We are called to be healers. But we must be willing to sacrifice our privileges to be God’s partners in healing the planet.
Franciscan healing calls us to be healers too! Each moment can be a healing moment when people draw near to God through praise, gratitude, generosity, repentance, and service. You can tip the balance from sickness to health, from death to life, by your prayers and acts of kindness. Your care for others may effect changes in body, mind, and spirit—and even the political and economic order.
The questions Francis’ healing ministry raises for us as citizens and individuals in community are: Do you want to be healed? What are you willing to sacrifice and embrace to experience healing? Do you want your community and nation to be healed? What are you willing to do to achieve civic healing? Do you want the planet to be healed? What sacrifices will you make to go from consumerism to simplicity?
Blessing the World
Francis and his companions were known to greet people with “God’s peace to you.” Peace is just a moment away when we turn to God in gratitude and then share our gifts with others. In the spirit of Francis, I have begun a version of Francis’ greeting, most of the time as a silent spiritual practice, but often in relational encounters.
I begin the day with the affirmation: “I bless everyone I meet.” During my sunrise walk on a nearby beach, I silently bless other walkers and the occupant of cars going by.
I pause to bless persons I see on the news, including politicians whose policies and behaviors I find deplorable. At the end of conversations with friends and strangers, I often say, “Bless you.” I believe a life of blessing tips the balance toward healing and reminds me I can bring healing to every encounter.
In the days ahead, choose to become a person of blessing, invoking God’s blessing and peace in every encounter as you align your spirit and words with people you meet.
Letting Your Life Speak
Out of your own quest for healing comes the inspiration and guidance to heal the world, locally and globally. Each act of kindness contributes to the healing of the planet. Kindness of spirit takes many forms: a direct but civil call to our political representatives regarding policy decisions related to immigrants, gun safety, health care, climate change, or equal rights; volunteering at a soup kitchen, house raising, or environmental cleanup; picketing and protesting an injustice in a matter that encourages conversation; reaching out to people who hold contrasting political positions in a civil and caring fashion, looking for common good; praying for political leaders, despite your concerns for their policies.
We can raise our voices for peace and healing in terms of individual relationships and political decisions. We need a healed planet to be fully healed persons. We can pray, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,” as we challenge policies that make for war, oppression, and poverty. We can bless the persecutors, praying that God will show them the way to authentic happiness.
We must, however, be willing to sacrifice our privileges to be God’s partners in healing the planet.