The following text is an attempt to approach with the help of one of Mani’s psalms the healing message contained in such a universal Christianity.
Behold, the great healer has come!
He knows how to heal all people.
He has spread forth his treasure of medicines and calls out: “Whosoever desires it, let him be healed.”
Look at all the healings!
There is no true healing unless through him.
He rejects no sick person, he mocks no wounded man.
He is an ingenious worker.
The words from his mouth are gentle.
He knows how to cut wounds and to apply a cooling agent. He circumcises and cleans.
He burns out and soothes in the same day.
See, his gentleness made each of us recognize our own disease.
Let us not hide our sickness from him! Let not the cancer be in our limbs, lest it destroy the beautiful image of the new man within us.
May he grant us healing that heals all wounds.
May he take away our transgressions, the scars that are burned into our soul.
“Behold, the great healer has come!”
What a joyful exclamation unleashing a hopeful vibration in me every time. A trusting, almost childish part of me wants to run off immediately and see the healer right now and ask him to heal me too. But then, other voices, „reasonable“ voices, which have arisen from many disappointments, come forward signaling doubt. Part of them have lost all hope and are resigned: “Yes, he may be able to help other people, but me…?” Others rather weigh the pros and cons and try to convince me that it is not so bad for me after all. And there is even a well-educated low voice that wants to dissuade me from bothering the busy great healer with my trifles. An unpleasant vortex of contradictory impulses arises within me. I hope to be able to clarify it by opening myself to the message of the text step by step.
“He knows how to heal all people”
This is what the writer of the psalm says and I feel an inner resistance against this good news. Isn’t this resistance a kind of disguised arrogance thinking I am something special thus being especially incurable? However, arrogance may only be protection against renewed wounding because of possible failure and rejection. Then, I get to know that the great healer does not reject anybody or make fun of any wounded person. The appeasing voices and the voices of shame which want to prevent me from showing my wounds become quieter. “The words from his mouth are gentle.” I hear and feel myself becoming a little more trusting, so I need not be afraid of harsh reproaches. I may hope for a mildness and mercy that I am not able to give myself. His gentleness is praised yet again: “Behold, his gentleness made each of us recognize our own disease.” There is something very comforting in this: before him I have nothing of which to be ashamed. Protected by his mercy I can admit my infirmity without shyness. And I am not alone. All those who have turned to him were awarded with this self-knowledge. I feel invited to join these people, to break through my isolation, and we are all encouraged once again:
“Let us not hide our illness from him!”
A new feeling arises in me, a feeling of belonging to the people who are experiencing their infirmity and long for healing. What kind of illness is ours? The poet speaks of the “cancer” hidden “in our limbs”. A cancer cell is considered degenerate, it is no longer aware of the big picture, about the organism it belongs to and in which it has a task serving the common good. It has virtually cut itself off and is proliferating in blind self-centredness. This means destruction and ultimately self-destruction. Doesn’t almost every human being have aspects of such a cancer cell and also humanity as a whole? What do we know about the cosmic laws and about a primordial order that we are allowed to serve in joy and freedom? Instead, we circle around ourselves in selfishness and stubbornness, until we have reached the point where, recognizing the senselessness of this circle, we are forced to pause. How do we get out of this pathological cycle?
“Whosoever desires it, let him be healed”
The text promises us healing. Surely this “desiring” must be of a certain quality. It must be like the starving for water of a hiker in the desert, like the longing for air of a drowning person. It must be greater than our desire for earthly enjoyment driven by our lust. It must be an insatiable longing to be part again of an absolutely meaningful order supported by love and to joyfully take over our very own task in it. He who is driven by this longing will be welcomed by the great healer.
What kind of healing methods will he use on us? At first it sounds like a new pain: there is talk of “circumcision” and “burning out”, and that part of me which revolves around itself is shrinking back. But I feel that selfishness has no place in the primordial order. Its elimination might be connected with burning pain and the feeling of being cut off from something that has kept me imprisoned. However, the emerging fear of such a cure is mitigated by the assurance that the healer will not only perform painful actions but soothing ones as well.
“He knows how to cut wounds and to apply a cooling agent.”
And I can trust that the soothing is not long in coming: “He burns out and soothes in the same day.” Doesn’t that also correspond to my own humble experience? That whenever I was able to let go of something to which I had stubbornly clung, I could feel something like relief, cooling, pacification.
This healing process may require both a long time and a steady, humble turn to the healer, asking to forgive everything that we inflicted on ourselves and others, consciously and unconsciously, which has left us all with emotional scars. Again and again we will probably try to avoid him, wishing to follow our own path or to obtain relief by walking hidden paths. However, we are reassured that:
“There is no true healing unless through him.”
I am deeply hoping that step-by-step there will be something growing IN me which will guide me on my path of healing. The text calls it “the beautiful image of the NEW Man“. It lives in me as a vague memory of something that was lost. And as a longing for something that wants to come alive in me again.
And who is this healer? I think it is the divine germ in man. It wants to be enrobed by me, wanting me to become his image. And for this he needs the “healed person”.