The Gift of Healing an Excerpt from Healing by Father McAlear
Since Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out on the Church, the gifts of the Spirit have not been lacking. The gift of healing
is one such gift. It is not the only one, nor even the greatest. It is, however, important and needed in every age.
First, a gift of the Spirit is just that - a gift (charis). It is not something that God owes us; He gives it freely out of love because of our need.
Second, a gift is indeed a work of the Holy Spirit acting through human agency. Grace builds on nature, of course, but a true gift transcends both human limitations and human capacity. A gift of the Spirit is much more than a high level of energy emanating from the human soul and mind. By definition, a gift of the Spirit is an action of the Spirit of Jesus Christ at work in, and through, the Church.
St. John tells us that "it is not every spirit that you can trust," (I Jn. 4:1) for there is a whole spiritual world which is not in harmony with Jesus Christ. It is of utmost importance to remain strictly in the Holy Spirit, lest there be more harm than good caused by ministry. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus and glories Him.
A gift "in and through the Church" means that it is not a personal possession to be used in a self-serving way. Jesus Christ is always glorified when the gifts of the Spirit are used authentically. All gifts must find their expression in the Body of Christ, in union with the Church under legitimate authority. Once a gift of the Spirit is removed from this context, it cannot thrive, bear fruit, or give life, even if it dazzles and excites. Obedience is the ultimate safeguard of all authentic gifts, just as it is the safeguard of all authentic spirituality.
Finally, a gift must always be for the building up of the Body of Christ and the glorification of Jesus Christ. This must be explicit. When a gift is authentically used and bears fruit, it is a witness to the presence of Jesus, risen and alive in His Church. All ministry must point to Jesus and reflect His glory. When Jesus Christ is glorified, the Church is strengthened in faith, expectancy and hope; non-believers are challenged to believe and believers to renew their faith. This is how the Church grows in strength as a community of faith.
St. Paul provides us with a non-exhaustive list of spiritual gifts (I Cor. 12 and Rom. 12). Some are familiar to us all such as teaching, preaching, and administration; others such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and healing are more unusual. Vatican II teaches us that all gifts, no matter how extraordinary, are to be received with gratitude and used for the good of all. All gifts of the Spirit are both useful and necessary.
The gift of healing is one such gift. It is given for the benefit of all and is to be used in the Church to bring glory to Jesus Christ who has risen and is alive in our midst. Ultimately, it is Jesus Christ who is at work through His Spirit operating through human agency to bring health and healing to a broken world. In this way He is revealed as Lord of all as God's gift of love to us all, touching the deepest human needs.