When Jesus approached someone, He did so with the tenderest mercy. If it was a man born blind, a woman with a flow of blood, or a leper who probably smelled bad, Jesus brought the freedom from sickness which they sought. If he came upon a dreadfully corrupt tax collector, a possessed man, or an adulterous woman, He would set them free from the burden of their sin. But instead of berating them for their previous behaviors, He would simply say to sin no more. He knew that maybe some of them would not be able to be as strong as they wanted to be, but He also knew that after such a loving encounter, they would be forever changed. His mercy would not make them perfect, but it would help them to fight the temptation to self-loathing or self-recrimination, and instead move them toward the goodness that He saw in them. They would know that they were loved not for what they did or did not do, but for who they were and for whose they were as children of God. The footsteps of Jesus were indeed behind them, giving them courage to try to live a renewed life with God. But we can be assured that not one of them became perfect, nor did the healing mercy of Jesus expect this of them.
May we trust the power of God’s mercy! May we approach God, grasping the ‘voluminous robes of His mercy’ when we are suffering or feeling lost! May we be beacons of that same mercy and love to those who are unaware that they too are loved in this way! May we have the awareness of the footsteps of Jesus behind us! May we be filled with gratitude for the mercy and love of God! And may we continue to desire to grow in holiness, focusing not on our sin, but on the invitation into God’s mercy, seeing ourselves as He does! Let us continue to meet in the Heart of our Merciful Savior! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
* There is not much on the internet which I could find that was helpful as to the biography of Jessica Powers. Here is one link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Powers. However the best biography I know of is in the book of her poetry, of which I have a well-worn copy. It is called Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, edited by Regina Siegfried and Robert Morneau.
** Here are links to each of the two poems I quoted. The text of The Garments of God can be found at https://alifegivinglent.wordpress.com/the-garments-of-god/
The text of Repairer of Fences can be found at http://www.philipchircop.com/post/44312711499/repairer-of-fences.
The first image is an inset of God the Father which is part of a larger icon, She Who Reigns, by Fr. William Hart McNichols. The image of God the Father is brilliantly painted, and is one of my favorite versions of God the Father. You might notice that Fr. Bill modeled the Father on the one done by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel. The entire icon can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/she-who-reigns-276-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
Next is one of my own photos. It was taken in South Dakota. I chose it because it represents life in the midst of an unexpected place; life thrives even in the desert when we can hear the footsteps of a Savior behind us.
Next is an image, also by Fr. William Hart McNichols. It is called The Galilean Jesus. It can be found at http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-galilean-jesus-266-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
Following Jesus is another of my photos, taken on a path on Copper Mountain in Colorado.
Last is a mosaic of Jesus encountering the hemorrhaging woman who reached out and touched His robes. The Mosaic is found in The Cathedral of Monreale, in Monreale, Sicily.