Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 15, 2003
Priest's prayer purges pain
Community of saints join in our heavenly entreaties
A Missionary's Musings
By FR. JACQUES JOHNSON
One rainy summer afternoon the phone rang at the rectory. I answered: It was Barb, a parishioner in a small native community I was serving in northern Alberta.
"Father, Tommy, my 12-year old has a sore tooth. Can you come and pray for him?" I inquired about the dentist. She had tried that: There was a three-week waiting list.
I sighed, jumped into my car and in a few minutes I was knocking at her door. We did some small talk and then I asked about the boy and his sore tooth. He was sitting at the table looking miserable.
I invited her and her son to join me in prayer. We joined hands and prayed inviting the Spirit that was in Jesus to be with us, bringing relief to Tommy who was in pain. Then I anointed him with the oil for the sick. While we were praying Clara, an older woman, walked in and simply joined us in prayer.
After we were through praying, coffee was served. The two women conversed in Cree for a while.
Then Barb translated, asking me if I remembered that a few years ago, when still new in the community I had visited Clara who lived in an old house by the lake where she was raising her three grandchildren.
Indeed I did remember. I was on my first round of visits of the homes in the community, trying to get acquainted with the people. The younger woman went on asking if I remembered praying for Clara. I did remember.
Clara's healingClara had taken a fall somehow and had badly sprained her arm that was protected by a sling tied to her neck. It was very painful and she could hardly do any work in the house. Fortunately the oldest of the children was a smart 12-year-old girl who was able to a lot around the house.
Barb continued to translate and to my surprise she reported that immediately after I prayed for her, Clara had felt better, the pain left her and she was able to resume the care of her grandchildren. Clara reported further that on that occasion I had also prayed for her grandson who had been suffering earaches for some time.
According to her the pain went away that day and never returned. I was surprised and also very happy that people were being healed as in the time of Jesus, through his body, the Church.
Indeed when we pray for the sick and do so in the name of the Lord Jesus who has mandated us through the apostles to heal the sick and bring the Good News of salvation to all, we are never alone: praying with us is the community of the saints who intercede for us and are able to obtain for us the blessings of God.
In the Creed we state that we "believe in the communion of saints." And indeed when we pray for sick people or people that are spiritually lost and confused, the saints pray with us. These include our family members who have passed away and who from heaven continue to love us and help us as well as countless other saints including the holy people in the Bible that we revere.
Boyfriend gets the bootOne day I was called to the bedside of an elderly woman who felt that the end was near. She had even asked her live-in boyfriend to leave so that she might prepare to face her God and hope for the Lord's mercy.
So I came and we did all the ceremonies, celebrating the sacrament of Reconciliation, the Anointing of the Sick as well as Holy Communion that she received with great devotion.
A few days later I decided that I'd better check on her. To my surprise the boyfriend was outside cutting wood. "I thought the old lady told you to get lost." I told him.
"Yes that's true," he said, "but after she received the sacraments she felt much better so she told me to unpack my bags and stick around for a while."
I could not help but smile, a smile that was probably duplicated from above by One who is not only powerful in healing but also unconditional in love and understanding.
Truly a God who is Father and Mother, full of patience, of mercy and compassion in dealing with the kids who sometimes need a long time to mature.
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