Healing Prayer

by Cathy Halpin, RDC


We respond to the signs of the times by embracing the sufferings of others and bringing

God’s healing love to them.



Compassion is not sentiment but is making justice and doing works of mercy. Compassion is not a moral commandment but a flow and overflow of the fullest human and divine energies.



“Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, “I do choose. Be made clean.”

LUKE 4:13


A young couple is raped, tortured, murdered, and their bodies are burned. A Community is broken. A huge oil spill is released in the Gulf threatening the environment for years to come. Part of our Globe is broken. Terrorists blow up a schoolhouse. A woman is raped in front of her two young children. Spirits are broken. A mother is beaten to death by her spouse. People are broken. And so the list could go on and on and on. Daily—our world, our communities, our families and our children are broken. Broken: forcibly fractured into pieces, shattered. Broken: not upheld, breached, incomplete, fragmentary.


In John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden, there is a familiar passage that summarizes the theme of the book, i.e., good versus evil. Lee, a Chinese man, is telling Adam Trask and Samuel Hamilton what his research into the story of Cain and Abel has taught him.


“Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard

translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you

can call sin ignorance. The King James translation

makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men

will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word,

the word timshel—thou mayest—that gives . . . a

choice. It might be the most important word in the

world. That says the way is open. That throws it right

back. . . . For if ‘thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘thou

mayest not’. . . . ‘Thou mayest!’”


Lee goes on to exclaim that the ability to choose gives a person stature with the gods, for in a person’s weakness and filth, even in the murder of a another, that person still has the great choice. Humans can choose their course and fight through and win.

Timshel! Thou mayest! When we pray for healing isn’t it possible that the God we pray to responds to us, “Timshel”—“Thou mayest!” God will give us the power to heal. Jesus tells us our works, our healings, will be even greater than Jesus’ were. Yes, timshel—if we choose! Timshel!


Compassion and healing, the desire to make whole and restore to health, are so closely related that they are almost inseparable. Jesus was a man of compassion, of healing. He is moved constantly by compassion in the Gospels. Mark 6:34, Matt. 9:36, Matt. 20:34 are just a few examples.


In Mark 1:40-41 the leper begs Jesus, “If you are willing . . . .” In Mark 9:22–25 the family of the man with the demons implores Jesus, “But if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us. . . .” The compassion of Jesus moved him to health and wholeness. As followers of a compassionate Jesus and a compassionate God, how can we do less?


A drug addict turns to others for help and learns to live. People are healed. A country’s leader sits down at the peace table and negotiates with others for a better more peaceful world. Countries are healed. A community comes together to build a shelter for the chronically homeless. A community is healed. A spouse attends anger management classes. Families are healed.


Heal: to restore to health or soundness; cure; set right; mend; restore to spiritual wholeness; return to health.


Timshel! Compassion!


Peace Prayer of St. Francis


Lord, make me a channel of your peace;

that where there is hatred, I may bring love;

that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;

that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;

that where there is error, I may bring truth;

that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;

that where there is despair, I may bring hope;

that where there are shadows, I may bring light;

that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.


Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;

to understand, than to be understood;

to love, than to be loved.


For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.

It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen.



Photo of the Meditation Garden at Good Counsel campus by Theresa Young, RDC