From our Director of Faith Formation, Todd Gale…
We are God’s beloved, made in the image and likeness of the Trinitarian God. We reflect His divine nature—which is a relationship of love where the Three are One. But REFLECTING the godliness of God is not good enough for Him. He wants us to share directly in that nature, to be filled with His essence, to be united and to become one with the One. God wants our hearts. He wants us with Him for eternity. He wants us whole, healed.
At the Baptism of Jesus, the Father is heard “This is my beloved Son. With him I am well pleased.” The Father says the same of us at our conception. At our birth. At our baptism. At our Confirmation. Each time we go to Him in the Sacraments. All throughout our lives. St. Paul says in Romans that we are the co-heirs with Jesus. We are adopted by God. St. John says we are one with the Father. Jesus says he loves us as he loves the Father and the Father loves us as He loves the Son!
Ideally, we should all be living in the bliss of this love and acceptance from God. Nothing should shake us from this foundation of affection. Yet, despite the magnitude and glory of this delight God has for us, we humans are riddled with holes of doubt, fear, rejection, abandonment, angst, loss, loneliness, and despair.
Inner wounds happen because the trust and faith we have in God’s total unconditional love is broken or twisted. We doubt the Truth that we are beloved children of the Father and we believe the lies the enemy whispers in our ears that God cannot be trusted.
Fr. Scott Traynor (a retreat master, spiritual director, and rector of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado) says that we are made by love and for love and when we are treated in a way that is contrary to love it does damage. God has commanded every human being to love you as He loves you. When that doesn’t happen—which is all the time—there is a wound. It might be a paper cut or it might be an amputation; there are different degrees. If the love of God doesn’t come into that wound and supply what is missing, that wound tends to fester and become worse. Around that pain is fear and fear of more pain.
Dr. Bob Schuchts (founder of the John Paul II Healing Center in Tallahassee, Florida with an extensive background as a marriage and family therapist) says “healing is a process, which will be completely fulfilled in heaven. But the process must begin now in each of our lives.” Schuchts says there are deadly wounds; each of us has one or more wounds. The deadly wounds have deadly lies (or words) that we repeat to ourselves and begin to believe. They poison everything nearby.
The wound might be rejection and the lie would be “I am not loved, wanted, desired.” The wound might be shame with a lie “I am tainted, bad, dirty, shameful, stupid, worthless.” Or maybe a lie of hopelessness and we believe “things will never get better, I want to quit or die.”
Alongside deep personal prayer, there are several techniques and approaches that are available to help us heal these wounds and dispel the lies. We are studying these in the Gamma Group sessions on Sundays, applying them with Ablaze prayer group, and many folks have been reading various books and attending workshops. These techniques are a part of the Encounter School of Healing offered in Brighton and are offered throughout the Diocese and beyond. Coming up in November we will hold a one day event at St. John, in the school, for “A Day of Equipping.” (See the ad and details on page 6 of the October 20th parish bulletin.)
Some of the healing techniques include prayer and Scripture meditation; specific Psalms and readings can be used to directly counter our brokenness. The wisdom of the Church offers us various practices of fasting, almsgiving, works, meditation, prayer, and of course the Sacraments. Rosaries and novenas to ask for intercession can be amazing. The UNBOUND method of breaking bondage to wounds and lies is very effective: forgiving others and renouncing lies with the authority of Jesus by accepting the Father’s love. Using St. Ignatius’ guides of meditation and imagination, we can walk through painful memories and ask Jesus or Mother Mary to enter into those moments and heal pain we have experienced. Using the seven lively virtues we can counter the seven deadly sins by practicing the opposite habits. A simple but powerful prayer technique helps us to give everything over to the Holy Spirit to heal us through what is called Transformation Prayer Ministry; discovering the heart-belief lies we are holding onto and allowing the Spirit to speak truth into our souls.
Pope Francis has said that the Church is meant to be a hospital. Pope St. John Paul II said that our parishes should be schools of prayer, schools of discipleship, and schools of healing. We see lots of suffering, pain and woundedness all around—we experience it ourselves! God wants us to bring our brokenness to Him. He is all about saving, healing, fixing, justifying, sanctifying. As Catholics we believe in cooperating with His Grace. Come join us as we become a parish hospital of healers!