22 Apr Showing the Wounds of Love
by Catherine Doherty
Today, in this confused world, how do people find Christ? It seems to me that the answer to this question is exceedingly simply: They meet him in a real Christian.
What a strange and seemingly simplistic answer! Yet it is the true answer, and I don’t think there is another. People have to be shown. The time of mere talking is over.
After his resurrection, Christ showed his disciples his wounds and they believed. These wounds were visible signs of Christ’s love for them and for all of us. No one needed to say anything, least of all Christ. Thomas the Doubter was the only one who spoke.
Today, it seems to me, we must likewise show the wounds of Christ to people, for then they will believe. This is what people are seeking today: someone who will show them the wounds of Christ so that they might touch him and be reassured!
But we must go further. Christ prepared breakfast on the beach for his friends. We, too, by our service, must show how much we love our brothers and sisters, all those who are seeking the Lord.
But even all this—to show the wounds, to prepare meals—is not enough. We must open our hearts with a lance by taking that lance in our own hands.
We must accept all people as they are, without wanting to change or to manipulate them. It is a benediction and a joy in itself that they come to us.
People will not know God unless we, their neighbours, their brothers and sisters, show Christ to them in the tremendous love that Christ had for them.
This is the acceptable time, so that people may once again say what was said of the early Christians, “See how these Christians love one another.”
Yes, we must open the doors of our hearts. We must open the doors of our homes. We must accept people as they are. We must serve them, and we must show them the wounds of our love.
Love is always wounded because love and pain are inseparable. Even as a young girl barely falling in love is worried about her boyfriend traveling on a wet road to Chicago, so in the love of people for each other, pain is interwoven. There is no love without pain.
But how do we acquire these wounds that we must show? Where do we get the strength to cook a supper for someone when we are already exhausted by the day’s toil? How do we get the strength to open the doors of our heart which we so readily want to close against the noise of our incredibly noisy world?
Let’s face it. We cannot love the way we ought to. God alone can love through us in that way. So we must empty our hearts of all the things that are not God.
The Lord said we must love our enemies. Until we do, we cannot show Christ to others. We must go further: We must lay down our lives for our brethren. By emptying ourselves, according to his commandments of love, and with his grace, we can allow God to love through us.
No, words are not enough. But a loving glance, a wound, a breakfast cooked for a friend, a welcome through an open door into an open heart, these will do it.
It is only then, when my brother or sister has been filled with my supper, when he has beheld my wounds of love for him, when he has experienced a totality of acceptance, only then will he be open to the Glad News!
— Excerpted and adapted from The Gospel Without Compromise, (1989), pp. 88-90, MH Publications, out of print.