When Jesus first taught in the synagogue in Jerusalem, his neighbors received him with skepticism verging on outrage [NIV Mark 6:2-6]:
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.
This contrasts with the events just prior with a woman who had bled for twelves years, and was healed simply by touching Jesus’s clothes. Shocked by the experience, the woman hid in the crowd, but Jesus persisted [NIV Mark 5:33-34]:
Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”
How does this work, spiritually? The aura that forms around the head of a saint is generated by souls pressing against their minds in the hope of discovering meaning and purpose. Meaning and purpose are discovered most readily in the saint because they have surrendered themselves to love of the world, and the world in turn reveals itself to saint’s examination. It is as said by Tagore:
Power said to the World, “You are mine.”
The World kept it prisoner on her throne.
Love said to the World, “I am yours.”
The World gave it the freedom of her house.
The saint looks into the world and sees its spiritual needs. Among the souls that surround the saint are such that can fulfill those needs. The saint has the privilege of facilitating the union of the two parties. But where the party in the world (the soul currently “living”) seeks instead power, the union fails. The souls choose to remain to the company of the saint. That saint, honoring the compact of their company, accepts them back.
Spiritual union can be ravishing, having many of the aspects of intercourse. For this reason, Catholic nuns once referred to themselves as “brides of Christ.” But the union can be a tenuous thing. If Jesus had not been present to voice his approval, would the hemophiliac woman have maintained her cure?
When I encounter woman struggling with this dynamic, I offer the encouragement, “Believe in yourself!” There are angels in the air wishing to enter into you to heal the world. Yes, it feels wonderfully sensual, but you don’t need sex to receive them. You don’t need the approval of a father. Spirits becoming angels yearn only for the spiritual union we know as “Christ” that found its steward when Jesus took up the cross. To receive them, you need only their approval, an approval gained most powerfully through a commitment to love and heal the world.