Did you know that blessings multiply? If you are familiar with the story of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes then you know that when Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fishes, they multiplied enough to feed five thousand people.
Beginning with St. Blaise
This is how I would characterize my miracle healing. It began with a visit to church on the feast of St. Blaise where I received a blessing on my throat (see previous post for more on St, Blaise).
I entered the line out of habit. The wait was long because the priest chose to do the blessings himself. Fr. Stephen LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester takes his liturgical responsibilities seriously, loving every ritual with fidelity and reverence. Each throat blessed received his utmost attention.
Desire for healing?
As I waited, I wondered why I was there. Did I believe in healing? Did I even want a healing? You may ask why someone might not desire a healing but when you get accustomed to being a certain way, change is hard to imagine. I was used to my voice being gone. I had accepted it.
Still, I remained in line, deciding it couldn't hurt. I left the door open for possibilities, for anything God wished to give me.
Unfolding of a blessing
After receiving the blessing, I left the church in tears. What could possibly come of this? A few days later, the blessing began to unfold.
It began with an emotional healing.
Loss not private
When I initially lost my voice, I thought I could mourn in private. I could resign from music ministry at my parish and that would be the end of it. I was wrong. My singing was not a private, individual affair. I had shared it with a community and my loss impacted people. There were the other musicians who had to pick up the slack when I resigned. And there were the people who had enjoyed my singing. I should have been grateful for the many kind inquiries and offers of concern but instead I found it to be an intrusion. I didn't want to accept my loss and thus I pushed music away from me. The inquiries and offers of concern pushed it right back at me. I couldn't get away from my pain.
Thomas and his loss
It made me think of Thomas. Poor doubting Thomas. He was the one disciple who was not there when Jesus appeared to the apostles after the resurrection. Filled with joy to overflowing, they told Thomas they had seen the Lord and he would not believe. Hidden in a locked room out of fear, Thomas hid from his pain as well. It hurt too much to face it; thus he pushed away any semblance of hope that Jesus had risen. Just as I had pushed away any connection, any reminder of my music: it hurt too much. Healing through the wounds Thomas demanded to touch Jesus’ wounds. It was the only way he would believe.
A beautiful homily given by a newly ordained priest celebrating his first mass described what Jesus did for Thomas in response to his demands:
"‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Bring your hand and put it into my side. Hide yourself in me. Hide yourself from all that troubles you, from all you doubt, from all you fear. Hide yourself in a love more penetrating than a brush fire, more overwhelming than a deluge. Hide yourself in a love that will remake you entirely. Do not be afraid.' Jesus invites Thomas to literally enter into his wounds of love, to pass so deeply into the reality of love incarnate as to move within it. To physically put himself into our Lord's resurrected body, unconquered by everything that would seek to destroy love, to put to death all that smothered God's life within him. To touch resurrection, to touch eternity. To hide himself in Christ's love forever. But not to hide Christ's love from the world. Not to remain behind locked doors. Not to continue in sadness and fear. Jesus fills Thomas with a love so transforming that he can proclaim without fear, without doubt, 'My Lord and My God.’” Rev. Patrick E. Reidy, C.S.C., Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame, April 27, 2014
Transformation through healing
Jesus transformed Thomas; he changed him from a man filled with fear, sadness and bitterness to a man who proclaimed his love for Jesus boldly throughout the world. He healed Thomas and Thomas embraced him. He healed me in the same way. Once at war with myself over the loss of my voice, I learned again to love music, to re-embrace my gift and to learn to use it in a new way.
Openness to God’s way
In the next post I will tell you how Jesus healed me. Like the loaves and fishes, it was a blessing that multiplied over and over. Remember when Jesus told the disciples to lower the net for another catch even though they had worked hard all night and caught nothing? The net was filled to overflowing.
That’s what happens when you leave the door open, just a bit, and let God have his way.
- Have you ever been offered a chance for healing and have resisted it? Did you understand why you resisted it?
- Have you been healed? What did you learn from your healing?
I highly recommend listening to the entire homily given by Fr. Reidy. You can download the video from iTunes; about 27 minutes in, you can hear his homily.
Copyright 2014 Susan Bailey
About the Author
Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.