The Amazing Way Jesus Heals Us
I have found that as we draw closer to Jesus, experiencing personally his Divine Mercy, we become more aware of how we have sinned against others and it grows in us a desire to make amends. It is a beautiful aspect of living as a disciple of Jesus Christ, but this journey of repentance is a painful one as we come to self-knowledge of how we have hurt others. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1431) states,
“This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called anima cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart).”
In a sincere confession of our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God forgives us and we are free of them after we have satisfied the penance the priest assigns. We should also ask forgiveness of the injured party. If that is not possible, we are encouraged to do an act of charity for another, but that does not always heal the burning pain of remorse.
There is a remedy to this burning, and it is through the way of the Cross. Contemplation of the Passion and Death of Jesus and meditating on his suffering endured for our sake, heals us.
Many saints have recommended this way of healing, but I always avoided it assuming it would only make me feel more ashamed. It never made sense to me. The Israelites must have thought the same when Moses provided the strange response from God to their pleading for healing from the poisonous bites of the saraph (Hebrew for burning) serpents. God told Moses to mount an image of a saraph on a pole and tell the people who sinned to look at it and they will be healed. This story from the Book of Numbers (21:4-9) points to Jesus’ amazing healing through the Cross.
An Ongoing Healing
I discovered this healing through the blessing of working on the Who is the Man of the Shroud? museum exhibition soon to open at Pilgrim Center of Hope. The writing I am doing for presentations on the Shroud of Turin, the video streaming series, and the museum panels, has immersed me in the Gospel narratives on the Passion as I connect them to the over 400 wounds that the Man of the Shroud endured before being crucified.
Though it has not been proven that the Man of the Shroud is Jesus, the similarities are striking. Often, I find myself pausing in my research to contemplate all our Lord suffered for my sake. This contemplation has prompted a strange response in me to be more vulnerable, open and present to God in my weakness, sensitivity, and woundedness, as Jesus was during His Passion and Death on the Cross. This spiritual accompaniment with Jesus has healed me, and brought an enduring peace I never thought possible. Amazing!
Your True Richness
Pope Francis offers an explanation for this amazing way God heals us:
“God’s grace in us always works on our nature. Thinking of a Gospel parable, we can always compare grace to the good seed and nature to the soil (cf. Mark 4:3-9).
First of all, it is important to make ourselves known, without fear of sharing the most fragile aspects, where we find ourselves to be more sensitive, weak, or afraid of being judged. […] Because fragility is, in reality, our true richness: we are rich in fragility, all of us, the true richness which we must learn to respect and welcome, because when it is offered to God, it makes us capable of tenderness, mercy, and love. […] Look at the crucifix: God who descended into fragility. Look at the Nativity scene, where he arrives in great human fragility. He shared our fragility. And spiritual accompaniment, if it is docile to the Holy Spirit, helps to unmask misunderstandings, even grave ones, in our consideration of ourselves and our relationship with the Lord.” (General Audience, 1/4/23)
Coming Spring 2023
The Who is the Man of the Shroud? museum exhibition at Pilgrim Center of Hope will open to the public this Spring 2023. It includes a replica of the Shroud of Turin bearing the mysterious image of a man tortured and crucified, along with full-size illuminated photographic negative front and back images of the man. Adjacent to the exhibition is the Gethsemane Chapel with a bronze 3D sculpture of the Man of the Shroud and a Tabernacle containing the Eucharist where our Lord is Present. It is a center of hope and healing. Learn more at DiscoverWho.org.
Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, and motherhood, as a writer, Missionary of Hope, Prayer Intercessor, Speaker Team member, and Volunteer for Pilgrim Center of Hope.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.
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