God heals all wounds. We simply need to take the medicine that He prescribes!
Over the last few days, I have been praying for several women who are dealing with various challenges caused by the bad choices, behaviours and addictions of their husbands. While I have been praying for these women, it occurs to me that as there are no coincidences, it is not coincidental that a “batch” of these sorts of complaints have suddenly become known to me in recent days.
I have come to realised that my Beloved Holy Spirit, is perhaps trying to reveal something to me through this petition for prayers from these wives, because with them I join in prayer.
Truly in a marriage, there are times when husbands make choices that are harmful to their wives and when wives do the same to their husbands. And those periods of disharmony in a marriage are very hurtful and painful for the entire family – the couple, their children, their families of origin – and GOD HIMSELF! I believe, that the ONLY reason that my husband and I are still together, is not our love for each other, or our willingness to communicate – though, thank God, these things exist between us – but it is the GRACE OF GOD HIMSELF that joins us together. And that Grace has great work to do in gluing together two individually sinful souls…
Some time ago, towards the start of Lent, I was struggling very much with feelings of anger and hurt caused by what felt like a persecution by some people who I dearly love. I was finding it very very difficult to forgive them – because I simply did not really want to – after all they had really upset me. Why should I forgive them?
When I confessed this sin at the beginning of Lent – being mindful that I was actually being an idiot to have such an attitude when Christ, being so offended by ME forgave me before the moment of his DEATH – the beautiful priest who heard my confession gave me an interesting penance. He asked me to pray for those people to ask God to grant them whatever their needs were.
What a beautifully horrible penance! Of course, I had to do it… Penance is medicine for my sin!
How inspired that priest was during that Holy sacrament! Though confession can be very therapeutic, it is NOT therapy! We do not confess our sins so that we can feel better about getting things off our chest – that is why we speak to psychologists. We confess our sins because we are deeply remorseful for having offended GOD and we wish to try to never ever offend Him again. I can hardly claim to have been remorseful and refuse the task set before me.
Through that penance, the Holy Spirit directed my prayers. I decided then and there, that each time it occurred to me to think badly of those people who had hurt me that I would immediately offer a Hail Mary, Our Father and Glory Be for any of their intentions.
Needless to say, over the next few days, I prayed many many many Hail Marys, Our Fathers and Glory Bes… Many, many, many, many of them…
But do you know? Something wonderful happened through those prayers… I came to love those souls! I truly love them.
Not only was God KIND enough to remove the sword for my heart, but He was GRACIOUS enough to infuse the wound with LOVE!
I wish I had the wisdom or the words to explain what it was that had happened to me, but being so inferior to the task, I am left only able to gape like a fish out of water and say… How wonderful is my God! How kind! How gracious! How wonderful is my God!
In reflecting upon this experience during Mass today – and during the Masses that I have attended over the last few days – I suddenly remembered some words, which I have surely heard a million times before today, but that I only had the wisdom to understand for the very first them right now! Because of this, I feel safe to say that such a memory was inspired by the Holy Spirit…
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and PRAY FOR THEM which despitefully use you, and PERSECUTE YOU.” (Matthew 5:44, emphasis added).
This is the medicine that God prescribes to heal our hurts. Christ told us to do this! He told us to pray for people who persecute us. I had felt persecuted by those people, and yet, somehow – miraculously over but a little time, through prayers FOR THEM – I am able to say I LOVE my enemy.
Now, these people were never really my enemies, and their persecution would probably be more accurately categorised as a little thoughtless selfishness rather than a campaign of deliberate destruction – but Christ’s instruction still applies.
When I chose to pray for them, I was not praying for them to change. I was not asking for them to apologise. I was not asking for them to do better next time. I was not asking that they would not hurt me again – they are human – they will. I was only asking God to grant them the desires of their souls and to protect them and take them to His loving embrace at the end of their lives.
Did I pray this because I am selfless?
No. Sadly, I am a terribly, terribly selfish person…
I prayed in this way because I am selfish, not inspite of it!
I prayed in this way because I needed comfort, and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I realised that there was no comfort in nursing old wounds. Old wounds require medicine and physiotherapy to heal completely. And there is no medicine in self-indulgence. The self-indulged do not push themselves to grow strong. The self-indulged die – eternally.
That is why perhaps misinformed historically cliches existed like… “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
Or why Christ tells us… “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24).
For it is only in letting go of our self-indulgence that we can grow.
How wonderful to have the opportunity to do that!
For when we grow – we love. And God is perfect LOVE. His love draws us in and all our wonds are healed.
How awesome is my Beloved! All praise and glory to Him!
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.