(Poetry) Hands of a Saint

by Br. Zachary Burns, T.O.R.

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Illustration by Br. Zachary Burns, T.O.R.

Brown cotton gloves clinging to fragile skin. Blood beneath a buffer of bandages.

The hands of a saint. Regal vestments with gaudy gold trim worn by a priest with thick dark eyebrows, silver beard, and a face made gruff by the air of the Italian mountains. God’s mountains. Or perhaps it was the old Franciscan friar who first brought these mountains to God.

White smoke rising from burnt incense and permeating the few open spaces in the crowded church. Farmers, laborers, housewives. They have come to see him. Their personal miracle. Christ walking a twentieth century earth. From behind a marble altar, the friar trembles. A life’s march to Calvary nearing completion. Suffering and misery, ecstasy and joy. It was all for them; it was all for Him.

The hands of a saint raised high in blessing. The hands that, in their youth, excitedly sifted through stacks of holy cards, each one the portrait of a hero. The hands that, with sadness, had embraced a mother and father before leaving for the monastery, before dying to the world. The hands that, with longing, venerated Christ’s crucifix after being reborn. The hands that healed, that pardoned, that turned bread into flesh and wine into blood. These were the hands of a saint. The hands of a man who bore the wounds of Christ.

At the altar, he collapses. Jesus, too, knew what it meant to fall. It would be the third and StPadre Piofinal time. The women of Jerusalem weep as they look on. Then he is led by the crowd through the city gates. The tired Franciscan gazes for the last time upon the faces of the ones whom he has loved.

Father, please do not abandon us. How will we go on without you?

I will wait at the gates of heaven until the last of my children have entered.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Br. Zachary Burns, T.O.R., is a Franciscan friar of the Third Order Regular from the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For more of his writings, fiction & non-fiction, visit his blog This Too Shall Pass.

Fr. Gabriele Amorth on Medjugorje

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With the recent news of the passing of Fr. Gabriele Amorth (1925-2016), the most prominent exorcist in the Church, here is a video of Fr. Amorth on national TV speaking about Our Lady of Medjugorje, a topic he was not shy about. Fr. Amorth emphasizes that Satan’s biggest success has been constructing “a world culture without God, and the Madonna of Medjugorje has come specifically to bring back the world to God.” He stressed that Medjugorje is a place of great conversions and where people return to confession.

ALSO SEE: HELP BRING “APPARITION HILL” TO THE ACADEMY AWARDS

Please help bring Apparition Hill, a life-transforming movie about a group of pilgrims experiencing Medjugorje, to the Academy Awards. When I saw the film, months ago, there was not a dry eye in the theater it was so powerful. Please watch the video below of one of the producers, explaining the situation of getting the film to the Academy Awards and allowing it to reach millions of people. Here is the Web site to go to contribute to this project.

“Hillsong – Let Hope Rise” in Theaters this Friday

Please check out the release of Hillsong – Let Hope Rise, a movie hitting theaters this Friday on one of the most popular Christian bands in the world. Here is the trailer and also an interview with a couple band members, including lead singer Taya Smith.

Help Bring “Apparition Hill” to the Academy Awards

Friends, please help bring Apparition Hill, a life-transforming movie about a group of pilgrims experiencing Medjugorje, to the Academy Awards. When I saw the film, months ago, there was not a dry eye in the theater it was so powerful. Please watch this video of one of the producers, explaining the situation of getting the film to the Academy Awards and allowing it to reach millions of people. If you are able to contribute to this important project here is the Web site to go to.

Releasing the Holy Spirit – My Sermon

I’ve had the honor this summer of working with veterans at a VA hospital in Pittsburgh. Here is a video of a sermon I recently gave to the veterans at a healing service that we held last Sunday. Thanks to all who offered prayers for this event!

My Interview at Radio Maria

Radio-MariaI recently had the pleasure to be interviewed by Kathie Duggan for her show “Sacred Treasures” for Radio Maria U.S. Feeling called to be vulnerable in order to express how much the Lord has done in my life, and — through the work of His grace and mercy — hoping to inspire others who may have similar struggles in their lives, or that of their families, I felt inspired to open up about issues like addiction, family struggles, and the paths toward healing and a priestly vocation, which I am currently pursuing as a seminarian. Please click here to listen to the interview.

St. John Vianney and St. John Paul II: Brothers of the Priesthood

Ever wonder where Saint John Paul II picked up that beautiful gesture of kissing the jpIIground when arriving in a new country? He actually learned it from a famous French saint.

“It was a gesture I had learned from Saint John Mary Vianney,” John Paul II recalled in Gift and Mystery, a personal work recollecting important influences and moments that led John Paul II to pursue his priestly vocation as a young man.

Saint John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, whose memorial is celebrated today, had a great influence on the priesthood of John Paul II, from as early as his seminary years. John Paul II wrote how, as a young priest studying for his doctorate in Rome, he was able to travel to France and “spend some time in Ars.” He would never forget this experience and it would guide him as a priest with great graces and memories.

JohnVianney“With great emotion I visited the little old church where Saint John Vianney heard confessions, taught catechism, and gave his homilies. It was an unforgettable experience for me. From my seminary years I had been impressed with the figure of the Curé of Ars, especially after reading his biography by Monsignor Trochu. Saint John Mary Vianney astonishes us because in him we can see the power of grace working through human limitations.

“It was his heroic service in the confessional which particularly struck me. That humble priest, who would hear confessions more than ten hours a day, eating little and sleeping only a few hours, was able, at a difficult moment in history, to inspire a kind of spiritual revolution in France, and not only there. Thousands of people passed through Ars and knelt at his confessional. Against the background of attacks on the Church and the clergy in the nineteenth century, his witness was truly revolutionary.

“My encounter with this saintly figure confirmed me in the conviction that a priest fulfills an essential part of his mission through the confessional—by voluntarily ‘making himself a prisoner of the confessional.’ Many times, as I heard confessions in my first parish at Niegowic and then in Cracow, my thoughts would turn to this unforgettable experience.”

— Saint John Paul II, Gift and Mystery: On the Fiftieth Anniversary of My Priestly  Ordination