My Love Crucified community has been trying to help me understand that we all have wounds, that Satan often infects our wounds with his lies. He is able to do this because we defensively try to mitigate our vulnerability, shutting down parts of ourselves, closing ourselves off emotionally, often becoming numb, altering our true identity.
How can your identity before God be truthful if it is built on lies which you tell yourself? How can you be completely open to God if you have closed off any part of yourself? Full adoration requires complete vulnerability. I thought I was being completely open, but my community was telling me no, that I wasn’t.
One deep wound which I received years ago, in
1973, occurred with a vicious rape. I write about it in my book, WARRIOR FOR JUSTICE: The George Eames Story [which will be released by the publisher in May 2015], so I don’t mind talking about it here. I can’t begin to imagine how many women, like me, have struggled all their lives to figure out how to deal with the same or similar wounds. Many never deal with them. Many never realize that our wounds should be submitted to the light of Christ on our spiritual journey. Consequently, if I can help anyone understand this a little better, I’m determined to do so.
The Simple Path to Union [used by my Love Crucified community] makes this recommendation: “…begin to journal the wounds you have discovered and the lies from these wounds you have come to believe. Next to each lie write the truth. Practice speaking the truth out loud to yourself. This practice should lead us to praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for the truth. It is very common that when you begin to say the truth, you believe it with your intellect but not yet with your heart. The truth feels foreign to us because the lie has been our lifetime identity.”
Though I honestly could not see where this wound occurring from my rape was a problem in my life after all these years, I promised myself recently to do the inner work needed to work through it completely. I journaled several pages, trying to see my way through it. Then during adoration: I AM STRIPPED OF MY GARMENTS. I am given this one sentence.
My deepest wound: I am stripped of my garments. This happened to me during the rape; every covering was taken away from me. I was denuded. For hours. I see immediately Jesus being stripped of his garments.
Suddenly I understand. This is the wound which gives me entrance into Jesus’ wound. Stripped of power, stripped of control, exposed, and completely vulnerable. My response for years–I covered myself with the lies: I have to be in control. I can’t be vulnerable. I have to be self-sufficient. I don’t want anyone to see me this way. I can’t bear to be touched in an intimate way.
I covered myself, and now Jesus wants to strip all away in order for me to enter His vulnerability. I cannot be crucified with Jesus till I am stripped of my garments.
I understand His vulnerability for the first time. I literally feel again my pain, and in that pain, I feel His in a remarkable, sharp way. This wound of Christ is hidden from us because it does not appear as an actual wound, but it was a deep wound to his soul, his spirit as a man, to his psyche. As it was to mine.
This is our greatest fear and discomfort –to uncover our inner selves, to expose what is sacred, what is inviolable to all who pass by. To expose ourselves. There is no greater vulnerability. Yet God asks it of us. All women, all men. This is where our crucifixion begins. It is in our vulnerability that we become truly accessible, to God and to one another.
The Epistle today incorporated Isaiah 53:7-8. The Ethiopian eunuch was reading Isaiah and could not understand, so he asked St. Philip to explain to him:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation, justice was denied him….”
The lamb—sheared, denuded, stripped, then sacrificed—the Lamb of God. Jesus on the cross is the epitome of vulnerability: stripped, exposed, violated, powerless.
I revisit George, my husband, in his final months, days, the same image of one utterly exposed, vulnerable, powerless. How powerfully I saw in him Jesus Crucified and suffering; and I embraced him, his body, his vulnerability. That kind of intimacy is available only when we allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable to another.
I see now how through all my wounds, I enter the wounds of Jesus, stripped, exposed, rejected, abandoned, alone. Now I am one with Jesus Crucified. The only access to the Resurrection is through the Passion.
O my God, every man and woman undergoes a passion. Help us to go through it, not numbing ourselves, not burying our hurting hearts and spirits, but truly entering into Your own vulnerability through our own vulnerability. Help us to suffer everything with You, no longer two but one in Your sacrifice of love.
[Pre-orders of my autobiography are available at Amazon.com and at many other sources, as well. Just google my name!]