On Tuesday night the 17th of January 2017 I was invited to attend the St. Pio Mass that is held in St. Michaels Church Lixnaw on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. Fr Mossie Brick and the team invited me to witness to the healing power of our faith in our lives and this is what I said…….
“You’re not just what you eat
You are what you believe”
20 years ago, a friend, home for Christmas from England got a heart attack and ended up in hospital in Cork city. He knew his records were back in London and he wanted to get back there. He got advice from a Pakistani doctor whom he asked “am I good enough to go back to London for treatment?”, the doctor wisely said to him “if you are used to driving a Mercedes car and you are suddenly required to drive a Mini car, you can’t drive the Mini like you were driving the Merc.”
It’s the same with your body, take it – but take it easy.
The same man told me, whatever you are going through, whether it’s sadness, guilt, sickness, anxiety or whatever, use your imagination to keep your attention on THE HORIZON OF HEALING. Focus on the day you will be better or more accepting, not just on how sick you are now. Look to the horizon. Between you and that horizon there might be bog holes, rough terrain, confusion, potholes, suffering and tears but hang in there, follow the light.
For me – you know my story, I went down the treatment road when I got a diagnosis of oesophageal cancer. Looking back now I can see I choose not to talk against myself. I didn’t use the language of BATTLE against CANCER. We always have to believe, no matter what is on the plate in front of us, that in our nature we are bigger than any event that can happen to us. It comes back to who we are and it’s to find the light within. The light of kindness, understanding, intelligence, empathy – the light of love that Jesus speaks about. That I learnt growing up, for it’s not what people say it’s the type of person you are when you are saying it, when somebody shares a bit of earnestness and deep goodness that can be with you for the rest of your life.
There is a lot of work going on science laboratories right now to find “the science of healing”. Science and Faith aren’t at each other’s throats. This struck me when I went in for an 8-hour operation in Cork and I realised that I was in an “operating theatre”. It’s like being at a play. I had to rely on everyone doing their part, the nurses, the doctors, the equipment……… Like the actors and the props in a play that I would go to in a theatre. In a theatre, you put away your disbelief you give yourself over to the production, I gave myself over so that these people could play their part in my healing.
When I’m inside myself I believe I’m moving towards the horizon of healing but I’m not waiting, not holding back until I get to the horizon. For you never get to the horizon, it’s a fool’s game because when you get to one horizon there’s always another ahead to move towards. You live in the present moment, even if it’s a bog hole there’s a future calling me out of that bog hole. When I was inside in a machine getting a CT Scan or a PET Scan or even getting an injection (on one day I got 13 injections), I, in my mind’s eye saw an image of Jesus, Mary, Padre Pio, the strand in Ballybunion, people praying for me here at mass and that image carried me for that part of the journey.
There’s several things that have been proven by scientists in labs right now that echo this:
1. There’s the subconscious – the things our logical mind doesn’t know about and that plays a part in our lives.
2. There’s the way we’re wired within, whether we’re in touch with a divine light within.
3. The imagination that allows me to link up with the people that are praying with/for me and wishing me well. This can be the most powerful of all, for when we pray we broadcast our goodness and I can tune into that goodness like I can tune into a radio station.
Nothing is either good nor bad but thinking makes it so according to Shakespeare. Sending a prayer or a good wish towards someone travels in an invisible space where that person can tune into it.
What is going on here, on the Tuesday night when you gather once a month is an act of the healing imagination. We are broadcasting the goodness of Padre Pio and tuning into the hope his life makes available to us in that invisible place.
- Everyone is here tonight for their own reason but we’re all here for each other just as much.
- We are living IN the moment, not FOR the moment.
- Here, there can be a different way of thinking – prayer can work.
(Then for a short while we each placed our hand on our heart and went into the heart space, got in touch with the light within and around us and prayed that that healing light would go forth from where we were.)
Reading the “The healing power of Faith” by Erica Larsen in the December 2016 edition of the National Geographic stimulated this homily along with the living Faith of the gathered community.