There are alot of things that affected me in a big way from this weekend in Assisi/Perugia, and it would take me a long time to write about them all, but something that our tour guide said really struck me and stayed with me, and got me to thinking. We were in the Church where St. Francis' remains are (which in and of itself is incredible)...and we were looking at the frescoes that cover most of the ceiling and walls of the church, and our guide pointed out one in particular, that i had already had my eye on, that was so beautiful. It was a depiction of Christ being taken down from the cross, surrounded by a group of people who were all touching him. Francesco pointed out to us that it was an allegory for the Church. Through touching the body of Christ, each person in his or her own way, they were all becoming part of the one body of Christ, the church. There was even a figure whose hands were positioned around her face, and she was just staring at the body of Jesus. When Francesco pointed her out he said to look closely, and recognize that she was touching him with her eyes. Even though her hands weren't near the body, she was still touching him in her own way. Its amazing that a painting done so long ago can still speak volumes about the Church, and hold so much truth. I think about this all the time, when it comes to the different ways that people choose to worship, and live out their lives faithfully. Everyone is affected by different things, learns in different ways, and everyone expresses themselves differently. We all attach ourselves to the body of Christ through slightly different means. We all have a different grip. But no matter what it is, we still become one. I think that alot of people tend to forget this at times, myself included. One of the reasons that the Catholic Church is so beautiful is because of the traditions that we all hold. No matter where in the world you go, the mass is the same...We receive the same body. But an underlying reality of being children of God, is that we aren't just clones of each other. He took care in creating each one of us to be different, to have our own talents and abilities, to look different, to carry ourselves differently, and to come to the table with our own contributions. And we are all reflections of God himself. We were all made in his image. How can we judge the contributions of others, when it comes to the body as a whole?
We need to not be afraid to reach out and touch the body, hold his hand, kiss his feet, place our hand against his face, watch him, love him in the way that he has made each of us, individually, to love him.
It reminds me of a question that a priest asked me once, and something that we talked about at camp all the time: picture yourself and picture Jesus. Where are you in relation to each other? Are you standing side by side, face to face, holding hands, embracing, walking towards each other? Walking away from each other? Are you close, or far? Can you see Him from where you are standing, or do you need to change your perspective?
Are you touching him? Are you letting him bring you into his body? Are you allowing yourself to be united with him?
I think that God is asking us these questions, and in the silence of my own heart i want to answer him honestly, so that i can become as close to him as i possibly can. No matter what we might think, or how we might live our lives, God knows what is on our hearts...he knows when we are being genuine, or not. And even though at times, we might be ashamed of what He sees when he looks at us, his love for us should give us the freedom to reach out and touch him, and draw nearer.
Be not afraid.