By Karen Schwaner Sheehy
Jesus meets us where we are. He longs for each of us to recognize Him and say, as Thomas did in the upper room, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Through this simple but bold proclamation, we open-up our hearts to Christ, and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, become participants in the eternal life of the Triune God. This is the good news proclaimed by John, the Evangelizer, in the book of Revelation (Rev 1:9), and each of us as Christians and Women In the New Evangelization.
But, how do we gain eyes to see and hearts to recognize the risen Lord? As we learn in today’s readings, the circumstances of individual conversion vary greatly. Where some come to know the Lord through the gift of faith, others are drawn to Christ through personal testimony, the words of Sacred Scripture, or observance of signs and wonders. Jesus meets us where we are, whether through a tangibly real and personal encounter, like that of Thomas, or an invisible experience felt deep within the heart. No matter what the means, we come to know Christ through the unmerited gift of grace. Through grace we are saved, and through grace, we grow in holiness and intimacy with Christ.
Jesus came that we may know the boundless love and mercy of His Father. Just as the people in today’s first reading where inspired, healed, forgiven, and called into deeper relationship with the Lord, so too are we invited to encounter God’s healing embrace on this special Feast Day of Divine Mercy. Today, according to the words spoken by our Lord to St. Faustina, the flood gates of His tender mercy are open wide (Diary entry 699). Will we walk through those gates? Will we invite others to do the same?
About three months ago, my adoptive son’s 20-year-old birth sister, Alyssa, moved in with us. Since that time, we have surrounded her with love, helped her find healing for some recurrent medical issues, guided her through a ½ year of home schooling, and introduced her to our beautiful Catholic Faith. Although organized religion was kind of a new concept for Alyssa, Jesus was no stranger, for Jesus meets us where we are! In fact, for several months prior to our reacquaintance, she had seen this man named Jesus in a recurrent dream, where He provided encouragement, a welcoming invitation, and consistent reassurance, “Alyssa, I see you. Don’t worry, change is coming!” And so it has!
Last month, Alyssa, myself, my husband, Tom, and son, Joseph, went on a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Drawn to her sweet demeanor and infectious smile, our entire group watched in awe as she was baptized on the banks of the River Jordan. At her side, as Godparents, was my son and her younger brother, Joseph, and myself. That day, we welcomed this newly adopted daughter of God into the faith. Jesus meets us where we are!
Thank you, Jesus, for your self-sacrificial love, and for your passion, death and resurrection. Thank you, Jesus, for meeting us where we are, and for giving us visible signs and quiet movements of the heart which inspire us to say, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). Jesus, I trust in You!
About the author:
Karen Sheehy is a devout Catholic, wife and mother, motivational speaker, blogger, president of a non-for-profit, and developer of spiritualsafariguide.com, your passport to a world of spiritual inspiration and understanding. To learn more about Karen Sheehy and her newly released book entitled, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Trinity of Love, please visit http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com
Picture taken by Karen Schwaner Sheehy on the River Jordan in the Holy Land (February 2019). Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Alyssa’s Baptism in the Jordan is such a tangible proof of God’s love for her. Jesus called her out of darkness to His marvelous light. It is amazing to witness all you and Tom have shared with your new extended family. Jesus did let Alyssa know change was coming and what a beautiful life has opened up for her to walk in His Spirit. May you both be richly blessed for being true evangelizers in your own little domestic church, your family.
God is good and His mercy never ceases to amaze me. Give your yes then buckle up because you never know where He will take you. Jesus, I trust in you.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful and personal story. God has indeed blessed Alyssa by the witness of your family and the love of Christ that you have shown her and everyone around you, Alleluia!
Alleluia, Alleluia! God has risen and saved us all. His mercy astounds me and blesses me always. Alyssa has brought much joy and healing into our lives. Enjoy this beautiful Feast Day.
Beautifully inspirational story of Alyssa’s “conversion” & baptism by the River Jordan – can’t get better than that!!! Thank you for sharing this beautiful faith journey, Karen. Alleluia!!!
Praise God for His great mercy!
What a beautiful story. I LOVE reading about Jesus coming to her in the recurrent dreams! Thank you for sharing.
You are welcome. She has such a beautifully open spirit.