But she answered him, “Yes Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For saying this you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home, found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone. Mark 7:28-30
I find that the prayers of most people are for healing and relief from suffering. Many people contact me asking for prayers for their sufferings and healing for themselves or their family members. I believe deeply that prayers have efficacy, and that as part of the Communion of Saints we are bound to one another so we must pray for one another.
I do not pretend to know the mind of God as His immensity is far beyond my capacity. I also know the fullness of healing will be when we are glorified is in heaven. I know that our suffering is supposed to be redemptive. I also know that we can be filled with the Divine Will if we run toward the suffering because it is when we empty ourselves like Christ did on the Cross, we become like him.
But we should ask for healing. Jesus tells us to ask and it will be given. He has revealed His glory with miraculous healing, as we know about in the bible when he healed the man born blind. Sometimes he grants healing to us here.
I was reading the Gospel of Mark the other day and the exchange between Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman seemed strange to me. Jesus seemed so, well, un-Jesus-like! She wanted healing for her daughter from a demon, and His response was to say, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” This is not the kindest response I have heard from Jesus.
Then I got to thinking, He is talking about bread here… is that an allusion to the Eucharist? She is not of Jewish lineage, is he saying that perhaps His sacrifice would not be appreciated by someone who doesn’t understand? Would it be like throwing pearls to swine if there is no transformation of life? It’s a rebuke to be sure. It’s a rebuke about belief and faith.
She Responded in Faith
And many of us, who in hearing something like this, well we would be OFFENDED, and stomp off, and talk about ourselves and our hurt, instead of looking at the truth of his words. But she didn’t. She humbled herself. She recognized what he was saying. And she responded. She responded in faith, knowing she had been humbled, humiliated even, but knowing she was standing before the one who could cure her daughter. And her faith in Him showed. And He cured her daughter. And we got to see the God of everyone. He is for all of us. He wants to transform all of us. I think Jesus already knew her faith, but as Mother Angelica pointed out, he wanted us to see it. He wanted us to learn how to receive a rebuke and humble ourselves instead of being perpetually offended.
Healing Begins in the Confessional
Which brings me to the fact that if you want to be healed, we must humble ourselves. The very first place that healing begins is inside the confessional. Spiritual healing must take place before any kind of physical relief is given. This is why the Sacrament of the Sick is most often accompanied by Confession. Because it is our souls that are the sickest. We must humble ourselves and receive the graces that Confession has to offer. Realize the Priest is “in persona Christi” and hold nothing back. In this Sacrament, you receive the grace that Jesus offers when you choose to ask for it. The Sacrament makes you try to do better and this helps spread His goodness forward. It also teaches us how to forgive others and how to let go of those offenses against us. I don’t know Confession will physically heal you or not because that is up to God, but I do know it will heal your soul, and once you have emptied all of you, you can be filled up with God. And being filled with God, well, that is healing.
St Faustina said Jesus told her,
“My daughter, just as you prepare in My presence, so also you make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light.” Divine Mercy in My Soul (1725)
Imagine that, being filled with the light of God. I don’t think there is anything more healing. God will not reject you if you sincerely humble yourself before him. He has been chasing you for your whole life. Let Him in.