Holy Family

Holy Family

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feast of Saint Raymond Penyfort

Good morning. This morning’s Gospel is from the Gospel of Luke. (Lk 5:12-16) It is a story of a man stricken with leprosy and his humble and faith filled request for Jesus to heal him.  “It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” What happens next is incredible. Jesus touches him. He could have just simply said the words from a distance and went on, but no, Jesus reaches out and touches the man. Through this simple act of touch, Jesus shows His love, not just for this man, but for each one of us. Jesus demonstrates for us in this simple act of touching His unlimited love for each one of us. The thought of this act of reaching out and touching this man brings to mind for me the image of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. Jesus awaits the opportunity to touch each one of our lives, but for the asking, as the man did in Luke’s Gospel.

This Gospel story offers, among other things, a clear message regarding love and the importance of touching one another in our own personal life experiences. Back when I was in graduate school, one of the most influential persons involved in the study of family therapy at the time was the noted Author and psychotherapist Virginia Satir. One of the things she was noted for was her suggestion that for people to be healthy it is important for them to reach out and touch one another in a non-sexual way. In fact she is quoted as having said: “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”  Now, I don’t know how exact all that is, but I do firmly believe that it is important for people to reach out and touch one another in a loving, affirming way. This is especially true in marriage. Non-sexual touching between a man and a woman in marriage is crucial to a healthy marriage; it provides for reassurance, builds trust, and increases intimacy within the relationship.  This delightful thing of touching one another, of physical intimacy within marriage is a wonderful gift, given to us from God. God wants us to reach out and touch each other. He wants us to enjoy the warmth and comfort of a hug from a loved one. As seen in the Gospel story it provides for healing, so too in marriage it helps sooth the hurts and uncertainties that occur, and as suggested by Virginia Satir it provides for healthy growth. So reach out and touch someone, and give an especially long hug to your spouse and loved ones today. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life and works of Saint Raymond Penyfort.

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