Ministries, Charisms, Fruits – 8 Healing
Of all the charismatic gifts that St. Paul describes, the gift of healing is probably the one which might, at first, appear least relevant to our modern world. Even prophecy seems less obscure, since we can probably think of Christians who seem to have a certain wisdom for discerning what will be the end result of a particular situation. How many of us can say that we have witnessed someone being healed by another Christian? Well, it depends on what exactly we mean by healing.
While the most obvious form of the gift of healing is the ability to heal physical ailments, this need not be the only form that the gift of healing might take. There are those within the Church, most of us have met one of them, who have a great gift for healing the psychological and emotional wounds of others. Just getting one of these people to listen to our problems or hearing their advice can be like a balm to the soul, and we know then and there that the Holy Spirit is working through this graced individual. However, we should not completely exclude the power to heal physically from our consideration. Certainly in the Acts of the Apostles we read about an extraordinary outpouring of love personified, the Holy Spirit, where after Pentecost the disciples are able to heal the sick through the laying on of hands, the anointing with oil and perhaps most astonishingly, simply uttering the holy name of Our Lord and Saviour.
These miracles are recounted with a frequency that gives the impression that they became almost routine, an expected part of the life of the Church. This certainly seems to be the case in St. Paul, since he includes the gift of healing in his list of the gifts given by the Spirit. St. Paul had himself experienced the gift of healing when he was cured of his blindness by Ananias (Acts 9:12) when he laid his hands on him. Furthermore, those who have been given the gift of healing, while they may be rare, are not unknown in our time. There are many who claim to have been cured of various physical ailments through the prayers of healers at Catholic charismatic events, for example.
Thus while the reason why the gift of healing seems to occur much less frequently in our own day than in the time of the apostolic age may remain a mystery to us whilst we remain on this earth, we do know that prayer is an incredibly powerful force for good in this world. It is therefore our job as Christians to intercede to our heavenly Father, who never neglects to answer our prayers, on behalf of those who suffer in body and soul.