“The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them.”
A wound is something so very intimate.. It is a source of pain, a sign of weakness. But in the wound of Jesus in this painting, He shows us something. Wounds can be a place of meeting … A place of encounter.
How much Jesus longs to be close to us, but how easy can it be to close the door of our hearts and lock them, just like the locked door enclosing the apostles in the upper room? It is so much easier to hide ourselves in a false security of self-sufficiency.
When I first came across this image, my heart fell in love. I was captivated by the colors and movement. But as I began to pray on it, I noticed something beyond the surface. While the image was speaking to my heart and tugging on it, it also was also speaking truth to me on a deeper level.
If I am honest with myself, I find this painting very uncomfortable to sit with. Praying more and more with it, I have realized something.
I am Thomas. I think I know the Lord, only to realize that I sometimes cling to a false image of Him in order to stay locked in the inner rooms of my own fears and weaknesses. Jesus is risen, but I sometimes I prefer to stay with my idea of Him being dead. Life doesn’t have to change if he isn’t risen. It is so much easier, right?
My dear Sister, put yourself in Thomas’ place.
What stops you from meeting the risen Lord? Is it your fear of what He will ask of you? Is it fear of rejection- that He will see your weaknesses and abandon you? Or is it that deep rooted wound of believing you are unlovable?
Whatever this wall is in your heart, Jesus can go through it. He went through the walls of the room where Thomas hid himself. He can most certainly go through any walls — even the walls surrounding our hearts.
Feel his warm, soft hand taking yours within His, and leading it to His side. His side, which is opened and vulnerable, He opens to you. He risks being hurt, but finds it completely worth it … You are worth taking the possibility of pain. He longs to love you. Allow Him into your wounds so He can heal you with His.
From this side poured forth blood and water, the source of life. Our Mother Church, in Her wisdom, has said that the blood and water from Christ’s side are our life — mercy outpoured — the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist. … From these sources are the life of Christ poured into us.
But to receive this, we need to be weak. We can’t earn this love. It is love that died and rose. It is an overwhelming love that we cannot even comprehend deserving. But Jesus desires to give it.
And the receiving is the heart of what we must do. It is taking a huge risk. It is relying completely on another in trust. We need to put aside our self-reliance and allow ourselves to be weak. In such frailty, Jesus will take us to His side, and pour His love upon us.
As we follow the Church's celebration of Divine Mercy, when the side of Christ is revealed to us, let us receive this love. Giving Him all our past, present, and future- all that we are- gifts, weaknesses, wounds, and joys, let us entrust it to Him, trusting that He brings an even greater good out of every evil. Today, we cry out from our hearts, “Jesus, we trust in you!”
Citation information on the image "Incredulity of the Apostle Thomas"
Merisi, Michelangelo. Incredulity of the Apostle Thomas (Copy after Caravaggio). 17th Century, Oil on Canvas45 1/4 x 60 5/8 inches (114.9 x 154 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of Arthur H. Lea, F1938-1-34, used with permission.