May 13, 2022

Joyful Witness / Kimberly Pohovey

Retreat leads to finding peace in the miracle of healing

Kimberly PohoveyI had received the sacrament of the sick on at least two previous occasions, both prior to impending surgeries. I remember at the time feeling a great sense of comfort knowing I was receiving this beautiful sacrament of healing. But this last time, I wasn’t so comfortable.

In March, I attended a retreat at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis led by Father Keith Hosey on the “Miracles of Healing: The Power of the Sacraments.” Father Hosey had a delightful personality and easily drew me into his account of Jesus’ life and the pivotal role his many miracles of healing played in his mission and ministry. It helped me see that he came to heal a world in desperate need of restoration, foreshadowing his ultimate act of healing to secure our salvation.

I admit I wasn’t feeling great the day of the retreat. My arthritis was acting up, making it difficult to spend a day sitting.

As I prayed throughout the day, I couldn’t help but fixate on my aches and pains. I experience pain every day. How I long for a day free from the shackles of pain. However, many years ago, I vowed to never again question the “why” of God.

Even when I experience pain, I don’t blame God or ask “why me?” This day was no exception, but some days are harder than others, making it difficult to prevent the pain from robbing me of joy. This was where my head was at during the retreat—struggling to want relief while not blaming God, all while trying to believe God might offer me his healing.

Listening to Father Hosey recount stories throughout the Gospel when Jesus cured people of their physical, emotional and spiritual illnesses, I couldn’t help but get my hopes up that I too might be worthy of healing during the sacrament of the sick offered at the end of that day.

Father Hosey relayed to us that only those who believed in God’s power to heal could indeed be healed. At first, I thought, “Well, of course I believe.” But upon further reflection, I realized I wanted to believe, but didn’t feel worthy. Whenever I have thought about being healed, I usually revert to the idea that there are so many people who are worse off than I for me to ask God to heal me. That day, my prayer shifted to asking God to help me be open to his healing—in whatever form that took.

I continued to dwell on what I heard at the retreat in the coming week and tried to decipher what message God had for me.

Ironically, I returned to Fatima the following week to repeat the same retreat. In full disclosure, I attended as part of my job at the archdiocese, but I found myself looking forward to round two.

As I drove to Fatima that evening, I wondered if I should partake of the sacrament of the sick again so soon. When I asked Father Hosey, he enthusiastically told me I can partake of this sacrament of healing as often as I needed. Somewhere in the middle of the retreat, I finally came to understand God’s message.

At the end of our time together, Father Hosey asked us to share what we had learned. I expressed that while I didn’t think I had experienced any great physical healing, I believed I had experienced the healing of acceptance—understanding that God calls me to this pain—for whatever reason. Just accepting this realization has shifted my perspective and helped me find peace with pain.

Healing comes in all forms.

(Kimberly Pohovey is a member of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She is the director of major and planned gifts for the archdiocese.) †

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