The Healing is a lovely story, a medieval road trip, which like all road trip stories is a journey of discovery, or in this case rediscovery. The central character, Philip, finds his lost faith, that had been deeply buried beneath the detritus and debris produced by a lifetime of warfare and horror – no doubt a normal outcome for a battle-weary knight. There is certainly no romantic notion that medieval warfare was honourable or virtuous.
Every chapter is focused on a key theme of the Christian faith, slowly cementing it into Philip’s heartfelt faith, but showing the reader how important each aspect is to their own journey of faith. The story is eased along by the wisdom of Hywel, the sort of character we would all love to have as a friend, mentor and counsellor.
It is fascinating to observe the relationship between Philip and his God, forming and building, in the environment of a very formal religious order, framed with matins, lauds, sext and vespers. It highlighted to me that what is most important is a relationship with God. Whether that relationship is gleaned in a very strict monastic setting, the liturgies of a more traditional church or the informal setting of a charismatic church. All have a valid route to faith, offer alternative ways to worship and can create an environment in which to build a true relationship with God. We each have different needs and have to find the right route suited to us, for us to grow in faith and relationship.
This book is a reminder that being loved, knowing love and then being able to love, is core to our human existence, and as God is love (1 John 4:16), it is fundamental to our relationship with Him and with each other. Like Philip at the start of the book, without love we are lost, wandering aimlessly with little purpose or motivation to carry on.
The story has a lovely gentle pace, ideal for bedtime reading. You can nod off with the right sort of soothing pictures filling your head, the words ministering over you like a healing balm. A real blessing.