Some of you may be familiar with Louise Hay, the best-selling spiritual writer and teacher, who made her transition in 2017. Louise published her very first book at the age of 60. That book, You Can Heal Your Life, went on to sell more than 50 million copies, making her the 4th best-selling female author of all time, after J.K. Rowling, Danielle Steele, and Barbara Cartland.
You Can Heal Your Life was one of the very first books to establish the mind-body-spirit connection. The key premise of the book is that because our mind, body, and spirit are connected, illnesses of the body somehow have their root causes in the mind, in our beliefs, thoughts and emotions.
Louise Hay believed that the causes of disease (which she spelled dis-ease) include things like stress and unhealthy thought patterns and beliefs about oneself. She believed that the most fundamental way to affect positive change in the body is to change the way we think.
When she died in 2017, there were many wonderful tributes to her posted online, but there were also several negative ones.
Some commented that she promoted New Age mumbo-jumbo; that she gave people false hope; or that she gave people the idea that if they were sick it was due to their own thinking.
I share this with you today because today’s Gospel is all about Jesus, the Healer. We are still just in Chapter 1 of Mark’s Gospel. Page one, and we’re only just 40 verses in, and Jesus is already 30 years old and performing healing miracles.
Throughout the Gospels, we hear many stories of Jesus’s healing miracles, from the healing the blind and the deaf, to the healing those who are paralyzed or suffering from leprosy. And, in all of these instances, never once does Jesus take credit for these healings. He never once says, “I have made you well.” Not one time.
So, what does he say?
On healing the Centurion's Servant in Matthew 8:13 - "Go, it will be done for you just as you have believed."
On the healing of The Woman Who Touches Jesus' garment in Matthew 8:22, Jesus says, "Your faith has healed you."
On the healing of Two Blind Men in Matthew 9:28, Jesus says, "It will happen for you just as you have believed."
On the healing of the Canaanite Woman in Matthew 15:28, Jesus says, "Woman, you have great faith. It will be just as you wish."
On the healing the Bartimaeus in Mark 10:53, Jesus says, "Go, your faith has healed you."
On the healing of the Samaritan in Luke 17:19, Jesus says, "Get up and go. Your faith has healed you."
And, on the healing of the Blind Man in Luke 18:42, Jesus says, "Receive your sight! Your faith has healed you."
In each and every instance of healing, Jesus never takes credit. He says time and time again things like, “Your faith has healed you,” “Your belief has made you whole,” and “It is done to you as you believe!”
Sounds very much like what Louise Hay was saying HER book, right? It’s the power of our thoughts and our beliefs that lead to our healing.
If you were with us last Sunday, Jesus was talking about this Power and Authority. He said, “You have been given power and authority to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” YOU have! That’s why I love Eckhart Tolle’s words in today’s “Words of Integration & Guidance,” where he says that a true spiritual teacher doesn’t say, “Look at me,” but “Look within yourself. The power is within you.”
Healing is an INSIDE JOB.
Spiritual teacher, Maryam Hasnaa, says: “A healer does not heal you. A healer is someone who holds space for you while you awaken your inner healer, so that you may heal yourself.”
Jesus was holding space. He wasn’t performing these healing miracles because he was seeking praise for himself or because he was trying to prove himself as Messiah. In fact, throughout the gospels, whenever the Scribes and Pharisees ask Jesus to give them a miraculous a sign of his power and authority, he refuses.
Jesus didn’t care about proving his power and authority. He didn’t care about being praised and worshipped. He cared about YOU.
Jesus was – first and foremost – a teacher. (That’s why they called him “Rabbi”), and he came to teach us that we could do everything that he did. These things and greater! Jesus came to teach us how to awaken our inner healer through the power of belief.
During our church trip to New Mexico in 2016, we visited a place called Chimayo, which is known as the Lourdes of North America.
More than a million people visit Chimayo every year with the belief that they will be healed. When we visited, we saw the crutches and leg braces and wheelchairs that were left behind by those who experienced healing.
Places like Chimayo and Lourdes have become places of healing because millions of people come with the power of belief.
Now, are people who might say to me, “Pastor Sal, my mother was a woman who had great belief…a great belief in God and a great belief in herself, and yet she still died of a terrible disease. Are you saying that if my mother had only believed just a little bit harder, she would have been healed?”
No, that’s not what I’m saying. And, it’s not what Louise Hay was saying. And, it’s not what Jesus was saying. Healing takes many forms. Your mother may not have been healed PHYSICALLY from disease, but that doesn’t mean that healing didn’t take place.
Healing means to “make whole” to “make holy.” Sometimes it manifests as physical healing, and sometimes it manifests as spiritual healing.
Throughout Jesus’s ministry, many people were healed physically, but many others were healed spiritually. In today’s Gospel, we heard about the physical healing of Simon’s mother-in-law who had a fever, but we also heard that Jesus “cast out many demons” and “those who were possessed.”
Now, I you last Sunday, there isn’t some red guy with horns and tail and a pitchfork that’s out to get you. The Hebrew for Satan doesn’t mean “red man with horns.” The word means “Adversary” and this adversary (this opponent) tries to keep us from discovering our wholeness. Jesus called this adversary “the father of lies.”
It’s the voice that tells you that you are LIMITED and POWERLESS and SEPARATE from God. The purpose of the spiritual life (the purpose of our spiritual practice) is to learn to overcome the voice of the EGO (the voice of the false self) so that we can attune ourselves more fully to the voice of the True Self, the Divine Self.
When we do that, healing takes place.
My favorite line in today’s Gospel says, “In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went to a deserted place, and there he prayed.”
That is how Jesus accessed this healing power within him – through the practice and power of prayer. So, my friends, I’d like to encourage you this week to go and do as he did: to get up in the morning, while it is still very dark, and to go to a deserted place – that sacred place within you.
It is there – in the stillness – where your healing power lies. Ge in touch with that power. Trust in that power. Believe in that power.
Renew your mind, and be made whole.
Rev. Salvatore Sapienza
What did you think?