Sunday, October 27, 2013

Walking for Health

A religious brother reflects on his life which was filled with horrific scars. At the age of 10 he had witnessed his mother committing suicide, and he could not rid himself of his anger and hate toward his father who was addicted to gambling and dissipation. The scars remained dormant but were ever present, he knew, in the way he related with his religious family. It became so serious that he felt he had to leave, going to Spain with a Spanish friend. In the Catholic Digest he writes about his healing.

Sleep did not come easily, even in Spain, and his friend told him that walking was a good way to regain health, and recommended that he go on a pilgrimage  to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a walk of 800 kilometers he had always wanted to make, and finally did.

During the walk he met many people from many countries, with many different ways of acting and talking; they are memories, he says, that will remain fresh and will be treasured.   One Spanish family accepted him like a son, and even got in touch by telephone with his family back in Korea. In the evening they did the town together, as they enjoyed wine and cocktails over dinner. But the most memorable event of the whole trip was the Mass he attended in one of the churches along the way.

One very hot day, when he was covered with dust from walking, he showered and prepared for Mass at the church, which had been built during the Middle Ages. Slowly the pilgrims began to enter and completely filled the church before the Mass was celebrated. The atmosphere, he noticed, was remarkable, quiet and peaceful.

The Spanish priest spoke both in Spanish and in English. At the time of the Our Father, each person was invited to pray in their own language. He was the only person from Asia, and when asked what country, all eyes, he said, seemed to turn toward him.

His face flushed and his heart beating fast, he answered, which prompted the priest to ask him to recite the Our Father in Korean. He closed his eyes and recited the prayer with the greatest composure and devotion he could muster. While saying the prayer, he said he felt an emotional response that sent shivers all over his body.

Suddenly, all the hurt that came from the death of his mother, the feelings against his father and his religious family all melted away. He prayed that the remaining visit to the Cathedral of Santiago would be without mishap, and with the sprinkling of holy water the Mass ended. For him it was  a beautiful Mass of healing.

Eight years later, whenever he has difficulties he closes his eyes and remembers that small church and his whole being relaxes and becomes peaceful. He is now in a home managed by his religious community where he is counseling those with alcohol problems.  He laughs and cries with them, many of them with more scars and pain than he had. God helps him to be a conduit for healing. We are all wounded healers helped by Jesus  the Wounded Healer.

1 comment:

  1. What a story to share! I am looking forward to more inspirational words and stories from your blog.