The first step in helping others is always taking a look at our own lives to see where we need healing. To be a trusted catechist, minister, parent, friend, etc. we all must make sure that we are pursuing our own healing, especially in the areas that we wish to focus on in our ministry. In my case, I learned that a significant amount of healing needed to happen before I was able to authentically reach out to others.
In this first step, we place ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to shed light on our own woundedness to see where we can heal, regardless of whether it “feels” related to our area of ministry.
The fact of the matter is that we are all broken, and the process of healing is the same. I may not be able to understand completely the pornography addiction of another but I can feel a similar shame that comes from my body image/eating disorder. I can see many similarities in the behaviors and symptoms. Although the object of my addiction is different the core wound is the same. All of us are wounded by that first sin in the Garden of Eden, and we all struggle at some point to believe that we are really lovable the way we are.
When we grapple with our own wounds, bring them to the Lord, and unite them to His own Wounds, we find mercy and healing and thus prepare ourselves to help others. We are also able to be in solidarity with those who suffer and can be more patient in their healing process.
The advantage of this is two-fold. First, we will be more other-focused, since we have dealt with our own wounds. At the same time we will be able to draw from our own experience and come from a place of understanding. Since we have experienced the healing power of Christ, the example of our life- which is lived with greater joy and freedom- will strike a chord in the hearts of those who know they are not free.
I pray that each of us will place ourselves under the Gaze of the Divine Physician in order to deepen our intimacy with Christ who desires to free us from all fear, all pain, and all sin.