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Touching the Hem of God’s Robe
I am the bleeding woman, healed. I am the dead girl, brought back to life.
I am the bleeding woman. I am the dead girl.
Rather, I was.
There was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much and spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse … Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet and begged him, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death” … Then there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
Yet now I’m the bleeding woman, healed. Now I’m the dead girl, brought back to life.
The woman with the flow of blood had heard the reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the hemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease … Taking the little girl by the hand Jesus said to her, “Talitha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and walked; for she was twelve years old.
Twelve years—that sounds about right. The woman in Mark 5:24-34 had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, the same amount of time Jairus’ daughter had been alive. For about twelve years, I hemorrhaged out my life, my spirit—even my soul—in a toxic relationship.
Bleeding out. Close to death.
Or so it felt.
There’s no need to go into the details of abuse in this article. The only thing that needs to be said is that, much like the wily serpent in Genesis 3, abuse is quite often covert and insidiously damaging, expanding in intensity over time until the target realizes … Well, everything.
And she feels as if her life has been decimated. Everything she believed to be true has proven to be a delusion. Her sense of security and safety is shattered. Her sense of self has been battered and nearly forgotten.
And so, for twelve long years, I was hemorrhaging my life blood, not realizing how weak I was becoming until I reached the point of what felt like death.
It was only when I reached this point that I fully realized the only way to heal, to get my life back, was to touch the hem of God’s robe.
What I discovered—miraculously, gloriously—is that God had already been reaching out to me, all along. There was a breeze, a shift of the air, a spark of fresh salt in the wind, a rejuvenating breath, and it lifted the hem of His robe toward me.
For she knew that if she touched just the fringe of His robe, she would be given strength, grace, the ability to fight the difficult path toward healing. She would have a companion. She would have a Savior. She did have a Savior, one who understands suffering and suffers with us all. And immediately the horrible bleeding ceased; the wound began to close; and she felt in her body that she was healed. “Talitha cumi,” He said. “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
And I arose, my little-girl self returning in all her trustful beauty. The bleeding stopped, and my wounds began closing. I could now see the journey back home, back to self—through His healing graces, blessed by the sacred mantle.
From His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:16)
Mary’s Mantle and God’s Robe
To touch the hem of God’s robe is to be in His presence, to experience His profound grace, to live in His Truth, and to be healed by His presence within us.
Yet who made Jesus’ robe, the physical yet sacred cloth which the hemorrhaging woman grasped in order to be healed? Where did he get it?
(Hint: He didn’t buy it at Macy’s.)
Until modern times, clothing wasn’t stitched on an automated machines, but made with love, care, and careful craftmanship. In the case of men, the maker of their garments was most often their wives—or mothers.
So who made God’s robe? The answer seems obvious. The one who made His sacred garments was the one who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, had also given Him His flesh, and His precious blood.
His Blessed Mother. Our Blessed Mother.
That’s one of the many reasons Mary is such a powerful intercessor in our lives.
Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace. As a child has rested in its mother’s arms, even so my soul.
To be wrapped in Mary’s mantle is to be held in her loving protection, held in safety, nurtured and healed in preparation for worthily receiving her Son. Within her mantle, evil forces can’t reach us, no matter how far astray we’ve wandered in our trauma, our pain, our confusion, or our grief. To be wrapped in her mantle is to be wrapped inside, within her warm embrace.
She protects us, and loves us. Forever she leads and prepares us to meet her Son. She shows us how touch His robe, the one she made for Him—and so, by extension, for everyone who is willing to embrace the small, still voice within those folds.
The mother of God prepares us to allow her Son’s healing graces to reach every aspect of our beinghood.
Listen and let it penetrate your heart … Do not be troubled or weighed down with grief. Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Are you not in the folds of my mantle? In the cross of my arms?”
(Our Lady of Guadalupe’s message to us all, given to Juan Diego in 1531)
To be wrapped in our Blessed Mother’s mantle gives us the nurturance and strength to then go out, to move amongst the crowd so we can reach God, so we can touch His robe. Like the woman ill for twelve years, like the twelve year-old-girl staring at death, we too can be healed and brought fully back to life, no matter what trauma, grief, and suffering has entered our lives.
For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the LORD.
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