My father was always a religious man, perhaps in his own way, but sincerely devoted. Ever since I was a child, I remember his habit of giving me a kiss on the forehead always accompanied by these words, “The Lord bless you.” To tell you the truth, I never really understood the meaning of that gesture, but I accepted it as something that was part of him. However, a moment arrived when these words deeply penetrated my being giving me the certainty of what they meant.
It happened exactly five years ago, the evening just before my father died from a bone tumor that had forced him to be bedridden for about one month. At the end, he had lost all interest in life, and I noticed him become ever more silent and absorbed in his own interior world. That day, which was in fact the last day of his life on this earth, I was seated next to his bed in silence. At a certain point, he turned towards me and smiled at me in a way that he had not done for a long time. Then I heard him pronounce those familiar words to which the effort of his disease seemed to confer solemnity and a particular importance: “Michela, the Lord bless you.” These were the last words my father spoke before he died. This is the precious inheritance that he left me. In that moment, I understood what he was trying to tell me for so many years. I understood that beyond his affection, he always wanted to offer me God’s blessing so that it could accompany and protect me along my life’s journey. My father was aware that his love for me, great though it was, had its limits, whereas he knew that the Lord’s love would be able to supply all that was lacking in his love. In that last moment, he knew that in leaving this life he would not leave me alone because there was another Father who would think of me. It was then that I experienced that God is Father, and that He constantly follows us in life with His blessing.
When I was young, I always wondered what the meaning was of the large eye inside the triangle that I saw painted in many churches. They told me that it was God’s eye that followed us everywhere and from which we could not flee. Instead of stirring up feelings of fear and trepidation, the feeling of being “watched over” by the Lord infused in me a great trust: that I was not alone in this world, and that the glance of God was not that of a severe judge ready to point a finger at my sins, but rather was that of an affectionate Father always disposed to bless me and to speak well of me.
Do you recall those beautiful words written in the gospel; the only one that God the Father Himself pronounces? “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.” I like to think that these words of God’s benediction may not be directed just to Jesus, His only and eternally loved Son, but in looking at Him, God pronounced them for each one of us because, in truth, we are each His beloved children conceived in His mind since forever and brought forth by His Holy Hands. We are each unique children because this is God’s Heart…a Heart big enough to love each one of us personally as if we were the only one. It is because of this that every word of blessing that we receive in this life is a consolation that transmits the perfume and the warmth of that eternal benediction that is continually coming forth from the Heart of God for us.
I am sure that each one of us has received words of consolation, appreciation, friendship, love, approval, reassurances, those simple words that in a flash can change our grey days into a splendid sunny morning. They are the words that can make us feel alive, loved, and acknowledged in the value of our being. However, too often it is as if we don’t pay attention to these words that are so important. Maybe this is so because we sometimes take them for granted, or because we don’t believe that they are true for us, or even worse, we are afraid to accept them in order to not discover that we are so vulnerable as to feel the need to receive them.
At other times, on the contrary, our life seems a breathless race in search of someone who will know how to pronounce these words from a heart that truly loves us. It is in this search that we may be tempted to seek them in the wrong places where we may find only the appearances of such voices and only empty lies. But the Lord will not let us lack awareness of His acknowledgement and encouragement which may come to us through the voices of the persons closest to us or through those we meet casually on the street, or through those to whom we, even unknowingly, did good. And if we should arrive at one day in which all this does not occur and in which life seems really empty and cold, let us follow the advise of a great saint, John of the Cross, who understood very well the secret of happiness:
“WHERE THERE IS NO LOVE, PLACE, AND LOVE, YOU WILL FIND LOVE.”
This Month’s Meditation is Written By Sr. Michela