You are here:

 

Sieger Köder: The Prodigal SonSieger Köder: The Prodigal Son

The signs that encircle our lives are bearers of our future. They challenge us, ready or not, to move beyond our comfort zones. Signs expand our horizons, penetrate our souls, and call us to be more than we are.

One such sign, truly a sign of our times is the global hunger for spirituality. What do we mean by the term spirituality? In many people’s minds, it conjures up images such as holy, pious, mystical or even New Age.

However, spirituality actually expresses the deepest burning desires of our heart. Spirituality is not an individual choice for us: everyone is spiritual!

The desires of the heart are expressed through the daily choices we make and the actions of our lives.

It is through choices and life actions that our spirits come alive and our souls speak.

Spiritual hunger is expressed by the burning desire for an inner strength to know how best to face life, the yearning for peace of mind in the chaotic pace of the world, and the experience of freedom from the feelings of fears and anxieties that beset all of us. But perhaps the greatest indicator of our need for a grounding spirituality is the insatiable hunger for the healing of our wounds, hurts and brokenness. Where can we find the wholeness we long for with every fiber of our being?

The source is found in the Gospel stories which break open for us the roles of Jesus as Teacher, Preacher and Healer. We are naturally drawn toward those encounters need of healing because their needs parallel our own. Our brokenness is manifest in wars across the planet, in violence in our streets, in families divided by differences and in our injured relationships as sisters and brothers to one another. How did Jesus bring healing and wholeness into the lives of others?

He became the living Sign of His Time by accepting people exactly where and how they were, yet encouraging them to be more. He offered them freedom from guilt, sin and unforgiveness. Jesus encouraged others “to see” differently than was their custom, to see with the eyes of mercy and love rather than judgment or condemnation. Jesus had a special heart for the lost: those who were in touch with their inner desert as well as those who were out of touch with their own inflated egos. Jesus had respect for the individual that had no measure. He treated each person as unique and personally loved them for it.

The friendship Jesus extended to one and all brought into existence the Divine Energy of healing. The Gospel stories give simple lessons in healing to all of us: lessons we are all capable of learning and living. Feast on some current stories of healing from our membership across the globe.

When I think of the Spirituality of Healing, the words of Sr. Antonietta Potente ring true for me, “Healing happens mostly in strange silent transformations.” Silent transformations are part of my daily life, including the silent prayer of healing I extend to all those who ride the subway with me. God knows best the way each needs to be healed. On occasion, I have the pleasure of engaging others on the subway in conversation and they so appreciate a listening ear or a lifted prayer. Another inner transformation occurred a number of years ago. When on a sabbatical in Florida, I realized I was not praying the daily prayers that were my custom. I asked myself if I was even praying! However, some transformation was happening. I was now gazing and praising! I was gazing at the beautiful herons, flamingos and egrets as well as the palm trees dancing in the wind and praising God for God’s amazing variety in creation. I indeed was praying, but in a new and different way. A strong reminder of the strength of healing came through a physician, who reassured me after an accident that my suspected broken leg was indeed not broken because “God is with you!” What a message of faith, we all need to hear….and to believe.

Sr. Bernadette Sullivan, USA

I am convinced that the Holy Spirit poured into the heart of our foundress, Mother Frances, the amazing grace to recognize in the poor and suffering the face of our Divine Savior.

It is in turn our task to be especially sensitive toward finding Jesus’ presence in the faces disfigured by suffering: physical, moral or spiritual.

The experiences of such encounters generate the desire to act, gently and creatively and to become instruments of healing after we ourselves have experienced our own healing.

Daniel Bonnell: Mother FrancesDaniel Bonnell: Mother Frances

Sr. Marvi Delrivo, Senegal

 

We are works of art in the hands of the Artist who created us and recreates us with such love while giving us the freedom to continue to enhance the work as we are inspired by the Divine Artist. For us to obtain such utmost inspiration we need to be in tune within ourselves, with others, with the cosmos and the Transcendent Divine. The beauty of art is in simply transcending that which we are.

Sieger Köder: In God’s Hands

My own spiritual journey is in this art form that, each day, is adorned and restored by the hands of the Artist.

Often in this process there are mysterious unknown pieces which become clearer as I deepen my understanding of their meaning. I therefore seek to tread the path of selfemptying, since it is only by emptying ourselves of our selfish self that we can be filled with the love of God .

When we cultivate the ability to listen to our inner self with spiritual ears, we also discover that our eyes are opened to see things from a different perspective.

The whole dynamic movement makes me realize that healing occurs from inside out.

Sr. Lécia José da Silva, Brazil

 

As a nurse, I often wonder about the meaning of healing and illness, and as a Franciscan Sister of the Poor, I ask how I can “care for” those I encounter every day. In living my ministry, I realize more and more that in illness there is an intrinsic dimension of fragility and weakness which, if embraced, can become an opportunity for a healing journey... maybe not a physical journey but certainly an inner one.

I try to live my ministry responsibly but I also am ready to accept the choices of those who are ill and the people who care for them. I realize with a renewed sense of awe that only within a healing journey are we ready to do things unconditionally. As I contemplate these selfless acts, I give thanks to God who, through them, is making Godself known.

Sr. Mara Bellutta, Italy

 

When Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf coast of the United States, the Youth Group of St. Bartholomew Parish in Cincinnati, Ohio planned a mission trip to help.

Therewere 48 energetic individuals, youth and adults, who made the trip including myself. And were we ever needed!

There were hearts to mend, homes to rebuild, and shopping to do. We welcomed them to our table at noon…and in the evening too…because few had cooking facilities, they came, ate and shared their stories.

It was clear that our presence made a difference with their healing.

Arcabas: EmmausArcabas: Emmaus

On a more personal level, a few years ago I faced a diagnosis of cancer which took me on the road of tests, chemotherapy, radiation and finally surgery. Those who were part of my care team were all gracious, compassionate and reassuring: they gave me hope. I took advantage of alternative treatments as well, including prayer, meditation, healing touch, acupuncture and yoga which provided me with healing energy. After eight years, I praise God for I am cancer free. I realize that my Sisters and care providers worked and listened and helped heal me. Now I strive to be a healing presence so the healing circle can continue to move on……

Sr. Karen Hartman, USA

 

When I look for a way to best express my understanding of a Spirituality of Healing, I reach out to the aspirations of St. Francis, St. Clare and our Foundress Mother Frances which tend to be a simple and ordinary means of outreach to others. I strive to be more alert to the ways of daily healing, saying a silent prayer for another, a smile or a word of encouragement to those I encounter daily. As I extend healing, I also experience it in a similar manner in my own life through people who lift my intentions in prayer, those who extend their goodness toward me and those who are signs of hope for me. New life comes to us in many forms……

Sr. Mary Louise Sahm, USA

 

 

I experienced the power of our healing charism at a very particular time in my life. My heart was closed because of guilt and anxieties.

The Lord with his love reached out to me in many ways, especially through contemplative prayer. This way of praying helped me re-discover in a powerful and clear way God’s presence within me and around me – a presence that has given me peace, serenity, unity, forgiveness...

I experienced the power of prayer, of being in God’s presence and the importance of maintaining this presence throughout the day, in order to share it as a gift to the world.

And in my heart, little by little, I felt healing..

.

Sr. Gabriella D’Agostino, Italy