It was the case in the Old Law
that something unclean, touching something clean,
would make the latter unclean through its touch.
Impurity was something to be hidden, concealed,
something exiled from the community
and kept at arms length, or even more.
The unsightliness of our wounds
was veiled by shame, by isolation,
and yet in this way it was not healed,
but rather festered deep within.

It was desired that the sacrifice of a lamb
could in some way take this uncleanness
and bear it in our place, leaving us free.
But such an action of representation
could not really take us up, in all that we are,
and purify us deep within,
overcoming the distance between us,
dear God, and yourself, caused by sin.

And so we bear this anxiety and sorrow,
springing from awareness of guilt in us,
and the ugliness of sin in our flesh.
How do we cope, dear God, with this?
In our day, now, we simply deny this guilt,
and say that it is a “complex” to be healed,
a form of repression of the authentic self.
But guilt is a word of truth—calling out!
There is something wrong in me,
something deeply scarred and broken.

Ah! But on the other hand,
I am not broken, I am not ugly,
however fractured my being is!
And this is the truth, that guilt, that shame
witnesses to the reality of something deeper,
something in me that my sins hinder,
something buried deep, yet veiled
by my fragmentation and superficiality.

Jesus, Lamb of God, you come
to touch us in our uncleanness, our woundedness,
and yet in touching us, you, the Pure One,
are not made unclean, but rather purify us.
Yes, you, more than all the imperfect representations,
truly take us up—in all that we are—into yourself,
and carry us before the face of the Father,
across the abyss our sins have caused
and into the very joy of his embrace.

In taking us, you welcome our burdens,
our uncleanness, our brokenness and pain,
yet what you welcome above all, Jesus,
is the deepest truth of who we are for God.
And in loving this deep inner truth
you reawaken it and bring it to life;
indeed, you bestow on us a profound gift,
for which, in the beginning we were made,
and yet which perfects us in a supernatural way:
the gift of participation in your own divine life,
in the mutual self-giving, the intimacy
of the most holy and blessed Trinity!

What is asked of us now, my Jesus,
is that we do not fear this loving and healing gaze,
but that we, like the lepers that we are
—broken but beautiful in the sight of your love!—
fall down at your feet, asking to be healed,
knowing that you can do it with a single word.
But a word is never enough for you, truly,
for in your love you deeply touch the very heart,
the place of our woundedness and vulnerability.
And it is this touch, this Purity encompassing impurity,
this burning fire of Beauty and Love
wedding itself to these imperfect things in us—
in this, dear Jesus, you awaken in us, and bestow,
a purity which is a reflection of your very own.

Touched by you—yes, taken in your arms—
we discover the truth of who we are in you:
a beloved child and a precious spouse.
And the very flames of your loving embrace
burn away all that does not belong to you
or find a place in this joyful intimacy.
We learn, opening our woundedness to you,
to find, to experience, and to abide within
the Love that penetrates woundedness
and transforms it into loving vulnerability,
and into the communion, the intimate love,
that this vulnerability makes possible.