October 28, 2015: His footprints beckon us to follow Him

~by Louis Templeman


Faced with life’s challenges, we seek guidance, solace, wisdom, patience, fortitude and the like. If we open our spiritual eyes, there is a clear path, one that requires us to follow the footsteps.

Job’s miseries fascinate because they still resonate. It is like Job read our mail when he said, “Is not . . . life on earth drudgery . . . months of misery . . . without hope . . . I shall not see happiness again.” He said that long before the advent of Welbutrin and Prozac. Still, his ancient words live because we see our sorrows through his.

We long for what we do not have. That is why the Christian yearns for God, for healing, for home, for hope, for Jesus. We want what we endure to stop and what we long for to finally show up. In Christ we find what we need.

What did Jesus leave behind after his departure of two thousand years ago? He left no text. He left no organized apologetic or doctrine. No system or organization to define our lives. Later generations of apostles and bishops did, thank God, but Jesus himself did not. What he brought was himself. His hands. His words. His love. His sacrifice. His body. His blood. His footprints which beckon us to follow him. After his resurrection he appeared to two of his disciples and then abruptly vanished leaving only the bread he had broken behind. In this way he demonstrated that whenever, motivated by love, you visit someone you always leave a bit of yourself behind. Through pain Christ gave himself to us. Through affliction he became to us the bread of life. To love others always involves being consumed. People consume our time, our patience, our counsel, our ears, and we leave a little less than we came. That’s why some fellowship and interactions tire us. Yet, they inwardly affirm us.

It is those times when we are less likely to see our lives as a misery. Perhaps, our lives are full of hurt but when we struggle to love and give anyway we are moving out of our pain and into the pain of others. This is why Paul said in Romans 5:

We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Paul is not quoting from some religious text but is telling what he experienced as he walked the footprints that Jesus left for him to follow. If anyone knew Job’s misery Paul did. However, Paul had the cure. We also have the cure. We all know what Job is talking about. Affliction. Really, that is no place to stop. Paul said that is where we start. In the footprints of Christ it is one of the paving stones on the road of love.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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