The Finger of God for Healing: Faith Healing Priest Draws Thousands
mostly inner healing for emotional burdens. And when people are healed of those, often physical stuff can go away, too.
"There is a fervor to this, a zeal that can be expressed in a different way. We have to separate style from substance," he told the New Orleans Clarion Herald in March of this year. It is this philosophy and the guidance of the Church that informs his healing Masses.
By all accounts, they are quiet and reverent, focused on the spiritual interior with a specific emphasis on reconciliation and forgiveness, and Eucharist-centered. They include Adoration and a blessing by Fr. McAlear, who speaks of healing as rooted in the spirit.
"It's what is going on inside - the inner pain, depression, sadness, grief, loss, loneliness," he explains. "A lot of times it's manifested in physical illness. The need is there to touch the heart and the inner spirit. That's where the healing Masses make their contribution," he says. "The spiritual need can only be touched spiritually. Then everything else follows. The hope is restored, the darkness is lifted."
Fr. McAlear does not support exclusive reliance on faith healing, however. He encourages the use of effective natural means for preserving and restoring health as well, saying "Do both," and quoting Sirach 38:
"The doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; Thus God's creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth. My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, who will heal you.Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too" (1-15).
Fr. McAlear "always" feels the emotional pain of those he prays for, but occasionally he senses their physical pain in what he calls "an 'inner knowing.'" But rather than overwhelmed or discouraged by the suffering in the long lines of people waiting for his prayers at healing Masses, Fr. McAlear is more affected by their hope and longing for God's love.
"Sickness, like other forms of human suffering, is a privileged moment for prayer" (Instruction on Prayers for Healing). Keenly sensitive to the moment and the privilege, Fr. McAlear, like Jesus before Him, is drawn by the hope and faith in those who suffer. It sustains him night after night in churches all over the world, says McAlear, because "God wants very, very much to love them back and for them to be happy."
"The longing for happiness, deeply rooted in the human heart, has always been accompanied by a desire to be freed from illness and to be able to understand the meaning of sickness when it is experienced. This is a human phenomenon, which in some way concerns every person and finds particular resonance in the Church, where sickness is understood as a means of union with Christ and of spiritual purification (Instruction on Prayers for Healing).
Although in his 40th year of healing ministry, Fr. McAlear does not claim to have the gift of healing, only the gift of prayer: "We pray to God and things happen. I know it's not me; I know God is there, and I'm almost watching Him do things. It's Jesus' compassion, the love of God that is doing the healing."
One is inexorably drawn to the mysterious intensity of God's compassion and love in Fr. McAlear as his lips move in silent groanings and he cradles the stricken faces of those for whom he prays, marking them with the sign of the healing cross on their foreheads. Simply watching it through second hand video moves one deeply with an awareness of humanity's insatiable need for wholeness and union with God.
Fr. McAlear receives no fee for his visits and depends entirely on offerings for his travel expenses. Perhaps it is such demonstrations of love, more than any other evidence, that help prove he is a true finger of God in healing His broken, suffering humanity.
Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic speaker, Scripture teacher and study author and a contributing author for Catholic Online. She is available to speak on the New Feminism, current events and your preferred theme. Visit her at www.pursuingthesummit.com for information and sample videos, or www.pursuingthesummit.blogspot.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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