PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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iv                 THE ECCLESIA AND PNEUMATIC THERAPY              169
But let us consider the patients who have been cured, to see how far such an explanation can be applied. It is certain that among those who are healed some are not Catholic, and some are even without any definite religious convictions. In these cases it is hardly possible to apply Father Revenot's explanation though it may be applied to those who are ' declared' spiritually or morally healed. On the other hand, the explanation which can generally be applied is the one he excludes. The miracles of Lourdes are but an illustration of what faith, pure and simple, can do. We are here dealing with faith-healing, which is carried out in accordance with natural psychic laws ; and to say this is not in any way to degrade or minimize the power of God. There is degradation only when the person who takes up the Christian cause casts his reason to the flames of Moluk instead of purifying it by the spirit of Christ. It is not in any mood of captious criticism that we suggest that the essential factor in the healings of Lourdes is the same which effected cures at Epidaurus during an earlier age. What matters is the mental attitude of the patient, his faith state, or, to express it more accurately, his autosuggestibility. This generalization may be challenged on the grounds that many who have been healed have made no pretence whatever to faith in Roman Catholicism. That such things have happened is undoubtedly true, but it is difficult to imagine that a patient who had no wish to be healed could derive benefit from Lourdes. He may not express his desire, or his belief in the powers of the place, but the inner condition may exist none the less. The mere fact of submitting to travel that long and arduous journey and often it is undertaken as nothing but a last resort should be sufficient indication of the wish to be healed, and of the conviction of the possibility