They are those who have been traumatized by betrayals of trust—in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood—from parents, other family members, authority figures, and strangers. They struggle to believe in their dignity as beloved children of God.
They are those who bear the marks of abuse, assault, addiction, discrimination, harassment, and bullying. They include those who have lost loved ones, suffered infertility, miscarriage, extended illnesses, the dissolution of marriage, and more.
Today’s wounded are those whose fears—of the future, financial insecurity, harm—so overwhelm them that they feel compelled to control their world by avoiding change at all costs. They are those whose relationships have suffered because of bitter divisions within families over religion, politics, identity, or unresolved conflict.
Who are today’s wounded? They are us.
Our wounds—and especially the ways we react to them—are precious scars that make us unique and beautiful children of God. When people say well-meaning platitudes, God’s ways are not our ways, God has a plan, or God never gives us more than we can handle, it’s easy to start thinking God gave us this pain on purpose to torment us. But the wounds we suffer are not the will of God. They are the reality of living in a fallen world in which the effects of sin ripple outward.
One thing is true, though: God can use our pain—our broken places—to do something beautiful within us. With his love and healing we become more sensitive to the richness life has to offer.
God does not abandon us to despair. If we give him the space to work within us, he can transform our pain. We may not recognize it until years later, if ever. But trusting that his hand is at work, even in suffering he did not wish upon us, can free us to hope for the future.
Lord, I’m reminded of a legend about St. Teresa of Ávila. The devil once appeared to her, disguised as you. But she wasn’t fooled. She immediately dismissed him. Satan asked, “How could you be certain I wasn’t Christ?”
“You don’t have wounds,” Teresa replied. “Christ has wounds.”
Jesus, I know you went through more suffering than I or anyone else on earth ever has—more than I can imagine. And what came from your suffering was salvation for the whole world.
I’m trying to accept that those who follow your path must also expect to suffer. You’ve promised that, in the end, all things work for good. Help me entrust you with my suffering. Use my pain to bring a little piece of your kingdom to earth. Give me the grace to seek joy despite my woundedness. Amen.