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Lent is a Time for Health and Healing

~Fr. Michael

One thing is abundantly clear from the Gospels, no matter how you read them or interpret them, this point is solid:  Jesus was a healer.  ‘Everywhere he went’ we’re told over and over again, ‘everyone brought the sick and infirm to see him.’ It seems the majority of time that Jesus spent in ministry was spent healing physical infirmities, disease, and restoring people to the fullness of life and health in a variety of ways.  In fact, the whole of Jesus’ mission can be described in terms of healing.  Jesus came to heal sick souls.  Jesus came to heal and make whole the breach and gap that we have created between ourselves and God, who is the source of life and health.  Jesus is the one true physician:  with perfect power to heal that springs from His divinity, and perfect power to understand sickness that comes from His humanity.

We call Jesus “Savior”, perhaps without realizing that that the words “Savior” and “Salvation” mean “Healer” and “Health” (for instance, a salve is a healing ointment).  In our rebellion against God, humanity has — from the very beginning — cut itself off from the one thing that brings true health.  In our stubborn insistence that we can handle our sickness ourselves, we refused to go to the doctor to be made well.  So, in His infinite mercy and compassion, God made a house call — God came into our lives to show us the true result of our disease, and to offer us a cure. What’s more, Jesus didn’t come just to heal for a little while, and then disappear.  He came to establish a lasting clinic.  One that would not simply carry on His work in His Name, staffed by people who guess how He might have worked; but a means through which He does continue His healing work, and gives to those who trust Him and believe in Him the privilege of sharing in that work.  This is not just a metaphor of how the Church operates, or an ideal which we hold ourselves up to, it is a rather profound statement of the truth of our calling.

The Church is God’s great spiritual hospital, where all the maladies and illness which spring from our separation from God are healed.  All the practices, doctrine, and ritual of the Church have as their purpose to heal us and keep us truly healthy.  The liturgy of the Church is like physical therapy, which draws our whole bodies into the healing process.  The sacraments of the Church are the medicine which drive away sickness, nourish and nurse us back to health, and cleanse us from infection.  Our common worship in the celebration of the Eucharist and in praying the Daily Office are the office hours that our Divine Physician keeps in order to bring the health we so desperately need and long for into our lives.

If we think of our life together as Christ’s Church in this way, it may help to shed some light on our priorities, and how seriously we take this mission and our part in it: 

  • How often do you think of washing or disinfecting your hands?
  • How often do you think of the grace given to you in Baptism?
  • How often do you think about nutrition for yourself and your family; of buying and providing balanced and healthy nourishment? 
  • How often do you think of the perfect spiritual nourishment given to us in the Eucharist? 
  • Would you ever let a wound continue to bleed unchecked without staunching the wound and bandaging it? 
  • Would you ever let a pattern of sin continue unchecked without confessing it to God and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation? 
  • When was the last time you took a pill or a syrup to get better? 
  • When was the last time you received the laying on of hands and anointing for healing?

Jesus’ healing miracles point us to the fact that the body and the soul depend on each other — that our lives have a physical reality as well as a spiritual one — that we are bound by time, but also part of eternity.  If we focus on one and ignore the other, then our lives go out of balance.  If we consistently live our lives out of balance, then parts of them will spiral out of control.  True wholeness comes from accepting and celebrating the gifts of spiritual and physical health that are given to us in Jesus Christ.

The Church introduces the season of Lent with the words, “See, now is the time of grace; now is the day of salvation.”  Lent is the perfect time for spiritual healing and recuperation — it is the focus of the whole season.  Just as people seek out spas and take vacations to devote time to bodily rest and recuperation, so Lent is a time for recovering the health of our souls.  Let us make the best possible use of this time.  Let us be cooperative and obedient patients, allowing our great Physician to do his work. 

We have a resource that all of us truly need:  a Healer Who wishes to help us, a clinic that provides all the means necessary to restore our health, a medicine which unfailingly produces its effect if we use it as prescribed: “Do this in remembrance of Me.”  And we are not the only ones who need this resource — everyone in our community, everyone in the world needs it.  The question we must ask ourselves is, “How in God’s Name is anyone else going to find out about this incredible source of health and healing unless we both take the opportunity for ourselves, and then tell them about it?”

 Things to give up in Lent:

1.  Fear:  God is on my side. In Him I am more than a conqueror. (See Romans 98)

2.  The need to please everyone:  I can’t please everyone anyway. There is only one I need to strive to please. 

3.  Envy: I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  

4.  Impatience:  God’s timing is the perfect timing.

5.  Sense of entitlement:The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.

6.  Bitterness and Resentment:The only person I am hurting by holding onto these is myself.

7.  Blame: I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.

8.  Gossip and Negativity: I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic and bring other people down.

9.  Comparison: I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.

10.  Fear of failure: You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fall forward.

11.  A spirit of poverty: Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack.

12.  Feelings of unworthiness:You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. (see Psalm 139)

13.  Doubt:Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.

14.  Self-pity:God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

15.  Retirement:As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die.

16.  Excuses: A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.

17.  Lack of counsel: Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.

18.  Pride: Blessed are the humble.

19.  Worry: God is in control and worrying will not help.

Service Schedule

DUE TO THE COVID-19 HEALTH CONCERNS ALL SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE STATE OF WISCONSIN REQUIREMENTS AND THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF OUR COMMUNITY. 

Sunday
Rite II Eucharist – 9:00 am, Cathedral

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