We all have wounds. Due to living within a fallen world it is impossible to go through life and not receive wounds from sin. Either by others' transgressions against us, or by our very own failings. These wounds from sin, over time, distort our view of ourselves and we inevitably question the image of God within our very design. The deeper we delve into the murky and foul waters of our wounds the more we question and doubt our very worth. This questioning of our worth is what the Enemy wants from us. In hating God he hates all that bear His image and likeness. The Enemy's desire is for all to cut themselves off from the graces of the Lord by their own wills and to entertain his temptations which are to lead us to despair, self-hatred, and doubting the presence of the imago dei within our essence.
One notion that Satan will tempt us to adopt within our hearts is the blaming of God for our sufferings and wounds. He tries to use God's perfection against us, reminding us that God is omnipotent and omniscient and that despite all of these things he will tell us the Lord actively allowed or even made us suffer and acquire that wound from sin in an attempt to turn us against the Lord. In a sense, the enemy is coaxing us to join him in his unbridled hatred of the Creator. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, on this very matter, states:
Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.
Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.
The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing. Illness becomes a way to conversion; God's forgiveness initiates the healing. It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: "For I am the Lord, your healer." The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others. Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness. -Catechism of the Catholic Church p. 1500-1502
Steven R. Hemler, responding to this section of the Catechism in his book Catholic Stories of Faith and Hope: How God Brings Good Out of Suffering, says:
It is important to realize that God does not directly cause our suffering or make us suffer just so we will love Him. True love cannot be forced in that way. Rather, God allows us to suffer so that we will recognize our dependence upon him and choose to grow closer to Him. We all need to realize that we are absolutely dependent upon God whether things are going well or going poorly. However, for those who do not yet have that realization, suffering can become a path to an awareness of who is really in control
One may justifiably ask how one is to face these wounds of sin, and the answer is: rather than getting vulnerable with the Enemy, we need to get vulnerable with Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Throughout my life I have come across many individuals who have suffered great wounds by the sins committed against them in their life. These traumas affect mentalities in many ways that we don't often realize. It affects how we gauge our own worth, not just in the eyes of others but even ultimately in the eyes of God. We can see ourselves as battered, broken, unworthy, or irredeemable. We can, in turn, avoid vulnerability with others and with God. We do this as a way to protect ourselves, but in the end we make ourselves an island and easy picking for the Adversary.
What the Enemy wants you to forget whenever you are in spiritual combat with him is that Our Lord also has wounds. In trying to use God's perfection against us to try to coax us to direct our anger at the Lord he wishes to distract our gaze from His Life and Passion. Often times we can quite possibly forget the intense fact that Our God indeed experienced suffering through the Son. Jesus wept and felt agony. He felt pain and immense suffering. He felt the full weight of the wounds from sin. He shared in our pains from the sins committed against us during His Passion.
When you suffered that trauma which is so heavy on your heart, Christ was there. He can see it from the Cross. A profound reality is that in that moment that you were hurt the absolute most, Christ is there and dying for it. He is suffering immense and unimaginable pain for the sake of your freedom from that wound. He is right there beside you suffering along with you. In this fallen world, we may very often feel alone, but we never truly are. Where and when there is suffering Christ is present on the Cross, for it is during His Passion that He willingly received for our sake that He observes and takes on all the wounds and scars of sin. All of your personal sins and every single sin that has ever been committed against you are there on the Cross.
When struggling my way into the deeper parts of the spiritual life and beginning my vulnerability in my relationship with the Lord I was advised to begin with focusing on a Crucifix; to set a timer for an measly ten minutes and then to do nothing else but stare directly at Our Lord on the tree, avoiding any utterance of any words. At first it was quite intimidating to focus on something so intently while also being in absolute and complete silence, but after doing it multiple times my heart began to open up to Him.
It is when we begin to open our hearts to Jesus that healing can begin. It is this vulnerability with the Lord which is so crucial to our Life in Christ. When we open up to Him and can confess our weaknesses, share our burdens with him, and open the door to Him to enter into our wounds is when we can receive what He wishes to give us through His Passion: Himself.
Open the flood gates of your heart and pain while within His presence. Be a complete open book, despite the fact that He is omniscient. He is already there beside you, piercing through Time itself, present to you on the Cross. Every single pain from sin is felt both now and on the Cross. He is ever present in all moments of pain and suffering.
He already knows every wound and every burden, but when we reach this point that we can open up to Him in prayer about them it is us saying in essence: "I wish for you to be within this very part of me. Do with it as you will by your own merits." And what He wills for us is peace. That's what He suffered His Passion for: your peace. He prayed for you in the Agony. On the Cross He saw you and felt for you and felt the pain alongside you. He has already paid the price for your peace, all we are to do is to open up ourselves to the wealth of the merits of His Passion through vulnerability and openness with Him. The more we are open, the deeper we go with the Lord, and the more graces of healing and peace there is to be had.
Healing always begins top down, first in a supernatural way, lastly the healing becomes manifest within the emotions. We should not often gauge our healing based upon how we feel necessarily, for the emotions, seeing as they are the lowest form of how God connects with us, are usually always the last to conform to the work done within our souls by the Lord. And seeing how emotions are ever changing, they can't fully be trusted to be the judge of our progress towards healing within the Lord's Heart at all points. It all begins with turning our spirits over to the Lord, and over time, through openness and deepening our relationship and love of the Lord our emotions will follow suit.
Ultimately, full healing can't be truly obtained in this Life, but the fruits of this final healing are abundant if we continue and are steadfast in our friendship with the Lord
Steven Hemler, in his aforementioned book, articulates:
When a person who is suffering maintains hope in God and belief that there will be no more suffering when this life is over but only happiness for those who die in friendship with God, this person's suffering becomes a powerful witness of faith and may lead to the conversion of others.
In all these things we must persevere, but must always remember that with every step we are not alone. Where there is pain, there is the Lord. Where there is healing, there is the Lord. And where there is redemption, there is the Lord. With every step He is there, now and forever more.