I was on retreat many years ago during which the retreat director repeated a line that has stuck with me ever since the world wounds us and prayer heals us.

The woman in today’s Gospel was so wounded by the spirit that crippled her that she was “bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight.” This is a good image for us to pray with today. What are the evil spirits in our lives that leave us bent over, crippled, and wounded?

Another good image to pray with today is that of Jesus laying his healing hands on the woman and her standing up straight to praise God. Sometimes I approach prayer as if I am trying to “accomplish” or “fix” something. But I have found that my best moments of prayer are when I open up my wounded self to Jesus’ loving embrace. God’s unconditional love is the balm that heals our wounds and enables us to stand up straight again.

—Dave Lawler is the Director of Campus Ministry at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.