But how can we do this? Before we can ‘be Him and live Him’ we must know Him. As a child, my images of Jesus were that of either the gentle and saccharine-looking Sacred Heart statue in our parish, or some rather solemn and almost stoic-looking pictures. Actors, in preparing for roles of historical persons, study their characters, read about them and the things that they have written. In reading the gospels and reflecting on them, we 'see' Jesus, and in doing this my image of him changed.
The gospels do not depict him as an austere and removed person; rather he walked the dusty roads of Palestine with his disciples, teaching them as they traveled from town to town (Mt 9:35). He was frequently surrounded by crowds of people (Lk 8:19; Lk 8:40), but he also sought times to be alone (Lk 9:18). He could feel compassion for a horribly deformed leper (Lk 5:12), yet I’m sure he could feel used when people were frequently asking him for ‘signs’(Mt 15:21 ff; Mt 12:38). He told humorous stories to get a point across (one about a judge being beaten down by an old lady, Lk 18:2 ff) and he used some ‘earthy’ language about latrines to explain what is truly sinful (Mt 15:17). He became upset over injustice and rejoiced when good was done. He loved children, sinners and saints, the poor and the affluent alike, eating with and being among them. He knew what it was like to be rejected to the point of people wanting to throw him off a cliff (Lk 4:29), and he had special friends who were honored by his presence and whom he enjoyed being with (Jn 12:1).
with his disciples then, so he wants to be with us now; and as our friends and loved ones frequently come to mind and we like to speak with them, so must Jesus become for us. When I get up in the morning, do I at some point, as I stumble into the early hours of the day and look toward my work, speak to him about it? When I’m caught in traffic or waiting in a line, do I take the opportunity to tell him about what’s on my mind, or simply direct my heart to him? Mother Thecla, our co-foundress, used to say to even tell Him if your big toe hurts. This is how familiar he wants us to be with him! Several saints tell us that Jesus likes to speak ‘heart to heart’ with us. Do I give him a chance to do this? Do I leave even a few short quiet spaces in my day for him to step into my heart and make his presence known?
Speak to him simply about what’s on your mind, and then be still and listen. If you have a hard time starting, turn to Mary, who held many conversations with him. She always brings us to Jesus. I would encourage you to read the gospels and become acquainted with Jesus as each evangelist presents him to us. Reflect on his words. Put yourself into each gospel scene, watching and listening to him. As you open your heart to this wisest and kindest of Teachers, he will gently guide you into His Way. He is the Teacher who will teach you the Truth of your own life and how it is bound to His Life and Death, and he will pour the grace of His Life into your soul.
‘Jesus Master is the Way that leads, the truth that enlightens, the life which sanctifies.'
Sr. Patricia Mary Maresca has been a Daughter of St. Paul since 1983. Besides evangelizing door-to-door, she has served in several PBM Centers from coast to coast. She is now carrying out a second term in Boston as a provincial councilor.