Fr. Nathan O’Halloran, SJ talks about how Father Thomas lived a life of self-sacrifice and was constantly dying to self, but he was always joyful. Fr. Rick was one of the freest people Fr. Nathan ever knew.
The oldest paintings of St. Francis of Assisi depict the nails still in the wounds. As Fr. Nathan prayed about this, he understood if you remove the nails, the wounds will close. And if the wounds close, you are not dying anymore. And if you are not dying anymore, then you’re not handing yourself over anymore.
The wounds need to stay open. When the wounds remain open, they remind us how to live. Father Thomas never tried to pull out his nails. He embraced the life of dying because it gave him the life of Christ. It opened him up in freedom, to serve all of El Paso, all of Juarez, whoever needed him.
God wants to put new nails in our hands. Ways to open our flesh, transform us into food, that we can give to others.
Are you dying? How? Can you name the ways you are dying concretely?
- 2 Cor 4:10-12