“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.” – James 5:14
One week before the healing mass, Ate Conching, also a lector in Immaculate Concepcion Parish in Malolos, Bulacan, already told me that next Saturday’s mass will be extra special. There’ll be more than one priest leading the Holy Mass and maybe she thought that as a relative newbie I’ll be more comfortable as a lector. So she volunteered to be the commentator, even if it wouldn’t be her turn.
Ate Conching is a 60-year old something woman, someone who must be enduring the aches and pain old age is accompanied with. She always wear this smile that reaches her kind eyes. When I am nervous about reading the word of God inside Mass- because up until now the nervousness doesn’t fully go away – she would tell me, “Don’t be afraid. Just pray, God is in charge.” She has a daughter who is a monk and during some Saturdays when she couldn’t make it to serve, she probably went to the monastery to visit her.
Then came Saturday! It fell on 24th of September, Padre Pio of Pietrelcino’s feast day. The first time I knew him was because of My First Pilgrimage. Invoking Padre Pio of Pietrelcino’s help in prayers is known to grant miracles of healing, among many other miracles.
All Holy Mass are healing mass. What’s different, as I observed, was that some parts on the Liturgy of the Eucharist were said in Latin and there was that extra part I’d like to call a “pray-over” led by a second priest. Ordinarily, Saturday morning mass has a lot fewer attendance but that morning, what was different, too, was that the cathedral was as full as a Sunday. I myself was holding back tears. Trust that most who attended the mass really needed healing. I felt it in emotionally-charged air.
Legion of Mary was also in attendance. Legionaries the world over are known to do acts of kindness for neighbors in need at least once per week. They assisted on the praying over during the healing session after Mass.
From the homily, I understood that when Legion of Mary applicants are officially installed as members, they also officially and symbolically lift everything up to the Lord. Totus Tuus is a phrase (Latin, meaning “totally yours”) I would often associate with St. Pope John Paul II and his devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. By surrendering all to God, we trust God to handle everything. We trust that He’ll never leave our side especially when the pain from illnesses does not seem to subside. We trust God to take care of our worries and ignorance. Ignorance from fear of not knowing for sure if technology or the doctors are already competent enough. We also lift up to Him our emotional pain from knowing too much – that the medication, the operation, further tests will hurt the body, the spirit and finances. We lift up the knowledge that all efforts to stay alive can still eventually lead to death! We lift up to the Lord our perceived useless and short life, our regrets of what could’ve been and what should’ve been, our remorse and guilt of not doing and feeling enough. Above all, “Totus tuus” is a phrase for an act of surrender, that despite all these negative things, God only has to say the word and our soul and body shall be healed.
Faith may be some people’s either last or only resort. But it’s the only thing that offers real healing. Most people fear death. I’m no exception but I’d still tell my parents, who are ageing as much as every person in this world, that death and sickness are inevitable truths. Everyone must die, in ways and time no one can really tell.
What I know is that the Knight of Columbus (KofC) in Malolos conducted their annual Lingap Kalusugan also on that same Saturday. They offered basic components of an executive checkup for just Php290. Weeks before this, I inquired at Sacred Heart of Malolos through phone if they offer packages with similar testS such as Urinalysis, Fasting Blood Sugar, ECG, etc. They said tests are done individually. In Clinica Manila in Megamall, packages are at Php5000-Php8000. This Lingap Kalusugan program is very timely and practical so I urged my parents to avail of it. Results can be obtained a week later on the same Sto Nino KofC Chamber. KofC has this thrust to provide brotherly love to its neighbor by serving God through the community.
Pray, hope and don’t worry. These often quoted words from Padre Pio must be very comforting for people who are fighting sicknesses. Many diseases are born out of emotional turmoil and spiritual emptiness. Going to Mass, the Church’s highest form of prayer can really help with whatever complication we are facing. If it couldn’t make one physically healed, it can teach ways on how to face our battles, on how to carry our cross each day similar to as how Jesus would do given the same circumstance. Because in reality, who can boast to have it all easy?
After Mass, I ate at the Lay Minister’s area the breakfast that thoughtful Ate Conching brought me, while she lined up for the healing session. Not for long, she then went back to the sacristy passing by me, smiling with her usual confidently peaceful smile. She did not simply tell me that she was done with the session. She could’ve just told me, “Let’s go. I’m done.” Instead, in a gentle but profound manner she declared to me, “I am healed!”
She believes. She is healed.That to me is Faith Healing.