"Since the moments of our life unfold, O God,
according to your good pleasure,
receive the prayers and sacrificial offerings
by which we implore your mercy
for our brothers and sisters who are ill,
that, having been anxious for them in their danger,
we may rejoice at their recovery of health.
Through Christ our Lord."
In the Gospel reading, Christ heals Simon Peter's mother-in-law by "rebuking" the fever. Elsewhere we read that Christ "rebuked" the wind, or the demons. "Rebuking" demons seems easier to understand, as we tend to think demons as creatures, like Satan, with a mind to destroy. But fever and winds are natural forces, within the fabrics of creation. Like most modern people I tend to see everything through lenses of science (wisely or not), and I believe that chemistry and physics are immediate causes of illnesses and weather phenomenon. Following the logic my question becomes "May God 'rebuke' chemistry and physics when they wreak havocs at His good pleasure?"
As a Catholic who accepts that God is sovereign over all of creation, it is not difficult for me to accept the answer "Yes." After all chemistry and physics obey the Creator's law and His command.
With the Church I pray, as often as I am reminded, to intercede for those who suffer illnesses and natural disasters. But I try my best to put the coda "Thy will be done" to each of my prayers. In other words, I accept God's timing and "His good pleasure."
This is not to say that it's always easy for me to submit my own will to His. Not that long ago I felt, for the first time, bitterness toward God, for being silent. Similar trials have not (and will not, I pray) turned me away from the Faith. The reason for staying is very simple, best said through the mouth of the straight-shooting Peter: "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life."
It's that simple: I have nowhere to go. You could even say that I came to the Faith in an act of desperation. Only many days and nights later did I recognize that what once seemed an act desperation was in fact an act of hope. Hope isn't issued from human will, but Grace.
But I digress. Now back to healing of the sick.
As I write -
- a relative is recovering from surgery he underwent yesterday, for colon cancer;
- the mother of my best friend is dying of colon cancer;
- my Dad is lying in bed in an nursing home, completely dependent on care provided by others;
- my mother lives with disability as a result of several past strokes and diabetes;
- the mother of my sister-in-law lost her husband eight months ago and is suffering from diabetes and a past stroke;
- a friend is living in anxiety of possibly losing her husband to Leukemia;
- an art critic and fellow artist is still absent from her intellectually stimulating blog due to the grave illness of her husband;
- a co-worker (who seems not to like me much) is mourning her mother who recently took her own life;
- ... ...
These and others, are in my mind whenever I kneel down to meditate and to pray. I've ceased to use words in these moments, just intentions.
Because words feel very thin where intentions are grave.