Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries Psychotherapy


Why don't we want to be cured?

by Fr. Libyos

Source: http://plibyos.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post_26.html




The "Gospel of the Paralytic" - as we call it in the ecclesiastic experience of the community - is a narration which, no matter how many times I may read it, I will always recognize something new, something radiant and contemporary in my own history!  Probably the most important thing to be done now - today - is for Christ's word to become people's history, their road, their course...

One of the many points where one can find inner consolation and be broadened existentially is a question that Christ very frequently directs in the narrations of the Gospels; to be more specific, in several cases of healings.

Before attempting to cure a person, Christ often asks him: "Do you wish to attain sound health?"  Do you want to get well, to be cured?

A logical question that arises in many people's minds (and I must confess in mine too, in older times) is: "But why is Christ asking them? Is there anyone who is suffering and in pain - and especially in cases of grave illnesses - who does NOT desire to be cured?"

The most frequent - but I must confess inadequate in my opinion - reply that they used to give us in the schools of theology was that Christ respects each person's freedom, which is why He does not want to perform any miracle without the consent of the ailing person.  I am not saying that this interpretation is incorrect, however, I do sense that this is not the only reason that Christ insists so much on the patient's consent, on the path to his rehabilitation.

I think Christ asks him, because He knows that therapy - as an external act by man which can transform his life and change his habits as well as the forms of self-evident false things - is not a simple matter.  In other words, it is not self-evident that all people, in the deepest level of their being, do in fact desire to be cured - even during the moment that they persistently ask for it.

Quite often, a sickness is far more "convenient" than health; many people have learnt to live and to exist (in the literal sense of the term) by playing the role of a victim: an "unfortunate" - "unlucky" - "weak" person... They purposely seek to feel incapable of undertaking life's demands, its responsibilities, its harshness, its uncertainty... They prefer infirmity: the "problem", the "inability", because without it, they will have to take a substantial position and stance in life.  They will have to struggle against the internal and the external nightmares. And there are many of our fellow-men who cannot bear this; they cannot suffer it.  The stress, the fear and the panic that responsibilities and the cruel reality called "life" cause in their existence is unbearable.

Being aware of all the above, Christ also knows full well that a sickness will complete the rehabilitation process, only when our sick way of life is changed.

The essence of therapy sets in, when our life, our relationships and our association with persons and events, our self, society, nature... and life itself are transformed !  Otherwise, we are confined to the surface of the symptomatology - (ie., the shell surrounding the hidden essence) - the essence being none other than our full presence in the art called "life".




Translation: K.N.

Article published in English on: 16-4-2011.

Last update: 16-4-2011.