Friday, February 27, 2009

Hands

The Old Testament reading today, Isaiah 58 ("Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke?" -- NASB) has been a favorite as long as I can remember.

Seeing these words again made me pick up the first Bible I ever received as a gift. It's a Protestant translation but the person who gave it to me back in 1975 pasted a postcard of Rodin's "The Cathedral" (see photo) and added a poem by M. Charles Rebert, a humble high school English teacher from Littlestown, Pennsylvania:

Two hands upstretched -- one yours, one mine --
Touch gently in the air,
And when we touch, I lose all fear
just knowing you are there.
Two hands entwined -- one God's, one mine--
We share a moment there.
His hand and mine become His Church;
our touching is a prayer.

Today, I'm still fascinated by hands. I take lots of photos during the Misas de Sanación and I'm always drawn to the hands of the healing ministers. Sometimes I think that if I take enough photos of Fr. Hoyos' hands, I will capture whatever it is that makes the healing happen. They say the Holy Spirit is at work but I am a "doubting Thomas". I want to SEE...sparks flying, a blinding light emanating from his palms, anything! What is this energy that knocks people to the floor?




Touch itself is healing. My mother has dementia. Now her speech is starting to disappear. When we visit she can no longer converse but she loves for us to sit together and hold hands. She smiles and becomes peaceful. I can't turn back the tide of dementia in my mother but our touch can be a temporary life raft.

There are many beautiful songs about hands. I especially like "One Hand, One Heart" from Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story". It's a wedding duet but it could just as easily -- and should -- be the duet between a committed Christian and God. As St. Paul reminds us, even death cannot separate us from God's love. (Romans 8:38-39).

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