Today we live in an environment that is not Christian. This is why it has become even more urgent that one’s personal experience of Jesus Christ is essential. We cannot simply live Christianity on someone else’s back! You are the one to experience Jesus Christ. You need to know him and be close to him.
In this Eastern country, the custom was that if you receive a gift you had to share it with both your personal and the donor’s relatives and friends. So when this family received a duck as a gift, they immediately celebrated it with a nice meal with their kith and kin.
The next day however a visitor knocked at the door, and asked to participate in the meal. “Who are you?” was the obvious question.
“Well, I am a friend of the friend of the friend of the guy who gave you the duck”
The family dutifully prepared the table. And a few minutes later, the wife came out of the kitchen with a bowl of boiling water. “What is this?” asked the guest.
“Well, since you are the friend of the friend of the friend of the one who brought us the duck, we prepared a soup of the soup of the soup of the duck!”
When I first read the story, I laughed until I realized that it may well be a parable of what our Christianity is like! We are relying on the know-how of others instead of having our own personal familiarity!
A mystic defined Christianity as a kiss of Jesus Christ. It is a living experience of friendship and intimacy with Someone with a capital S. Have I ever been given this kiss? Because the truth is that one cannot explain a kiss. One cannot transmit a kiss through someone else. Either you have it or you do not have it!
I was deeply touched with the story of Lydia, who when she went to school would rather oddly keep her left hand closed. Obviously her companions made fun of her. But she did not care less. Neither did the teacher give it much importance. But at a certain moment everyone became curious and rather suspicious. The teacher decided to take action and demanded that the pupil opens her hand.
The girl resisted at first but finally she had to disclose her secret. She opened her hands…and to the surprise of everyone, there was nothing particular in her hands. They were empty!
“So why do you always keep your hand closed?” asked the teacher. In all sincerity the girl replied, “Miss, before I leave home every day, my mother gives me a big kiss in my hand. I don’t open it so that I can preserve this kiss. I do not want it to vanish in thin air. It is a constant reminder of my mother and her love for me!”
We also need to find ways and means not to let the kiss of Jesus Christ vanish from our personal consciousness.
“I am happy… in the immeasurable joy that He is God,” Charles de Foucald used to say. And when he was asked why, he replied: “According to me everything is contained in the conviction that God is God…”
Let Him kiss you! And make sure this kiss becomes an enduring experience.
(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.