Katie shares a meditation on one of the Gospels of John that can help aid our healing journey and discovery of our self-worth in Christ.
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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“To pray and love, that is the happiness of man on earth.”St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney
“Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” – John 20: 24-29
1. This image and scripture are powerful witnesses of Jesus’ love for you. His love is free, total, faithful and fruitful. What was your first response to this image?
2. Place yourself in the scene. What is striking you?
3. Do you ever doubt your self-worth? If so, what is an area of your life and heart where you struggle with your self worth? Give this to the Lord. What does He say to you?
4. Jesus is being vulnerable in this image, showing his wounds to His disciples. What area of your life can you be vulnerable with Jesus? Ask Jesus about this, and for His healing.
5. What is something you were praying for in this passage?
Text: Discovering Our Self-Worth in Christ
Hi, my name is Katie Weiss. For today’s talk, I’m going to speak about discovering our self-worth in Christ. So we’ll start with the prayer.
In the name of the father and of the son, and of the holy spirit, Amen Lord, we give our whole selves to you. Pray for a deeper awareness and understanding of our value in light of you. That we are loved no matter what our past is or what we have done. Help us to know ever more deeply of the fact that you created us and your image, that you create us for relationship with yourself. We ask for deeper healing in all the areas where we doubt our goodness. We ask this through the intercession of our lady, hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of the I wound Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen. In the name of the father and of the son and the holy spirit, Amen.
Who Are You?
So to start off I wanted to ask you a question. Who are you? Often, we can answer this question by what we do. So for example, I might say I’m a teacher, or I am from New Jersey, or I am part of the Woltornist or Weiss family. But we have a deeper identity in Christ. We need to find our identity and worth in Christ because if we do not do so, everything else will fall short. Everything else is finite. So we’ll find our identity in our job or in what we do or in hobbies, but they’ll never satisfy us.
Christ reminds us that we are loved, not because we earn his love, but rather because he is love. And that’s something so counter-cultural. So much in the work world or in the culture that we’re in our value is seen by utility, what we do, or our productivity. But the Lord sees us differently. He loves us as we are.
How Wounds Can Affect Us
Often we can know this but it cannot go deeper sometimes because of wounds. So if we have wounds that we define ourselves by or live by, we can often feel that we need to earn our identity and our worth. But if we live from the space of openness and receptivity to God’s love, we can often live from a rootedness in him.
Due to wounds, we might feel defined by labels and what people put on us. So sometimes we can hear this voice inside of us from what people have told us years ago. And we can live from that space. We might hold ourselves back or hide behind walls. And these can be barriers to the love that the Lord has for us, the ways that he loves us, and the ways that he desires us to love one another. And because of that, we might feel unlovable. It can be easy in such spaces in our life or due to such wounds that we can define ourselves as “I am unloved” or “I’m not good enough,” or “I didn’t do this right.” Or defining ourselves by something we have done or what has been done to us. So I wanted to share a little bit of a witness to share my own journey of walking through a deeper awareness of my worth in light of Christ.
A Different Call
Way back, 10 years ago, I discerned religious life and it had been something I had dreamed about from the time I was about 10 or 11 years old. And it was something that I desired. For a long time I had striven for, I had hoped for, and little did I know at that time that it was a way I was trying to earn God’s love. I often thought that by doing the best thing or becoming a sister or pursuing a way of life in giving all to him in religious life, that He would love me more. And that was not the reality. And I was living from this place of striving until I discerned out of religious life.
At that time, I pursued that way of life in a religious community. I spent about a year there. And eventually realized the Lord was not calling me to that way of life. And it was very difficult when I discerned out. I really asked whether I was lovable. If God truly loved me. Often, I would have this conversation with him of, “Well, I’m not pursuing this anymore. “I know that’s not your will for me. “Do you still love me?” And it was a very, very difficult place to be because I had lived from a striving to earn God’s love for so long. But because I no longer could pursue that way of life that I was trying to use to earn God’s love, it ultimately was a place of freedom. It ultimately was a place where I found him. I was able to really lean into his love for me no matter what, to know that no matter what he loved me, he created me to be loved and to enter into relationship with him.
So I want to encourage you, if there is something in your life that you feel defined by, or you’re just really struggling to see that you are loved by God, I want you to bring that to him through this time of prayer. We’re going to be praying with art together through Visio Divina, or what’s known as divine seeing. Praying with sacred art in scripture. And we’re going to be using this image by Caravaggio. It’s an image of Saint Thomas putting his hand in the side of Christ.
Many of us are familiar with this passage but to give context, this is a passage of Saint Thomas putting his hand in the side of Christ after he tells the disciples that he would not believe that Jesus rose from the dead unless he saw him, unless he actually put his hand in the side of Christ, and Jesus does that for him. So let us enter into this time of prayer with a prayer to the holy spirit.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
In the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, Amen. Come holy spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Let us pray. Oh God, who by the light of the holy spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant us through the same spirit a love and relish for what is right and just, and a constant enjoyment of his consolations, through Christ our Lord, Amen. In the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, Amen.
The Incredulity of Saint Thomas
So for the next few minutes, take to prayer whatever in this image is striking you. Maybe it’s the colors or the characters. Maybe you could place yourself in the scene. And feel free to journal this.
At this point, I’m going to read the scripture passage. And the gospel is from John. “Now Thomas, one of the 12, called the twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands ‘the print of the nails and place my finger ‘in the mark of the nails and place my hand in his side, ‘I will not believe.’ Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace, be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands ‘and put out your hand and place it in my side. ‘Do not be faithless but believing.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus said to him, ‘You have believed ‘because you have seen me. ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.'”
At this point, take to prayer whatever questions have arisen in your heart. And also maybe take to prayer a question or two that is on the screen or on the PDF for this talk. Before we finish up our time of prayer, take to prayer a way you’re going to live out from this time, whether it’s something practical, such as doing an act of service for somebody, or maybe it’s praying, “Jesus I trust in you” during certain moments of the day.
And we’ll close with the “Glory Be.” In the name of the father and of the son and the holy spirit, Amen. Glory be to the father and to the son and to the holy spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end, Amen. In the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Something I love about this passage and why I felt inspired to pick it for this talk was it’s a good reminder of Christ’s love for us. Thomas showed a lack of faith in Christ by saying he wouldn’t believe the resurrection. And yet Jesus comes to meet him. Not only does He do that, but He actually shows him His wounds.
He shows him the thing that He did out of love for Thomas and for all of us. He does the same for us. So I like to place myself in Thomas’s place in this scene because it’s very tangible to me that God is alive. That Jesus loves me no matter what. That I can place my hand near His heart. And it’s a reminder that He loves me in what He has done for us through dying and rising. I hope this time of prayer was helpful for you and will continue to be helpful. And God bless.
About Katie Weiss
Katie Weiss is a New Jersey native now living in Alexandria, VA. She is the founder of Behold Visio Divina, a ministry that helps participants understand their dignity through pondering human dignity through art. Through books, group formation, online community, and workshops, Behold gives women the opportunity to grow in their relationship with God and one another. Currently, Behold has five published books and has groups both within the United States and internationally.
Katie received her undergraduate degree in Theology from Catholic Distance University. Her talks and workshops have been featured in multiple venues, such as the Frassati Fellowship of New York City, the Edith Stein Project, and the GIVEN Institute. Katie speaks often on the topics of: Prayer, Theology of the Body, Beauty, and Healing through Art.