Dying to Heal

Monica Cooper's picture

The older I get, the more places I go, the more books I read, and the more people I meet, the more aware I become of humanity’s inherent, inescapable, and almost incomprehensible, brokenness. The wounds first caused by Original Sin, and made worse through personal sin, have manifested themselves in different ways, bitterness, coldness, arrogance, fear, indifference, self-pity, doubt, anger. The list could go on, but the reality remains the same; we are still plagued by the sin of our first parents, even now, even thousands of years later. But lately I have come to realize something. To live with so many wounds is merely to survive. Our hearts are no longer blood-pumping organs that give life to the rest of our body. No, they are the unwanted baggage that we resentfully carry with us simply because getting rid of them is not an option.

It was never in God’s plan that we should be born into such a state of woundedness. But we all know what happened there. However, we have not been sent down the river without a paddle. We do not call Christ the Divine Physician for nothing. And I believe the key to true living, to lasting peace and real love is found in allowing those wounds, present in us since birth, to become scars. They will always be with us in some ways, after all, they have shaped the very essence of who we are, but their sting will have lost its power, their memories will no longer cause us pain, and their presence will not disturb our peace.

So now comes the hard part, we must go to God. God is a gentle Lover, He may knock on the door of our hearts, but He will certainly never force Himself in. When we have been wounded, our instincts tell us to retreat, to draw back into ourselves, and to raise the walls around us so as to prevent a future attack. But Christ asks us to do the exact opposite. He asks for entrance into those areas that we keep so tightly covered we ourselves scarcely know what we would find hidden in them. He asks to shed His light into the darkest recesses of our hearts.

However for this to happen, a sort of two-fold faith is required. First, we must trust Christ enough to allow Him in, and second, He must trust that, once in, He will heal us. Our attitude cannot be one of skepticism or doubt. And we cannot allow Him in just a little as a sort of “test run” to see how He will do. No, with the Cross as our model, we know that our faith is a matter of all or nothing. To deny Christ access to any part of our heart, is to deny Him some love. And to deny Him some love, is to deny Him everything.

Everyone’s journey is different, everyone’s path to wholeness, unique. And despite the progress we make, we will never meet our goal in this life. But if I could offer one piece of advice to those seeking healing, honesty would be it. A holy priest told me once, do not tell God what you think He wants to hear, tell Him the truth. If you are mad at Him, tell Him so. If you are afraid to let Him in, tell Him why. If you think He will fail you like so many others have, then say that. Those are prayers God can work with. Those are cries that will not go unheard. Those are the first steps He asks you to take. And after all, who better to trust your heart with than the Man whose heart was cut open with a spear for all the world to see? He is our model and our example. In Him we will find all the courage we need.

In closing, we’d do well to remember the words of our Blessed Lord said to St. Faustina, not so much as a threat, but as a testament to His profound love, and His longing to heal: “Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides. The distrust of a chosen soul causes Me even greater pain; despite My inexhaustible love for them they do not trust Me. Even My death is not enough for them.”

Let us pray that we never give Christ a reason to say the same about us.

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