I don’t know that Pope Francis would think of himself as that, but I surely do. Before he arrived on our shores on Sept 22nd, he wasn’t even on my radar. Of course, I knew of Pope Francis and his eschewing the worldly trappings of his new role, and his deep compassion for the poor and infirm and the children. But the day he landed in Washington, DC, and was escorted around the city, my heart was enthralled. When I think on that week, I remember the milestone addresses to Congress and the UN, and at Ground Zero, and the beautiful Masses he offered, but mainly my consciousness embraces his rides through our streets and the love and compassion pouring out of his eyes and hands, his entire being. So healing - right off the TV screen. And millions felt it. The energy in our country was glorious.
I’m reminded of a study done years ago by a Harvard Medical School professor, David McClelland, PhD, from which the term the “Mother Teresa effect” emerged. McClelland demonstrated how the power of love could make the body healthier, by showing a group of his graduate students a documentary of Mother Teresa lovingly ministering to the sick. Before and after the screenings he tested the levels of Immunoglobulin A - an antibody which combats viral infections in their saliva. The IgA levels rose significantly even in many of the students who thought Mother Teresa was too religious or a fake. He subsequently discarded the film and simply asked the students to think about times when they felt loved and cared for, and times when they were loving to others. The IgA levels rose again. McClelland admitted that he’d aborted colds with this technique (me too) and he became an advocate for the role of love in modern healing. Me too.
One of the greatest lessons I learned from my spiritual teacher, Hilda Charlton, was that the Universe and everything in it is energy, Love being the most powerful. We were all extravagantly showered with the energy of compassionate love which poured from Pope Francis as he moved through our cities’ streets that week. He was blessing and healing us whether we were consciously aware of that or not. My gratitude knows no bounds, dear Francis, and I rest more and more in my conviction that Love Heals.