On the Concept of Healing in Daily Life
Recently I happened to come across the concept of Healing Hospitals – which refers to hospitals going beyond the mere curing of ailments, and onto more intimate spiritual & psychological areas of healing in patients & families. Thus hospitals following this concept would, where appropriate, seek to facilitate achieving spiritual needs of its customers – whenever the same finds a welcome audience by adopting a holistic approach to healing. While this concept may (or may not) have been practiced world-over in an informal way, it has probably been provided a more structured approach in the US thanks to the likes of a person named Erie Chapman who was the founding President of The Baptist Healing Trust. Looked at purely from the perspective of spirituality influencing daily lives of healthcare industry professionals & their customers, this initiative is worthy of commendation.
However, the debatable point that arises from this is – is capitalism seeking to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of mankind (especially during sickness) OR, are the spiritual convictions of a few seeking to align capitalistic institutions to the teachings of Christ? I would surely hope it is the latter and would hate to be proven otherwise. The litmus test in such cases would be – how would such institutions respond in times when profitability nosedives due to the application of spiritual principles, or otherwise, within it? Should such institutions choose to then abandon the propagation of spiritual values, it would mean that alignment to Christ was not the objective in the first place – but rather a more materialistic need of raking in the moolah.
Moving forward, the short analysis above also brings to the fore the concept of prosperity gospel preaching that is widely prevalent, particularly in the western world. ‘Believe in God and His abundant Grace – and make money; believe more strongly – and make more money’ seems to be the restraint being followed here. After all, God rewards those who believe in Him; doesn’t He? Rather, the humungous flaw in this argument is aptly expressed in Christ’s words given in St. Matthew 6:19-21 which goes as follows:
19. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20: But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
21: for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.
The point I wish to make here is – having Christ within oneself, a Christian is aiming too low if he were to even become another Bill Gates – because being in the presence of Christ in Heaven, and the treasures in Heaven that Christ has stored for us, are much more worthy and valuable than all of the material wealth in this world. Denying oneself in life's situations and practicing carrying the Cross in daily life is a prerequisite for achieving such divine treasures. As such, rightly has the Catholic Saint Angela of Foligno stated "that if we knew the just value of suffering for God, it would become an object of plunder." The tragedy thus in the modern world is – religion has not managed to sufficiently promote the benefits of suffering with the result that so-called ‘Christians’ rather end up inflicting suffering and pain on the world, than otherwise. For example, it cannot but be the failure of the church in the last 7 to 8 decades (or so), to sufficiently influence the working of the US Administration / System that has resulted in many of the wars in modern times – including the real possibility now of a strike on the Syrian people. Clearly, from the times of World War 2 (along-with the dropping of nuclear bombs then), the rush of adrenalin, and power, that such events have given to those in the US System appears to have consistently overtaken the sense of spiritual enlightenment within the roots of decision-making there. As such, the likes of Barak Obama have only ended up being changed by the system, rather than their making any positive changes to the system. In fact, the situation nowadays is such that, to rectify its past mistake, the Nobel Peace Committee ought to be giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the US President - should he show willingness to excuse himself from official duties for the rest of his tenure!
Nevertheless (leaving aside other religions), it must be stated that prosperity gospel has still not managed to reach the roots of decision-making in many Christian denominations – including Catholic, and many Orthodox denominations, etc. However, the challenges posed to the practice of gentle and humble (and long-suffering) spirituality are not few and far between. This is amply reflected in the words of Russian Patriarch Kirill, a news-link for which is given below.
Mention must also be made about the upcoming meeting between Pope Francis and our Malankara Metropolitan – which, I am optimistic, will contribute towards the promotion of genuine spirituality in the Christian world. Here, I am of the view that the influence of the Holy Spirit in the various communities (especially the two in question) would be an outcome that is in direct proportion to the humbling experience that this meeting manages to evolve – among the participants, the rank & file of the two clergies, as also the individual laity members of the communities located worldwide. This will in turn help in creating an environment conducive for the humble faithful to thrive towards an intimacy in Christ. After all, the Church cannot be seen to be akin to film-makers making visits to terror-ridden strikes (in Mumbai, i.e.) with an eye on personal benefits; can she?
Yours in Christ!