Big crowd – all dressed in white –
young people – elderly – children –
parents – people in wheel chairs –
crutches – arms – legs with bandages.
Quiet in the room – people positioning
themselves for the encounter.
Guides lead prayers – encourage people
hoping for a cure. People from all
North America - Europe – – Brazil
all dressed in white – white like
angels – waiting the touch of God.
Such is our life on earth – our
pilgrimage – sunny days – rainy ones –
healthy days – sick ones. Human
bodies are beautiful – rise to many
heights – but falls also – our mortality.
We will not live forever – we came
from dust – will return there.
So we all sit in white in the big hall.
We are waiting to be touched.
Jesus touched – healed. In that
long waiting hall, we all have the same
hope. Let the heavens open – we are
all dressed in white – waiting.
Let Jesus come back – touch us again.
ON PILGRIMAGE: ABADIÁNIA
HEALING AND MEDITATION
For many years, I have been active in the John Main Meditation Movement and the Centering Prayer Movement. I have developed a discipline of silence in my life and meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. I say the mantra and try to rest in God’s presence. It is a prayer without words where I touch the presence of the divine at my center and still point. It is also a prayer without petitions because I sit in the naked presence of the Lord knowing that he already knows all my needs.
Recently, I had a new experience of contemplative prayer in the setting of a healing ministry. I have a condition in my body that Western doctors cannot heal. I have heard many people speak of the healer, John of God, in
and that it is quite an experience to go there. I also read a book on his work, John of God: The Brazilian Healer by Heather Cumming and Karen Leffler. I decided to make a pilgrimage and ask John to heal my health condition and attached myself to a group making this trip. Abadiánia, Brazil
After long flights from
to New York , I did get to Abadiánia. It is small town about an hour and a half from the capital of the country, Brazil , and lies in beautiful mountain country. The place is very rural and one has lovely views over the hilly countryside. The place where John of God works is a small campus with several healing rooms where he is present, many places where one can sit and meditate in quiet. The lovely views over the hills add to the silence. There is also a book store with religious items and a place where one can buy healing herbs. The whole tone of the pilgrimage is one of silence and prayer and the guides stressed that the healing take place in prayer. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, when John of God has his public healing services, the town and hotels fill up with people who want to meet him and participate in these events. There are not only Brazilians, but many people from Brasilia North America and Europe. His fame runs far and wide and people come from all over looking for help.
Although I went with a group and there was much and good communication among us, the whole tone of the week was one of silence and prayer. Even our rooms in the hotel were simple with a bed, place to put your clothes and a bathroom. There was much time to ourselves where we could go to various places set aside for prayer and silence. I was attracted to spend much time in a little space which overlooks the hilly country and mountains in the distance. It had an air of quiet and this silence settled over me. I was able to sit there for long periods of time repeating the mantra and trying to touch God’s presence. In the back of my mind, there was also the question of healing which myself and the multitude desired. So in one sense, there was silent contemplation but also a prayer of petition concerning our healings. I noticed that this yearning was always present but did not disturb the resting in the silent presence of the divine at my center and still point. This was also prevalent in the public services of healing that John of God held. There were hundreds of people present and all were quiet and in prayer. John of God always says that he does not heal, but God does. It was amazing how the multitude of people understood this and rested in quiet. Even back at the hotel where there was a fair amount of communication among the group especially at meal time, there was a tone of silence and people knew that prayer was the key to our going there. It just happened that I had a room to myself and I could use this privacy to rest and pray. There was no one around to disturb me. Abadiánia is in a tropical country with much sunshine. This light added to the contemplative atmosphere and gave a joyful tone to the quiet. The tropical flowers with their many colors were beginning to bloom in the rainy season and added to the prayerful atmosphere.
This quest for silence and prayer was stressed when we meet with the leader of the group, Heather Cumming, and in conversations among ourselves. Heather tried to explain to us the whole healing dynamic of the place. Also, after each of us participated in the ceremony of spiritual surgery, we were counseled not to speak for 24 hours. We sat at a special table during meals to ensure this and were silent in our rooms and the places for prayer on the campus. Heather also gave us advice on how to continue this prayerful dynamic back home since healings often take place over a period of time.
In sum, I can say that this was a contemplative pilgrimage to a sacred place to meet a holy man and I made this trip requesting a healing of our physical and spiritual wounds. The aura of retreat and quiet permeated the whole week and dynamic. It was the same silence and quiet I experience in my daily meditation back home. Here, it was pierced by my making this pilgrimage in a group and being able to share this experience with others having the same goal. We were freed from our daily cares and work of our daily life and had time and encouragement to open ourselves to the divine and communicate this experience with others on the same pilgrimage. We all had one spiritual goal which united us, that is, prayer and healing.