Archive | February, 2016

His Crucified Hands

25 Feb

 

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His name is Peter.

His story is true.

In his own words, Peter recounts his prayerful experience.

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I was seated in church after receiving the Eucharist.

The priest had said, “Sit quietly for a few minutes. In your imagination go to your favorite place of prayer and invite Jesus to come to you.”

At that time I had a small prayer room in my home. The Bible was enthroned below a large crucifix. So, I imagined myself in my little “chapel” and invited Jesus to come to me.

I pictured him leaning into the room giving me a big smile.

So, I asked him to sit next to me. He did. I leaned my head on his chest. It was such a great moment. It seemed so real.

I was so moved I wanted to surrender completely to Jesus.

I said to him, “Oh Jesus, I love you. I surrender myself to you. I give you my heart, soul and body. I surrender everything to you—my family, my job, my finances and everything I own. Everything, Jesus, is yours.”

All was quiet for a moment.

Then Jesus said, “That is wonderful. I love you. I accept your sacrifice.”

Then Jesus cupped his crucified hands before me and said, “One thing is lacking, Peter. I want you to give me your sins.”

I shrunk away in shame. I told Jesus, “I can’t do that Lord. You are so holy. My sins are dark and ugly.”

Jesus said again, “Peter, give me your sins,”

“No, Lord, I can’t do that.”

Then firmly, Jesus insisted, “Give me your sins.”

So, I named them, one by one as I placed them into his cupped, crucified hands.

I was weeping as I finished this terrible task.

But then, blood welled up from the wounds in his hands and covered all my sins.”

Jesus said, “Peter, that’s who you are—a sinner covered with my blood.”

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The Vigor of Grace

20 Feb

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Have you ever thought of God’s grace as vigorous?

I had not—until I received a moment of precious insight.

In a homily, St. Asterius (fourth century) wrote about the “vigor of grace.”[i]

Grace, after all, since it comes from God has to be vigorous. God is Creator and Redeemer. He is the Lord and Giver of Life. We speak of him as all powerful, as the source of life, the maker of “all that is visible and invisible” (See Col 1:16-17; also Jn. 1:1-5).

Yes, grace can also be gentle, calming and uplifting.

It’s so comfortable to rest there in the gentleness of God.

But as God blesses, forgives and heals, he also sends.

  • We are to carry on his work of creation by bringing new life into the world.
  • He calls us to comfort the mournful and the sick.
  • We must bring the marginalized into the security of our community of faith and help them become participants in the renewal of our nation and world.
  • God wants us to stand strongly for justice, for the good of all people, for the conversion of unbelievers.
  • We are called to ongoing conversion.

Now, that is a vigorous calling. We need the vigor of grace.

 

 

[i] “The Liturgy of the Word,” Book II, Liturgy of the Word, pg.  123.