DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY July 1, 1998 vol. 9, no. 127
KEY TO LIVING GOD'S WILL
Column by Father John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.
To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
"Faith: Key to the Heart of God"
Forty-Sixth Installment: Success Through Faith part one
The chief ingredient in successful prayer is faith. In James 1:15 he says, "If you want to know what God wants (not what you want), ask Him. He will gladly tell you. He is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask Him. He will not resent it. But when you ask Him, be sure you really expect Him to tell you. If you don't ask with faith, don't expect the Lord to give you a really solid answer." An answer to what? An answer to your prayer for healing? Not necessarily. Rather an answer to know God's will, the wisdom to know what to do. Then you can pray for your needs as we are taught in 1 John 5: 14, in accordance with His Will.
I know of a six-month-old baby who had a club foot, which is a bone malformation. The baby obviously could not make an act of faith for healing, but the mother could. And so could the priest who prayed with her over the phone. They prayed together, and overnight the baby's leg was normalized. The doctors at the UCLA Medical Center were absolutely amazed. The before and after X-Rays looked like those of two different children, one normal, the other abnormal.
A kind of preamble to faith is knowledge that God wants perhaps a radical miracle healing, rather than a healing through surgery or the other so-called natural "miracles" of technology, science and medicine. Ecclesiasticus 28 says, "...all healing is from God...a wise man will not despise God's medicines...there is a time when you must fall into the hands of doctors and they should beseech the Lord that He will bless what they prescribe to relieve and cure your ailments." The interweaving of human and divine actions often occurs in the healing process. The faith that you ask for to know God's will in this regard might be to not only know if God wants you cured, but also to know if God wants you to pray for a radical miracle cure or for correction through standard medical procedure.
So faith ultimately is not simply believing you'll get what you want, independently of what God wants, but rather a seeking of God's Will in order to adjust your faith-prayer to fit His plan - especially for deeply serious things such as the healing of a retarded child.
For the most part, you can say that God always wants spiritual healing. If your son or daughter has left the Church and turned away from God, you can be sure God wants to bring that person aback to Himself. Of course, it is God's Will that that soul be saved. We know that.
But in other situations there are things we don't know. The prayer should include a petition for the faith to know the direction (answer) we ought to seek.
In the next installment, the success of simple, childlike faith.
KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL