Three Ways of Loving
Ignatian Spiritual Exercises – Week #19
The incident with Jesus going with Jairus to heal his daughter and the woman with the 12-year hemorrhage is one that draws my attention. (Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56) For three days I sat in prayer with the people engaged with Jesus. The relationship Jesus has with these two people and their very desperate needs reaches into my heart and calls for a response from me. These two people are unrelated to each other, may not even know of each other, each with their own urgency of need, and yet each of their situations is interacting with each other to create a kind of perfect Divine outpouring.
And in the middle of all this drama is Jesus’ question:
Who touched me?
And His follow up statement:
Someone touched me for I felt power go out of me.
If I may, I will take some liberty with the text and provide an interpretation for the word power here. I think it is appropriate to say that the power that went out of Jesus in this moment was love. God is Love. Jesus is God incarnate, living a human life of God’s outpouring love. In this moment, this woman touches Jesus and Jesus feels Love being released from Himself and He wants to know who had the capacity to do such a thing.
Who could draw love out of Jesus in such a way that His attention is drawn to that release of energy?
In the Gospel accounts, we usually read of Jesus reaching out and touching people, like the leper who was cleansed when Jesus touched him. Or the blind man who Jesus touches to restore his sight. And in that moment of Jesus touching, the Love of God is poured out upon that person to bring healing. And we also cry out for the touch of God upon our lives. It is a cry that God receives. “I am willing.”
The situation with this woman though is so wonderfully different. And Jesus’ response makes me wonder, “Does Jesus want to be touched? Is Jesus inviting us to touch Him? Am I being drawn to touch Jesus in such a way that Love goes out from Him?”
There is indeed such an invitation. Can I accept it?
The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises have as their singular purpose to draw each person into the life with God through Jesus Christ that God intended for all of His creation. And at the center of this experience is the Love of God, proceeding forth from the Father, manifested through Jesus in the flesh, demonstrated as a power greater than death through the resurrection and abiding with us in the Holy Spirit. And because we have been created in the image and likeness of God, that same Love abides in each of us.
And the invitation is given: “Will you touch me with the Love that I have planted in You to release the Love that is the power of all of creation so that healing and restoration and reconciliation can come to you? Can come through you? Will you touch me?”
I think the God of all creation who inhabits the entire universe is pleading, “Touch Me!”
There is something that gets in the way here. This week of prayer includes a meditation on Three Kinds of Humility, which are three expressions of loving Jesus. It is worth exploring, though I will not here, but to say thsi: in the third way, Ignatius offers us a model of how Jesus lived as a form of humility for us to embrace in order to experience the Love of God:
I desire and choose poverty with Christ poor, rather than wealth.
I desire and choose contempt with Christ laden with it, rather than honors.
I desire and choose to be regarded as a useless fool for Christ, rather than as a wise or prudent person in this world.
These are all things that the ego self craves, and as long as I am seeking worldly wealth, honor and wisdom, I will not be able to choose the other. Holding on to these creates the fear of losing them, for the false self has carefully crafted its image around these values. Thus, in the end, it is fear that gets in the way of touching Jesus.
Jesus speaks this word to Jairus, when he gets word of his daughter’s death. Before Jairus says anything, before fear can take root in his heart, before faith can falter, Jesus speaks the word:
Do not fear.
She will be saved.
Jairus’ faith touched Jesus. The woman’s faith touched Jesus. But there is so much more than physical healing that happens here. Jesus does not allow this woman to go away unnoticed. There is greater healing that needs to take place and Jesus wants to make sure that the power of His love has its full effect on this woman.
The woman comes back to Jesus.
Jesus looks her in the eye.
And Jesus speaks to her.
Jesus calls her daughter.
This woman who has been cast out because of her disease, her uncleanness, is claimed by Jesus as His daughter. In this moment the transformation of identity begins to take place and this is the ultimate healing that is needed by all of us. To claim for ourselves what Jesus is offering – our true, real God-created identity:
You are my beloved son/daughter and with you I am well pleased.
And we should not miss how Jesus empowers his daughter with the word of faith
Your faith has made you well.
This woman had a faith, that disregarded fear, that touched Jesus to draw out His power of Love. It was not the clothing of Jesus that healed her. It was her faith and it was a faith that was directed toward Jesus that brought forth healing…the healing of her ailment and the healing of her identity.
Experience the Love of God that comes forth.
One thought on “Jesus: “Touch me!””
Profound and beautiful, brother! Thanks for sharing it! Love you, Paul.
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