Democrat, have said we are on a terminal watch for democracy. We need healing. May I suggest a simple process to start us off?
First, admit the problem. Don’t get caught up in the easy dismissal that says we always had division in our country and we’ve survived. Or, I’m not angry so this does not pertain to me. Yes, we’ve endured division before but we worked to heal it and we still work to heal divisions. We are not less Americans because we have divisions; but we are less American if we do not face them and try to heal them. Second, angry or not, our personal disposition toward existing divisions is the invisible vapor that exudes from our skin. Try as we might to conceal our feelings, they have a way of seeping into the universe. So, root out what is challenging you, rocking your peace, nagging at your equanimity. Face it. Square with it. Third, take your concern over division to prayer for forgiveness. Jesus saw the forgiveness effort as a two-sided coin, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” This is a powerful invocation that draws us to our knees in recognition that we are as guilty as the person we charge with division.
So there you have it. A simple way toward healing. Face it. Remove it. Pray over it. Or, courage, action, remedy.
Try to be a good doctor of the healing process in a spiritual way. Center yourself in a prayer space. Breathe in and out in your prayer of what you want to be healed. The wounds within yourself? The wounds of our country? The wounds within your family? Place these on the altar you see before you. You might find some scripture readings helpful in reflecting on forgiveness. They are Luke 11: 4; Mt 18; Mk 11:25; Lk 17:3.
In the quiet of your prayer make this an offering in deepest humility.
“The spiritual stature of a person’s life is measured by love,” says Pope Francis in his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. Let’s measure our efforts at healing this way.