Father Peter Mary Rookey (Fr. Rookey) is a Chicago area Catholic priest. He created International Compassion Ministry (ICM) in 1984. The organization describes itself as being a “a ministry of prayer and compassion.” While the focus of those who go there – or who phone or mail in prayer requests is healing – the group plays down the actual healing. If it happens, it is attributed to the Lord and is considered incidental to the actual prayer.
Rookey’s tenure with the Order of Friar Servants of Mary (OSM), the American Province of which was established in Illinois in the early twentieth century, has been impressive. Ordained in 1941, he has traveled around the world, served in Rome, and now ministers across the globe. True to his calling – and honoring the power and generosity of God – the ICM does not charge dues or fees, ministering to those in need free of charge.
Rookey’s life – in particular his later healing ministry – is a testimony to the power of prayer. That he does not seek to benefit from it, nor enrich his self-identity, is a powerful witness to God’s love. How many healers are charging money? How many effective ministers hire P.R. firms? There is a true generosity of spirit and humility in Rookey and his mission. Even if you disagree with the Catholic church, or doubt the veracity of spiritual modes of healing, you can still respect his authenticity.
Rookey’s simple miracle prayer has probably been prayed tens of thousands of times. The admonition is to pray it daily until you reach a place where you whole-heartedly believe each and every word. When you reach that place, Jesus will come into your heart and you will be healed.
A Course in Miracles teaches us that miracles are changes of mind – an ability to see or perceive rightly. We aren’t cured of cancer (although we might be) but we are able to see the cancer differently. This is about acceptance – a radical acceptance of one’s circumstances. Our investment in the world diminishes as we embrace the abstract spiritual reality of our identity in God.
Is Father Rookey’s miracle prayer compatible with that? It depends. I believe that any prayer spoken in faith can yield results. I don’t think that the miracle of Jesus is restricted to ACIM students or Catholics or Buddhists or what have you. There is a line in the Course that talks about magic – using traditional medicine (or alternative medicine even) to heal. All we really have to do is reorganize our thinking about cause and effect, placing our bodies at the service of our minds.
I think a traditional healing prayer – like Fr. Rookey’s – can easily fall under that umbrella. I often tell friends and students to push past their comfort zone. I try to get myself to do the same.
Reaching out to a prayer associated with healing by bringing one into contact with Jesus is a positive thing. If you feel called to try it, you should. Release your expectations of what constitutes a successful prayer. Be open to Jesus, open to healing. Ultimately, it is our contact – our reunion – with God that heals. The activities in the world that get us there are only details.