Saturday, July 3, 2010


A few days ago, I received a request for 75 copies of a young adult book that I wrote about a healer, aka a traiteur, who was the main character in MARTIN’S QUEST, and I was dismayed to find that there were only nineteen copies in the inventory, which was not nearly enough to provide for a supplemental social studies text in a parish of southwest Louisiana. More copies of MARTIN’S QUEST have been sold than  any of my published books because, in south Louisiana, traiteurs abound and practice folk medicine.

Healing has always been a subject that fascinated me, and two Sundays ago, I preached on the Gospel story about the man with many demons whom Christ healed by sending the demons into a herd of pigs. The afternoon before I finished the sermon, Ruth Allen, a friend here at Sewanee, dropped by to share her manuscript, which is being readied for publication. It's entitled THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE SPIRIT OF REIKI: ONE SOURCE, ONE SPIRIT and is a firsthand account of her call to the healing ministry of Reiki (Reiki has been condemned as a method of alternative healing by the Roman Catholic Church although it’s based primarily on the Holy Spirit and prayer). Ruth’s call and subsequent spiritual journey took her to the apex of graduation from the seminary here at Sewanee, and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, she was able to form her personal synthesis of the Holy Spirit and Reiki that became material for a thesis. From that material, she has formed a book that should be welcomed by all readers interested in the subject of healing, particularly healing through touch and the medium of prayer.

John Killinger tells us that in a world where energy is the basis for all life, prayer transmits energy through the medium of God’s Spirit to the person in need of that energy, regardless of how far away from us he or she may be. It’s called non-local prayer, and when you pray you are lending your willful energy to God for that person’s use. The important thing for us to learn about prayer is that we can make our own energies available to God on behalf of other persons who need them. The manifestation of God’s power to heal in our lives is sometimes reflected in the world as action by clergypersons, Reiki masters, even wounded people who have learned to use their pain by turning it into a vessel for healing others.

In my sermon, I was tempted to include some of Ruth’s anecdotal passages about the healings of which she has been a part, but decided I wouldn’t scoop her book in a sermon. However, I did quote a few reflections from the book because I thought they were such powerful illustrations of the Holy Spirit influencing Ruth to further develop her ability as a Reiki Master.

She writes: “Christians who practice Reiki place themselves in the presence of God by aligning their deepest desires for healing and wholeness with God’s deepest desires for healing and wholeness for the world. If we listen, in the silence we can hear God’s gentle voice of guidance, inspiration, and empowerment. Silence awakens our awareness of the ‘inner light,’ the Holy Spirit, whose power can energize our spirits and inspire us more fully to become God’s mediators of healing…Each person has been given a gift(s) of the Spirit, which is directly connected to his/her call. These gifts endow us with what we need to answer our call and fulfill it. Regardless of what God is calling you to do with your life, the following prayer attributed to St. Theresa of Avila, a Spanish mystic of the 16th century, portrays Jesus’ plea to each of us. ‘You are Christ’s hands. /Christ has no body now on earth but yours. /no hands but yours, no feet but yours. /Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s /compassion is to look upon the world. /Yours are the feet with which God is to go about doing good. /Yours are the hands through which God is to /bless men and women now.”

I conveyed all of this in a sermon and added a few lighter anecdotes, then talked about the ministry of presence. The essence of that healing ministry is for a person to be a quiet presence for a suffering person and to heed Aelred’s words. “Here we are, you and I, and, I hope, a third, Christ, in our midst.’”

I don’t usually include sermon excerpts in a blog, but I felt inspired to disseminate Ruth’s message and am among many here on The Mountain who wish her well with the publication of her book about Reiki and the Holy Spirit.
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