Posts Tagged ‘healing’

For all the faults


For all the faults, though ne’er so grievous, borne
Upon my soul so perfect made but marred
By misdirected hopes and fears so long,
My prayer attend, O Lord, with mercy sworn.
Thou  know’st of whom I speak so no retard,
By extra words, impede or do aught wrong.
Thy faithful servant all her life has loved
And honoured Thee in heart and mind and deed ;
But now lies low, so hurt by fate ungloved ;
And of thy healing hand so much doth yearn.
Pour out on her what things may do her good ;
What goodness that might be is no concern.
If we were best in wisdom to decide,
What need had we to tame and quench our pride?

[For Sr T]


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Mr Pengelly,  is a ‘faith healer’ from Leominster.   He has produced a number of letters of appreciation from his patients who thank him for lessening the symptoms of their condition and, in some cases, of curing them.  The law is not happy with this state of affairs and has let its displeasure be known by accusing Mr Pengelly of violating the Cancer Act 1939, which states that it is illegal to advertise offers to treat cancer.  Quite where this Act leaves the tens of thousands of medical doctors we have is uncertain ; but it is certain that the faith healer has been charged.  All this, of course, resurrects a difficulty faced by people of a number of religions and philosophies.

The difficulty for Christians is revealed when one considers the teaching of their Founder.  For did not Jesus heal the sick ; did He not also resurrect the dead? did He not also say to his disciples, “These things that I do, you also shall do”?  Are we not charged with living a life ‘in imitation of Christ’?

Of course, we may choose to live our lives in imitation of Christ (or even of Mr Pengelly) and never advertise any successes in healing (however modest) that we might claim.  But wouldn’t that be just a weaselly way of circumventing the 1939 Act?  Also there is no shred of doubt that faith heals – or that healing can be received through faith.  Are the gifted healers to hide their lights under their bushels?  Who gains from that?

It goes without saying that our all-knowing doctors will point to the numbers of quack ‘healers’ around as evidence that faith doesn’t work.  Sure.  But it’s as well to remember that there are fake ten-pound notes around, too ; but they wouldn’t exist unless there were genuine ten-pound notes also.

But there are also broader and deeper points to be made, and I will return to these another time.

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Twenty-three years ago I made a fancy manoeuvre while lifting some rather heavy timber boards.  I didn’t feel any discomfort at the time, just a twinge.  But some hours later, my right shoulder was nagging with pain and I could hardly move my arm at all.  So, being a model client of the NHS, I dutifully reported to my GP the following day.  He suggested some physiotherapy, and I duly reported that afternoon.  The physio, who had long blonde hair, deep meaningful eyes and a way with arms, applied a little massage and a lot of heat from what felt like a shipwright’s soldering iron.  As a result, the pain responded by taking umbrage at the interference, and it raised the stakes by moving from nagging to raging.  My arm was now immobile.

The Doc was as sympathetic as any disinterested practitioner of the healing arts could be.  “Well, you can’t go on like this,” he stuttered through his tears, “Maybe you ought to go back for some more physio.”  At that, my deepest, deepest unconscious Self screamed a mighty “NO!”.  A quite unmistakable er … nolle prosequi?

“Ah!” gasped Doc as I relaxed my grip on his throat, “I sense your reluctance.  I think we might have to try a steroid injection instead.”  Well, when your right shoulder is on fire and the end of the world seems nigh, a mere needle is a trivial procedure.  And, who knows, it might even work.  “We have to be a bit careful with steroids,” he said as he withdrew the needle from the flames, “Powerful stuff – you’re only allowed three of these injections in a lifetime.”  How I remembered those words long after the pain had gone and long after the dull ache that ensued had gone.

In particular, I remembered them some ten years later.  Yes, it was another heavyish timber board and, yes, another fancy manoeuvre and, no, it was not the right shoulder but the left.  The same twinge and th same rage a few hours later.  At least my brain was working, ” “Powerful stuff – you’re only allowed three of these injections in a lifetime,” it whispered in my good ear.  So, one down and two to go?  And then?  Only one to go.  And I calculated that I had many more years of reckless woodwork ahead of me.

I decided against another steroid injection ; I would save it for a later, perhaps worse, mishap.  I am, after all, rather good at mishaps and improving all the time.  What clinched that decision for me was that, in the intervening years since the first shoulder-wrench, I had learned (professionally) the art of hypnosis ; in particular, I had learned self-hypnosis.  And that was how I fixed it.  Not quite as quick as the steroid, but my arm was useable in a couple of days, then it settled down to a boring, dull ache for a while ; the same pattern as the wonderful steroid had made.  And I still had my two remaining shots in case of dire emergency.

Always remember – wherever the injury, the pain is in the mind.  And, what’s a mind for, if not for using?

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