by Catherine Doherty.
Today, across a confused world, people are seeking God. They are seeking the real Christ, the Christ of the Gospel, the one they have read about but cannot seem to find.
In this seeking, people ask one another, "How do you find Christ? Where is he? Where can I meet him?" Who then is this Christ that they seek? Why does he seem to be so elusive, so unreal, so difficult to meet? It seems to me that the answer to these questions is very simply: We meet Christ in a real Christian.
What a strange and seemingly simplistic answer! Yet, it is the true answer, and I don’t think there is another. The time of talking is over; people need to be shown.
After his resurrection, Christ showed his disciples his wounds and they believed. These wounds were visible signs of Christ’s love for them and for all of us. No one needed to say anything, least of all Christ. Thomas the Doubter was the only one who spoke.
Today, it seems to me, we must likewise show the wounds of Christ to people, for it is only then that they will believe. This is what people are seeking today: someone who will show them the wounds of Christ so that they may touch him and be reassured.
But we must go further. Christ prepared breakfast on the beach for his friends. We, too, by our service, must show how much we love our brothers and sisters, all those who are seeking the Lord.
But even all this—showing the wounds, preparing meals—is not enough. We must open our hearts with a lance by taking that lance in our own hands. We must accept all people as they are, without wanting to change or to manipulate them. It is a blessing and a joy that they come to us.
People will not know God unless we, their neighbors, their brethren, show Christ to them in the tremendous love that he has for them. This is the acceptable time for people to say once again what was said of the early Christians, "See how these Christians love one another." And for them to know and to say, "They love me!"
Yes, we must open the doors of our hearts. We must open the doors of our homes. We must accept people as they are. We must serve them, and we must show them the wounds of our love.
Love is always wounded because love and pain are inseparable. Even as a young girl barely falling in love is worried about her boyfriend traveling on a wet road to Chicago, so in the love of people for each other, pain is interwoven. There is no love without pain.
But how do we acquire these wounds that we must show? Where do we get the strength to cook a meal for someone when we are exhausted? How do we get the strength to open the doors of our heart which we so readily want to close against the noise of our incredibly noisy world?
How? How? How? The answer comes irresistibly. We cannot hide from it or ignore it or make it disappear. The answer is always the same: prayer.
Let’s face it. We cannot love the way we ought to. God alone can love in us that way. So we must empty our hearts of all the things that are not God. And with his grace, we will be able to allow him to love others through us.
Moreover, the Lord said we must love our enemies. Until we do, we cannot show Christ to others. We must go further: We must lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. It is by emptying ourselves, according to his commandment of love, and with his grace, that we can allow God to love in us.
No, words are not enough. But a loving glance, a wound, a meal cooked for a friend, a welcome through an open door into an open heart, these will do it.
It is only then, when my brother has been filled with my supper, when he has beheld my wounds of love for him, when he has experienced a totality of acceptance, only then will he be open to the Good News.
—Adapted from The Gospel Without Compromise, (1989), pp. 88-90, Madonna House Publications, out of print.
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