On Sunday, Patriarch Daniel of Romania said that the grace of God becomes more intense through strong faith, fervent prayer and sacrificial fasting. Therefore, he said reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading, by God’s help seemingly unchangeable circumstances are changed, and seemingly incurable diseases are cured.
On August 13, His Beatitude offered his reflections on the episode when Jesus heals an epileptic boy, related in the Gospel from Matthew 17:14-23, focusing on the importance of faith, fast and prayer in the spiritual life.
During his Sunday homily delivered during the Divine Liturgy celebrated at the St George chapel of his patriarchal residence, Patriarch Daniel said that the boy was not healed at his own request since he was incapable of asking for help, but at his father’s request. The patriarch noted that from this episode we understand how powerful the prayer of others for us is when we are incapable of praying or simply do not know how to pray properly.
Patriarch Daniel went on to reflect on the daily trials people pass through saying that some of them are allowed by God.
Very often, he said, the trials that occur in our lives, such as sickness or sorrow, are allowed by God especially to awaken us from indifference, from spiritual superficiality, in order to acquire stronger, more fervent and vivid faith. Even when He rebukes someone, the Saviour loves him or her. His reprobation is love that makes humans accountable, a love that awakens spiritually the indifferent and insensitive, the patriarch added.
The patriarch referred to the faith saying that it must be cultivated, strengthened and deepened through prayer and fast. Thus, faith will not remain a simple intellectual conviction and will become a lively tie between man and the invisible God, Who graciously draws close to every human who asks for His help.
When we have a strong faith in God, he said, we are no longer alone, relying only on our own powers, but we are together with God, Who through His grace becomes present in us, the patriarch said.
God’s grace is intensified in us through strong faith, through fervent prayer and sacrificial fasting. Therefore, by God’s help, seemingly unchangeable circumstances are changed, and seemingly incurable diseases are cured.
The more we pray to God, His Beatitude noted, the more we profess that God is present in our lives and that He is attentive or sensitive to our joys and suffering, being our Heavenly Father. The more a child draws nigh to its father and asks for what it needs, the more it shows that its father is present, loving, supportive and an enlightener of the child.
During his address, the patriarch urged the faithful to fast by first nurturing with the loving presence of Christ by reading the Holy Scriptures, the writings of the Holy Fathers, by partaking of the Holy Gifts and by performing good deeds. If we fast from material food, he cautioned, and do not receive spiritual nourishment, our fasting becomes unfruitful and bears no spiritual virtue.
Our fasting would be incomplete if we do not give alms spiritually or materially. Furthermore, the patriarch urged, we ought to unite fast and prayer, because prayer bears mystically in itself the power of Christ’s cross and the joy of His resurrection.
There are often people who need to have others praying for them. That is why the Church prays and works for the humans’ spiritual and physical healing.
The patriarch noted that medical science and prayer work together since the grace of prayer can illumine, help, inspire and strengthen a faithful physician to become Christ’s healing hand.
The Church has learned from the miraculous healings performed by Christ that she is destined to heal the spiritual and physical sicknesses and weaknesses of humans.
Besides her liturgical work for the sick carried out through the Sacrament of the Holy Unction or the Anointing of the Sick, or through the prayers of casting out demons, the Church has developed a social-philanthropic work for the sick, founding settlements for their care.
His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel ended his homily by drawing attention to the charity carried out by the Church over time pointing to the hospitals, leprosaria, pharmacies, medical offices and centres founded by the Church in which the Saviour’s healing power is made manifest to the world as the work of His merciful love.