to kill an embryo
rite controversial, but ‘a jewel’
Jesus Christ, the ultimate healer
By Sr Helen Clarke, RSC
Concepts of healing and wellness, like justice and mercy, are constants in society.
Our health is intimately affected by the environment in which we live and work.
Think of the hyperactivity of our times; its reliance on soph-isticated technologies; its rapid communications and information overload, its array of fast, artificially preserved/coloured foods; and the degradation of the natural environment.
People are looking for energy, ways of slowing down, and ways of dealing with their demanding environment.
the messages can be contradictory; stress management gurus make mega dollars,
while suicide rates increase, particularly among the young; cardiac disease and
various cancers are on the increase, and a generation of Australian children is
threatened by the long term health effects of obesity acquired through a lifestyle
of passive television watching, video game playing and eating.
Australia as a nation may be less healthy, but we all still crave the sense of calm and balance we recognise as being essential to ‘good health’.
Feeling valued, self-worthy and personally fulfilled have their equivalents in our approach to diet, exercise, rest and recuperation and in our intellectual and emotional needs. In wellness we strike the balance of our physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
What can we learn from Jesus about all this? Jesus was an holistic healer.
He touched people at all levels, not just spiritually, and demonstrated the value of balance and relational behaviour. He insisted on faith, responsibility and participation in each person’s healing. Of the sick man at the pool of Bethzatha, Jesus asked “Do you want to be well again?” (John 5:7) before he healed him.
This is a basic premise of holistic health care, that the individual participates in and accepts some responsibility for his/her own wellness.
There are numerous examples of Jesus asking for the involvement of those wanting to be healed. “Get up, pick up your mat and walk,” he told the cripple (John 5:9); and when a blind man asked to be cured, Jesus used natural elements when he made a paste out of spittle and earth to cover the eyes of the man.
Then he demanded: “Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam” (John 9:6).
Jesus demonstrated balance - he prayed, took time out, rested, walked, enjoyed the company of his friends and shared meals prepared from wholesome, fresh ingredients.
He drank water, as well as wine in moderation, and was not slow to express his emotions, such as when he wept at the death of Lazarus, and his anger at the moneychangers in the Temple.
A hallmark of his behaviour was his constant need to keep in touch with his Father so as to focus on his inner world and to view his life through these reflective lenses.
have been a natural part of his life. He walked everywhere he went; and his ministry
covered many thousands of kilometres, so his body would have been strong and fit.
We, too, have the gift of touch and healing in gentle ways that can move and elevate the spirit of others. Jesus lived his life to the full. He offers us the opportunity to live fully, nourishing every moment with a life that is truly holistic.
Reprinted and edited from Australian Religious (Winter 03), newsletter of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes