This past week we explored the process of grief in the context of leaving the religious life. The final stage of grief, Acceptance, can seem a far way off when one is in the deep valley of anger, depression, or denial. Yet it does, and will come to all of us.

Today is Ascension Sunday, the day when Christ, in all His glory, is taken up to heaven to be with His Father. What a contrast to his prior exit from this earth – one of bloody defeat to one of triumphant victory.

Despite the contrast of Christ’s two exits from earth, one aspect remained – His wounds. Why did He keep them? Perhaps it is more than a symbol of what He did for us. Perhaps it is a lesson in suffering – that it has a purpose, that it shapes our identity and our mission in life. Our past wounds, Christ shows, are not to be hidden, but to be a sign of triumph and transformation.

The final stage of Acceptance is not forgetting about our loss, but embracing it as a part of who we are and who we are to become. It was said once that where our wounds are, there is our mission. How paradoxical that sounds. Yet, if you look around, you will find this truth.

By Wendy Macagno

Wendy has received her MA degree in Counseling Psychology from Regis University and her BA in Religious Studies from Benedictine College. She has served her community as a career coach in both the non profit and government sectors.