Healing Our Broken Vessels
by Maurice Tenorio
Before we ask God for healing, we must consider what exactly we need healing from. Is it the same shortlist that floats at the top of our hearts and minds when we examine all that we feel keeps us distant from God? I ask you to take it a step further.
Having recently concluded the holiest week of the year, we are called to embrace the mystery of Jesus’s great love by joining in His suffering. He doesn’t ask of you a bloody sacrifice on a cross; He simply asks that you allow the wounds inflicted either by self or brought on by circumstance to be exposed and trusted to Him. We are called to acknowledge His sacrifice as one that is sufficient enough to extract us from the misery of our sufferings. This does not mean that He will take all suffering away from us, but that He can take away the misery that we experience by suffering without Him in our lives. He did not come to take our sufferings away; He came to make them possible.
A few weeks ago in our Mass readings, St. Paul said to the Corinthians, “We must profess Christ crucified…” He goes on to mention that this type of total self-donation and self-giving action was foolish to the Jews and Gentiles. Although it may have been seen as foolish then, it is still not a very popular choice of lifestyle today: to embrace the life of the cross, to not run or hide from anxiety, but rather to confront all trials and tribulations as opportunities to experience His grace. For the Christian, these become opportunities to witness His gentle hand stitching the golden thread of His mercy and compassion through the deep wounds of our lives and hearts.
To profess Christ Crucified, we must:
- Crucify our sins. Once we’ve become aware of our sins, we must have the resolve to say, “I’m done!”
- Crucify our disordered desires: impure minds and hearts; and the jealousy, hatred, resentment, and unforgiveness that we lord over our enemies. Crucify our self-hate and insecurities. Crucify the roots of all our vices. This takes courage, mainly because the death of our sins via crucifixion requires us to extract those realities that have brought us comfort and shelter from the real wounds in our hearts.
- Allow Christ to live through our lives. In order for this to happen, we must make room in our hearts for Him to dwell. Our good intentions have proven to get us as far as the front door of the church after confession. If He is going to live through our lives, then we must die to ourselves—GET OUT OF THE WAY and stop pointing at ourselves!
- Others must see less of us and more of Him. By becoming aware of our sins and “putting them to death,” we allow Him to live through our lives. And when He has taken domain in our lives because of the permission we’ve given Him, others will come to see Him in us.
Jesus is offering you His grace and His healing; He wants to touch all that needs healing in your life. But you have to reach out for it, to begin loosening the grip of those vices in your life by exposing them for what they truly are.
Are you done defining your self-worth by your sins? Are you ready to surrender the names and titles your peers have given you? Are you done feeling like the one child your parents resent? Are you through with casual physical relationships that withdraw their promises of “love forever” just moments after? Are you done being a casualty of circumstance, whether it’s being a child of divorced parents, suffering abandonment, neglect, loneliness… Are you done with allowing fear to control every move you make? If you’re done, leave it all at the foot of His cross. Surrender all of these labels, wounds, circumstances, and past choices to Jesus today, in a moment of silent and sincere prayer.
You must surrender these things in order to find healing, in order to live a true Christlike life. At the heart of this lifestyle of self-giving love is the fruit of true intimacy with God–a divine romance that brings your soul to its feet to dance.
Take note: Intimacy is best remembered as “INTO-ME-SEE.” In order for us to fully benefit from this generous gift of God’s love, we must unlock every door in our hearts and let Him in. Not only are we being given this great gift from a self-giving God, but we too are asked to take the same risks He did: to expose ourselves to a healing love; to let Him see into us, with all our broken vessels; and to allow Him to do what He wills with the damage that has been done in our lives.
From that very fruit of intimacy with Him flows His authentic and genuine promise that you will always be held when the sacred is torn from your life—bad news, disappointments, unmet expectations, the news of death at your doorstep. The romance that our hearts pursue in the people and things of this world pales in comparison to the Love that we’ve deprived our souls from embracing.
It begins with our crosses, whatever they may be, whatever repeat offenses we’ve grown weary of asking His forgiveness for. We must trust that He will conquer.
Let the healing begin.