Our Wounds Can Evangelize 

by Catherine Doherty

What does Easter mean to the Christian in ordinary daily life? It means hope, and we must bring this hope to others.

This idea has been in my heart so powerfully for many days: that Christ wants us to show his face to others. We must, if we call ourselves Christians. This is of the essence. How am I going to know that I am loved or even lovable, unless I see it in the eyes of another person?

Today the world is full of doubting Thomases. We must show them the wounds of Christ or they will perish. They need to see them. We followers of Christ must show to the world the true face of Christ, at any price, even that of our life.

We are surrounded by living Thomases who will not believe in him until they put their fingers in his wounds, so we must show those wounds in ourselves.

How do we get those wounds? Very simply. By living the Gospel. For we who follow a crucified God must be crucified, too: on the cross of faith, love and surrender.

We will be crucified by this struggle that will go on between us and God, for the living of the Gospel without compromise is a tremendous struggle between us and God.

Before this total surrender, which brings so much joy and peace, this crucifixion and struggle will leave the wounds that we must then show to others. Because we have surrendered ourselves to Christ and have accepted his Gospel in its totality, because we have stripped ourselves of ourselves, he will be able to work his healing process through us.

And through us, people will find the faith, the love, the hope that they so desperately seek, and they will know that Christ is truly risen. We have to examine our consciences for every little compromise, every rationalization away from this.

We all suffer very much. We should not hide from each other our weaknesses, the price that we have to pay for living the Gospel.

For instance, here at Madonna House our guests see us somewhat on the surface: we are polite and happy and we are glad to have them because hospitality is part of our life and we consider them a blessing.

But let us never cover up our wounds. Let us be truthful and open, so that the wounds that they need to put their fingers into will be visible.

In our family life we go through a sort of purgatory. We wear the hairshirts of Christ, that is, we have each other. We come from different backgrounds, nationalities and social strata, and we rub or grate against each other.

But the rubbing becomes a process of kenosis, of our decreasing so that Christ can fill us. We must not let others be under the illusion that we are practically in the Parousia. If they touch our wounds, they can accept their own. We all have wounds, so we understand each other.

From Season of Mercy (1996), pp. 127-129, available from MH Publications in a later edition