Holding Jesus
Off the Wall, Apr 17
, 2014

Some time ago, I had heard about a particular book and decided to buy it. I logged onto a website on the Internet to see what was available and found three with similar titles. I did the unthinkable. I ordered every book that intrigued me, three in all. Upon receiving them, two I put on my bookshelf, and the other, for some reason, kept by my computer.

Every time I wrote a column, I glanced over and saw it sitting by my hard drive. Several times, I picked it up but never actually spent any time reading it, just meditating on its title, “Holding Jesus.” Written by Alfred McBride O. Praem, the author brought to light reflections on Mary, the Mother of God.

A couple of weeks ago, I became totally engrossed with what that title actually meant.

I began to meditate on the great outdoors and the vastness of its beauty. As one who promotes conservation and the restoration of natural resources, it would only stand to reason that anything from a single blade of grass to the vastness and spectacle of the Grand Canyon were all created by one person, God. Everything imaginable and non-conceivable was brought into being by Him.

All I have to do is walk out my door and see a snowflake and quickly realize there are no two alike. Just by gazing out my bedroom window, I see the Laurel Mountains with trees projecting toward the heavens, not all the same species, but those bearing leaves of varied shapes and sizes. And knowing that everything, large or small, simple, or highly technical was produced via talents given by God to human beings is more than I can fathom. Yet I know I was given a brain to sort through the unknown, some of which could be deciphered, while others left untouched. They would have to remain as the word implies – mysteries.

Anyone who can see will reveal first thing in the morning items he uses prompting him to start the day – a cup of coffee made from Columbian-grown beans, eggs laid by chickens, and juice, produced from Florida or California fruit groves, all created for our nurturing necessities.

Amerced in my pensive journey, I found myself alongside Joseph and Mary as she cradled her newborn child, caring for Him with love only a good mother could and did give. Wrapped in swaddling clothes, the baby Jesus peered into her eyes and she, His. God had sent His Son into the world to convey His love. Just as she felt it, I, too, sensed it – a truly, beautiful gift.

I then found myself in The Upper Room among the disciples watching Jesus as He held up the bread followed by the chalice. His words vividly echoed in my mind. “While they were eating, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many…”

So, when we receive the Eucharist, the body and blood of Christ, we are actually receiving Him in His fullness. I really don’t think we have the degree of imagination it takes to realize the multiplicity of greatness we are experiencing when we participate in this the Holy Sacrament.

Every blade of grass, tree limb and towering skyscraper had its roots in God’s creation. Anything we sense, may it be music, a handful of seeds or a bouquet of roses, had its origin in our Creator, yet, we are given the opportunity to hold Him in our hands.

As we gather to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, this Easter, may we be ever thankful for His shedding of His blood for our sinfulness. In taking communion, might Protestants ever be mindful of the symbolization of ingesting both species, His body and the blood. As Catholics, lest we never forget that we are not only holding Jesus in our hands, but realizing we are accepting Him in actuality, strengthening our inner being by making Him a part of us every time we lay Him on our tongues. There is nothing more awesome than that.

May we always remember to acknowledge and praise Him for we can never match what He’s done for us.

May you all have a blessed Easter.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.