A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

With These Hands

Posted on: January 25, 2016

During his homily yesterday morning, the priest filling in for our pastor told the story of a woman given the compliment that she had lovely hands—hands she’d always found unattractive. Over time, as she observed all that her hands had done and could do, she discovered their beauty.

Reading David’s words in Psalm 139:14*, we know on some level that we, too, are “wondrously made,” but do we accept the truth of these words?

We zoom in on things about our appearance that make it hard to look in the mirror—extra weight, greying hair, the appearance of wrinkles, maybe the nose we’ve never loved the shape of—and we overlook the amazing abilities of the body God knitted together (see Psalm 139:13).

I’m as guilty of that as anyone. I used to wish that I had brown hair and brown eyes and that I was just a few inches taller; I still wish that I could stay thin easily and be less clumsy.

makingcards_140802

Making a greeting card at my craft desk

I thought about all this after yesterday’s homily. And I realized that my blue eyes are the ones that looked into my husband’s eyes on our wedding day. With this body, I carried our child and brought him into the world. With these hands, I’ve made treats for school bake sales, folded laundry and cleaned the house, made cards and wrapped gifts for birthdays and Christmas, tended to my family and pets when they were sick, and explored my faith in writing this blog over the past three years.

Should we try to stay in good shape for our health and keep a neat appearance? Absolutely. But we shouldn’t focus on how we look and dismiss all the things, great and mundane, that our bodies can do; God focusses not on our appearance but on our heart and on the way we use the gifts he’s given us.

When Saul turned out to be less than an ideal king, the prophet Samuel was sent to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king. Samuel, seeing the first of Jesse’s sons, thought this had to be the one God had chosen, but he was mistaken, as we read in 1 Samuel 16:7:

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Instead of looking at ourselves and seeing physical flaws, maybe it’s time that we, like David, thank God that we are “wondrously made” and take a moment to notice and appreciate what we have done and are able to do just as we are.

(*Scripture quotes taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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