Notice the transforming presence of God within you. Let go of words and images. Surrender all that is stirring, even if only briefly, and rest for a few minutes in God’s embrace.
I sat down to pray this morning, read through the passage once, gazed at the illumination again and realized: I just really don’t want to sit with this text again. I felt a sense of resistance and wondered why. I decided to “distance” myself a bit from the central action in the story, and imagined myself in the crowd of people who had come to the Temple to hear Jesus teach. As I watched what then transpired, many thoughts and emotions came to the fore. I realized that my “judgment” of the woman hinged on whether or not I liked her; it depended on my perception of her attitude – was she defiant and arrogant, or was she shamed and fearful; I realized my own rocks were as death-dealing as those of the scribes and Pharisees – just less obvious.
In my imagination, I then halted the action: pressed the ‘pause’ button so to speak, and pictured Jesus now sitting with me in the back of the crowd, viewing the whole scene. I spoke with Jesus about what was coming up for me: I wanted to leave…I wanted to turn my back on the whole situation and get myself to safety; I was reminded of a few acts of brutality I’d witnessed in my past – acts perpetrated on completely helpless victims; I recalled some acts of brutality I myself had experienced, at the hands of someone who is supposed to love and care for me – and my own helpless vulnerability during those times; and I also recalled times when I had inflicted pain on others – equally helpless and vulnerable. I didn’t like being on either side: either as victim or as perpetrator – and I told this to Jesus. Jesus then invited me to allow the shadow side of me, and the victim side of me, to sit with one another: to talk and to learn of the other; to understand; and hopefully someday, to embrace, forgive, and integrate into greater wholeness.
We all have aspects of ourselves we’d rather not see or acknowledge. But when we turn our back to what’s really inside of us, we just end up projecting this onto other people, because they remind us of what we’d rather not see in ourselves. This is one of the sources for such realities as racism and sexism; it’s also one way that abusive behavior is acted out generationally within families.
In my prayer today, Jesus gently brought to my awareness aspects of myself that need healing and acceptance – in order to give me the gift of greater wholeness, inner freedom, and deeper conversion. Inner healing always brings us intimately closer to Christ, because we then become less afraid of our own humanity.
What does Jesus want to heal within you today?
— Amie Schumacher
©Woman Caught in Adultery, Aiden Hart with contributions by Donald Jackson and Sally Mae Joseph, 2003 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.