Operating with Hands and Feet

As a youngster, I used to love the game Operation.

My friends and I would play it, trying with all the focus we could muster to remove various ailments from the many openings in the patient, known affectionately as “Cavity Sam.”

Operation Game 1It was extremely tricky using those tiny tweezers to pull out all of his plastic ailments.

I remember often touching the edges of the cavity openings, setting off that annoying buzzer and lighting up Sam’s red light bulb nose.

Looking at Cavity Sam, his heart and stomach areas were the toughest to operate on, based on the number of objects needing removal.

Broken Heart, Spare Ribs, Wish Bone, Bread Basket and Butterflies in Stomach all filled the main region of his body and would always seem to trip me up.

His hands and feet, by contrast, were far less of a challenge, as there were barely any pieces you had to pluck out with the tweezers.

In examining our lives, while the heart and stomach areas are key parts of the human body, the hands and feet can easily be taken for granted.

I mean, let’s be honest, you can’t do much without your hands and feet.

While not impossible, without these extremities, one’s independence can easily be compromised when doing many activities, such as eating, dressing, writing and moving.

The importance of our hands and feet is stressed even further when considering our faith.

St. Teresa of Avila reminds us of this, describing us as being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ on earth.

St Teresa of AvilaChrist has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

As we discuss this in my Religious Education classes, I remind my students how we are all called to live as modern-day prophets, sharing God’s Holy Word with the world by living as reflections of His Son and our Savior.

If God is to be present in today’s society, it is up to us to reveal Him.

Hands & Feet 1If Jesus’ presence is to be felt in today’s culture, we must take on the task to introduce and celebrate it, doing so with humility and respect through our thoughts, words and, yes, most definitely our actions.

Volunteer work in the community, financial donations to non-profit organizations, food and clothing provided to shelters for the homeless and blood given to patients in need – these are just some of the ways we can model God’s love and teachings.

But we can also do God’s work through the simplest of acts, such as opening a door for someone, telling the truth, comforting a person when they are sad, using manners, inviting someone to eat lunch or play a game with us, and looking at people in the eye when talking with them.

Hands & Feet 2By preaching our Lord’s Gospel message not only through speech but also through deeds in our daily living, we can better show society the wonder of virtues, while slowly ridding it of destructive vices.

So as we aim to operate our lives in happy and healthy ways, let us always remember to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, touching the hearts of others and walking in His holy path, paving the way for others to follow.

Let it Boil Over

One of the many things I love about my wife is her cooking.

Catherine is very talented at creating different dishes, mixing various ingredients and preparing meals that are both healthy and tasty.

Boiling Pot 3Sitting at the table for dinner, for instance, I know I’ll be well-nourished and never have a complaint about what I’m eating (unless, of course, she sneaks in a few mushrooms or some coconut oil, hoping I won’t notice).

Another reason I’m so grateful for her cooking is because I’m not very good at it – at all.

I mean, I know I could follow a recipe and I’d be able to survive just fine if I had to cook for myself, but my longstanding repertoire has never really extended far beyond a delicious sampling of pancakes or scrambled eggs, homemade sandwiches, microwaved vegetables and chicken or hamburgers thrown on a trusty barbeque.

Outside of these, there’s nothing much that has ever separated me from frozen TV dinners and take-out restaurants.

When cooking in the kitchen, I might get so flustered or distracted, it’s almost a guarantee any pot I have simmering on the stove will boil over, causing great frustration.

Boiling Pot 2Now, you don’t have to be a culinary expert to know having a pot boil over is a bad thing.

When the top starts foaming up, you better remove the lid or start stirring. Otherwise, your stove flame might go out or, even worse, you could burn your food.

While the simmering technique may be helpful when cooking, it is simply not good enough when it comes to our faith.

Our faith must be stirred, yes, but it must also grow to be so strong that it eventually boils over and is shared with others.

Much like cooking when we check on our food boiling on the stove or baking in the oven, we also need to assess our faith at various points, ensuring we are on the right road, moving forward with the Lord.

If not, perhaps we could stand to be turned over, whisked or poked like food being cooked, in order that God can speak to us in the right way and that we can be fully open to receiving His direction.

But once we’ve come to such a discovery, we then need to turn our stove setting to HIGH and let our belief and faith practice explode from within us, burning brightly for all to experience. (Psalm 39:3)

Boiling Pot 4Having a relationship with God that is so complete and powerful, we can then let it boil over by introducing His love to those we know and come to meet, spreading His Good News each day.

Boiling Pot 1That way, with a heart burning for Jesus and His Holy Spirit, the glow of God’s love can radiate through us and help transform those around us. (Matthew 5:16)