This weekend includes a World Day of Prayer for the Sick (February 11th – Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes) and is a timely reminder for a remembrance in prayer for all who are ill at present. What does it mean to pray for the sick? For most of us, it’s fair to say, our prayers centre on curing those who are sick and seeing nothing less than their restoration to full health. It’s not an unreasonable prayer and yet one that quite often seems to go unanswered.
How much moreso must it seem unanswered for those who are sick? Why do the prayers offered and the hope nurtured so often lead to disappointment? Where is Jesus in sickness? Where are the miracles and the cures? Could it be the case that Jesus chooses not to cure when it is within his power to make all well again? Should we just give up?
Certainly more questions than answers this weekend. The gospel and its story of a leper cleansed calls us to a belief in the real possibility of being made well again and that miracles do happen. The scars of leprosy were removed and the bell of the “unclean” needed to be rung no more. The request was simple “if you want to, you can cure me” and the reply direct “of course I want to, be cured”. How we wish it were always like this.
It is likely that curing occurs in places of the heart and soul beyond our view. It is possible that even when we can’t see it there’s a falling away of scars and hurt. The “cure” may not be the one sought or obvious. There is no denying that peace can be more evident in the one who is sick than those around him or her. “Of course I want to …..”, Jesus says. He is here.
We pray for healing and maybe we have to leave that healing and the form it takes in the hands of “The Healer” so that all, especially those who are ill, may be healed and at peace.