Open Hands

Is Lent only a season? Or can it be a way of living every day of the year? Every year at the beginning of Lent we are reminded of the […]

Is Lent only a season? Or can it be a way of living every day of the year?

Every year at the beginning of Lent we are reminded of the need to pray, fast and give alms for at least 40 days. At first, many begin with enthusiastic commitment then the days seem to drag on. Finally, we reach the three most important days our Church year – the Triduum, i.e. Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

This year, in my preparation for Lent, I have been spending prayer and reflection on the wounded hands of Jesus. What are His wounded hands saying to me? How are His wounded hands inviting me to make Lent my way of life…to live every day with my hands open to the wounds of others. How is He calling me to gently and attentively reach out to others whose wounds are deeper than my own?

Wounded people surround us every day. Sometimes their pain is reflected in their eyes. Sometimes their pain is reflected in the tone of their voice. Many times their pain is unspoken and hidden deep in their heart and soul. For years, I kept my wounds hidden and did not speak of my deep woundedness because I thought no one would believe me. It was when someone recognized the burden and darkness I was carrying so deeply in my body, heart and soul, listened to me deeply with her heart, and welcomed me in my brokenness that I began to tell my story. Into her open, gentle and compassionate hands she took my pain. Together, we placed my pain in the wounded hands of Jesus and my healing began.

Today my prayer and reflections are drawing me toward others who are carrying deeply hidden and unspoken wounds and scars. At first, I thought this would be my emphasis during Lent. I would be attentive to having open hands to everyone I met throughout the day. I would be more attentive to those who needed someone to share their pain. Somehow that didn’t feel to be enough. So I asked myself: “Why is this only my Lenten resolution? Why isn’t this my way of living every day of the year?” Jesus lived every day of His life with hands open to His pain and to the pain of every person He met. All His life Jesus carried not only His own pain but the anguish of all those He met along the way. He could not come across someone suffering or hurting and just walk away. Jesus stopped, acknowledged, listened, comforted, welcomed, received and embraced every person who reached out from their darkness and He brought them into His healing Light. He understood their feelings because He, too, felt abused, abandoned, rejected, lonely and sad. He gently touched every heart and soul with His open and wounded hands.

Jesus is asking of me:

When you look at your hands, are they open?

Are they wounded from carrying the pain of others, from listening to broken hearts, from holding the grieving in your arms, from being gently present to those whose inner woundedness is unspoken?

Are you compassionate with those who are experiencing the darkness of depression and anxiety?

Do you stay with those who have been rejected by family and friends?

Every day Jesus is asking me:

Are your hands open and wounded?

-Sandy Setterlund

Are you ready to join us?

St. Anthony's welcomes YOU!