The amazing thing about that truth is, as Mother Teresa found out, you never know WHERE God's hands are going to put you down.
When I was a child, I was extremely timid and lived in a world of books. At around twelve, I wrote a short story about a wild, undisciplined tomboy of a girl who is discovered on the streets of Nazareth by a young Jesus, who takes her home to meet his mother and father, Mary and Joseph. Through the day-to-day influence of this uniquely Holy Family, the girl learns love, self-confidence, discipline, and faith. When next we meet her, she is in anguish, watching her friend Jesus carry His cross through the streets of Jerusalem. Courageously she pushes through the angry, riotous crowd to wipe His face, dripping with blood. Later, examining the soiled cloth, she sees Jesus' face imprinted on it. She has grown up to be that strong, faith-filled woman called "Veronica."
"What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of Life." So begins the first letter of John, the author testifying that all that he says about Jesus is true because he speaks from his personal relationship with Jesus, whom he saw, heard, and touched. Faith in Jesus as Son of God and Son of Mary ignited his faith, totally re-arranged his life. How often do we wish that, like John, like my depiction of Veronica, we could know Jesus personally! Yet are we ready to fall into God's hands and have our lives move into totally unexpected directions?
Christian Faith is born of a real encounter with the Living God, and a relationship with Father, Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary, and the Holy Spirit. The risen Jesus says to Thomas "Blessed are those who have not seen and believe." (John 20:29). This living God calls us, reveals His love for us, pours that love over us so we blossom like desert flowers called to sudden, delirious life by unexpected rain. The more we surrender to this supernatural, life-giving Love, the more we blossom and change. Those Mighty Hands are ready to move us where we are needed. Because Faith is personal, but not private. We don' t go to heaven alone.
I believe that story I wrote is a true one, about my own personal relationship with Jesus, a relationship in which I grew in love, self-confidence, and courage, because I chose to trust him. In faith, throughout my life, I've kept on praying and falling into God's mighty hands. And changing!
I thought of my own image of Veronica who reached out to a "criminal" Jesus when, still timid and shy, I visited a friend at the Erie County Holding Center. Still timid and shy, I was amazed by God when I found myself in an elevator in the city Perry Projects, going to the small, tidy apartment of an elderly Hispanic parishioner, who talked with me about her photos of well-loved relatives. Still timid and shy, I was even more amazed by God when I became Co-Pastoral Administrator of a Church with my Deacon husband. Amazingly, in spite of my perpetual shyness, God gives me the strength, born of love, to go where He sends me.
So - if you choose to accept the gift of faith and a personal relationship with the Living God, prepare to be asked to fall into His hands. Prepare to be changed. Prepare to become a person far stronger, far more loving, far more "free" to be who you really are. Because our God knows our real Name, the one He gave us. Our God amazes us by showing us ourselves.