Monday, May 04, 2009

In the Hand of God

May 5, 2009

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

By Beth De Cristofaro

The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord… When (Barnabas) arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart (Acts 11:21, 23)

My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one." (John 10:27-30)


“Shepherd me O God, beyond my hurts, beyond my fears, from death into life. “

(Marty Haugen)


Years ago, as a going away present, my colleagues at St. John’s Medical Center Hospice where I had worked for several years gave me a small ceramic statue of a hand on which rested the small figure of a child. The image represented Isaiah 49:16 See, upon the palms of my hands I have written your name; for me it not only recalled this verse but also the generous love I had witnessed among my co-workers and the families we served. There was the elderly divorcee who brought her ex-husband into her home and cared for him until he died of his lung cancer. One of the aides would sometimes make dinner for a family in distress. And there was our executive director, both boss and friend, with whom we “birthed” the hospice and who was never above taking a call in the field when needed.

Jesus’ words in the Gospel today bring these memories back to me. I see both Jesus’ and God’s hands holding my former colleagues and our patients. But I also see the hands of Jesus and God in my colleagues and the caring of families who reached out to help, to give comfort, to celebrate life and to grieve.

Today my little statue is battered after two more moves and more than 20 years, just like me. In it I see the results of a lifetime of knocks survived, mistakes made, hurts received or rendered to others and also loving repairs. In it I can also see what I hope my life is: faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, rooted in the hand of God yet well used, full of life, not pristine and unexploited. The image tells me that rooted in God, my hands must be available to reach out to others without fear because no one can take me out of the Father's hand.


Jesus was unified with the Father. He lived obedience and love to the Father’s will. He promised that no one can be taken from the Father’s hand. Are my piety, study and action firmly steadied in the hand of God as was Jesus? Do I seek my own preferences or do my piety, study and action disclose God? Do I seek union with God and reach out to offer that union to others? Do I lean on the hand of God or someone or something else?

1 comment:

RAnn said...

I'd like to invite you to participate in Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival, a meme, which is a replacement for the Catholic Carnival run by Jay at Living Catholicism for many years, is a place for Catholic bloggers to direct others to their posts and a place for us to meet other Catholic bloggers. Some participants blog exclusively, or almost totally about Catholic topics; others, like me, periodically have such posts. Both are welcome.To participate, go your blog and create a post titled "Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival". In it, summarize and link to at least on of your posts from the last week, which post should have a least a little to do with Catholicism (even if it is just showing off the cute Catholic kid). This week's entry is at If you'd like a weekly reminder to participate, join our yahoogroup at