Almost everyday, we encounter some form of road block or difficulty related to our work, or state in life and or vocation.  Our Christian tradition tells us such will be the case for one who follows Jesus.  Our ‘language’ for this is typically: “Take up your cross” or “Offer it up.”

When we speak about the cross and its role in the Christian life we immediately think of suffering.  Suffering is seldom something we desire to embrace.  The topic itself can often be treated with a deaf ear.  Recently, a particular grace was offered to help me better understand this spiritual reality.

St. Thomas Wounds of Jesus

St. Thomas placing his hand in the Wound of the Risen Christ.

As I awoke early one morning, I was very aware of a difficult task that lay ahead in the day’s demands.  In light of this, the simple phrase came to mind: “Touch the Wounds of Jesus.”  Strangely enough, this was a comforting thought.  I explored it more prayerfully.  As I looked to this challenge in light of the phrase “Touch the Wounds of Jesus” I was immediately aware that only the power that flows from Jesus’ Wounds would bring about a good outcome for this difficulty that could not be avoided.  I realized that my efforts in this regard in the past had been insufficient.

As I began working on the task at hand, I faced more challenges, and the phrase was repeated “Touch the Wounds of Jesus.”  Now, other thoughts came with it: “Do not become frustrated.”  “Do not become impatient.”  I pressed on, at peace.  I then began to come to deeper understanding that all such frustrations in our daily life, particularly as they relate to our being disciples of Jesus are not just opportunities to Touch the Wounds of Jesus, but are actual experiences, meant to allow that power of His mercy and love flow into us.

St. Catherine Wounds of Jesus

St. Catherine of Siena receiving the Wounds of Jesus.

Touching the Wounds of Jesus is a meditation on the love of God, the mercy of God, the healing, redeeming power of God.  A part of the experience of the Incarnation for us also entails a faith-filled encounter with the Wounds of Jesus.  Think of the power that flows from these Wounds – the power of God to forgive the sins of the world.  It is precisely this power, this mercy and love of God that we need at work in our life and in all that we do in the Name of Jesus.

For greater context, we can look to today’s Gospel from St. Luke (10:21-22):

“All things have been handed over to me by the Father.  No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

The Wounds of Jesus are an important part of the Son revealing the Father to the world.  When we suffer in living out our vocation, Jesus is inviting us to touch His Wounds, and in the process, revealing to us the power of God, the mystery of God, the love and mercy of God.  This is precisely why the power of God’s weakness is far greater than human strength.

May each of us be willing to allow Jesus to lead us in each moment of our day.  May we have the grace to find Jesus in our sufferings, great and small.  May we allow the ‘weakness of God’ to be our strength!