In our marriage prep course, one of the questions is, “Do you think your past could be a problem to your relationship?” And I am often surprised at the naivety of couples who simply reply “no,” because the last time I looked, we are all a little wounded.
I wonder with these couples if they simply haven’t peered deep enough into their souls to see their wounded-ness, or if they have allowed Christ to transform all their wounds into a new level of self-gift to their spouse. I often suspect the former.
I have been thinking a lot about wounds lately because I know I have them. It’s painful to be aware of them sometimes, and how they can affect my spouse and my children. Even in these last few months I have become more aware of the lies I have led myself to believe from an early age – whether it be from peer bullying on the bus to passing comments family members have made. In each of these scenarios, I had a choice on believing these lies about my identity and purpose, or to reject them. At such an early age I was convinced that I wasn’t good enough or that something was wrong with me (thanks, Eve) that it has taken years to unwind the thread of lies and allow God to touch these wounds.
But why would such a loving God allow us to be wounded? Allow us to experience such deep pain and not do anything about it? Well, it’s not that he wants to see us suffer, and it’s not that he doesn’t want to do anything about it. But ultimately our wounds are a gift when we let Jesus transform them. Just think of the cross: “By his wounds we are healed.” What was once a painful moment has become a symbol of glory. God can take our hurts and transform them into superpowers with his grace!
One thing that did help me when I got serious about my relationship with God in high school was to have a devotion to the Sacred Heart. I loved the imagery and the symbolism, and it was in that heart that I found solace from the terrible world around me. The image of the sacred heart gave way to a personal moment between me and God, where I imagined the giant heart I had seen and walked through at the Franklin Institute Science center in Philadelphia. So in my most wounded moments, I would imagine that giant heart, only it was Jesus’s Sacred Heart, and there was the wound in his side where he was pierced with a sword. I would pull apart the two sides of the slit and climb inside and rest there. Resting in his Heart, I could find comfort in the love and mercy of God. Now think: if Christ had never been wounded, I could have never climbed inside his Heart. Our wounds give way to greater love and mercy when God transforms them.
God wants to transform your wounds, too, because we all have them. And we all have a choice: dwell in our wounds, or allow God to transform them into your superpowers.
Does your past bring problems to your relationship? Of course it does, because we are all a work in progress. The problem is when we don’t ask God to transform them! Meditate for a few moments on Christ’s glorious wounds, and ask God to make yours glorious, too.
“Remember Christ crucified…Make your aim the Crucified Christ, hide in the wounds of the Crucified Christ and drown in the blood of the Crucified Christ.”-St. Catherine of Siena
St. Catherine of Siena in Rome