By The Very Reverend Vladimir Berzonsky
How does the Lord heal the brokenhearted and bind up our wounds? He uses the healing myrrh with which the Holy Spirit sealed us at the sacrament of Anointment following baptism. Christ Himself wipes away our tears. Then He mystically snips pieces from our pure and precious baptismal garments, fashioning tourniquets in order to staunch the bleeding. He ties invisible strips of bandages and wraps them around our sores. We too are the agents of the Lord. He expects the same spiritual treatment from us. Our task is to assuage the pains of those in misery, to put together the cracks in broken hearts, and to comfort the weeping and grieving brought about by a world that inflicts suffering upon the children of God.
We celebrate the advances in medical science and praise the Lord Almighty for the bounties that technology has made possible. We live longer, healthier and more productive lives, especially when we obey our physicians and take advantage of the breakthroughs in conquering diseases that have afflicted past generations and shortened life spans of those who went before us. It is the emotional traumas, the mental afflictions, and the ignorance of a civilization that for the most part has rejected faith in God. Now it finds itself lost on the way to His Kingdom. The advances in spiritual progress won by those blessed pioneers of union with the Holy Trinity are rejected, ignored or ridiculed in the present post-Christian era. There are no spiritual breakthroughs that conquer rampant acts of aggression such as spousal abuse, random shooting sprees, and even serial killings. Sexual liberation bringing about such aberrant behavior as rape, pedophilia and other forms of physical gratification through exploitation of the innocent and weak has no permanent cures.
The first stage in the process of healing should be the simplest -- where do we find them? The injured are everywhere. The maimed are endemic. One need only to go out from oneself and listen, look and sense with a heart that pumps with love for a sign of people in anguish. Those most likely to do so are the ones who themselves have been wounded. The fortunate few who aren't sure just what they should be seeking are those who have somehow escaped suffering. How can I help, they say. What can they contribute to the one who is in anguish, other than a platitude: "It will be alright, just have faith"? The response from the afflicted: "Easy for you to speak of faith. Have you ever been tested yourself? Have you ever found yourself abandoned, without hope, wallowing in darkness alone and lost? If not, better be silent -- you don't know what you are talking about. Do you know the feeling of life without meaning? Can you understand what Jesus was feeling when He said, 'My God, why have You forsaken Me'"?
Despite all the wonders of medical science conquering the many diseases, they cannot "heal the brokenhearted." That phrase describes the anguish, grief, self-pity and suffering that is both spiritual and psychological. What medication can be prescribed for a tormented soul? What is the pill that offers bliss to the miserable? Who but God alone can bring joy to a wounded heart, and how does He do that other than to convey it through us? And when you find such a heart overwhelmed with joy, laughing when there's nothing funny, just from sheer delight, sensing love and returning that love, when such a heart is filled with serenity, the peace of God that passes beyond all understanding, at one with God and all others, such is one who had been healed with the balsam of the Spirit and bound with the spotless baptismal garment's strips. The broken heart has been repaired -- in a better state than it had been before the trauma that required healing. It confirms the faith that believes all is well, all will be well with the one who goes on affirming the presence of the Lord. The one healed from a spiritual illness has the trust in God strengthened. Her faith had been tested, and with the trial ended, she is set free to continue the journey through this world and time, and onward to the Kingdom of God.