Healing During this Time of Hardship
Pray, hope and don’t worry says St. Padre Pio.
Deacon Patrick Constantino
The following is a reprint of a Homily I gave at St. Anthony of Padua Church on October 14, 2014 during a Healing Mass. My Prayer is for you to reflect on it!
Peace be with you!
Welcome to St. Anthony Church and welcome to our Healing Mass. This is the 6th year of this celebration. How many of you are here for the first time? second time? fifth time? God Bless you. May you experience the healing power of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ tonight!
Have you experienced any changes from the last time we gathered? Did it help you make a difference with your health, spiritually, mentally?
I know you came to heal whatever illness you have. Whether it’s physical or spiritual, we will try to help you, with the help of God, and assistance of our brother Priests, Deacons, we hope and pray, we can help make a difference in your lives.
Basically, healing comes from prayer, a lot of prayer. God gives us life and it’s our prayer every day when we get up in the morning. Second, we need to be reconciled with God first. Then with ourselves and then with those who we hurt. This is the key to healing.
When we experience this peace, God will always help us.
We know God graciously gave us His Son Jesus—to live among us and to be like us, to experience what we go through in life here on earth and to live human life—so we can become believers of Christ.
He did nothing wrong but was killed without fault for our sins. With God in Him, we too become Christ like. It is a challenge for us humans, especially with illnesses.
Remember this, don’t let the world evangelize and entice us to its values, priorities and goals. All of them will pass away. Always read God’s word. Here is truth. This is who we are. Don’t allow the evil one to lie to us, condemn us, rob us of our inheritance, entice us to sin to medicate our suffering. God is here to help us in our need, our weakness, to forgive any sin, to draw us back to himself.
You have experienced Christ’s suffering. Illnesses we have, illnesses in our families, unexpected death, loss of homes, financial difficulties, divorces, drug problems, drinking problems, abuses and a whole lot of things we must deal with here on earth.
Christ took it all on Himself. Remember this, there is no suffering we bear that He has not borne for us so we may be confident He is with us in our pain. However awful, it is temporary.
He broke the bonds that keep us in bondage; he broke the power of death. The power of his suffering makes it possible for us to rise from death and live with Him in glory. He won this eternal inheritance for us. Our task is to remain faithful to Him!
A young man shared his story on a radio program. He said I was going through physical and emotional suffering and wanted to draw closer to the Lord but needed help. I have Muscular Dystrophy and am in a wheelchair. I am twenty-five years old. I was raised Catholic ever since baptism but for some time I was indifferent and lukewarm. In the year 2000, the Great Jubilee of the Incarnation of the Lord, I received many graces of conversion.
That same year my family and I were blessed to be able to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. I let Jesus through Mary and was reconciled to the Father. Prior to my conversion or reconversion to the faith, more specifically, prior to Lourdes, I had much difficulty dealing with my suffering.
I let it affect me emotionally, socially and spiritually. The Lord changed all of that: in Lourdes He poured even more grace into my soul. The blessed Mother took me by the hand and led me straight into the eucharistic sacred heart of Jesus where I found meaning and purpose. During a mass in Lourdes the priest spoke about suffering in his homily.
I was moved when I learned that suffering had great value when united to the sufferings of Jesus on the cross, that my suffering will be redemptive. It was for my good that God allowed me to suffer—for my sanctification. I began to see suffering can bring us closer to Jesus. He wanted me nailed to the cross with Him.
I was in a wheelchair precisely because God loved me! That a good, merciful and loving God who makes weakness powerful! I prayed for a physical healing and I received the grace to accept my suffering and see it as a real blessing.
The Lord showed me that spiritual suffering (sin, especially mortal sin) is far worse than suffering of any other kind, and that healing of the soul is greater than physical healing. I realized the suffering I go through is only temporary with eternal benefits if I suffer with Him.
My understanding of what is passing versus what is lasting really grew and the words that Our Lady spoke to St. Bernadette made sense to me: “I do not promise you happiness in this world but in the next.”
Ever since the pilgrimage I have been growing in love of God and neighbor.
The Lord keeps bringing me out of myself through suffering—for love of Him—joyfully! He said,
So there you have it, my brothers and sisters. God loves you just the way you are but he refuses to leave you that way. he wants you to be just like Jesus.
Now there is a statement you can take home with you. Let me say it again: God loves you just the way you are but he refuses to leave you that way. he wants you to be just like Jesus. there is still hope for us who are ill.
Some of you might remember one of the bestselling songs of the 1970s, My Sweet Lord by former Beatle George Harrison. The song was about Harrison’s sincere desire to find God through various kinds of religion:
My sweet Lord
Oh, my Lord
My sweet Lord
I really wanna be with you
I like to see you, Lord
Oh, it takes so long, my Lord
I really wanna be with you
I’d like to go with you
I wanna show you Lord
That it won’t take long, my Lord
Shortly before his death in 2001, Harrison was asked about his spiritual journey. The question was apt since it was Harrison who introduced the Beatles to Eastern religion in the 60s and after the group broke up, Harrison wrote My Sweet Lord.
Until the end of his life, Harrison continued to investigate spiritual matters. He summed up his priorities this way: Everything else in life can wait, but the search for God cannot wait.
We all want that, don’t we? We all want God. We want to know Him more. We want to see Him. And we want to be like Him.
There is an interesting phrase that has entered our common vernacular in recent years. It is the phrase, “I’ll have your back.” If I say to someone, especially someone in a difficult situation, “I’ll have your back,” it means I’ll be there for you, look out for you, help you out if you’re in trouble.
We may be tried and tested often, so our faith might grow stronger and bring us closer to Jesus. These trials in our lives help us to demonstrate our faith and trust in Jesus. Strengthened in faith, we will come to believe we actually can overcome sin and illnesses and share the triumph of Jesus Cross.
Remember this, God will always have our back—and will always love you and me!
May the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ, descend upon you and remain with you, always! Amen!
On July 1, 2022, Patrick Constantino retired as a Deacon for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai‘i, after serving for thirty-five years and becoming on June 18, 1987, the first Deacon of Filipino ancestry for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai‘i. For twenty-two years, he served as Administrator at Holy Rosary Church in Pā‘ia, St. Rita Church in Ha‘ikū and St. Gabriel Church in Ke‘anae. His last assignment before retiring was at St. Joseph Church in Makawao.
Prior to his ordination, Constantino was in government—first appointed in 1966 as Assistant Sergeant of Arms by the Speaker of the House Elmer F. Cravalho. When Cravalho became Maui’s first Mayor, Constantino became his Executive Assistant—the first of Filipino ancestry. Later, Constantino became the first County Treasurer of Filipino ancestry and the first County Grants Administrator and Risk Manager of Filipino ancestry.
Constantino is married to his lovely wife Corazon for sixty-one years.