A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Walking Wounded

Posted on: February 20, 2014

At taekwon-do last night, I commented to my training partner that our class seemed to be full of the walking wounded: he had a broken toe from sparring, I’d recently injured my back using the snow blower, another student wore a knee brace owing to joint pain from years of soccer, and yet another complained about having a sore leg. And that’s just the ones I knew about.

Yet there we all were, reluctant to miss class, doing push-ups and kicking drills the best we could.

Maybe because I was helping with First Reconciliation this week, I started thinking about the fact that many of us are walking around with spiritual wounds of one kind or another:

  • People who have discovered New Age practices can’t deliver the peace they seek.
  • People who have found work, hobbies, money, material possessions, sex, drugs or alcohol can’t fill the emptiness in their hearts.
  • People who have put all their trust in science but found it can’t answer all their questions.
  • People who have suffered abuse, persecution or the horrors of war and can’t grasp the idea of a merciful, compassionate and loving God.
  • People who, for whatever reason, have decided their past makes it impossible for God to forgive their sins, let alone love them.

In the evening, I read Psalm 51, the Miserere, described in the Revised Standard Version as a “Prayer for Cleansing and Pardon.” In this prayer, the psalmist pleads for God’s mercy and forgiveness:

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your merciful love;

according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! (verses 1-2)

He asks for God’s wisdom, for spiritual cleansing, and for the Lord’s presence:

Behold, you desire truth in the inward being;

therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. (verse 6)

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and put a new and right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your holy Spirit from me. (verses 10-11)

He promises to teach others God’s ways and to praise the Lord:

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

and sinners will return to you. (verse 13)

O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth shall show forth your praise. (verse 15)

And he recognizes that God welcomes us when we ask his forgiveness:

The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (verse 17)

Other verses in the scriptures remind us to “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22) and to “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). So why do we hesitate to seek healing by reading God’s word, spending time with God in prayer, taking Holy Communion, and asking for his forgiveness through reconciliation?

I pray that we would open our hearts to God and let him heal our spiritual wounds, so that we too would be ready to praise him and share his wisdom and love with others.

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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