You have bent down over our wounds and have healed us, giving us a medicine stronger than our scars, a mercy greater than our fault. Thus, even in sin, in virtue of your invincible love, served to raise us up to divine life. (Ambrosian Rite prayer)
A medicine stronger than our scars. That is profound. During Lent, many of us take the time to examine our weaknesses and our scars. But do we ponder the wondrous medicine that is the Cross?
Most of us have scars that are hidden, and we prefer it that way. We perceive our scars as weakness and failure. Sometimes they are: we sin. We do evil and fail to do good. We need the Sacrament of Reconciliation to heal our sin.
But some of our scars are ones life has left us with, through no fault of our own. We weep for our dead friends and family; we miss them and their loss is a scar on our heart. Perhaps our scars are borne from the addictions of others; we fear for the health and safety of loved ones who cannot seem to overcome their addictions to drugs or alcohol or pornography. Maybe we are in a marriage where one party is trying so very hard to be faithful and loving, and the other person wants out. And maybe we bear actual scars from disease, illness or accident – scars that cause us significant physical pain.
We think there is no medicine for these scars – no doctor can fix a broken heart or a parent’s tears. But Christ is the Great Physician, one who heals through the medicine of the Cross. Jesus was also a Man who Himself knew pain.
He was spurned and avoided by men,
a man of suffering, knowing pain,
Like one from whom you turn your face,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
Yet it was our pain that he bore,
our sufferings he endured.
We thought of him as stricken,
struck down by God and afflicted,
But he was pierced for our sins,
crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole,
by his wounds we were healed. – Is. 53:3-5
By his wounds we were healed. That is the radical truth of our faith: God became Man, took our sins and scars upon Himself, and saved us. Yes, we sin and we must acknowledge our sin, but sin no longer means death. Indeed, we are stilled scarred, but Christ provides us a medicine stronger than our scars. There is nothing and no one who is greater than this truth, this Good News, this Christ.
Today, take some time to thank Jesus for the medicine He has provided you. Rejoice in the fact that – despite our afflictions – we are healed through Christ our Lord.