Holy Spirit Healing Novena September 24, 2010

A reading from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (2:1-5)

When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

St. Paul describes his ministry as more than mere words about Christ and him crucified, but a demonstration of the spirit and power of God in his message of the crucified Christ. We see no less than this same power of God today here in the Holy Eucharist. The mystery of God is openly revealed in this most Blessed Sacrament. But many miss the reality of His real presence, for many the essence of the Eucharist escapes them.

The prophet Isaiah says of such people: “Truly with you God is hidden, the God of Israel, the Savior!”

Just as the divinity of God was hidden in the human flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, both the divinity and humanity of Christ are hidden in the bread and wine consecrated to be the Body and Blood of our Savior and Healer. Christ stands humbly before us in the species of bread and wine as our Savior and Healer, ready to save and to heal us.

We want that healing for our loved ones and ourselves, we want what St. Paul proclaimed: “a demonstration of spirit and power.” But how do we see the hidden God in our times of need, how do our prayers touch the Christ hidden here in our plain sight?

St. Augustine answers that question with his words: Tangit Christum, qui credit in Christum. “He touches Christ who believes in Christ.”

Pope John Paul II’s Preacher to the Pontifical Household Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa further explains this:

“Do not open wide the mouth, but the heart,” St. Augustine said. “We are not nourished by what we see, but by what we believe.” Faith is necessary if one is to have a true “contact” with the body of Christ. This was also true during Jesus’ life. One day a woman approached him, certain that if she only touched the fringe of his garment she would be healed of her hemorrhage. Jesus turned to see who had touched him; the disciples quite rightly pointed out to him: the multitudes surround you and press upon you and you say: who was it that touched me?” But Jesus insisted: “Someone touched me; for I perceive that power has gone forth from me” (Lk 8:45ff). It is one thing to touch Christ only with the body; it is quite another thing to touch him also with the soul. “He touches Christ who believes in Christ.” [Tangit Christum, qui credit in Christum.]

In the Eucharist also, it is only by faith that a spiritual, and not just a physical, contact is realized with Jesus and that divine energies are received, which emanate from his body. From contact with the Savior’s body the woman hoped to be healed from the flow of blood, and we, too, can hope to be healed from the relentless flow of vain thoughts, distractions, and all other spiritual hemorrhages.

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Holy Spirit Healing Novena March 25, 2011, The Annunciation of The Lord

A reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians (1:16-23):

16 [I] do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.

18 May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones,

19 and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might,

20 which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,

21 far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.

22 And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,

23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.

St. Paul prays this prayer for his beloved flock of new believers whom he shepherded and nurtured for three years in Ephesus. The Apostle’s prayer was for the community of disciples to see themselves as more than an institution, but (as what Avery Cardinal Dulles reminded us) to see themselves as the Body of Christ in Mystical Communion with Him.

As an institution, we give the Sacraments to transform ourselves and our neighbors into the People of God: Sacraments of Initiation, Sacraments of Vocation, and Sacraments of Healing (healing for the body and healing for the soul). As the Body of Christ, we the Church are God’s Sacrament, God’s gift to the world, with the responsibility and power to be the visible presence of God on earth.

Heaven prays St. Paul’s prayer for us today, that we be enlightened to know who we are as Christ’s Church in the world, Christ’s Body reaching out to encourage, inspire and heal.

St. Francis prayed similarly that we would see ourselves differently, that we would be the potential and active difference that God sees us being:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

Lex orandi, Lex credendi. We believe what we pray and pray what we believe.

Father in Heaven, may we see ourselves as your Sacrament of Healing, Your instrument of love in action among the sick, poor, and hurting. May we carry the Holy Eucharist in our hearts and be the Eucharist to those who need Your nourishment, Your hope, and Your healing.

As we honor today the Annunciation of our Lord, let us respond to God’s Word as our Blessed Mother Mary, and say in positive affirmation of His promise of hope:

May it be done to me according to your word,” and be born anew as the Body of Christ.

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