By Heidi Saxton
Father Ubald is a familiar face to those who have attended past WINE events. The Rwandan priest has a dynamic healing ministry, and his gentle demeanor and quiet ways clothe the heart of a fierce warrior in the army of the Lord. If you would like to know more of his story, you can order a copy of the documentary that was just released, Forgiveness: The Secret of Peace.
Today’s first reading brought to mind an experience I recently had at one of Fr. Ubald’s healing Masses, at St. Patrick’s Church on the outskirts of Chicago. I had brought my fifteen-year-old daughter, whose brain has been deeply affected by childhood trauma. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, I thought, if God would heal her?
God had other plans. He had seen my own struggles these past few weeks, slowly overwhelmed by fear and anxiety and depression. My body ached all over, making it difficult to sleep at night or even to kneel down at church. And so, I sat at the edge of my pew that evening, my daughter’s head in my lap, saying to Jesus, “Lord, won’t you please heal her? Won’t you free her from the past, so she can have a happy future?”
Father had taught us of the five steps to healing, which he had learned from Neal Lozano’s Unbound ministry. (1) To approach God with faith, thanking him for all he has done. (2) To forgive anyone who needs your forgiveness, and to resolve to ask pardon from anyone you have harmed. (3) To renounce the evil influences in your life in the name of Jesus, who strengthens us to resist. (4) To make a decision to belong to Christ, to follow him faithfully. And (5) to receive the blessing and testify to what God has done.
I was so focused on my daughter, asking God to heal her and standing against the forces of evil in her life, that I did not notice that for the first time in months I was kneeling. When I stood up, my hips felt strong and I felt no pain. Best of all, the weight that had been pressing down on my mind … was gone. All the discouragement. All the depression. It had vanished.
My sisters in Christ, I do not pretend to understand the ways of God, and I cannot explain why it was me, rather than my daughter (who later received a blessing from Fr. Ubald) who walked away having encountered the healing presence of Christ. I cannot tell you that from that moment to this, I haven’t been tempted with frustration and anger, or that I have never felt a twinge in my leg in the night. But this much I know for sure: I know God has not forgotten me. I believe that Jesus saw my need, and that what he did for me that night, he will do for you.
At the service, Fr. Ubald reminded us that it is God who does the healing, and that we do not need to go to a healing service to receive his touch. Jesus is waiting for us in his sacramental presence, each and every day. Go to him. Thank him. Forgive. Renounce. Decide. And Receive. He is waiting to meet you there.
Behold, our Bridegroom waits.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10
About the Author:
Heidi is a wife and adoptive mother, contributing writer to WINE, and author of Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and the follow-up companion, Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Servant, released January 2017). Heidi received a graduate degree in theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit in 2012, having converted to the Catholic faith in 1995 from the evangelical tradition. She met her husband, Craig, at the University of Michigan Ballroom Dance Club, and lives with her family (including two special-needs teenagers, a longsuffering Aussie shepherd and a snuggly Chiweenie) near South Bend, Indiana.