I’ve been praying for healing for others and myself (some natural, some miraculous), and for the improvement of many situations, asking for the intercession of Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, and I haven’t seen the fruit of my prayers.
I don’t understand why God hasn’t granted many of these petitions, and I am tempted to think that the Church being wrong is a more plausible explanation than God saying “not yet”.
In any case it doesn’t follow that His “no” answer, nor His “not yet” answer, or even His “yes” answer means the Church “being wrong” is even plausible.
The Church is not a guarantee that all your prayers are answered by God, that’s not even its function.
Secondly the suffering that you and those others are doing has a purpose, and perhaps that is why God is allowing you to endure it. Maybe he’s using it to teach you faith, or patience; perhaps your suffering is going to be instrumental in the salvation of someone else. The reasons are manifold.
The onus is on us to accept the crosses that are given us, daily, just as Christ did.
We are members of the Body of Christ, and are thus meant to share in His redemptive suffering. Suffering is of this life and of this world, and will not exist in God’s kingdom. Thus, it has value which is unseen here, but will be revealed once we are there. Fr. John Hardon (RIP), in his famous talks, declared that the greatest mystics of the Church actually found joy in suffering due to their love of God.
Suffering is a very difficult concept to embrace, as our bodies naturally seek to avoid it. Thus, it has no value for our earthly bodies, but great value for our spirits. Suffering and lack of healing may very well be part of our crosses and, as Saint Paul wrote, if we bear no cross, we will have no crown of glory in heaven.
A great Saint said long ago that wasted suffering is one of the tragedies of this life.
Jesus taught us how to pray when He prayed thus:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”
Luke, chapter 22:42
Jesus had to drink the bitter cup because God did not remove it.
When we pray, we accept the possibility that what we want may not be what God wants for us.
From the Gospel of St. Mark
The Healing of a Paralytic.
1 When Jesus returned to Capernauma after some days, it became known that he was at home. 2 Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
What greater healing could the paralytic have received? His soul was healed! Sometimes God’s answer to our prayer may be “outside of the box”.
A priest at a retreat I once attended spoke about people being angry with God about the death of loved ones. They prayed and prayed for them to be healed and were fighting their anger at God for not answering their prayers. But did He not? God had chosen to take the ill person to Him and to give him the full healing and the permanent healing that only occurs in eternal life. This wasn’t the answer they wanted, but they DID get what they asked for.
Sometimes we are given strength to deal with a situation rather than the resolution of the problem itself.
Sometimes we are given the grace of acceptance whereby we can now be at peace with the issue that plagues us.
And sometimes God does indeed say no.
Why? Because He has something “better” in mind! Because what we ask is not in our best interest. Because our request does not fit into God’s plan for us.
At the same retreat I learned to pray in a new way. I learned to lay my needs before the Lord and to pray for His help. I leave my prayer open-ended because I would not wish to put limits on God! I know that He loves me and He will take care of me and answer every one of my prayers. And I know as a loving father he will supply all my needs.
Please remember that God never answers with a, “No.” He sometimes answers with, “My Grace is enough for you,” which sounds similar to a no, but is never the same answer. He knows what is best, and while it is hard, remember that he permits both physical evil (such as illness) and moral evil (such as original sin) to bring about greater good. I recognize this is difficult when dealing with familial illness, but we must remember this anyway. Note that if original sin had not come about, the incarnation never would have either. Sometimes it just takes a long time to see what the good would be.