A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured. (Matt 9:20-22)
The Healing Power of the Eucharist
A young woman was in a terrible car accident when she was in college. It left her with a brain injury and paralysis, among other challenges. Several years after the accident, she attended a healing Mass. The priest read the story of the woman with a hemorrhage (Matt 9:20-22) and encouraged the faithful in attendance to believe that, if God willed it, they too would be healed. He then made a Eucharistic procession around the church and invited the sick to touch the tassels of the veil with which he held the monstrance, trusting in the healing power of Christ through the Eucharist. This young woman was hesitant but, encouraged by her mother, reached out her right* hand to touched the garment which held the Eucharist. The right side of her body was healed.
It was this young woman’s mother to whom I spoke when I was struggling with the challenges of living with brain injury in our family. “I pray the Rosary every day,” I told her. “I spend time in scripture, I journal. These are the things that always used to help me stay on track. But it’s not enough now. I still feel totally overwhelmed. I’m impatient and I anger easily. I don’t even recognize myself at times. What else can I do?”
“How often are you receiving the Eucharist?” the woman asked.
I went to Mass every Sunday, of course, and I tried to make it to daily Mass at least once a week. But I had every reason in the world, as a busy mother and brain-injury-caregiver, to not go every day!
This wise woman told me to find a way, however, and I did. Well, okay… not every day, but much more often than I had been going! The effects were remarkable. I noticed that the days I went to Mass seemed more fruitful and productive—completely obliterating the “I don’t have time” excuse! More importantly, I saw a change within myself that was nothing short of miraculous. I grew more patient, more compassionate, more loving, more peace- and joy-filled.
Like the hemorrhaging woman, I needed healing, and that healing was made available to me when I approached our Lord in the Eucharist with faith in His healing power.
Healing that Saves
While physical healings such as the woman with the hemorrhage, or the young woman I described, are a dramatic show of God’s power, love, and mercy, they are not always God’s will. Spiritual healing, however, is, for it is in spiritual healing that we become more like Christ and more pleasing to our Creator. It is through spiritual healing that we grow closer to God and, as such, that we experience the peace and joy that only Christ can give. It is in this peace and joy that we bear witness to the world and bring other souls to Christ, as well.
As to my own family’s story, I can witness this: God, in his all-loving and all-knowing goodness has not seen fit to give my husband, Ray, the physical healing for which I’ve prayed. Yet, He, in His merciful kindness, has given us spiritual healings beyond telling. Ray has a childlike faith he might never have attained in his former brilliance of mind. My children have seen the words “God will provide” proven in dramatic and very tangible ways. They’ve witnessed answers to a volume of prayers that might otherwise have taken a lifetime to accrue. And I, while still far, far from perfect, consider the journey of the past five years and recognize in myself a growth in grace and virtue that only hardship could have wrought. And in all these things I rejoice, knowing that these spiritual goods are far more important than any temporal, physical thing.
I wonder, after the woman had been healed, did she look back on the previous twelve years and lament her trials? Or did she rejoice in the lessons she learned through them? Did she wish she’d never been sick and desperate for healing? Or did she give thanks that her healing stood as witness to grow the faith of others? Two thousand years later, her story is still being told, and it’s a story that would never have been written had she not endured the challenge of twelve long years and, still, reached out a hand in faith.
Whatever challenges you are facing, whatever sufferings you are called to endure, reach out to Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. Hear His words, as true for you today as they were for the woman thousands of years ago: Courage, daughter. Your faith has saved… is saving… will save… you.