The powerless Jesus

They call him the powerless Jesus. The statue in Sant’Egidio, a 16th century church in Rome is very old. Age and circumstances have left this Jesus without his cross… and without arms. All we can see is his beaten body, the pain on his face and in his eyes. He is dying, tortured and crucified. The sacrifice of sacrifices, the moment Jesus, the human was at his weakest, most fragile, most powerless. The moment when he was nothing more than a body, broken by ignorance, fear, lies and betrayal.

For some reason this statue touches me more than the average statue of the crucified Christ. Jesus on the cross always makes me sad, yes, but it also always makes me proud, makes me smile. This man sacrificed his life for me because he couldn’t help but love me, you, us so much. It is this unconditional love, the compassion for those who hurt him, the forgiveness for those who killed him that touches me, that makes me proud to be one of those beloveds.

The arms, outstretched and nailed to cross are for me the ultimate symbol of Christ’s love, the never-ending embrace, the eternal invitation to come and simply be accepted as we are. This was, this is what makes Jesus, the human man, so powerful: His ability to love, his ability for compassion and forgiveness.

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Silence (2) – Between the heartbeats

The night is dark and quiet. Very quiet. We are in a small French village and it is already past midnight. The village is so small and the night so deep that not a single person is awake anymore. No cars are on the streets, no birds sing. We can close our eyes and are surrounded by nothing but darkness. It is the perfect night for silence. But it is late November and cold. Even although there is no wind, the cold creeps through our clothes and we shiver. Where to go? The desire for silence and closeness to God is overwhelming. There is an old Roman church in the center of this little village. This church has been listening to prayers and offering silence for the last 1200 years. It will certainly have some mercy with us. Come on, let’s enter!

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5 New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep

1. Greet yourself with a smile every morning in the mirror. Remind yourself that you are just the way God wanted you to be. You were made so that God, the greatest lover of all, can love you. Remind yourself of how amazing you are and that you are worth it! Because no matter what faults others see in you, God loves you for who you are.

2. Look at the people you meet every day with love. Not just friends and family but everyone. Try to find something good and beautiful in every single person you meet. You will see how full of wonder, hope and love this world really is when you realize that every single one out there was made so that God can love them.

3. Open your eyes to the rest of the planet, the animals, the environment. Try to understand every day anew that they are God’s present to all of us and should therefore be treated with care and respect.

4. Take a deep breath every morning and open your heart to the truth that God doesn’t need anything from you. God is greater than we can ever understand. God doesn’t need your money, or your time. God doesn’t even need your faith. God is okay with your doubts, okay with your fears. God is okay with you the way you are, so never feel pressured by other people to give God what they thing God needs from you.

5. Go to bed every night with a smile because guess what, you are loved and you will still be loved when you wake up.