By Judie Brown
Today we are told to wash our hands often in order to keep our hands free of possible contaminants. We have been told this many times during the course of our lives, more often perhaps when we were children.
Sadly, a physical washing cannot clean some hands from all that contaminates them. As we know, today the human hand is used in ways that are deadly as well as ways that provide comfort. For those of us who know the loving touch of the hand of God, we yearn for that touch often. Fr. Jim Van Vurst reminds us that “the image of us being held in the hands of God is such a help in understanding how close He is to us. We even think of God as picking us up after a fall.”
God’s hands provide both love and mercy.
Contrast this image with the hand of an expectant mother who sees someone at the local Planned Parenthood or similar facility for the purpose of getting a medical abortion. She will be given one pill in the doctor’s office followed by another pill that she will take at home. Her hand is not used to touch and caress her baby but rather to take a pill that will assure the death of her baby.
Her hand holds a lethal weapon.
Yet we saw God’s mercy in the hands of Tyler, Texas’ bishop, Joseph Strickland, who withheld the use of his hand to sign the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops’ “Statement on Scarce Healthcare Resources.” This document discusses “medical triage decisions” which the bishops believe should be made by medical professionals without their having to fear “punitive action” for the life-or-death decisions they make when dealing with victims of the coronavirus.
Strickland’s hand was withheld in what can only be described as a lifesaving action.
We see another use of hands when some news reporters write stories that allege that pro-life politicians are using the coronavirus to exploit their own agendas. One such account states:
“Instead of meeting people’s reproductive health needs, opportunistic policymakers are seizing the moment to restrict or outright ban abortion care.”
In essence, such biased news reports suggest that aborting a child is an essential healthcare service rather than the actual elective surgical procedure that it is—a surgery aimed at killing a person instead of healing someone.
Such hands spread deceit as they do the work of the evil one.
Alternatively, April has been declared National Child Abuse Prevention Month—such an obvious oxymoron when considering those who are dedicated to aborting children.
We know that every abortion represents the ultimate child abuse—abuse that results in the death of a person who could have used his hands to do something good, like discover a cure for a dreaded disease such as COVID-19.
The human hand is a powerful appendage—the source of good or evil. We each make that choice.
We choose to use our hands in a variety of ways. Yet we must not forget that God calls us to use them to perform acts of mercy and compassion toward the vulnerable.
We must embrace the expectant mother and affirm her ability to carry her child to term with the loving help of others who want what is best for both of them.
We must visit the sick. However, in these times of isolation and social distancing, we must use our hands to send cards and letters to those who are alone and suffering. We must use our hands to make telephone calls and use FaceTime, meeting long distance with those who long to see a loved one and hear a kind word.
There are so many ways we can use our hands in the service of others. Yet the most important way we can use our hands is in prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and adoration.
Recall these words of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:
“Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.”
Christ stretched out His hands on the cross and suffered death out of love for you and me so that we might use our hands for His greater glory. In doing so, we not only act out our own salvation, but we beat back the evil hand of imposed death.