By Denise Trull
There is one person in the Gospels that is especially dear to my heart; the woman who had suffered from years of hemorrhaging. I wish, of all the people they mentioned, that one of the Gospel writers had asked her name and written it down. I would love to know it. She deserves to be named.
Day after day through constant loss of blood, she must have been so weak and exhausted —trudging through the hours, bearing her weary burden. Did she wonder why she had to carry it? Did she ask what she had done to deserve this? Did she wonder if she had offended God and had He sent her this daily reminder of his displeasure? She must have wondered many things.
Yet, she did not despair. That is her shining sweetness to me. She trudged on in weakness and exhaustion because something inside her said it would not always be this way. She must have held so tightly to that hope. There must have been days — so many days she had to sit down and rest for a long while — and wonder how much longer she could hold out. If you are a woman who has had to suffer this, you must know that weariness.
She bided her time, until the day she suddenly found herself in a crowd swarming the Master. She had heard of Him. Did she see his face through all the shoulders pushing her aside for a better view? Did she see something there, in His face, that defied all human beauty? Something in Him made her follow and follow and follow Him through the pushing, stronger bodies than hers. Did she fall down in weakness? Is that when she saw his robe hanging before her eyes amidst all the jumbled feet and legs? If I just touch it. If I just touch it. If I just touch it. She must have made it a mantra within her heart to give her courage. She reached out and held on to the hem.
And power went forth from Him. And He knew it.
Suddenly her blood stopped hemorrhaging those great swaths of life from her body. She was given life back. His touch restored her life blood with the life beating from His own heart and through His veins. The power of His blood.
I think she must have fallen, still weak, at His feet. Gratitude abounded in her heart that beat stronger now. Jesus was impressed by her faith — imagine that — impressing God — giving that much joy to Him by such a small act — that only needed to touch his garment to feel His power. I wonder how it felt to be her at that moment, warmed by his loving praise? I have never been more happy for anyone in the Gospel than I was for her at that moment.
I have been thinking of forgiveness lately.
I think of her when I think of all the people in the world who need to continuously forgive those who have hurt them deeply without ever having apologized. Those who just moved on without a second thought, perhaps callously unaware of the destruction they left behind in someone’s heart. Some might have died without extending those three curative words to someone who desperately needed to hear them to get on with life: I. am. sorry. And now they would never be heard. And they leave a heavy burden behind them.
No matter the reason, they have left a wound that bleeds and bleeds and bleeds with attempted forgiveness over and over again, unto human exhaustion. That constant, almost despairing effort to forgive over and over again. And then to feel the hurt welling up at an overwhelming speed at sudden odd, unasked for moments, just when we thought we had laid it to rest. Having to forgive once more and once more. It is an exhausting effort to achieve the peace desired. Do we wonder if it will ever stop hemorrhaging to no affect — this merely human forgiveness seeking vainly for apology. We seek a cure. We want to unburden our hearts. We want to feel the lifeblood of peace filling our weakness with strength. We desire to extend deep forgiveness to the deeply unapologetic. This is matter for miracles.
And so, we seek the Lord. We touch the hem of His garment in the dust of our need each morning in the Eucharist. And power does go out of Him. Every day He gives us His own forgiveness flowing through us. We need to have faith that it is going to work in us each day. This Divine forgiveness that heals hearts when they use it. When they extend it. And each morning when we show up once again, He is deeply moved. Deeply impressed. What joy we give Him with our faith, our belief that His power will bring us our life back if we just touch his robe.
It is like He says every morning: Come, touch my robe. Power will come forth. You will be filled with the life blood of grace to forgive as I forgave all the unapologetic hearts walking away as I hung bleeding out forgiveness on a cross for them -- for them, who were not sorry. That is what you will receive through my Body and Blood. That kind of forgiveness. That soul's life blood. It is power.
I pray for anyone today who strives to forgive over and over. I pray to the woman in the Gospel for you. She understands your weakness, your exhaustion, and your need to touch His garment. I don't know her name, but Jesus does. I am absolutely certain she will pray. I know it deep within my heart.
And God will find joy in you. And that is - ALL