Friday, March 18, 2011

Reflection: My Father's Hand

I've been sick the past few days.  A nasty fever struck me very suddenly.  There was a point where I was shivering so violently that I could not type, and in the middle of the night I almost lost my balance and fell.  I was, for more than a few hours, as close to helpless as I've been in many years.

Thankfully, my father was here.

My dad, who himself had only just gotten over a virus, visited me in my infirmity and helped me through the night.  It was his arms I leaned against as I stumbled back to bed, his hands that refreshed my cold compresses and offered me "blessed coolness in the heat," and his voice that called out in the dark to check on me.  It was nothing he had not done before.  But I am an adult, living on my own, now.  For him to take care of me after I've been out of the house so many years seems, from one point of view, like a regression.

But from another point of view it is perfectly natural.  I live alone.  My fevers typically spike quickly and impair my ability to think clearly.  My parents aren't too far away.  Of course my father would come to me.  Of course he would take care of me.  He is my father.  He reached out to me, and I took his hand.

"Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me."  My father definitely performed a corporal work of mercy for me.  He cared for me in my weakness.  Through him I experienced the loving touch of my Heavenly Father's Hand.  My dad's presence became a Divine Presence.  His hands were the hands of Christ for me.  I suppose, in ministering to me, he was ministering to Christ.  But I can assure you I was not feeling very Christ-like as I struggled to sleep.

Right now there are so many people who need to feel the touch of their Father.  The are so many who long to hold their Father's Hand.  Perhaps they are suffering from disease.  Perhaps personal tragedies have torn apart their hearts.  Perhaps they are mentally ill or developmentally disabled.  Perhaps they are suffering from a disaster.  Perhaps they inflicted their miseries on themselves.

Regardless of the circumstances, we are called to love them.

So, I urge you to reflect on your life.  Are you being called to minister to someone?  Are you being invited to be the healing Hand of God for someone?  Or maybe you are being called to stop denying your own pain and suffering, and to seek the healing that comes from God alone.  Whether you are called to be God's strong arm or Christ's pierced hand, one thing is clear:  God is calling you.  Will you take your Father's Hand?

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