Father Mathew and the power of Faith
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Illustrations Of The Influence Of The Mind Upon The Body In Health And Disease, Designed To Elucidate The Action Of The Imagination - Daniel Hack Tuke, M.D., M.R.C.P.,
Let us, …. assume for a moment that …. their prayers [the healers’], as affirmed by themselves and their adherents, were the cause of their remarkable success. The difficulty at once arises that in Father Mathew's case, for example, the same diseases which he had cured during his lifetime, were just as effectively relieved after his death, by visiting the good Father's tomb, in the firm faith that a miracle would be performed.
The readers of his Life know that many a cripple left his crutch there. In such instances, the analysis of the agencies possibly at work is rendered much easier from the absence of several to which some would assign, in other instances, a therapeutic virtue.
No living body, therefore no animal magnetism. No infinitesimal doses, therefore no homoeopathy. No drugs of any kind, therefore no physic. No medium, therefore no spiritual influence of that kind. No priest, therefore no prayers over the patient.
All these being eliminated, nothing would seem to remain but the influence of expectant Faith, an influence called into powerful operation by the supposed miraculous power of the deceased, augmented doubtless by the excitement occasioned by crowds flocking, with a common sympathy, to the same spot.
A patient, bedridden for years, is carried or manages to crawl there, the deepest emotions are stirred — hope, longing, belief — and she finds a new power in her system ; an impetus is conveyed to the limbs, and she walks home with ease.
Her cure kindles the faith of others, and it is not unlikely that the combined influence of her sudden recovery of the use of her limbs, and the imaginary virtues of the tomb, would restore some to health, for whom the latter alone would have been insufficient. The epidemics of cure are as definite, and admit as easily of study, as the epidemics of disease. They will also equally repay the labour bestowed upon tracing their causes, their rise and decline, and their extent.
Why they should decline is, perhaps, more difficult to explain than why they should arise.
The source of the experienceHealer other
Concepts, symbols and science items
Science ItemsPsychosomatic medicine
Activities and commonsteps
SuppressionsBelieving in the spiritual world
Enacting ritual and ceremony