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The Hand that Reaches

by Oct 12, 2022Friar Reflection

The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees!… You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” (Luke 11:42).

Not for all the tea in China would I watch a horror movie. Even at my age they would still induce nightmares. It has been 48 years and even thinking about “The Exorcist” can still send me into cold sweats. Freddy can stay on Elm Street with all the rest of his nightmarish fellow fiends.

One of the staples of horror movies are the graves, seen and unseen. Isn’t there always something scary and creepy reaching out from the grave? The ghostly hand that reaches out, seeking to pull you in, the creature of darkness that wants to eat your face, or some other horrific denizen of hell’s half acre bringing all manner of woe into your life. What comes out the graves in these movies are never for the benefit of the living or for the betterment of humankind. They just want to pull you into the misery, stench, and rotting wretchedness of life in the grave.

Same with the part of our life about which St. Paul warns us: “immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, …, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, …., occasions of envy, drinking bouts, …., and the like.” That part that is killing the good and spiritual within us. If we are not attentive, the bitterness, disappointment, anger, sarcasm, gossip or other uncharitable intentions become like that hand which reaches out of the grave of our souls and begins to drag others into the darkness. Not a pretty picture. Such things do not just affect you – they reach out to affect you and all in relation to you.

Let us be mindful. And woe unto each of us unless we pay “attention to judgment and to love for God.” It is the sure antidote to the everlasting grave.

What comes from the Spirit is always for the betterment of life.  So, with St. Paul, let us reach out our hand to the Spirit to put on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then let us live in and follow the Spirit to life everlasting on the other side of the grave.