Prayers for a Privileged People

Brueggemann, Walter
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This is a human phenomenon, which in some way concerns every person and finds particular resonance in the Church, where sickness is understood as a means of union with Christ and of spiritual purification.

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Moreover, for those who find themselves in the presence of a sick person, it is an occasion for the exercise of charity. But this is not all, because sickness, like other forms of human suffering, is a privileged moment for prayer, whether asking for grace, or for the ability to accept sickness in a spirit of faith and conformity to God's will, or also for asking for healing. Prayer for the restoration of health is therefore part of the Church's experience in every age, including our own.

What in some ways is new is the proliferation of prayer meetings, at times combined with liturgical celebrations, for the purpose of obtaining healing from God. In many cases, the occurrence of healings has been proclaimed, giving rise to the expectation of the same phenomenon in other such gatherings.

In the same context, appeal is sometimes made to a claimed charism of healing.

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These prayer meetings for obtaining healing present the question of their proper discernment from a liturgical perspective; this is the particular responsibility of the Church's authorities, who are to watch over and give appropriate norms for the proper functioning of liturgical celebrations. It has seemed opportune, therefore, to publish an Instruction, in accordance with canon 34 of the Code of Canon Law, above all as a help to local Ordinaries so that the faithful may be better guided in this area, though promoting what is good and correcting what is to be avoided.

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It was necessary, however, that such disciplinary determinations be given their point of reference within a well-founded doctrinal framework, to ensure the correct approach and to make clear the reasoning behind the norms. To this end, it has been judged appropriate to preface the disciplinary part of the Instruction with a doctrinal note.

Nevertheless each day they experience many forms of suffering and pain. Is ; ; Bar Indeed, he is the one "who delivers from every evil" Wis Among the different forms of suffering, those which accompany illness are continually present in human history. They are also the object of man's deep desire to be delivered from every evil.

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In the Old Testament, "it is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil. Dt , , The sick person who beseeches God for healing confesses to have been justly punished for his sins cf.

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Ps 37; 40; Sickness, however, also strikes the just, and people wonder why. In the Book of Job, this question occupies many pages.

The figure of the just man Job is a special proof of this in the Old Testament And if the Lord consents to test Job with suffering, he does it to demonstrate the latter's righteousness. The suffering has the character of a test. Although sickness may have positive consequences as a demonstration of the faithfulness of the just person, and for repairing the justice that is violated by sin, and also because it may cause a sinner to reform and set out on the way of conversion, it remains, however, an evil. For this reason, the prophet announces the future times in which there will be no more disease and infirmity, and the course of life will no longer be broken by death cf.

Is ; It is in the New Testament, however, that the question of why illness also afflicts the just finds a complete answer. In the public activity of Jesus, his encounters with the sick are not isolated, but continual. He healed many through miracles, so that miraculous healings characterised his activity: "Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness" Mt ; cf.

These healings are signs of his messianic mission cf. Lk They manifest the victory of the kingdom of God over every kind of evil, and become the symbol of the restoration to health of the whole human person, body and soul.

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They serve to demonstrate that Jesus has the power to forgive sins cf. Mk ; they are signs of the salvific goods, as is the healing of the paralytic of Bethesda cf. Jn , and the man born blind cf. The first preaching of the Gospel, as recounted in the New Testament, was accompanied by numerous miraculous healings that corroborated the power of the Gospel proclamation. This had been the promise of the Risen Jesus, and the first Christian communities witnessed its realization in their midst: "These signs will accompany those who believe The preaching of Philip in Samaria was accompanied by miraculous healings: "Philip went down to a city of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ to them.

With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing.

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Hear and answer us, we pray, in the name of him who came to set prisoners free. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures — I wish no more than this, O Lord. Permission to hold such services must be explicitly given, even if they are organized by Bishops or Cardinals, or include such as participants.

For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralysed and crippled people were cured" Acts Saint Paul describes his own proclamation of the Gospel as characterized by signs and wonders worked by the power of the Holy Spirit: "For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit" Rom ; cf.

It would not be without foundation to suppose that these signs and wonders, manifestations of the power of God that accompanied the preaching of the Gospel, were constituted in large part by miraculous healings.


Such wonders were not limited to St. Paul's ministry, but were also occurring among the faithful: "Does then the one who supplies the Spirit to you and works mighty deeds among you do so from works of the law or from faith in what you have heard preached? The messianic victory over sickness, as over other human sufferings, does not happen only by its elimination through miraculous healing, but also through the voluntary and innocent suffering of Christ in his passion, which gives every person the ability to unite himself to the sufferings of the Lord.

In fact, "Christ himself, though without sin, suffered in his passion pains and torments of every type, and made his own the sorrows of all men: thus he brought to fulfilment what had been written of him by the prophet Isaiah cf. Is In bringing about the redemption through suffering, Christ has also raised human suffering to the level of the redemption.

Thus each man in his suffering can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ. The Church welcomes the sick not only as the recipients of her loving care, but also by recognizing that they are called "to live their human and Christian vocation and to participate in the growth of the kingdom of God in a new and more valuable manner.

Presuming the acceptance of God's will, the sick person's desire for healing is both good and deeply human, especially when it takes the form of a trusting prayer addressed to God. Sirach exhorts his disciple: "My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you" Sir A number of the Psalms also ask for healing cf. The articles here will help you to understand how to grow using these important relationship tools so that you can really get to know your heavenly Father. The Bible answers the questions: To whom should we pray?

When should we pray? How long should our prayers be? Should our prayers be public or private? What or whom should we pray for? Is there a prescribed posture to assume in prayer? The Bible talks about the spiritual tool of fasting, which can be used properly or improperly. What is fasting, and how does God want us to fast?

Instruction on Prayers for Healing

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