Hands – Mine and God’s

Yesterday morning, as I often do on the way from the parking lot to my office at the law school, I stopped into a small meditation room that is located above our chapel. Although I do my regular morning prayer at home upon rising, I like taking a few quiet moments with God when I arrive at the law school before beginning my work day.

As I sat there, again as I often do, I prayed St. Ignatius’ Suscipe. “Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will — all that I have and call my own. You have given it all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me.”

As I prayed this prayer of St. Ignatius, I held out my hands, as physical expression of my self-offering to God. And as I held out my hands, I had the strong felt sense of them as being very small. My eyes were closed, so I couldn’t see my hands. But I experienced them as being incredibly small in relation to the size of the rest of my body and everything else around.

As I sat with that sense, what came to mind was a line of Mary’s from a Danielle Rose song on the Annunciation (about which I’ve written before). Expressing wonderment at the message brought to her by the Angel Gabriel, Mary questions, “Shall I touch the sky with these small hands?”

Almost simultaneous with hearing the line, I experienced both the power of Mary’s willingness to say yes to that question and the realization that my hands are only small when I think I need to rely on them alone. With that, with the recognition that through the power of God I have strength far beyond own, I actually felt my hands bigger than I had just felt them. I experienced a sense of them as larger and sturdier than I had experienced them just a few moments before. It was a very strong feeling, one that filled me with confidence and with joy.

What we need to remember always, but especially in those moments when we feel insecure about our ability to respond to God’s invitations, is that it is not my hands alone. It is never my hands alone. Rather, it is always my hands in God’s hands. And those hands can indeed touch the sky.

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