I will never forget it. It had not been that long since I had returned to church, and I was truly learning about my faith for the first time.
Confused, and as I like to describe it, “searching in the dark to find God”, I was still riddled with shame and guilt concerning my abortion, and on a quest to come to know this “Jesus”, who I had been told was full of mercy, and not only could, but wanted to heal me.
As I sat at mass, still fearful that someone would find out about my terrible secret, I heard the priest begin his homily. “What do you want to be when you grow up; a fireman, a teacher, a nurse or doctor?”
I remember thinking it was strange because most of us were adults. Then, the priest paused for a while, and then said, “I want to be a tabernacle! I want to empty myself so Jesus can live in me. I want to love Him with my whole heart and be a place of rest and safety for Him.”
I did not have a clue what that even meant. My relationship with Jesus was so new, just beginning, but as I listened to his beautiful colloquy, I saw that he was really speaking to Jesus, not us, and that the love and peace on his face was genuine. I also knew I wanted to feel that too. It gave me hope, that indeed this “Jesus” was merciful and forgiving, and that there could be healing, even for me.
All these years later, I still remember that homily as if it were yesterday. I cannot believe all that has happened since then, and words can never express my gratitude to God for the many gifts and graces He constantly bestows on me. Now, I’d like to believe that my face would convey the same emotions and love that priest had.
Sure, I know my “tabernacle” gets pretty dirty, and in fact, that my very desire to be a tabernacle is only by His grace, but I also know His understanding, patience and His great mercy towards me. So, when the “dirt” of life piles up, I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and emptying myself, I pray that I too want to become a tabernacle, a place of rest and safety for Him, the One who healed me.
What do you want to be when you grow up? TB