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The Deepest Healing
Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.” They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “Since childhood. It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!” Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me a deeper faith vision that recognizes your salvific presence in the world.
- Signs of the Kingdom: How often we look for signs in our life, but perhaps we look for signs for the wrong reasons. We want signs about which job to take, a sign that our loved one is in heaven, or that we made a good choice in life. But do we look for the sign of God’s presence manifested in a deeper conversion of heart or in an increase of faith, hope, and love? A life that turns from sin and seeks to live virtue is a sign of God’s Kingdom present in our lives and in the world. When Jesus began his public ministry he preached repentance and the coming of the Kingdom. Then he began to heal many people. He manifested signs of his divine identity and the purpose for his coming. He came to break the dominion of Satan and restore the Kingdom of God. Healings are a manifestation of that restoration that he desires to work in the hearts of all people. That healing can be worked instantaneously as we see him do in the Gospels. But for most of us, it happens progressively through an ongoing process of conversion. The Lord is always active in a heart open to grace, whether we perceive it or not.
- Disbelief in Action: Jesus revealed his frustration over the disciples lack of faith. Perhaps they put too much trust in their own power, rather than in the power of Jesus. Or perhaps they sought vainglory instead of turning people back to the Lord. Their disbelief was more than a lack of intellectual assent. They fell short of recognizing the source of all healing–God. In my life, all the good that I do, any of the healing and restoration I experience, results from God acting through grace in my soul. All glory to God!
- Prayer and Fasting: Jesus said that the kind of demons his apostles were dealing with could be expelled only through prayer. Prayer is faith in action. When we pray, we are telling God that we believe he is there and that he is important enough for me to seek out. We appeal to the only one who can truly transform us. Prayer requires a tremendous act of faith. And faith is a theological virtue that unites us directly to God, the source of life and healing. The deepest healing is salvation that comes through the grace Jesus offers us as we turn away from Satan’s dominion and enter God’s Kingdom. This requires purification–leaving ourselves behind. Fasting can play a role here. Some translations of Mark 9:29 mention Jesus saying that some demons can only come out through fasting. Fasting helps us form the habit of turning away from obstacles that prevent our union with God. When I want to see healing and/or interior transformation in myself or others, Our Lord may be asking me for prayer and fasting.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I believe that you alone can heal my deepest wounds. Help me to turn from all that does not make me a daughter or son of your Kingdom.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will renew my prayer life and offer a sacrifice that helps me give more of my heart to you.
For Further Reflection: Mary Healy on the Catholic Perspective of Healing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHMdVa9ouBE.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala