22 July, Friday — Healing Ourselves for Humanity

Jul 22 – Memorial for St. Mary Magdalene

There is actually very little solid information about her, and both scholars and traditions differ on the interpretation of what we do know.

She was a friend and follower of Jesus. Filled with sorrow over her sin, she anointed Christ, washed his feet with her hair. He exorcised seven demons from her. She was the first to have been visited by the Risen Christ. While there are several arguments about her life after the Crucifixion, the Greek Church maintains that she retired to Ephesus with the Blessed Virgin Mary and lived there the rest of her life.

Some things we do know for certain – Mary wasn’t Jesus’ wife or mistress, she wasn’t the mother of His child, and she didn’t found a royal dynasty or separate branch of Christianity.

2 Cor 5:14-17
Jn 20:1-2,11-18

…we do not judge anyone by the standards of the flesh.

Do not judge! This is such a difficult thing to do; as humans, this is such an instinctive behaviour — from the early days as hunters/gatherers, the ability to judge safety and danger is a matter of life and death. As a HR professional, it is my bread and butter to be able to suss out individuals/candidates quickly and accurately.

However, during my coaching certification and training, which was also one of my biggest takeaways from my Conversion Experience Retreat back in 2016, was that I caught a glimpse of what it is like to be curious of someone’s back story. What we see or experience of an individual is not the full picture. With this subtle shift in mindset, I began my journey of practicing compassion and empathy (practising because it is a lifelong journey and I still have a long way to go). This offers up a different dimension and richness in my interaction with others, both as a HR professional as well as in my personal life.

What was a necessary survival skill in the early days has now morphed into donning masks to protect ourselves from, not physical dangers, but psychological/emotional peril. Think back to a time when you felt judged. I certainly had my fair share of this; at the receiving end of an interview or being assessed during meetings with someone new, or when I leaned in during a meeting to voice a differing opinion or recommendation etc. It makes one want to put on another layer of armor to protect ourselves.

It is because of these negative experiences that we struggle with being vulnerable. There is so much pain and anguish for not being seen for who we are. These micro experiences have chipped away at our core, our truth, and makes showing up as our authentic selves frightening because, let’s be honest here, who likes being rejected for the nth time?

Compassion and empathy can only show up if we put away our judgement. Put down our guard and embrace the person whom we are coming face to face with. And to do so, it starts with ‘me’! Can I show up without my mask, staying vulnerable and be who God intended for me to be? It is only when I allow others in, that I can learn to be compassionate and accept others for who they are…without judgement. And we need the help of Jesus — only He can heal us of our wounds, and through our suffering and pain, open ourselves to humanity.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Lorraine Wong)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, there are times where the world I live in frightens me. The judging eyes and sharp tongues are like a knife piercing into my soul. This has left me defeated and exhausted. Heal these wounds of mine Father, liberate me from the masks and armour I have created so I can fully embrace those around me. Forgive those that have inflicted these wounds on me and more importantly Father, forgive me for the times I have not been a compassionate disciple of Christ.  

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord Jesus once again for showing us your great love. For by dying on the cross, you showed us what true humanity is. Your love and compassion is overwhelming and we thank you.

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