The older I get, the more I realize that everyone I meet is in need of God’s healing. Young or old, rich or poor, everyone is wounded in some way, whether that be physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, or some combination of the above. It is the price we pay for living in a fallen world.
Bob Schuchts is a retired marriage and family therapist and the founder of the John Paul II Healing Center in Tallahassee, Florida. In Be Transformed: The Healing Power of the Sacraments (Ave Maria Press, 2017), Schuchts writes “the sacraments are God’s primary remedy for healing the whole person, the whole family, the whole Church, and the whole world. They are powerful because the Holy Spirit is always working in and through these sacred mysteries to usher us more fully into the resurrection life of Jesus.” He continues, “When received in faith, the sacraments have tremendous power through the Holy Spirit to radically transform our lives.”
Schuchts explains that there are seven deadly wounds that we all experience to greater or lesser degree: rejection, abandonment, powerlessness, confusion, fear, shame, and hopelessness. Each of the seven sacraments works to heal one of these deadly wounds.
In Baptism, we received “a public blessing declaring that you and I are precious and unrepeatable gifts of the Father.” This helps heal the wound of rejection. “In the Father’s household, there are no unwanted children, only ones who have not yet realized their true dignity.”
Holy Communion heals the sense of abandonment. “Jesus gave us the sacrament of his presence as a means for us to continually abide in him.”
Confirmation gives us the Holy Spirit’s power, thereby counteracting the sense of powerlessness we so often feel.
By setting up rightful spiritual authority, the sacrament of Holy Orders works to end confusion. We are called to submit to our Father’s authority and the authority given to the Church.
The sacrament of Matrimony counteracts fear. “God intended the sacrament of Matrimony to be the source of love and life in every family and the foundation of security for every human person.”
Reconciliation heals wounds of shame. We repeatedly fall into sin, but Christ offers forgiveness to all who seek it. “The full restoration of our identity is a lifelong process,” but the sacrament of Reconciliation aids that restoration and gives us courage to continue in spite of our brokenness,
In times of sickness or at the end of life, the Anointing of the Sick heals wounds of hopelessness. It is the sacrament of resurrection, promising us that Jesus is stronger than death and that eternal life awaits.
Schuchts offers many stories from his own and others’ lives, testifying to the power of the sacraments to transform lives. God wants to heal our brokenness and has provided His sacraments as a major way of being present to us in our times of need. Be Transformed invites us to take a deeper look at the sacraments and the power God exercises through them.
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