Eyes on the Healer
All of us are profoundly wounded. We were created, in our very nature, to have perfect parents, perfect communities, and perfect government — namely we were created for a natural paradise. So when our nature, that was created for all such goods rubs up against the reality, we find ourselves wounded by what is actually absent, what is deprived, what is an evil.
Yet, these are evils: grave, subtle, common, or minor, they all tend to have an effect on us. We cannot act as though they do not taint our own behavior, put us on the defensive in an inordinate way at times, or cause us to normalize distrustfulness. We cannot be naïve in the face of such evil. We also cannot evade woundedness — we cannot resent that we aren’t in a garden — we must accept it as a part of the human circumstances.
What is more pernicious is that the very disorder we rub up against also exists in our own interior lives. Concupiscence causes our passions to afflict our discernment with what is contrary to the truth. So not only does the dysfunction of the world exist exterior to our own person, but also interiorly in our fallen-state. The phenomena I think of is comparing something visual that makes me sick to something like a cold or flu that makes me sick. When seeing something extrinsic, that bothers us we can evade it from time to time. But that interior illness, there is what seems to be an imprisonment to it. We nonetheless live in a world where we must face both.
Turning to the Healer
When we view things as such, we get a better sense of how Christ compassionately stoops down to the human race as the Divine Physician. He says that He didn’t come to judge, but to save. That is — He didn’t come merely to diagnose and leave us in a state of illness (that was the function of the old-law), but to diagnose and offer us the very remedy to the interior dimension of our spiritual addictions.
I’d like to suggest a few things that might help. These suggestions are meant to occur with another trusted person. For when two or three gather in the name of Jesus, He is present (Matt. 18:20). But even if another is not available, you are welcome to attempt this prayer for healing in the following steps. It isn’t so much a method that I am advocating for here, since methods themselves are empty of value if Christ is not united to them. Rather, it is one way in which we can practically, explicitly, and spiritually submit our wounds to the Healer of Souls.
Step 1 - God is the leader of this
Acknowledge in prayer that you are conscious of your own wounds, but also recognize that there are some you are likely unaware of. Be open to God lifting up to your mind a memory that may have been buried. It is important that God be allowed to heal what He thinks ought to be healed at this stage of your life. So close your eyes, and ask God if there is a memory He wants to heal. And listen, see what is brought to the surface.
Step 2 - Where is Jesus in this memory?
Monitor your feelings about this memory, but do not do it alone. Invite Christ into the memory — ask Him where He was when this happened to you. Given what you know about Jesus, what do you intuit would be His answer. What would He say if he was in the room with you?
Step 3 - What lie imprisoned you?
Lies are tools of the enemy - they are the first step in getting us to turn away from God. From a lie, fear is often generated, and from fear, we act according to our pride - we take control. Adam and Eve were convinced God was not good, so they defined good and evil for themselves - they felt as though they were alone, that God did not have their back. They consented to the lie, submitted to fear, and reacted in pride.
Anything that was evil, done to you, is by its very design meant to cause you to internalize something that isn’t true. What was the lie you came to believe from this memory?
Step 4 - Renounce the lie that bound you
Renunciation isn’t about getting rid of a feeling -- although that might occur. Renunciation is about making a decision. When you renounce this lie, whatever it might be, this is an act of your will. Try to assemble your whole self, your heart and your mind in it. But if all you can bring is your will, this is understandable and acceptable. The rudder that is your spiritual ship - is the will.
Say: “In the name of Jesus I choose to renounce the lie __________________”
Step 5 - Replace the lie with the Truth
Error cannot exist without truth — error is merely the obscuring of truth. What, therefore is the truth? Ask Jesus: “What truth do you want to give me to replace this lie?” Declare that truth by saying:
“Jesus, in your name I declare the truth that __________________”
Step 6 - Forgive
God makes it clear that His grace is unwelcome in our soul, if we choose not to forgive. The very generosity of God is being offered to us, while we hold unto something ungenerous. His disposition along with our resentments are irreconcilable. Forgiveness is a gift we give to another -- it’s an act of generosity. The object of forgiving another is not principally to heal ourselves (it definitely has that side effect), but the object is to release another. It imitates the mercy God is extending to us, and therefore makes our soul fertile soil that can receive the healing truths God is extending to us. But again, forgiveness is not a feeling - it’s a choice.
Say: Jesus, I choose to forgive _______________
Step 7 - Lightly Return to the Memory
Go back to the memory you began with. But you are not there to victimize yourself by returning here. Rather you have come back to this place, having experienced Christ’s wisdom, and healing. Assess how you feel about this memory. Has your emotions changed? Is it emotionally lighter? If it is still harassing you, repeat the previous steps. Sometimes Christ healed people in phases, and this can happen due to the complex layers we must work through in time.
Step 8 - End in prayer
At this point, I invite you to end by covering 4 things:
Bind the enemy - The enemy wants us to remain wounded -- he sometimes sows lies even in the prayer process. This is why it’s good to do this with another person who can be more objective, and is more aware of when God is speaking and when the enemy is obscuring this process. You might say something like this: “Lord, I bind and reject anything that did not come from you.” If there was a specific spirit that came to you - a temptation to despair or experience lust say, “I banish the spirit of ______ to the foot of the Cross, and ask Jesus to deal with you as He will.”
Give thanks - Gratitude is a sign that we are people who have truly received grace. When we give thanks to God, it is as though we have just watered the very seed he planted in our soul. To be grateful is to embrace and cherish in our heart what God has done.
Request further healing - It’s rare for us to be entirely sanctified in this life —there are many wounds in our hearts. We must be humble, lest our zeal for our experience of healing lead to pride.
Ask for safety and protection for those you prayed with, and yourself - We must “Go in peace” and for this to happen we must know that God is invited into our future, as we pray in the present.
Missio Dei is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.