It was in 2018 that my husband and I went on a marriage and spiritual warfare retreat; it turned out to be a profound turning point in my life. I remember reading once that St. Therese described a book as being “one of the greatest graces of (her) life.” Well, that’s how I felt about this conference. At one point in the retreat, Fr. Chad Ripperger said that if we want to get to heaven, we have to pray every day; he was referring to mental prayer. And I just made up my mind that I would commit to it. For two years prior to that, I had prayed that type of prayer, but not consistently. I wanted to be a saint, though, and if this is what I needed to do, then I would do it.
From that moment on, I prayed every single day. I’m not sure how to convey the magnitude of this step in my journey. I am convinced that if I had not been praying in this intimate way with the Lord that I would not be healed yet. This is where my relationship with God deepened, where I got to know Him better, and also where I got to see what was buried deep in my heart. For the first couple years I cried every single time I sat down to pray. I remember not understanding why I was crying so much. It confused me. I now know that when we take the most vulnerable part of ourselves to a safe place, it’s normal to cry. I needed a place to let out all those tears that had been bottled up for years. And there is no safer place to do that than in the arms of Jesus.
Interestingly, I learned later on from a talk by Fr. Philip Scott that when the Lord heals the wounds of the heart, we experience pain, emotional pain. I can attest to this as this is how it happened for me. All that I had buried for forty years needed to come out so I could be healed, but it needed to come out in a safe place. There is no safer place than taking it to the Lord, the King of Kings, the one who loves us no matter what, who has not rejected us, and who calls us by name.
“But now, thus says Yahweh, who created you, Jacob, who formed you, Israel:
Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine. Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you; or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched and the flames will not burn you. For I am Yahweh, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior.” -Isaiah 43:1-3
So after much inner work and spending time with God in His word on a daily basis, I was finally ready. I didn’t know when I woke up on May 5th, 2022 that that would be the day God would answer my prayer that had been a decade in the making. I went to confession that morning and Adoration the night before to prepare for an inner healing prayer session. For a week leading up to this day, I was having insomnia, teeth grinding, and new memories surfacing. I recognized the pattern this time, as that is what happened to me before going on the Grief to Grace retreat in 2019. I brought them all to the Lord in my prayer time. He showed me in one memory how I had erected walls to keep myself safe, and I knew that the walls represented perfectionism. When I showed up for the healing prayer, I went with Jesus to this same memory. The Lord was holding me like a mother hen holds her chicks in her wings. He kissed the top of my head, and I felt safe and very loved. Then He gently knocked the walls down one at a time and told me that I didn’t need them anymore. He said He would be my refuge; He would keep me safe.
And after that we went to a different memory when I was a little girl in a room all alone. Jesus touched my heart with His hand. I saw light come forth from His hand into my heart, and this ache in my heart that I’ve had my whole life is gone. It has been filled up with Him! He touched my heart and infused it with Him and His love and His light! I had been praying for six months that He would tsunami me with His love, and that is exactly what He did. And, of course, you know I had been praying for ten years to have His peace and His joy. I have it now. Praise God! And when I notice myself slipping into old habits, I claim His peace and joy as my birthright since I am a child of God. The anxiety goes away, and I am bathed in His peace that transcends all understanding, the peace that only He can give. God is SO good!
God cannot be outdone in generosity. Ask Him to heal your heart wounds, beg Him to show up in a BIG way … and then let go of any conditions or expectations on how He will do it. Just trust that He will in His perfect way and in His perfect time. I promise you that it’s worth the wait!
If you want to go deeper, here are two recommendations:
1. For the talks on mental prayer by Fr. Ripperger go to:
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysdgHuvavZo (Spiritual Life Part 1)
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhPIEtQrhXA (Spiritual Life Part 2)
- (There are also books that describe this method of prayer; the most comprehensive is The Ways of Mental Prayer by Rev. Dom Vitalis Lehodey. It’s often on TAN’s $5 Book List.)
2. For the talk by Fr. Philip Scott go to: