Four years ago, while I was still part of Poveda, I was sent by the school to attend a training called, “Healing the Eight Stages of Life.” For four days, I learned a lot of things about myself and about how we can approach people who may not be aware of the “wounded child within.” In a way, it was an affirmation and a breakthrough for me. An affirmation that the path to a deeper relationship with God needs an integration of our lights and shadows and a breakthrough because I realized that healing the inner child does not happen in one go. Healing may be something we all have to face for as long as we are alive.
A while ago, as I sat in Mass and listened to the proclamation of the Gospel, the words that struck me were the ones Jesus enunciated to bring back to life the dead daughter of Jairus:
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,”
which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!”
The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around.
The lines brought me to tears and as I looked at the back of the church, I saw the light of the confessional lit in red and yellow.
There will be times when certain events of our lives may trigger to bring out that little wounded child within us. You see, as one grows up, traumatic and very painful experiences wound us to a great extent. Often times, these wounds are hidden only to manifest themselves later when similar instances happen to us. We ought to be aware since these wounds can potentially break us apart and even wound others as well.
In the spiritual sense, these pyschological wounding can lead us to our tendencies to sin. This is why the challenge to a holy and moral life is that of self-mastery. Through God’s grace, we become aware of these wounds we have and we bring it constantly to the healing light of Christ. When the child “comes out” and does a “tantrum,” we need to know how to tame the little child.
Back in 2012, the major breakthrough for me was undergoing counselling sessions with a really good psychologist who specializes in psychospiritual healing. He led me to see the dark parts of me and from what incidences in my childhood trigger the letting loose of the wounded child within me. Right after that very painful but necessary process of unmasking, I was led to my first ever Spiritual Director who navigated me into a deeper life of faith. (It is his birthday today!)
As I entered the confessional a while ago and silently prayed to the Holy Spirit for whatever was that I felt needed healing, sudden flashes of images came to mind. I realized that for some days now, I was not completely aware… the little Lee-an was out on the loose.
“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.”
And just like that, the Father took His child by the hand, wiped her tears and let her walk freely again.
Today’s Gospel is an invitation to healing. Often times, we may not be aware of our need to be healed but what will drive us to ask of it from the Lord is faith. It was faith that made the hemorrhaging woman seek Jesus out and touch His cloak. It was also faith that led Jairus to find Jesus and beg Him to cure his daughter. We will never grow deeper into the spiritual life if we will not open our hearts to an encounter with Christ. Yes, it may be painful and very uncomfortable to dig deeper and see the parts of us we are afraid to expose and face but to grow in holiness and whole-ness, there is no other way. If we truly want to follow Jesus and live holy lives, we need Jesus to touch us, hold us by the hand, heal us, make us rise from our slumber and walk again.
“Do not be afraid. Just have faith.” Jesus’ words to Jairus are also His words to all of us who may not be aware of the little wounded child within. Jesus came to give us life and restore us to a newness that will bring us much joy. Fear of pain, fear of facing our wounds and shadows will be the hindrance for us to finally having the peace and joy that accompanied the saints who have given their all to the Lord. To surrender should not be partial; we surrender everything – lights and shadows alike. This surrendering and healing can only be a product of grace. This grace we can receive when we frequent two sacraments that bring healing: reconciliation (confession) and the Eucharist.
“Why this commotion and weeping?
The child is not dead but asleep.”
Deeper still, in each wounded child, is the child God destined for life eternal. He/she is hidden within us and when we allow Jesus to heal us, this little child will one day run free from the wounds that stop him/her from gaining wings to fly.
Set yourself free. Rise. And as you get to know yourself and love your scars, see how this rising can set the world on fire.