God’s tender fingers reach out from age to age to touch the softened inner spaces of those who open their souls in hope.

Ann Johnson
Author of Miryam of Nazareth


There is something moving and real and deeply tender in the gesture of open hands.  It is the beggar’s universal gesture of appeal.  It suggests a willingness to receive, to admit need, a desire to be filled.  It is our gesture as we come to Christ in the Eucharist.  It speaks of humility and vulnerability, those qualities not always valued in our culture today.  It is in complete contrast to any form of ‘rape’, and I am referring here to the more general meaning of that word, which is ‘to take by force’, and which can be applied to anything that is ‘taken’ in that way.  Rape of any kind is violent and destructive and suggests greed and ‘neediness’ rather than a deeply discerned need.  The spiritual life cannot be taken by force.  Our spiritual life is the life of God within us, and that cannot be grabbed or forced.  We live in a culture, however, which does promote something of this grabbing, grasping, taking by force.  ‘Get out there and get what you want’ is often the message we are given.  But in our spiritual life, open hands are our most authentic posture.  Receptivity is the path we are invited to walk.  But why does grabbing or grasping, taking by force, not lead to an authentic spiritual life?  And what in fact might it mean to know what we deeply desire and need, and to achieve that in our spiritual growth, without ‘grabbing’? 


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Ms Kerry McCullough

Dean of Mission