Do You Want To Heal?
Saint Martin of Tours is better known for
the story when he impulsively cut his own
military cloak in half to share it with a
scantily dressed beggar. That night he dreamt
of Jesus himself wearing his own military
cloak Martin had given him.
Another story tells us that since he had
the gift of healing, when one day he was
passing through a certain town, a number
of crippled beggars disappeared from circulation.
One beggar, who was new to the job, was utterly
shocked. "Why are you running away?
Martin can heal us from our paralysis!"
"Don't you understand?" they replied.
"If he heals us, no one will have pity
on us and no one will give us alms anymore!"
I was a young priest when I visited this
woman who was very sick. Seeing her was heartbreaking.
She lived alone. She had a hard life story.
Her husband left her, taking their children
with him. She also had serious financial
problems. Together with my colleagues, we
organized ourselves to take her to doctors
and specialists when she would ask us to.
We collected money to pay for her medication.
The neighbours would go and cook, clean and
spend time talking to her. We went out of
our way to help her.
Once I receive a phone call from one of the
doctors we had been to. He wanted to speak
to me. When we met, he explained to me that
physically there was nothing wrong with this
woman. She was in perfect health. The problem
was all in her mind. He explained to me how
this woman yearns for affection so much,
that she is ready even to physically harm
herself to attract the attention she wants.
When she acts like a sick person everyone
cares for her, but when she is healthy, everyone
goes about with his own life. So she just
digests numerous pills and tablets to simulate
symptoms of illnesses!
It never dawned on me as much as that time
how much we crave for affection.
The problem is that some of us live all our
lives seeking for love from things and people
who cannot ever give us what our heart really
needs. And we die without ever having livedů
Or as the famous Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote,
"Our life is full of brokenness - broken
relationships, broken promises, broken expectations.
How can we live that brokenness without becoming
bitter and resentful except by returning
again and again to God's faithful presence
in our lives?"
This is why Saint Teresa of Avila, with her
typical practical approach to life, said,
"Prayer is the only road to God. If
anyone tells you otherwise he deceives you."
Yes, the saints are right. St. Leonard of
Port Maurice wrote "Leave sadness to
those in the world. We who are with God should
be light hearted." St. Clare of Assisi
said, "Melancholy is the poison of devotion."
And St. Philip Neri said, "I will have
no sadness in my house." St. Paul tells
us, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again
I say rejoice." St. Teresa of Avila
said, "One person and God is an army."
The only way to cure ourselves from sadness
is not to love it! And to let HIM put on
us the cloak of joy.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
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