Do you have Soul Wounds?

Five wounds of Christ
Image by Nick in exsilio via Flickr

It is a beautiful thought, my children, that we have a sacrament that heals the wounds of our souls! – Saint John Vianney

Do you  have soul wounds?

For me this depends on day-to-day realities.  It is a discipline (see Nouwen on discipline below) not to allow things like bitterness, anger, envy, or conceit to enter in, quickly overtaking what I know to be true and beautiful.  A harsh rude word is spoken or written.  I resent another’s success. Or my day-to-day life practices add up to selfish spending  or no time for others, which bring an inability to be generous with either.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Choices, choices, choices.  Choices discipline us and bring order in and of themselves.  Knowing Christ also did that for me.  Knowing that I am the one he loved enough to die for —  that his body was broken, the nails cut into his hands and feet as he slowly strangled, gasping for air.  All that was for me.  For you.

And more than the human part of that death — which was physically painful and devastating — he cried out to God, his father, to rescue him from my sin!

And then, all the petty and selfish choices I make day-to-day feel even more petty, selfish, and sickening.

But wait.  The pure beauty of the sacrament is the washing away.

The cleansing of our heart, soul and mind that had been corrupted by the entangling of day-to-day.

Henri Nouwen said this:

“When God took on flesh in Jesus Christ, the uncreated and the created, the eternal and the temporal, the divine and the human became united. This unity meant that all that is mortal now points to the immortal, all that is finite now points to the infinite. In and through Jesus all creation has become like a splendid veil, through which the face of God is revealed to us. This is called the sacramental quality of the created order. All that is is sacred because all that is speaks of God’s redeeming love. Seas and winds, mountains and trees, sun, moon, and stars, and all the animals and people have become sacred windows offering us glimpses of God.”

If truly understood, this is a profound, life changing truth. If you are feeling wounded. If you inflicted those bloody wounds on your own soul, remember.  He took on flesh pain and soul pain for you.  He took on our sin and we are now joined to him.

And now our lives point others to the immortal, through the confession of our sin and the washing away. Through the cleansing Jesus offers.

Tell him where your soul is wounded.  Let him take it from you today.



Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God’s guidance.

Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God’s gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.
These reflections are taken from Henri J.M. Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey.

Ack Americans! Is it time to head for the border?

from Smithsonian :Folio from a Koran :9th-10th...
Image via Wikipedia

Seriously, the lack of compassion for and understanding of Muslim culture and the Koran by your every day American has me thinking.

Although I kind of take pride in the fact that I am an open-minded person (not like the Crazies), I really don’t know anything about Muslim culture. Like, is it the Koran or the Qur’an?  I don’t know.  So I picked up a copy at Borders the other day.

Like the Bible, there are  many and varied translations and I had no idea which was better than another.  So I based my decision on two things.  First chose a trusted publisher so that they will at least treat the translation like literature.  And second, the price.  I’m a practical person.

$12 for the Koran published by PENGUIN CLASSICS and translated by N.J. Dawood born in Baghdad.  He published the first book of the Koran in contemporary English.   It is also available in a parallel English-Arabic edition but I decided I should stick to my native language. From the back:

N.J. Dawood’s masterly translation is the result of his lifelong study of the Koran’s language and style, and presents the English reader with a fluent and authoritative rendering, while reflecting the flavour and rhythm of the original.

“Across the language barrier Dawood captures the thunder and poetry of the original.” THE TIMES

And so, against the advice of the introduction, I proceeded to read the first chapter, called a surah. The introduction said that a beginner should start with one of the shorter (easier) chapters.  I’ve never been one for listening to advice like this.  Don’t think my brain is meaty enough, huh?  Stubbornly I ventured into the beautiful and poetic verse.

But reading the Koran got me thinking.

How many Christians not only have never read the Koran but have never read their own Holy Bible through?  You don’t have to raise your hand, but I will.  Never.  Not straight through.  I mean, c’mon, some of it is freaking boring and it is downright disturbing in places.

I consider myself to have studied a fair amount.  Taken many classes and done many studies of books of the Bible.  But it hasn’t been since high school that I took a survey of the Old Testament.  So I’m going to also put myself on a plan for reading through the Bible.

Not wanting to be overly aggressive and make goals that you and I both know I will fail to carry out, I found one on-line by Margie Haack which she calls ‘The Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers because you don’t have to do it within a timeframe and it has variety with a focus on genres not books.

I have a confession to make (please do not tell my husband*) but I love ORDER.

I love the tradition and stability of the high church.  My soul kind of craves knowing that over a period of one to three years the church would present the full picture.  Obviously that renders the opposite, where churches pick and choose and seem to flit about based on the whim or indigestion of the pastor or whether he had a fight with his wife, scares the shit out of me!  My church seems to find a balance though it could lean a bit more toward the liturgical calendar for me, but then it’s not about me is it?

*You see, though I crave order I am rather ADHD in my life — Books I am reading, housekeeping, relationships, in my writing, in my heart & mind!  I would love to see a flow chart of my brain.  No I wouldn’t that would be crazy!  Anyhow, my brain wants order.  And so when I set my alarm every night to wake at 5:30 am and I get up, make my coffee, take my pills and then sit down and take my reading  from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers & Other Servants (that’s me, Other) I feel grounded.  I usually have an hour before anyone in the house is awake to follow my plan for the week of reading and prayer.   In this structure I find a peace.  A tranquility. A sense of order to my chaos.

I sit down alone,

Only God is here;

In his presence I open,

I read his books;

And what I thus learn,

I teach.

(I would say “And what I thus learn, I try to live.”)

— John Wesley

So, back to the plan for reading the Bible.  Here’s how it works:

  • Sundays: Poetry
  • Mondays: Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
  • Tuesdays: Old Testament history
  • Wednesdays: Old Testament history
  • Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
  • Fridays: New Testament history
  • Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)

What’s great is if you do miss a day – just pick up with the next reading the next day.  You get to the end, when ever.  What’s even better, for a big picture person like me, is this plan allows us to see the many interconnections between sections of Scripture.  There’s nothing better than a plan that offers discipline and order that I crave and the grace to accomplish it!

Read on!


Here’s a  link to where you can download the plan from Ransom Fellowship.