A Home for the Wounded Heart

by Casey Bustamante, Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA

In the Church, the first priority is to bring people to an encounter with the Divine Physician. Any encounter with Christ brings healing to fallen humanity. (Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive, Chapter 8)

Upon the return of Pope Francis’ trip to the Philippines, an interview was conducted allowing him to share some of his immediate reflections and response to the trip. Before one of the youth rallies held in Manila, a young girl name Glyzelle Palomar asked Pope Francis why God allows children to suffer. His response to her was that she had posed a question to which there is no answer. The only response is to weep. Suffering plagues humanity on a personal level and on the community level. People around the world search for answers, attempting to find resolution wherever they can. Whether they are able to find resolution or not, their wounds continue to impact their own lives and the lives of those around them.

We must look at our woundedness through the lens of Christ. Christ’s resurrection defeats the definitiveness not only of death, but the suffering leading up to his death. As Christians, this is something we can truly take comfort in but also know that it was for this exact purpose which Christ suffered and died, for us, for our own restoration. His divine mercy is all encompassing and is given freely.

This reasoning can be challenging to communicate to a person who does not have an understanding of a redemptive God. But we see this in many instances in our own lives. Parents are willing to labor for years and years to provide for their children. Or perhaps someone gives their life to protect their military unit. This isn’t for their own glory, but for the great love they have for the other that they are willing to lay down their life.

With the comfort and grace received in Christ’s own suffering, death and resurrection for the restoration of all humanity, we must look to those around us for our comfort or those who need to be comforted. For wounds come in many forms and at many stages in life to all of us.

The temptation that we have with our wounds is wanting to hide them. Whether one is struggling with an addiction, depression or same-sex attraction (though this is not an exhaustive list), there is an illusion of protection from vulnerability when one attempts to keep these issues to themselves. It is hard to share this especially with our loved ones because we fear judgement or being ostracized. As members of the mystical body of Christ, we are also called to tend to one another. In order to tend to one another, we must first cultivate a community of love, trustworthiness, patience and most especially mercy.

The Lord remembered us in our low estate,
for his mercy endures forever;
Freed us from our foes,
for his mercy endures forever;
And gives bread to all flesh,
for his mercy endures forever.
Praise the God of heaven,
for his mercy endures forever.

Psalm 136:23-26