Healing – the Heart of Being Human

On New Year’s Eve I was at the home of a very dear friend of mine and her sisters enjoying the ringing in of the new year and praying with confidence that 2021 had to be better than 2020. After her sisters left, we stayed up to chat a bit, but soon we both realized it was time to place 2020 in the hands of God and 2021 in the heart of God, and off to bed I went. I thought erroneously that I would fall asleep quickly, but that didn’t happen. Instead I was overcome by the Spirit and my mantra for the year came to me immediately, “dedicate your being to the healing of the world.” A spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, social, political and interior healing of the world, not just for our country, but for the human family. This is not my resolution for the New Year, but my mission.

Shortly after that I received a magazine called Human Development published by Guest House dated Fall of 2020. A number of my sisters have signed up to read it, so it gets passed around among us. It was not until after the new year that it arrived in my hands. The theme for this edition is: “Healing is a Process”. God is the good Teacher and sent me some very important material to read and reflect on.

One of the very good articles in this edition was written by Msgr. John Zenz from the Archdiocese of Detroit, titled “Healing: Gathering the Fragments”, pp. 6-21. He speaks of three ways that are part of the process of healing:

  •  Through the Word – God’s word becomes a vital force in our own use of words in the healing process when we take them into the silence of our hearts and prayer. The Spirit does give us the right words at the right time when we encounter our loving God within us.
  • Through Worship – Healing is an individual experience but it calls us into a deeper communal experience of God’s love and mercy. Fr. Zenz explains that the role of the sacraments is to lead us into a personal journey of the same one that Jesus lived: the Paschal Mystery of suffering, death and resurrection. This Mystery helps us to see who we are before God and others and encourages us to allow this Mystery to transform us into the being that God created.
  • Through Service – Recognition of our failures, but confident of Divine mercy and forgiveness is a “service” that we do for ourselves and for others. The author writes,

“Mercy is not just a specific deed of trying to ‘correct’ or balance a perceived ‘wrong’ nor is it an act of pity…Healing happens through the hospitality of encounter, dialogue, presence, openness and shared experience. Such was the way of Jesus and the Christian community at its best over the centuries.” (p. 19)

According to Fr. Zenz, the doorway to healing is “humility, patience and acceptance of things we cannot control.” (p. 9) I can readily attest to this since humility and patience are not part of my nature. I have worked hard with these virtues and know that I will continue to be challenged by them until the day I leave this world for the life in eternity. All of us have struggles and once we know which ones they are and can honestly embrace them, we, too, can be agents of healing and peace for others. It seems like an unsurmountable task, especially in the light of 2020 and again these past few weeks. Some would say that there will never be healing in our country and an even lesser chance for the world. But that is exactly what we cannot control. However I can control and choose to live in humility, openness to the other, patience with my own failures and with those of the people around me. I can choose to encounter people where they are, without judgment, separating their person from their acts, acknowledging any action or attitude that goes against the Gospel, but always remembering that they are children of God. No one said it would be easy, but Gospel love is our model and God gives us the strength to accomplish more than we ever imagined!

Sister Nancy is a Franciscan of the Sacred Heart and Formation Director for the Joliet Diocese Missions.

Now we invite your thoughts. Please share in the comments section below. And while you’re here, continue on a virtual mission by reading more of our stories and reflections as we discover together how “We are Mission”.

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