I understand wounds, especially post-surgical wounds. As a registered nurse, I’ve worked in the field of dermatology for over 13 years. While surgery is often a good thing and can resolve any number of health problems, I’ve seen many patients suffer from wound dehiscence, where the surgical incision breaks open. The primary cause of wound dehiscence is due to either extreme stress on the sutures or ineffective suture placement. The open wound thus exposes the underlying tissue below the surface of the skin. When exposed, it becomes vulnerable to further bleeding, injury or infection. Therefore, cleansing and dressing the wound is of utmost importance in wound care.
When I placed my faith in Jesus Christ it was like having a surgical procedure of my heart. Having Him guide me and grow me deeper through the years has resolved many of my “spiritual health problems” i.e. poor self-image, insecurities, jealousies, selfishness, etc.
There has been one area in my life that I thought had been “treated” over thirty years ago. I have recently acknowledged that it’s a wound that often opens and becomes inflamed and feels infected. This seems to occur during times of stress and/or ineffective surrender to Jesus. It feels like the wound is, once again, opening up from the underlying issue below the surface.
Each time this happens I do my best to “close the wound” by trying to give it to God and let it go. Did you know that closure of an infected surgical wound can lead to more complications and failure to heal properly, deepening the injury? Could that possibly be the same with a spiritual wound?
I realize that perhaps each time I’ve tried to close the wound, there seems to be a bit of bacteria brewing below the surface, even after washing and bandaging it so well. The bacteria, however microscopic it may be, causes a recurring infection. No wonder the wound keeps opening!
This spiritual wound issue of mine has affected me on and off for many years now. A few years ago, I noticed the wound began to dehisce more frequently. I would then spend a few hours each time trying to close it by crying, praying and “letting it go”, determined to keep it clean and disinfected. But to no avail. I couldn’t be free of the infection. I just figured I’d let it be, clean it out with prayer and some fasting, and trust that God would deal with it each time it came up. That’s all I could do… but it never went away.
Holy Wound Healing
I recently attended a “silent retreat” in Connecticut. It had been highly recommended and I had to register 3 ½ months ahead of time to be assured of a room! I’ve attended a silent retreat before, so I knew what to expect and I couldn’t wait! I love experiencing God’s presence in the silence! As I entered, I noticed that the retreat center was filled with the sweet Presence of God. The sisters had prayed for each of us from the moment we registered until we left. With each Sister’s presentation (the only time we heard a voice!) and in each Mass, the Holy Spirit clearly ministered to us as we waited on His deep work within us. Every moment counted… and the silence was GOLDEN!
Following the last Mass of the weekend we had a Eucharistic Healing service. This was a first for me and it hopefully won’t ever be the last! The priest donned the humeral veil* which is a vestment shawl used to cover the priest from his shoulders to his hands. It is used when the monstrance is held, which is the receptacle for the Holy Eucharist. He covers his hands to show that he, the priest, is not the one blessing us by raising the Monstrance of Our Lord in the Eucharist. It is Jesus Himself who blesses us as we kneel before His Presence, not the priest.
He then had us come to the altar, kneel before our Lord to receive His healing touch if we so desired. We all did of course! Earlier in the Mass, as the priest was describing potential wounds, I knew I wanted healing. As he spoke I was already seeking Christ’s touch. So as I approached Christ in the Monstrance, I was certain I would be healed!
I touched the veil, which I saw as the “hem of Christ’s garment” (Matthew 9:20). I truly believe that Jesus Christ is in the Eucharistic Host so I knew He could touch my life. As I knelt before Him in adoration, I was actually kneeling before the Heart of Jesus. What joy and peace I received from Him in those few moments!
I looked up into the Host knowing that Jesus was there. It was a most precious moment in my life and all I could do was say “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Jesus!”. There were no tears, no emotion, just an inner assurance that He had closed the wound. I just knew it! I returned to my seat in praise and worship of My Lord and My God!
I’ve had a few chances to “test” myself and that wound since the retreat and, not to my surprise, it’s no longer with me. I am fascinated with and so blessed by Our Lord’s Holiness. It’s Jesus who does the blessing and healing!
I touched the hem of His garment and He touched my life with His Healing Love!
*The priest himself does not bless the people. Rather the priest holds the Blessed Sacrament Who is the Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ Himself directly blesses the people. Again, it is not the priest who blesses in the person of Christ, but Christ Himself that blesses us. In order to signify that he is not blessing the people, the priest covers his hands with a humeral veil which drapes over his shoulders and covers his hands. The humeral veil has its origins in the Jewish prayer veil used by Jewish men and undoubtedly worn by Christ our High Priest and His Holy Apostles. – Taylor Marshal http://taylormarshall.com/2012/03/why-does-priest-veil-his-hands-during.html