St. Teresa of Avila reveals the secret to deep union in prayer:contemplate the HUMANITY OF CHRIST.  On one occasion, St. Catherine of Siena was privileged to contemplate merely the "Hand" of Christ, which catapulted, the "Doctor of the Church" into ecstasy. Viewing more, she would have died of love!  Why not contemplate the "Hands of Jesus the Lord"!

1. HANDS OF JESUS IN THE HANDS OF MARY.  A very tender and moving contemplation is viewing Jesus as a Baby in the arms of Mary.  But, focusing on Mary gently, with great tenderness, which is characteristic of a mother, holding the hands of Jesus. Our Lady of Perpetual Help is holding the baby Jesus in her arms, His sandal is unlaced and falling, and He is grasping the hand of Mary.  That "Baby Jesus" in the arms of Mary is you and me and we are invited to grasp and cling to the hand of Mary.

2. CALLOUSED, SOILED, HARDENED HANDS OF JESUS THE CARPENTER.  As a youth Jesus worked long, hard, tiring hours in the carpenter shop, side by side with S. Joseph. Nailing pieces of wood, sawing and adjusting, sanding down to level, lifting heavy pieces of wood-- all of this hard work would have resulted in hardened, calloused, soiled hands.  These "Sacred-work-hands" teach us the value of hard work and that we should be using our hands to build the Kingdom of God and save souls!

3. HANDS OF JESUS EMBRACING AND BLESSING CHILDREN.  Jesus said, "Let the children come to me. Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven." BLESSINGS!  These Sacred Hands want to bless you, your children and all of your family.  May Dads/fathers impart Jesus' blessing on their children every night before retiring.

4. HANDS OF JESUS TOUCHING THE EYES OF THE BLIND.  Jesus is the "Light of the world" who came to cast out darkness and the prince of this world-- that is to say, to conquer sin and expel the devil!  Ask the hands of Jesus to touch your eyes so that you can see Him more clearly every day in the Word of God, the Persons you meet, circumstances of your life and in the "Bread of Life."

In Jesus' time, the outcasts of society, considered the scum of the earth, were the lepers. Sores all over the body, spreading from one part to the other, emitting a foul smell, highly contagious-- signs of leprosy--  was viewed in the worldly perspective  as a chastisement from God.  So severe was the suffering that they had to live in colonies separated from society and cry out "Impure" when others approached them.  Totally counter-cultural, full of love and compassion, and breaking all rules of etiquette and protocol--- (because of His great love)--- Jesus would actually touch the leper. However, instead of contracting the highly contagious disease, Jesus would heal it instantaneously!  My friends, welcome to the "Leper club"! We are all lepers from conception and birth, due to Original Sin and actual sin. Good News!  There is a "Doctor" in the House. Jesus, with His hands, wants to touch you and heal you, through His gentle but powerful "Touch" in the Sacrament of Confession! Jesus, touch my leprosy and heal me!

6. HANDS OF JESUS CALMING THE STORM.   The storm descended violently upon the Lake of Galilee, and the Apostles were in the boat.  Petrified with fear, they called Jesus who was asleep.  (The only time we find Jesus asleep in the whole of the Gospels is in the midst of the storm on the lake!!!! Lesson for us in trust!)  Totally in control of nature and the storm, Jesus arises, stretches out His hands and cries out: "Be calm!" The storm immediately subsided and a total calm followed!   In the interior storms of our life, we should call Jesus, invite Him into the boat of our life and beg Him to lift His powerful hands to calm the tempest! Jesus is just as powerful today, as He was 2000 years. His power (or lack of it) is in proportion to our faith. "Lord, I believe, but strengthen my faith."

7. HANDS OF JESUS RAISING THE DEAD.    A twelve year old girl died. Jesus was called and He entered the room and took the little girl by the hand.  Jesus'" Sacred and Healing Hand" lifted the girl, bringing her from death to life.  "Talitha Cum!"  Little girl, arise!  Immediately she rose from the dead, walked around the room and her parents were astonished.  Jesus' Hands still can raise the dead from their tomb, if we truly believe.  Jesus came to bring Life and life in abundance!

This simple but profound gesture has transformed the universe because with this Jesus promised to be with us until the end of time.   "I will be with you until the end of the world." (Mt 28).   But how is Jesus going to remain with us until the end of the world? Quite simply in the Church,  in the  Sacraments, but in  the most powerful way in His   "Real Presence" in the Eucharist.   Both at the Last Supper and in the small cottage in Emmaus, Jesus did the same with His Sacred Hands.  "He took bread, blessed the bread, broke the bread and gave the bread... All these gestures were accomplished by His Sacred Hands!

9.  HANDS OF JESUS EXTENDED AND NAILED TO THE CROSS.   Our meditation/contemplation would be far from complete, if we were to omit the most loving gesture of Jesus on earth: His death for us on the cross!  Jesus stretched out His Sacred Hands on the wood of the cross and allowed them to be brutally pierced with nails.  The hammer, the nails, the pounding, the blood gushing forth--- all from these Sacred Hands that blessed the children, opened the eyes of the blind, cleansed the lepers, raised the dead,  grasped the hands of Mary.  How much we should adore the Sacred Humanity of Jesus by contemplating these blood-stained hands.

10. DIVINE MERCY AND THE HANDS OF JESUS.  In the well-known image of Divine Mercy, the Risen Jesus stands, dressed in a white robe, head surrounded by light,  gentle and loving face inspiring confidence.  Furthermore,  Jesus with His right hand extended, He blesses the world; with His left hand pointing to His pierced Sacred Heart, two rays flow like a stream of grace, one red, the other a lighter color.    Both bring us back to the Passion, Good Friday, when the soldier with His lance pierced the Heart of Jesus. The "red" symbolizes the Eucharist; the lighter color, both Baptism and Confession.  His Sacred Hands point to the very symbol of His love for all of humanity: His Sacred Heart, pierced with a lance.

May the Sacred Hands of Jesus extend over you, your family, your household, and all who you are, and all that you  will do. May these Sacred Hands, that you have meditated upon bless you with the most abundant graces. May we walk hand in hand with Jesus and Mary through this life, valley of tears, until we meet in heaven!