In this week’s blog Fr Paddy writes about the fact that healing is something that each of us need to experience in our lives.

Fr Paddy Byrne has a weekly column in the Nationalist Papers.
This column appeared in the edition published 20th April 2010

Healing is something we all need. Life brings with it not just its joys and fulfilment, but also its scars and bruises. Recently, in St Andrew’s Church, Bagenalstown, huge crowds gathered for an evening of prayer in search of healing through Christ Jesus. The evening was facilitated by Eddie Stone, who works full time in the ministry of healing.

People of all ages gathered, seeking a renewed sense of hope and peace in the midst of the vulnerable and fragile places that are contained in all our stories. The image of a mother with her beautiful young daughter living with cancer, remains with me. There was so much cancer, depression, bereavement and addiction in the church, a palpable sense of emotion, felt in the tears and pain in so many eyes, seeking a God who in the Scriptures tells us,

“I have come not for the healthy, but for the sick”.

Healing is not magic, it takes time. It needs patience and a desire to change and to begin again. Healing is a life journey, a process where our own truth and awareness emerges, often in acknowledging the burden felt in all our hearts. The prophet Isaiah beautifully describes this

“By wounds we are healed”.

This is a time when there are so many open wounds visible in our society. Unemployment is a terrible wound that is affecting all our families and communities. These days are difficult for so many who are weary when they consider their future. The wounds of greed and poor governance must be challenged as we search for new opportunities.

Many young people find themselves lost in a subculture of darkness and crime because of the evil that is heroin addiction. There is a pale and vacant stare in the eye of a heroin addict, a wall of great darkness that is crying out to be knocked down.

A young man called to visit me last week. The previous week his partner had given birth to their third child. His face was pale, eyes black as coal, his appearance was dishevelled and he looked malnourished. I knew he was a heroin addict.

He shared with me the terrible consequences of this dreadful addiction and his enormous struggle to “get clean”. The following day he was being charged for robbery and he knew that at least the next two years were going to be spent in prison. In the midst of such a terrible open wound, he shared with me his faith and desire for healing. Today he is in prison, ironically where heroin is so accessible.

A living relationship with God offers hope and an opportunity to indulge in a presence that is fresh, uplifting and transformative. That is why the Lord was so available to the wounded and broken. The first steps to recovery from addiction is to avail of the strength offered to us from the higher power.

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference.