Chronic illness is a rip tide. It’s hard to keep one’s head above water sometimes. For every step forward, sometimes it can seem like there are two steps back.
As if the physical pain and challenges aren’t enough, the social and emotional difficulties we talked about in part two in our three-part series can try the heart.
The life preserver
Throughout it all, faith is a gift that steels the soul and lifts up the heart. It encourages. It heals.
When God doesn’t heal
Jesus came to heal both body and soul, but sometimes the ill don’t experience complete physical healing. As the catechism teaches,
The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord. But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9),” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church.” (Col 1:24)CCC #1505
Super powered prayer
This is the mystery and the great gift of redemptive suffering, that we, in our small sufferings as well as our large sufferings, can offer them back up to Christ as a prayer—for our families, our friends, and the world. Remember Our Lord’s words to St. Faustina:
My daughter, I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone. I want to see you as a sacrifice of living love, which only then carries weight before Me.The Diary of St. Faustina, #1707
Turning to God, turning to each other
Both Allie and Fiona testify to the effect that chronic illness has had on their faith, and many others witness to that as well.
Let’s give thanks for our health, whether it’s perfect health or imperfect health and pray for the sick. If it’s God’s will, may He grant physical healing.
We also ask the prayers of the sick, whose crosses are redemptive and whose prayers are powerful. They are missionaries of prayer for many who need to know the mercy of God.
Next time a sick friend asks for prayers, assure them of yours, but also ask them to pray for your intentions. In the shadow of the Cross they’re close to the Light of Christ.