Thoughts About Spiritual Healing
by William V. Rauscher
Preaching, Teaching, and Healing are the three dominical commands, and therefore are the main functions of the ministry. My approach to healing was one that acknowledged the mental, physical and the spiritual.
The Medical Arts are as much a gift to us as the Spiritual Sciences. True Spiritual Healing recognizes that the inner life of a person has a great deal to do in aiding the healing which orthodox medicine provides and is so concerned about. But all healing is not physical. The whole person must be involved in the healing process. Nature's will is to restore; likewise, the Will of God is to restore and return us to wholeness. It is perfectly correct and in accordance with the scriptures (The Epistle of James, 5:14) for the clergy to anoint with oil and administer the Laying-On-Of-Hands, and to do as they were bidden by the Master Healer. This divine cooperation with the healing methods of earth is a ministry to develop and cherish.
Actually, every service of the church is a healing service. Each time we experience a sense of peace, we have had a healing. That people can and do become healed is accepted in religion. Not everyone is healed physically and mentally - nor can they be. Health of body and mind is not consistent for all on earth, but I do believe it is the Divine Will that it is possible. Health of the spirit is paramount as emphasized in the Gospels. When we pray for healing, we pray for a real sense of restoration of body, mind, and spirit. Healing services are always acceptable, if approached sensibly. We don't question it, or the results. We do it, and leave it with God.
We do not believe it is the Will of God to be sick. The Will of God is to be made whole - complete. The physical world is a staggering complexity of forces, genetics, invisible negatives, wrongdoing, lack of personal care, and innumerable calls for help.
We all enter into this world with a varied genetic history; some of us are strong, and some are weak. Very early on we learn that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Dramatic healing results may occur in some, but always there is a form of healing which takes place.
The major part of Jesus' ministry was one of healing - not only the healing of individuals and human situations, but of the whole universe. All this is inherent in the concept of a healing service, along with prayers and intercessions for others. We come to these services not always for ourselves, but also as a communication channel for others. We come forward to the altar so that we may be used by the Holy Spirit in positive thought, mental direction and projection. Whatever happens, we trust in the power of prayer and the loving care of a God who gave his own Son to suffer, die and to be resurrected for us. To that end God always heals, provided we love him.
There is one basic factor in all healing that is very important. This is well expressed by a remarkable woman named Eileen J. Garrett in her book, Awareness, Helix Press, New York, 1943. During her lifetime, she often discussed the subject with me. It is a concept to which I ascribe, and one which she taught me.
I have often been asked how much I know of medicine. I know nothing of medicine or anatomy or psychology, in the technical sense. Yet I am able to heal.
When I do so, I am but the agent of a norm which comes to dissipate an abnormality; under any and all circumstances there must exist, within the psyche of the distressed individual, a fertile seed of the "will to live" this will to live (which I am using here as a symbolic phrase) is fundamentally a psychological rather than a physical factor.
Though in some cases, recuperative power may seem to reside at the levels of physical activity, as in the healing of wounded flesh and the knitting of broken bones. Nevertheless, in all conditions of disease and disability, including these, the will to live must exist (however unconsciously) as a basic fact in the individual psychology. I would go so far as to say that successful healing consists very simply in the establishment of a regimen which releases this will to live from whatever conditions are inconsistent with and abnormal to it, and which may dominate it at any given time.
We make a grave mistake if and when we think that "healing" is principally concerned with the correction and cure of physical disabilities. Our physical equipment is in the nature of an instrument for the expression of our inner motivations and purposes; and our psychological qualities, rising constantly to the need for expression motivate and determine our physical activities. (P.119)
We ourselves cause much of the sickness we experience, and which surrounds us in the world today. It is a fact that better living produces better health spiritually, physically and mentally. Since there are numerous dimensions and degrees of health, there is within the process of healing an inherent and vital theme of living with right attitudes. Spiritual healing in a sacramental context considers all these as part of the complex nature of our being. It is in no way separated from the problems of our body, our psyche and our environment. Global issues of environment, and of our multi-faceted life today, are the healing problems of tomorrow.
A person who does not obey the basic laws of health and good sense invites the direst of consequences. In a special way, we do not break the laws of the universe; we merely step out of harmony with them. To circumvent this kind of ignorance, and suddenly produce health without following the simple rules of common sense, is to ask for constant miracles. The miracles that this person longs for require full command over the forces of nature. This is why the first rule of living is to live in the natural world as best as possible, and not in a mental state that demands constant excess of everything.
We are all subject to bacterial invasions, and are often powerless over viral attack; moreover, we must cope with and overcome legitimate genetic inheritances. These are things we have not asked for, and over which we have little or no control. But as one who has spent countless hours in the hospitals of this land, I find it is evident that much of the physical and mental afflictions I have witnessed could have been avoided.