It is important that we build spiritual muscle. One of the critical areas for us is the sacraments. We can’t have the forgiveness we need within our minds unless we are healed through the sacraments. This is especially true for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is absolutely necessary for us to have inner healing. Without reconciliation, it is impossible to have the inner healing we need to be made whole.
I can’t recommend enough the importance of having a spiritual director. We simply need someone to go deep into our hearts and souls and give us feedback that will heal us emotionally and spiritually. I often reflect on St. Paul’s words in Romans (7:15-20):
“What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
We need the ultimate healer, our Lord Jesus Christ. We try to do what God wants but we fall short of the mark. We need every tool. A spiritual director will help us understand the triggers to sin. He or she will assist in building maturity and spiritual muscle to overcome the temptation to sin. It is important to try to find someone we can see on a regular basis if we want to be used by the Lord effectively and have our ministries grow and flourish. Ask your pastor who he recommends!
I truly believe that the Blessed Mother and the rosary are absolutely critical for our inner healing. We have a spiritual mother who loves us and will intercede for us. Praying the rosary every day will help protect us from evil and give us the grace to do God’s will. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having a relationship to Mary. Many devout teachers of our faith, including holy priests, have said the quickest way to become a saint and achieve holiness is through the Blessed Mother. If you don’t have a relationship with her, ask her to come into your life. Pray the rosary daily and expect your life to change in a profound way.
One of the most important tools for us in respect to inner healing is to pray the Scriptures. Truly read it every day and expect it to take over your life. Without reading and imbibing the word of God, I fall prey to my own emotions. What does Scripture do for us?
“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
I believe that if we truly understand the word of God, we would have it with us at all times. More importantly, we would read, memorize and use it on a daily basis. When will speak the words of Scripture we speak the power of the Lord through the Holy Spirit. As Catholics, most of us did not grow up with this mentality. The word of God was simply something to listen to at Mass.
An example of the power of Scripture is the teaching of love. We know that God is love! We learn that in 1 John. With love, we are healed emotionally. We learn from 1 Corinthians (13:4-8) the importance of love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated. It is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrong-doing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues they will cease; if knowledge it will be brought to nothing.”
Think how our lives would change if we spent our time reading Scripture and having these words in our hearts rather than if we just watched television or spent time on our phones, tablets or computers. This is expressed clearly in Hebrews 5:12-14: “Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk [and] not solid food. Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil.”
The word of God heals us and inspires us to do the will of God. We learn about the power of the tongue in Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue; those who choose one shall eat its fruit.”
And also James 3:5-11: “In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists, among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water?”
This teaching is critical for inner healing of forgiveness. If we forgive ourselves emotionally and forgive others, we must guard every word we say. Only focus on the positive, what is going to build up our relationships and our image of ourselves.
Jesus wants to heal us, but we must want to be healed emotionally. To forgive is to desire forgiveness. Jesus died on the Cross for us. He did not create “junk” but someone who is blessed, holy and full of love. Ask Jesus to go deep into your heart and mind and heal you emotionally. Go back as far as necessary to sweep out anything that is not of the Lord. He loves us passionately!