MOSAIC Spring 2015 - Page 15

fix in that truncated state as a reminder to themselves and onlookers that they are to be Christ’s arms. St. Teresa of Avila, sixteenth-century mystic and reformer, reminds us of the same in her popular phrase: “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. “Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.” A major difficulty for many of us is we feel too ordinary for God to choose us to be mediators of his presence to others. Consequently, we aren’t attentive to God’s daily requests for us to do so. An example of what I mean takes place in an evening class at the seminary. A chaplain, taking one of my courses, stayed after class to talk with me about a situation that was bothering him. To make a long story short, he told me that one of his patients wouldn’t die. I asked, “What do you mean, won’t die?” He responded, “She is in and out of a coma, very restless. Her family has given her permission to die, but she won’t pass over.” Right then and there, out of the blue, the thought came to me: “Tell her that whatever she has done that she thinks God won’t forgive, if she tells God she is sorry, God will forgive her and welcome her home.” When the chaplain returned the following week, he told me that he whispered what I said into her ear. She became quite peaceful and died the next day. In the Scriptures, we repeatedly read the phrase, “The Word of the Lord came to me” as Abraham, Moses, the Prophets and John the Baptist share what they believe is a message from God for their people. I believe God asked the chaplain and me to be mediators of his mercy and forgiveness to this woman. I also am convinced that God asks all of us to be bearers of his word to others, but we don’t recognize those “out of the blue” inspirations for what they are: messages from God through us for others. Jesus, the Word, gifts us with his Spirit so that we may continue the Incarnation—God among us—in our times. Are you listening . . . and acting? “Christ has no body now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.” Dr. Patricia Cooney Hathaway is professor of spirituality and systematic theology at Sacred Heart. Other Forms of Guidance Our Church provides other ways for us to hear and act on the voice of God. Discernment of Spirits. This is a process and set of principles that help us sort out those daily thoughts, feelings, and activities that lead us to greater awareness of love of God, self and others, from those thoughts, feelings, and activities that lead us away from greater love of God, self, and others. The former lead us to peace, inner joy, and progress in our spiritual life; the latter lead to agitation and discontent, thus blocking growth in our relationship with God and others. Spiritual Direction. This ministry provides us with guidance from “God is not on the a well-trained spiritual sidelines watching director who helps us to deepen our relationship from a distance.” with God, learn how to recognize God’s visitation in the ordinary events of daily life, and discern our call to serve God through our particular vocation in life. Pastoral Counseling. This ministry offers us pastoral ministers educated in psychology and the Christian tradition to help us discern God’s will through difficult crises of life: death of a loved one, divorce, addiction, drugs, etc. The bottom line is that God is not on the sidelines watching from a distance. On the contrary, God is personally involved in each one of our lives, offering us inspiration and guidance through a variety of ways that we may become the men and women God desires us to be. “I have come that they may have life!” (Jn 10.10). I leave you with two questions to reflect on.