Mercy in the Wounds

After Easter, there is a silence.  Christ has vanished at the breaking of the bread and I must find new ways to see him.

My friendships are changing; what once felt like sharing in each others’ lives now feels one-sided, as their lives bloom and mine just…doesn’t.  One friend gushes about her new boyfriend, who she knows is ‘the one.’  Another sent me a text welcoming her new daughter into the world.  We talk about potty training and marriage prep, handmade invitations, showers, registries.  I’ve been asked to read in an upcoming wedding, which means, among other things, that all of my girlfriends in Atlanta are engaged or married.

“I’m the only single person left in Atlanta.  It was on the news the other night,” I quip.  My friends think this is very funny.  I do not think it’s that funny.

I browse fashion magazines to feel new. I click through Facebook until late at night; envy gurgles over pictures of fresh faced college students’ enthusiasm in photographs from abroad, plump gorgeous babies balanced on the knees of new mothers, great bicycle trips against a backdrop of blue sky and ancient peaks, soft still-lifes of white-clad brides against a dusky backdrop, friend heads tilting, toppling, telling of their closeness by the tough squint of their eyes in the blessed moment in which they can reside, and rejoice.

And I struggle to stack up the particular blessedness of my life against these scenes. Joy remains as elusive as the granules slipping from a fistful of sand. It seems my lens for gratitude is only Eucharist. There are fleeting moments of happiness, the still, small warmth of a candle in the yawning night, but then I am back on the sea-tossed ship, or curling up beneath a tree in Gethsemane.

Doubting Thomas, broken in love. He could not reconcile the Cross and the Resurrection, so burdened by his earthly eyes and understanding, but so sincerely seeking. He watched the other Apostles with bewilderment and, I venture, rising bitterness. How could they see; how could they understand? What was this joy they knew?  And further, why would he love again, would he risk it, when he had loved Christ and was torn open by his death?

Thomas could not come to the Resurrected Christ. So, the Resurrected Christ came to him through the Wounds. “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas, come to the Resurrection through my wounds. If you cannot rejoice with me in my glory, if you cannot yet worship and give thanks, enter into my suffering. To find me in my Resurrection, probe the wounds of sin and death. Suffer with me the nails, the thorns, the spear. Join your broken heart with mine, your loneliness and rejection with mine. I have made all things new. To touch my wounds is to touch my Resurrected body, and when you raise your eyes from the nail marks, you will see my glory.

Jane Sloan

By

B. Jane Sloan is a writer and high school theology teacher from Atlanta, GA. In addition to blogging for Catholic Exchange, she has been published in Our Sunday Visitor, Notre Dame Magazine and the literary journal Omnibus. Jane graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2007 with a B.A. in theology and philosophy. In 2009, she graduated with an M. Ed. from Notre Dame's Alliance for Catholic Education. In 2009 Jane made a 500-mile pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain. She spent summer 2010 as an intern planting vegetables and baking bread at the Abbey of Regina Laudis OSB in Bethlehem, CT. In 2011 she was present among the millions at the beatification of Blessed John Paul II. She is currently working toward her M.A. in Theology. Follow her on Twitter @CE_SundayBrunch. Follow her other blog on all-natural eating at www.thesavagepalate.blogspot.com

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  • Gregory Fleece

    This touched my heart,  thank you for writing this.  You see I have a very hard time seeing joy in my life and a hard time understanding how others can have joy.  The last 2 1/5 years have been extremely tough, thank God for giving me a group of men that have come together through CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish).  They have been at my side through it all.  Just to name a few things that are happening now, my wife is filling for divorce and both of my son’s won’t talk to me or have anything to do with me.  Depression and pain is a normal way of life for me.  I truly relate to the last paragraph when it says probe the wounds of sin and death and join my broken heart, life, loneliness, and rejection with our Lord.

    Again Thank you.

  • Stephanie Loomis

    Too beautiful…and true for so many of us. Each feels that alone-ness differently. Some lack a spouse and feel empty. Some long for children. Others need the bond of friendship, not acquaintance-ship. All of us need to remember that Christ came to us, not in our wholeness, but in our brokenness. He became broken for us so that we may become whole in Him.

  • Jane

    Agreed, Stephanie.  And while some people perceive Jesus offering his wounds to Thomas as a kind of challenge with a hint of harshness, I see it as an act of mercy on Christ’s part, just one more way he finds us where we are…

  • Jane

    Gregory,

    Sorry to hear of your struggles, it sounds like a true way of the Cross.  You will be in my prayers, especially that the Spirit gives you the fruit of joy.

  • Dan

    I know nothing about you.  This is the my first visit to your blog.  I read a lot and this is the best prose I have read in a very long time.

    Apart from the excellent writing, your connection of your everyday situation to the resurrection is truly insightful.  You have time and a rare talent that you should always share. 

    I’m sure your friends are also envious of you as you cultivate your spirituality without their demanding constraints.  Continue your contributions.  I’ll be following.

  • Jane

    Thanks for the encouragement, Dan.  You are most welcome here.

  • Steven Kinder

    This is a very beautiful entry.  One thing that strikes me about Thomas is that, although he doubted the truth of the Resurrection and even the witness of his friends, he did not doubt the truth of their friendship or the value of their companionship.  Thomas could not share their life-changing experience of seeing the Risen Lord, and yet there he was in the room with the Apostles, still celebrating their friendship for what it was: real love.

  • Grant Irwin

    Jane, you’re awesome.  Thank you for this reflection.  Know that God has a plan for everything, even though we may not have the foresight to know what that plan is.  Amidst Thomas’ doubt, I’m sure there was some resentment that his closest friends all seemed to have shared in an experience that he was left out of.  He probably felt a longing to have been with them.  He felt like he had been out of place – he had been separated from the group.  All of this was for a purpose, though.  He was exactly where God intended him to be.  He hadn’t been out of place at all.  It was through him and his absence that God desired to show the his love to the rest of us.

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