The family had a very special guest coming for dinner and so the six-year-old son was briefed very strongly to be on his very best behavior. Everything was going on fine until the boy reached out to get a roll of bread and accidently knocked over his glass, spilling water all over the table. He was mortified. He knew the consequences! He just looked over to his father wondering what to do. The father looked at him, winked and knocked down his own glass water. What a mess! They did what they had to do! Together, they got towels and started cleaning the table!
This is God. He identifies himself constantly with us who make so many mistakes. He does not take a condescending attitude in front of our sins. He just joins us. Remember? He even came down from heaven and spilt out the glass of his own blood for us. Amazing love.
In her book Audacity to Believe, Dr. Sheila Cassidy recounts how she left England in 1971 to escape the rat race of her medical profession and go to Chile to work amongst the poor. Four years later she was arrested for having nursed a bullet wound of a revolutionary leader. She was treated terribly – stripped naked, tied to a bed, tortured by electrodes attached to her body, placed in solitary confinement… After three months she was released and expelled from the country.
Despite all this punishment, she writes. “I do not hate the men who had hurt us… Incredibly in the midst of fear and loneliness, I was filled with joy, for I knew without any vestige of doubt that God was with me and that nothing they could do to me, could change that.”
Transformation comes from within. And the grace of God can do just that. Amazing grace.
Rabbi Abraham likes to tell the story of his great grandfather who one day was sitting with the other rabbinical scholars to study the Torah. At a certain moment they decided to take a break. One of the group offered to pay for the refreshments but there was no one who felt like walking over to the shop who was rather far away to get the drinks. Finally grandfather volunteered, “Just hand me the money. I have a young boy who will be glad to go!”
He left the room and after a rather long period returned with the drinks. It was obvious that he himself had walked all the distance and performed the errand. Noticing their malaise, the rabbi explained. “I did not lie to you, no. You see, many people outgrow their youth and become old. I have always tried not to move beyond my youth. As I grew elder, I always took with me the young boy that I had been. It was that young boy in me that did the errand.”
This is the law of nature. The hand cannot grasp any farther than the arm is willing to reach. So we must simply will to reach out further! One will achieve as much as one is willing to reach for. Reach. Stretch. Go sky-high! This is the kind of transfiguration that Jesus Christ can pull off for us! What else do you want in life?!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.