Who wouldn’t be delighted to learn that he had access to a vast store of largely untapped wealth? As baptized Catholics, every one of us is rich in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, given to us in baptism and deepened in Confirmation. Among them is the gift of healing, which makes us signs of God’s power and presence and allows us to make others whole for the good of the Church.
St. Cyprian, after his own baptism as a young adult, wrote “I found I could do things that had previously been impossible…. God pours out His Spirit without measure. By that grace we are given power in all purity to heal the sick, whether of body or mind…”
Our Lord wants to heal us. This is why He “…has willed that His Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, His work of healing” (CCC 1421).
While every Mass confers spiritual healing through the power of the Holy Eucharist, there are also special healing Masses that focus on the restoration of health through the power of the Holy Spirit. In a healing Mass, the theme of renewal is reflected in the liturgical prayers and Scripture readings, as well as in the music, which often consists of spirited praise and worship songs.
Participants in a healing Mass are individually prayed over by the celebrant and an assisting prayer team. During the prayer process, those seeking healing may be asked about their needs, which can include a request for intercessory prayer. (All prayer requests are held in the strictest confidence.)
An individual who is being prayed over will sometimes be overcome by an outpouring of divine grace, causing him to be filled with a heightened state of inner awareness that may make it impossible for his body to support itself. This “resting in the Spirit” is a temporary yet powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
For any healing to take place, openness to the Holy Spirit is essential, as is the “expectant faith” that was demonstrated by the centurion who had absolute confidence in Our Lord’s power to cure his servant (Luke 7:6-7).
A healing may be physical, spiritual or emotional; it may be sudden or it may happen gradually, in God’s time. A healing may also manifest itself in a manner that is different from what was expected. Regardless of the nature of the healing, perseverance in prayer is necessary for the healing to continue. Of course, God alone can restore someone to health: the priest and prayer teams are only vehicles for God’s healing power.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote, “Healing is an essential dimension of the apostolic mission…. It can even be said that Christianity is a ‘therapeutic religion, a religion of healing.’”
A Healing Mass will take place Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at Holy Ghost Church, 417 Carlton Ave., Bethlehem. Father George Winne will celebrate the Mass, which will be preceded by praise and worship music beginning at 6:30 p.m. All are invited, and there are no age restrictions.