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Touch the Wounds: A Series of Lenten Meditations, Week 1

Today’s meditation for the first week of Lent comes from Tomáš Halík’s Touch the Wounds. This excerpt explores the way we can observe the wounds of the world, encouraging us to find courage in moments of darkness through our relationship with our faith – always seeking answers in moments of both peace and pain.

We’re part of a world full of wounds. For many people, the dark cloud of pain conceals the certainty of faith; the face of a benevolent God is hidden in the darkness that we are passing through together. But the Easter scene that inspired this book can speak to us with enormous urgency precisely at such a time. It is through Jesus’s wounds that the Apostle Thomas sees God.

Let us not seek God in the storms and earthquakes. . . . Like the prophet Elijah on Mount Horeb, we are more likely to find God in a quiet breeze, or in the unaffected expressions of love and solidarity, and in everyday heroism generated in the dark hours of calamities. It is in those expressions of love and service, which restore our hope and the courage to live and not give up, that true holiness manifests itself. That is where God happens … Scripture doesn’t express the unity of the Father and the Son in dogmatic definitions, but in a dramatic story. Part of that drama are also the moments of painful abandonment, as witness Jesus’s cry on the cross. Sometimes the time between the darkness of the cross and the dawn of Sunday morning is long and arduous. The present book seeks also to address those who are enduring such moments – and it is not intended to offer them “religious opium” – sweet-sounding clichés of tawdry pious reassurance.

Let us not expect faith to provide the answers to every question. Instead we should derive from it the courage to step into the cloud of mystery and bear life’s many open questions and paradoxes. St Paul tells us that here on earth we see only in part, as in a mirror, as in a riddle. Faith mustn’t stop seeking and questioning, it must not petrify into an ideology. It must not abandon its openness to an eschatological future.

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