This was a first. I had never had a catechist take a group that I was part of outside of the classroom for a lesson. Today, however, we had no ordinary catechist. He was a friend…and tonight he was our substitute teacher.
As we walked from the classroom to the church, my curiosity grew. Where are we going? I thought, Is he taking us to the church to pray? What will he say? How did he come to so believe in God that he spends his free time being a catechist—or at least subbing for one? As my thoughts wandered, we stopped at a statue of Christ on the cross that was illuminated by spotlights.
“Take some time to look at Christ Jesus on the cross,” he finally said. “What do you see? What do you feel? What thoughts come to mind when you gaze at this passionate scene?”
I thought to myself, What do I see? I see sheer anguish, nails violently piercing his hands and feet, blood streaming down his body. Then I see his eyes. They look upward, at peace. What do you feel? Well, I guess I feel confused. His body says one thing, but his eyes say another. I feel disturbed by this horrific death—and afraid because I understand we’re all capable of the kind of cruelty inflicted on our Lord. My thoughts? I don’t understand why anyone would choose to die like this. I heard that Jesus willingly allowed himself to be whipped, stripped naked, mocked, spit upon, nailed to a cross, and die in seeming disgrace. All for us. How can he love us this much?
My thoughts were suddenly interrupted. Knock. Knock. Knock. I looked up and saw my friend’s hand lifted high, knocking on the cross as one would tap on a door. “Do you hear that?” he asked the class. “That is Christ, our God, knocking on your heart. He is always knocking on our hearts. Why? Because he loves us. He wants to be near us, heal us, transform us. He wants to speak to us. He doesn’t want to barge in and force us to open our hearts to him. That’s not his way. He is a God of peace, healing, and great love. So, he keeps knocking.” Knock. Knock. Knock. “Will you answer his call? Will you let him enter? Will you open that door to him? Will you allow him to be a part of your life, let him live in your heart? It’s your choice.”
Until that evening, I had yet to meet someone who was truly on fire for God. That night, I left inspired.
The first step to a meaningful relationship with God is simply answering God’s call when he knocks on our heart, letting the life-changing conversation begin.
Adapted from The Alluring Voice of God: Forming Daily Encounters by Carrell Jamilano, copyright 2021 (Liguori Publications, 828416). To order, visit Liguori.org or call 800-325-9521.