Michelle Stone

Yes! Thank you for your wise and insightful poem, Michelle Stone. To be fully present to both the pain and the love embodied in your body—in your hands and feet and toes and lips and breath—is to be fully alive. Your poem brought to mind the words of another wise woman who, like you, found her truest identity by claiming the suffering and love she experienced visceraly.

Her life knew the greatest extremes. For twenty years she vomited every morning, and she was often plagued by intense physical pain, paralysis, and seizures. Yet she also reported that on one occasion she felt God’s love so intensely that she had what can only be described as some kind of mystical orgasm.

From such bodily experiences of pain and love, Teresa of Avila not only found her own identity, she also recognized Christ’s which she expressed in this mind-blowing reinterpretation of his resurrection—“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

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