The therapy of all-encompassing woundedness

Written by: prof. Tomislav Ivančić, PhD

Hagiotherapy is a very demanding reality. It is not only about doing good to someone and comforting people but also healing a person’s fundamental wound, the one that is the cause of all other wounds.

For the treatment to succeed, it is extremely important to know the anthropological realm of man and his pathology. Pathology is the science of wounds, of diseases. Thus, anthropological pathology is the science of anthropological wounds and diseases.

Thereby, let’s differentiate, one is a disease, and the other is a wound. Man who is wounded is healthy, not ill, but only wounded. For example, a wounded man coming from the frontline is healthy but wounded. 

Disease endangers man’s life and kills him in a way. The wound hurts man and can kill him in an instant, while an illness slowly takes away his strength and takes his life. Those are two different things.

Jesus of Nazareth as an example

To understand well wherein man’s woundedness lies, especially anthropological, we will take the example of Jesus of Nazareth. We usually mourn Jesus because He suffered so much pain and went through the Way of the Cross. But He is proud to do that for us. Jesus is a healthy man, but He has entered our woundedness. He took our wounds, and there is the whole drama. So Jesus was not killed because He was guilty. He came to take our wounds, He took our diseases upon Himself, and “By His wounds we are healed.” (cf. Is 53: 5). 

Therefore, in Jesus, we can recognize precisely what are the wounds of the spiritual soul and how they should be healed. To understand this, we need to observe Jesus by starting to talk to him. He is a historical figure and a supreme man. He is the foundation of everything! He is Being, existence.  You exist, live and breathe in Him and through Him.  He is everything, and you live only from Him and in Him. At the same time, Jesus is a man, and that is the beauty of it.


The first wound

What are Jesus’ wounds? Jesus’ first wound was Gethsemane. There He trembled with pain and fear that He had to endure everything. He was suffering so hard that bloody sweat ran down his face. He begged his friends three times to watch with Him and pray, but they fell asleep, unable to stay with Him and His torment for an hour. He took our sins upon Himself, all the suffering of man, all the pain, all the woundedness, and man does not have the courage to at least watch with Him and say: I will be with you! I surrender my wounds to you, Jesus! It will be good!”

When the people couldn’t comfort Him, an angel descends from heaven and gives Him the strength to accept all the suffering and wounds. After that, He is ready to die, and He calls out his friends to get up and leave. After that, Judas comes and kisses Him. It is a sign to the soldiers whom to catch. Jesus recognizes this and asks Judas why he is betraying the Son of Man with a kiss. And then He turns to the soldiers who came for Him and asks them whom they are looking. When He says that He is Jesus whom they seek, they fall to the ground.

By this, Jesus shows that no one has power over Him, that He can free himself, but He wants to take all our woundedness, and therefore He accepts to be taken away.

So, this “Torment in Gethsemane”, these are the wounds which every one of us has experienced. Let us remember our fear of exams, of divorce, fear of our child being born unhealthy, fear of a terminal disease, of flying by plane, fear of not having enough money to live on, of losing our job, of people leaving us, of friends leaving us, of ending up alone, fear that the homeland will fall under the arms of the enemy, fear for the life of a spouse, mother, father, child, fear of duties and tasks of life, fear of what awaits us, but mostly the fear of death.

These are all wounds that constantly follow us. Beware, it is not about illness but wounds.

The second wound

The second wound of Jesus occurred while they were bounding Him and leading Him away. He knows that He is going to do only good, and that is why He takes that terrible cross. They tie Him up. Do we know what it means to be in prison, what it means to be tied to a disease in a hospital, tied to constant pain, tied to a job?

And as they are leading Him away, He knows that there are only enemies around Him. They beat Him, mock Him, hit Him. And He who is God, who has healed all diseases and infirmities, He who can destroy all of them in an instant, He endures it all. Why? To teach you where your wounds are. So, when you pray the Way of the Cross don’t weep for Jesus but weep over yourself.

Understand, it is also about your wounds and that Jesus carries you who are weeping and be proud of it when you pray the Way of the Cross, not sad. It is He who carries you, carries your shame, your attachment, your helplessness. It is important to recognize that. 

As they hit him, they challenge him to guess who hit him. He is God, who can do everything, and He is silent and knows only one thing: this is how people suffer! I will take their sufferings upon myself to free them.

Why do people suffer? Because they are in exile here on earth. We mustn’t imagine that this earth is our home, that this is a place where you stay and live. You don’t live here but cry and sigh. You can’t avoid death. We are approaching death at all times. You are heading towards death. You will recognize that in Jesus! That is you on Jesus! 

He is first tortured and ridiculed by the leaders of the Jewish religion. They don’t understand anything, as if they had never read the prophet Isaiah who said, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering …” How can they be so blind? And we are just as blind. Then, from religious leaders, theologians, scribes, they lead Him to the governor of the Roman Empire, that is, to a foreign, occupying power.

They ask the occupier, Pontius Pilate to sentence Him to death. Jesus experiences such horror in his homeland. His people condemn Him, his people persecute Him, make fun of Him, and forget that they are making fun of themselves.

Those are horrible wounds. Jesus is silent and carries them calmly.

Pilate is not a Jew but a Roman, he wants to set him free, and pious Jews want His death.

Christians mostly imagine that they love Jesus. Jesus is loved only by the one who is grateful for His wounds because He knows these are my wounds on Him. Jesus is not loved by those who only mourn Him but by those who watch with Him and know that humanity has been healed by His suffering.

Pilate asks for Jesus to be whipped. These are new wounds. Jesus is healthy! He has never been ill and cannot be ill. They whip Him so that His skin cracks and blood gushes in all directions.

Then they mock Him and put a crown of thorns on Him. Blood is flowing from His head. They beat Him on the cheeks. How miserable people are! Then they take Him to Herod because Pilate wanted to set Him free. Namely, Pilate heard from his wife that she dreamed of that Jesus, and that is why she told Pilate to let Him go. Pilate asks Jesus who He is, but Jesus does not answer. Then Pilate threatens Him, “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”  And Jesus tells him that he would not have had any authority over Him if it were not given to him from above. But Pilate does not understand. How miserable and naive people are, especially when they pretend to be important. Wisdom is on the other side, where Jesus is. In the end, Pilate allows Jesus to be crucified.


The third wound

Now, remember the cross you carry and remember what you experienced, who insulted you, what they whipped you with?

Each of us experiences it from our loved ones. You hear your mother-in-law, or your mother, gossiping about you, then your neighbours and relatives gossip about you. And it hurts! They make fun of you in the newspapers, on the radio or television, they humiliate you, they slander your name.

These are the wounds that each of us carries. Look at Jesus and understand: these are your wounds, not His! It was He who took your wounds upon Himself, to heal you.

And you think, poor Jesus, you see how He suffers. He is not miserable, but you are because you put it on His back, both the cross, and mockery, and spitting, and humiliation. You did it, and He took it upon Himself.

Jesus did not deserve to suffer in any way. He was pure, free, without sin. He was only good, only love. That is you on Jesus, His suffering and torment. 

Then Jesus falls under the cross. He can’t go on any longer. Simon of Cyrene comes to help Him. And Jesus endures that shame as well.

How many times have you already fallen under the burden? What burden is weighing you down? Why do people destroy their marriage after a year, two, three and commit adultery? Why does a mother kill her child, a child in her womb and becomes a murderer? Why does a gynaecologist commit such a crime? Why do other countries, aggressors, want to destroy my homeland and kill thousands and thousands of people and yet we must say that they are fair? Why?

The fourth wound

How many crosses do you have? The cross is also your body because things hurt you from time to time. The cross is the people around you. The cross is your workplace. The cross you bear might be the fear of dying, of losing your life. The cross is fear of whether you will survive. The cross is the fear of what death is and whether you will succeed in life.

The crosses are horrible. But, only fix your gaze upon Jesus, He carries your cross, and you will see how it becomes easier to bear it.

The fifth wound

And then they undress Jesus. Horror. We constantly hide our sexuality. We are most sensitive there. What is in this sexuality? It is life, the source of life. The possibilities of a new man lie in that sexuality.

The tenderness in which you keep the intimacy of the sexuality of another person, the other sex. That is beauty. That is a big deal!

By taking it all upon Himself and dying, Jesus showed that all our wounds were buried in His death and that our new life will be resurrected in His resurrection.  Therefore, let us not be afraid.

Let us endure this “death camp” on earth, this exile, this valley of tears together with Jesus. Don’t be afraid! Jesus tells us: “I have conquered the world!” (cf. John 16, 33)

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