May we ask for the graces we need to persevere through whatever our present suffering might be! May we have the courage to reach out, offering whatever humble gift we can! May we be inspired by saints such as Padre Pio who encourage us to find Christ in one another and to embrace His presence in love! May we find strength in our own outstretched hands joined to those of others! May we continue to pray for all the victims of natural disasters and also for those who are able to respond with aid! And may we love as Jesus taught us, remembering that even the smallest act of love is huge for the one who receives it! Let us continue to meet in the heart of Jesus! Peace!
©Michele L. Catanese
Note: Next post will be October 9.
1. This is part of an image by Fr. William Hart McNichols called I Hold Out My Hand and My Heart Will Be In It. See the last note for complete information.
2. This icon is also the work of Fr. William Hart McNichols; it is called Saint Padre Pio Mother Pelican. I chose it because as Fr. Bill depicted him, Padre Pio was like the mother pelican who pierces its own breast in order to feed its young when no food can be found. Pelicans are ungainly birds. They look a bit awkward when they are on the ground, but when they fly they are of the most graceful birds to grace the air. If they find no food, they will use their own blood to feed their young. Padre Pio did just that. He ‘fed’ his spiritual children from the font of the blood he shed in imitation of Jesus; he fed them with the gifts he was given and with the sacraments he celebrated so reverently. If you would like to purchase a copy of this icon, it can be found at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/2-st-padre-pio-mother-pelican-047-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
3. This is one of my photos, taken in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas. I chose to place it here because the climber's efforts reminded me of how insurmountable suffering can feel at certain times in our lives. She almost seems to be at a loss as to whether to go up or down, but she is held in place by a tether and harness. This image reminds me that we are tethered to Christ in love and that we cannot go it alone. We need help.
4. This is another of my photos, taken at a roadside waterfall and stream in Rocky Mountain National Park, in Estes Park, Colorado. I chose to use it because this image speaks in two ways. First our suffering and the events in our lives can seem like this eddy: we feel the rush of the water and think we might drown. However, the water which is also rushing over us is the water of God's love which is life-giving. It is the mercy and grace given us by God.
5. This is a painting by Vincent van Gogh which is quickly becoming one of my favorites from among his work. It is The Good Samaritan from the parable taught by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. (Luke 10:29-36) Some details to note are the suffering etched in the face of the victim, and also that the two figures who did not stop and render aid are depicted as undersized, perhaps symbolic of their small-heartedness. But there is also great tenderness shown on the face of the Samaritan, and even the horse seems to have a look of understanding and gentleness. I chose this because it seems to me that the Parable of The Good Samaritan epitomizes the generosity to which we are called.
6. This is another icon from the work of Fr. William Hart McNichols. It is called Jesus Christ Extreme Humility. I chose to use it here because it shows what Jesus underwent in his suffering and death which was the ultimate in humility: the Son of God became a man and then died a horrible, unjustified death, totally rejected. Yet He is Compassion and He is Love. While being fully God, He entered into our humanity fully to give us redemption, hope, and ultimately the ability to enter into His glory. You can find this icon at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/jesus-christ-extreme-humility-036-william-hart-mcnichols.html.
7. Finally, I chose to end with the full image of I Hold Out My Hand and My Heart Will Be In It by Fr. William Hart McNichols. I wanted to begin and end with this image because it was partially the inspiration for this entry. What I most love about it is that it shows life coming from death. The wounds seem to be transformed, giving forth new life: perhaps the crown of thorns has turned into a crown of gentle, fragrant flowers. There is more than just hope in this image; there is also joy. When Jesus died 'the story' did not end, because He rose from the dead thereby conquering it. Therefore, when we reach out in love, helping to extend His hand, our wounds will also heal, whether here or in the next life. But they will heal. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this image in any form, go to https://fineartamerica.com/featured/i-hold-out-my-hand-and-my-heart-will-be-in-it-225-william-hart-mcnichols.htmlfineartamerica.com/featured/i-hold-out-my-hand-and-my-heart-will-be-in-it-225-william-hart-mcnichols.html.