Thomas Griffin (9/24/20)
During my first year of teaching middle school religion, I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends come in on Friday’s and teach my 7th and 8th grade classes so I could make my way down to the 4th and 5th graders. The students loved having him come in and talk to them about life and about how we are called to live out our faith everyday.
He would also tell them how he was engaged and that he was preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage. He asked them, on several occasions, to pray for him and his fiance as they were inching closer to their wedding day. One day a student asked him what his first dance will be with his wife at their wedding reception. Not only did he answer them, he showed them a Youtube clip of a song they were considering: “I can’t help falling in love with you”, a cover by Twenty-one Pilots.
I was in the classroom during one period when he showed them, and the class watched it so attentively. However, I focused more intently on how my best friend watched the video being played. As each line and chorus went by, the smile on his face began to grow wider and wider. You could visibly see the love he had for his fiance; it written all over his face.
When the bell rang I told him how much I enjoyed the version of the song, and that my favorite line was: “take my hand, take my whole life too.” He said this was the key line for both him and his fiance. It reminded him of taking his wife’s hand, holding it strongly but gently. Very quickly, in that moment, I realized that this line also pointed to a reality central to our faith. We were in the season of Lent at the time, and we were getting closer and closer to Holy Week.
I remembered a scene from the movie “The Passion of Christ” and how the hands of Jesus are kept wide open when the soldiers nailed him to the cross. He allows the soldiers to take his hands, and to take his life with it. That is true love and sacrifice. Not to take from others, but to allow ourselves to be given to the one we would die for.
Human love and the love of Christ is shown, if we look closely, through the hands, hands that are wide open. When Christ lays down his life on the cross, he opens his hands and he takes us with him. Now with the Resurrection, the Eucharist, and the other Sacraments, he never allows us to fall out of his grip. We can take his word for it: “No one can take them out of my hand” (John 10:28). There is no greater love that a marriage can move towards emulating.
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