by Ken Rolheiser
Open the eyes of my heart

I was inspired at a recent Sunday service. The Spirit led me to glimpse Christ’s sacrifice for us and for all time. The realization of that image left me in tears.

In Gethsemane Jesus contemplated his sacrifice of Good Friday. Faced with that reality, he accepted it and embraced it. The vision of some of the saints can be compared to this.

Saint Lawrence was conscious of the overwhelming reality of his knowledge of Christ and accepted the sure suffering and death of his martyrdom. As he was roasted on a gridiron he said, “Turn me over, this side is done.”

My Grandfather had a vision of how my brother’s vocation to the priesthood would impact the spirituality of the family in the generations to come. Grandfather had wanted to become a priest himself, but he was told, “You are strong, you can work.”

Grandfather was very aware of the faith of our German-Russian fore-fathers that had survived 148 years in Russia and would now be blessed in Canada. His vision led him to ask my brother, “Do you think you will become a priest?”

My brother answered him, “Everything looks promising.” “If only it will come to pass,” said my grandfather. And he shook my brother’s hand for the last time and walked away and shed a silent tear. Two days later he died suddenly.

In the eyes of his heart my grandfather saw what the faith future of his family could be before the Lord called him home. His physical heart gave out two days later, but his spiritual heart still beats.

My brother’s vision carried him through the reality of a priesthood of service that went beyond fifty years. This month he is retiring from missionary work in Buffalo Narrows. His vision continues to carry him in the service to which we are all called.

When we contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Gospel message we have heard, then we must realize our part in all this. We are needed.

The Church needs us more than ever as we struggle to pass on the faith. The world needs us as we daily face the dangers that hatred and worldly-minded thinking lead us to. Watching the news on any given day makes us want to pray.

And it is not unpleasant work, working for the Lord. Isaiah 52:7 says: “How beautiful on the mountains, are the feet of the one who brings good news, who heralds peace, brings happiness, proclaims salvation, and tells Zion, ‘Your God is king!’”

And how easy we have it, you and I; most of the time. I am reminded of a blind, autistic child. At ten, Christopher Duffy sang, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.” And he felt his vocal chords with his fingers in an effort to get it right.

We were born on the path of advantage. Duffy was born prematurely with drugs in his system. He weighed one pound twelve ounces, and it was a desperate struggle just to live.

May the Lord enlighten the eyes of our mind so that we can see what hope his call holds for us, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit, and how infinitely great is the power that he has exercised for us believers. (Ephesians 1:18)

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