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May 24, 2012 | The Rt. Rev. Andy Doyle

Bishop Doyle Commentary: The Wounds of Healing Grace

Bishop Doyle med res 2
Bishop Doyle's column can be found in every
issue of Diolog Magazine 

[Diolog Magazine] "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified … that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (I Cor 2:2, 5)  These words of Paul speak to the importance of being with one another in our woundedness. 


Human beings harbor real woundedness inside their souls, just as they experience physical wounds in their bodies. Often times the physical wound is easier to deal with. It is real, visible and clearly in need of healing. Our response to this physical illness or brokenness is compassion. Somehow it is easier to be sympathetic and empathetic with the visible injury. Yet psychological and spiritual woundedness is no less real. While it is difficult to hide our physical manifestations of illness we humans are experts in hiding our psycho/spiritual woundedness. As with a more physical wound, the spiritual wound is just as in need of the healing balm of Gilead. 


Jesus taught us to be present to both kinds of woundedness. He dealt with the woman at the well, and he dealt with the man at the pool of Siloam. His own suffering of psychological shame at the hands of the soldiers and then his physical suffering that ended upon the cross are images of his compassion for both conditions and the nature of human suffering. Archbishop Rowan Williams reminds us, “To want to escape the ‘nigh’ and the costly struggles with doubt and vacuity is to seek another God from the one who speaks in and as Jesus crucified. Crux probat omnia. There is no other touchstone.” (Wound of Knowledge, p. 191)


It is only in being in a mature Christian community with one another that we discover the woundedness of the other, and likewise are able to be real with one another. In being our true wounded selves with one another we discover the very real grace of Christ, and we share not only in his suffering but in his deliverance. In being our true wounded selves, we discover Christ’s love despite our wounds and are therefore able to love others. 


The stories in this issue speak to us of healing. They speak to us of the discovery of the wounds internally and externally through which we are able (miraculously) to receive grace from God and from one another. The wounds of healing grace are those wherein we discover what it means to be mortal and human, and also what it means to be loved by God and one another.


-This story is published in the June 2012 issue of Diolog Magazine