Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, most famous for his “doubts” about the risen Jesus and his challenge: Unless I touch his wounds, “I will not believe.”
As I meditated on these words, I thought about the wounds of the people around me – the poverty, the early death of people, the drought that threatens livelihoods, the violence, and more. There I have the chance to touch the wounds of Christ.
But I began to think that perhaps what I most need at this time is for the wounded Christ to touch my wounds. I need to recognize and live with the wounds in my life – the fears, the failures, the sins, and more.
I thought back to the Cistercian monk Michael Casey’s Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology which I recently read. Speaking of prayer in the midst of crisis he noted
We begin to find peace in the very act of owning our interior malaise, in opening up our woundedness before the Lord and, in a wondrous way, feeling ourselves welcomed and loved.
Casey opens up a facet of Bernard’s mysticism that can open us to the healing love of the wounded Christ if we open ourselves:
Uncover the wound so that you may receive the physician’s attention.
It is so tempting to cover over our wounds – and let them fester. It is so tempting to try to look healthy and powerful.
But I have recently experienced the wisdom of St. Bernard who reminds us of God’s embrace of the misery of our human condition – not only embracing us, but becoming one with us, becoming vulnerable, becoming the wounded God.
“Nothing so demonstrates God’s positive attitude towards the human race as embracing my humanity. I repeat: my humanity, and not the flesh Adam had before the fall. What manifests God’s mercy more clearly than that he would embrace such misery?”