Many of us suffer a deep, contaminated wound at some time or other, even if it is as simple as standing on a rusty nail. War wounds are always heavily contaminated, by detritus drawn in by the vacuum caused in the entry of high velocity projectiles or shrapnel. If the missile doesn’t kill you directly, the later severe widespread infection caused by all that foreign dirty matter surely will.
Battle surgeons understand this well. and do not attempt to close wounds like these in the first instance. They stop the bleeding, of course, but then simply clean the wound of dirt and dead tissue, and pack the cavity with clean wet swabs. These packs are regularly changed over days and weeks, as the wound heals. The aim of this is to allow the wound to slowly fill itself in from the bottom upwards and outwards. What must be avoided at all costs is the formation of closed pockets within the wound which can fill with pus under pressure and cause systemic illness and death. Gas gangrene is caused by trapped gas-forming organisms that insufflate surrounding tissues and spread thereby. Tetanus is caused by a toxin released by oxygen-hating organisms trapped deep in prematurely closed wounds, eg puncture wounds. The frequently changed packs prevent these loculations from forming, while also absorbing the wound fluids and the filth washed out with them.
It mustn’t be forgotten that extreme amounts of high quality nutrition will be needed to fuel the catabolism and anabolism of wound healing, and without it, the patient will perish.
It is a slow but sure process, and leaves a big scar, but such it is to be a casualty of war! The survivors will end up missing something from what their mothers gave them, but will live to skirmish again.
There are direct parallels between the foregoing description, and matters spiritual. Many of us receive deep wounds to our souls from the action of evil in our lives, sometimes early on. Untended, these evils can persist and fester as bad habits, or intrusive memories, and haunt our lives to the point of despair, a place that none of us should ever get to. Unlike Rambo, we cannot stitch up our wounds ourselves, and soldier on. Some try to self medicate and end up with a drink or drug habit, or some other abreactive behavioural problem. The truth is, we need skilled help to get over these wounds.
A good, experienced Soul Surgeon will know what to do. Under the anaesthetic of gentleness, kindness, patience and good humour, he will probe and expose the full extent of our wounds, unto their very depths. There will not be any quick fixes, and many trips to theatre may be needed. Patients will need patience.
He will pack those wounds with spiritual instructions advising this devotion or forbidding this behaviour, or that occasion of sin. He will administer the antibiotic of Absolution, and give transplant and transfusion with God’s Body and Blood. As long as we maintain Faith in the medicine, and keep taking it, we will finally be healed.
It is better to recover our health (santé) with some bits missing, than to be thrown whole into the pit of worms forever, if I may paraphrase.
Wise words. I have found frequent confession of incalculable aid here. Even when you think you have confessed everything, there is always something more. But gradually iy is the deep past which is dredged up. How wonderful the Grace of God in His Sacraments.