When my son was in the NICU, friends organized a holy hour and Mass to pray for his healing. The priest preached that they—himself and the gathered community—would have to pray for my family and me; they would have to believe and trust and hope for us; they would have to carry us. He said that there would be times when we would not have the strength to do those things for ourselves and so we would need them to do it for us.
He was right. We did need them, and they were true to us and carried us through many difficulties. Over weeks and months and some of the most difficult hours of our lives, our loved ones carried us. Their prayers and their faith in action filled our gaps.
Likewise, in today’s Gospel it wasn’t the faith of the man on the stretcher that brought him forgiveness, it was the faith of his friends. Furthermore, the man was not healed of his paralysis because of their faith or his but in order to convince the hearts of those who lacked faith. All the blessings that fell upon that man came because of his community.
Friendship. Community. Sisterhood. Your tribe. Whatever you want to call it, surrounding ourselves with peers who are like-minded is important. The people who will believe so hard and love so big that they will break down walls for you—pray for them, find them, love them hard, thank God for them, and be one yourself. Be ready, too, to be used by God as a way of reaching those in your community who need to be loved, to have their hearts softened, or to have their prayers and doubts answered.
Sometimes we will be the man on the mat; sometimes we will be one of the friends carrying the mat; sometimes we will be the ones standing in the back with doubts in our hearts. Whatever the season of life may be, may God grant us the grace to be open to His will, His mercy, and His miracles.
Are you the one in need of healing or the one who’s helping today? Pray for strength to know which one you are and embrace that place, asking God for deeper faith.
Bonnie Engstrom is a writer, baker, speaker, and homemaker. She, her husband, and six children live in central Illinois, and her son’s alleged miraculous healing through the intercession of Venerable Fulton Sheen was submitted to the Vatican for Sheen’s beatification. Bonnie pretends she has a green thumb, bakes a fantastic chocolate chip cookie, loves naps and chai tea, and blogs. You can find out more about her here.