Wounded Healers: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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See the schedule and event session details for the final CONSPIRE conference (Sep. 24 – 26)

Wounded Healers: Weekly Summary

Wounded Healers

Saturday, September 19, 2020
Summary: Sunday, September 13—Friday, September 18, 2020

When we can trust that God is in the suffering, our wounds become sacred wounds and the actual and ordinary life journey becomes itself the godly journey. (Sunday)

Until there has been a journey through suffering, I don’t believe that we have true healing authority, or the ability to lead anybody anyplace new. (Monday)

Despite the oppressive and ungodly forces applied against them, African Americans forged a spirituality that encouraged hope and sustained faith, which enabled them to build communities of love and trust. —Diana L. Hayes (Tuesday)

When you risk sharing what hurts the most in the presence of someone who will not invade you or abandon you, you can discover within yourself what Jesus called the pearl of great price, your invincible preciousness in the midst of your fragility. —James Finley (Wednesday)

Healing is learning to love the wound because love draws us into relationship with it instead of avoiding feeling the discomfort. —Lama Rod Owens (Thursday)

Being wounded, suffering, and dying are the quickest and most sure paths to truly living. (Friday)


Practice: Upon Thy Altar

Psychotherapist Carl Jung believed wounded healers developed insight and resilience from their experiences which enabled the emergence of transformation to occur. African American philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader Howard Thurman (1900–1981) was a living example of such insight for this week’s Practice. With tenderness and pastoral concern, he reminds us that one of the most important aspects of healing is the process of offering our wounding to God. We invite you to take several slow, deep breaths to settle your body and calm your mind; then read Thurman’s words slowly and contemplatively, either voiced or within the silence of your heart.

Our Little Lives

Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Thy altar!
The quietness in Thy Temple of Silence again and again rebuffs us:
For some there is no discipline to hold them steady in the waiting
And the minds reject the noiseless invasion of Thy Spirit.
For some there is no will to offer what is central in the thoughts—
The confusion is so manifest, there is no starting place to take hold.
For some the evils of the world tear down all concentrations
And scatter the focus of the high resolves.

War and the threat of war has covered us with heavy shadows,
Making the days big with forebodings—
The nights crowded with frenzied dreams and restless churnings.
We do not know how to do what we know to do.
We do not know how to be what we know to be.

Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Thy altar!
Brood over our spirits, Our Father,
Blow upon whatever dream Thou hast for us
That there may glow once again upon our hearths
The light from Thy altar.
Pour out upon us whatever our spirits need of shock, of lift, of release
That we may find strength for these days—
Courage and hope for tomorrow.
In confidence we rest in Thy sustaining grace
Which makes possible triumph in defeat, gain in loss, and love in hate.
We rejoice this day to say:
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Thy altar!

Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart (Beacon Press: ©1953, 1981), 83‒84.

For Further Study:
James Finley and Alana Levandoski, Sanctuary: Exploring the Healing Path (Cantus Productions: 2016), CD.

Diana L. Hayes, Forged in the Fiery Furnace: African American Spirituality (Orbis Books: 2012).

Henry J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society, 2nd ed. (Image Doubleday: 2010. ©1972).

Richard Rohr, The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2005), MP3 download.

Richard Rohr, Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer (Paulist Press: 2014).

Richard Rohr, “The Trap of Perfectionism: Two Needed Vulnerabilities,” “Perfection,” Oneing, vol. 4, no. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2016).

Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens with Jasmine Syedullah, PhD, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation (North Atlantic Books: 2016).

Image credit: Resurrection of Lazarus (detail), circa 12th‒13th century, Athens.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: Being wounded, suffering, and dying are the quickest and most sure paths to truly living. —Richard Rohr
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