Why are some “abilities” passed down through the laying of the hands, such as the ability to successfully perform all the sacraments, but they ability to heal and cast out spirits is not?
Welcome to the Forums:) It is nice of you to join us.
This exact question came up not too long ago. Did you do a search of the forums and read the posts there?
My thoughts on your question:
I believe that many priests do have the ability to heal … some healings are miraculous … and of coarse others are able to heal as well … Miracles do happen
The Apostles did not heal every one [and neither did Jesus for that matter] … of every physical malady.
The important healing is done upon the soul of man … healing from the “hurts” of sins … repentance is a form of healing…
I would wager [and a quick reveiw of scriptures support] that Jesus healed far more people from eternal death and brought them to eternal life than he raised from the dead [like he did Lazarus] or restored sight, hearing and walking ability …
Priests assist the faithful in obtaining this healing through the Sacrament of Reconcilliation …
AND: just to be clear if you would say one can go straight to Jesus and no priest can forgive sins … the Sacrament is a help, a gift from Jesus and many graces flow upon the repentant. And Jesus is the one to forgive the sins, through the priest. YOu can go ino a confessional and fool the priest [make up sins, ask for forgiveness for sins for which you are not repentant of … etc] … then you will not be forgiven becuase Jesus knows your heart … but to be repentant and speak your sins out loud to Jesus through the priest [who stands as ‘persona Christe’] and hear the words of Christ "you are forgiven’ … powerful and HEALING
I hope this link works … enjoy the read
Who says they aren’t?
Each of us has been given gifts by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation. Priests have additional gifts or charisms by virtue of Holy Orders.Theses gifts are more active in some than in others. Healings do occur, often unreported. Note, that the Apostles always gave credit to God for any healings that occurred as the laid hand. What was true then is likewise true today.
What may be lacking in some modern priests is the sense of the mystical world. Too much emphasis has been placed on psychology and a modern understanding of the world in seminaries, that many priests reject any notion of miracles. That results in a lack of understanding of their own charisms from the Holy Spirit or outright criticism of those demonstrating such gifts. An example of this is Father Suarez, a Filipino priest who has a gift of healing, but who has been opposed by modernist priests and bishops.
You have gotten some good answers here and I hope they have been helpful. I will apologize for my somewhat flip answer above, but I wanted you to consider that the gifts may, in fact, be there, but that the priests and the faithful seem unable to make use of them properly.
This is such a complicated issue. SF3CHURCH said it well I think. there is so much emphasis on the “Scientific” and less on the mystic/spiritual aspects. In additonnPriests today have their heads filled with so much managerial stuff that it crowds out other, more spiritual aspects.
As another point, I would suggest that you look at many of the miracles of Jesus. Jesus would often point away from himself personally as the source of a miracle. He would say something like “Your fiath has saved you”, or words to that effect. It indicated that the person recieving the miracle has a role to play in this. The strength of our own faith is critical to the performance of a miracle. The example comes to mind of the Centurian. Without even being a Jew, he understood and accepted God’s power through Jesus. What is more he accepted it without reservation.
Read the pasage in Matthew 8:5-13 especially the last part where Jesus talks about, not His power, but the Centurian’s Faith.
(MT 8: 13) And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.
To often, we think in terms of what can be given us by God. To little do we realize the need for OUR co-operation in God’s plan.
So the question is not whether priests have the ability to heal and cast out spirits, but rather do they AND WE have faith sufficient to allow these miracles to work. Remember Jesus Own Words on the Power of Faith in Matthew Chapter 17:
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. 21 (“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”)
This then is the answer to all of our questions.
If a priest cannot heal or cast out demons, we must look, not only at Him but at ourselves and our faith in God’s great Power.
I like how you mentioned the managerial pressures that priests are under (#7). The faith of a person, likewise, does come into place. When praying for miracles, we can pray according to God’s Will rather than a half hearted if God wills. We know that Jesus healed in response to people’s faith as well as to bring a person to faith. Wherever Jesus went, he was healing somebody, had come from healing somebody, or was going to heal somebody. Even as he was arrested, He healed the servant of his severed ear.
On the other hand, Jesus was able to perform few miracles in Jerusalem because of their lack of faith. There are more reports of healings coming out of third world countries than out of our own. Very often we want to rationalize what is happening. Our very intellect and skepticism can stand in the way of healing.
While faith is important, we also want to avoid the trap of telling people that “if you just had enough faith…” I know that is not what either you or I is suggesting. I have met my share of Job’s comforters, and such statements can be devastating to a person who does not experience an instantaneous miracle. As St. Paul said, “In weakness, power reaches perfection,” referring to his own affliction.
Simply put, God can work a miracle through whomsoever He chooses to. There’s was no “expiration” on the ability of a priest to be the consuit of healing. However, in the time of the nascent Church, in order to prove the authenticity of the Apostles as Christ’s representatives on earth, God chose to perform many miraculous signs for the benefit of not only those who were healed, but for the ignorant or suspecting Jews (and Romans) who were complicit in the re-categorization of Jesus from Messiah to “criminal” worthy of execution. To move such hearts required some show-stopping interventions in order to demonstrate the authority the Apostles received from Christ.
In a nutshell, the Church needed a jumpstart, and the Lord, in all His Wisdom, appealed to the senses of man to elicit wonderment and a willingness to listen to what Peter (and the others) had to say.
I remember this being covered before, hold on, I’ll grab a link for you:
I Hope this helps out
Thanks for all the responses so quickly. That helps clear things up. I’ll occasionally think up questions like that, and I think to myself, I don’t know really how to answer that. But that’s what apologetics are for though, right?
A little off topic, but regarding miracles, the Chicago news have been playing up a possible one very recently. Back in April, a 3 year old boy in a stroller was swept by a gust of wind into the 42 degree water of Lake Michigan. Chicago Fire Department’s Air and Sea Rescue team just happened to be training nearby, and came to rescue him. Despite them being so close, he was submerged for 15 minutes, and when they took him to the hospital he had no pulse or brain activity.
He’s now in perfect health, and the doctors say he won’t really need any more follow up visits. Pretty amazing, huh?
Thank you Deb. You bring up some additional important points.
Yes Jesus had the full and confident Power of God within Him and thus was able to do much that others could not. Yet He did promise that we could do great things with faith.
It is our skepicism - our intellect - that often stands in our way. This may well be why there are more miracles in “simpler” places. Because these people accept God’s word “as Small Children”, in just the way Christ instructed us to.
I thank you also for the cautionary note. Certainly we don’t want people simply not taking their meds or whatever, but if we are to take Christ’s Promise as the Truth, which it is, then we must Pray humbly and with expectaion. Even Christ, in the Great Prayer of Gethsemane, prayed for something He did not recieve. He prayed that the cup pass Him by and yet submitted to God’s Will.
The issue of true Faith, the gifts of the Spirit, Miracles of Healing and so much more is wrapped up in seeking the true and full submission to God’s will. St. Francis sought this and created one of the most widespread and beloved ministries ever. Loved by both Catholic and Non-Catholic alike.
The Study of miracles, and Charisms, and Gifts is one of trying to discern the great and mysterious connection between God’s Power and our Faith. It cannot be measured in any way known to science because it cannot be scientifically reproduced in the Lab. It remains as mysterious and elusive today as it was to most people even in Christ’s day.
Sorry to ramble so…
The Fire Department being closeby is what in Cursillo is referred to as a God–incident.
I believe in miracles and they happen everyday …
I still think we miss the boat when all we look for are the miracles of physical healing and divine intervention in our daily lives …
Those healings and interventions occur … BUT the real healing that comes to us is the healing that repairs our relationship to God and that gains us eternal life …
Jesus cautioned the woman at the well not to think of the water that quenches physical thirst but the water that once received you will not thirst again … ditto, those who followed him from the feeding of the 5,000 with the loaves and fishes … and in John Chapter 6, where he discusses the bread from heaven [His Flesh and Blood] not the Manna of old …
Remember we are to take up our “cross daily” [Christianity is not a faith that promises no illness, pain or trouble - though some preach that ]
Miracles happen but those miracles are not why we believe, they are to show the Glory and Power of God … blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe …
And that is the healing that our priests bring to us … it is quiet and un-noted by the word for the most part and even perhaps by the penitent but the change in us is real … it is a healing power, the healing power of Jesus:thumbsup:
Priests retain the power to physcially heal through the sacrament of anointing of the sick.
My wife and I had great difficulty conceiving. We tried for two years before seeking out our priest after Mass one day. He immediately anointed my wife, who saw a tenfold increase in a critical hormone count the following checkup. We conceived immediately thereafter, our son being born on St Patrick’s Day during Holy Week (itself a once in two generations rarity).
That was enough to convince us.