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Touch the Wounds: A Series of Lenten Meditations, Week 3

Today’s meditation for the third week of Lent comes from Tomáš Halík’s Touch the Wounds. This excerpt considers our awareness and actions relating to suffering in the world, asking us not to run away from suffering, nor tackle the enormity of healing all by ourselves, but simply asks us to heal the wounds within ourselves, and “touch” the wounds of others.

Naturally none of us can regard ourselves as a messiah capable of healing all the world’s wounds. Besides, not even he achieved that during his earthly mission (nor did he attempt to). We must even avoid the temptation (one that often lures to the magic of revolutionary activity) “to turn stones into loaves.” Even when we honestly try to do everything that is within our power and capacity, we can only row a short distance against the surging waves of the ocean of poverty that is carving out a larger and larger slice of our continent. Nevertheless, we must not run away from the world’s wounds nor turn our backs on them; we have to see them at least, touch them and let them involve us. If I remain indifferent to them, uninvolved, unwounded—how can I declare my faith and love for God, whom I have not seen? . . . But there is also another very important aspect of this: our awareness of suffering in the world must not be restricted solely to “social problems,” although that kind of suffering rightly cries out to the conscience of the world and of each of us, and its voice must not be ignored. Nevertheless, we must not for one moment imagine that we have “sorted out” that problem by sending a donation to some charitable operation in Africa or giving alms to a beggar . . . although these actions are all important. But even that is not enough. There is still much hidden suffering of a different kind inside the people around us. And let us not ignore the unhealed wounds within ourselves—acknowledging and healing them also helps “heal the world.”

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