You are Christ's Handsby Teresa of Avila
Original Language Spanish
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
|-- from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger|
/ Image by batega /
With Christmas coming up, I thought this might be a poem one to contemplate. While this poem is popularly attributed to St. Teresa of Avila, it is not among her officially recognized works.
Whether this was composed by Teresa of Avila herself or by an anonymous Christian poet, this is one of my favorite prayer-poems. It is a prayer of supreme spiritual maturity. It is not someone imploring Christ to come and fix everything in the external way imagined by so many fundamentalist sects; rather, it recognizes the presence of the Divine within each of us and our sacred responsibility to embody that compassion and service within the world. Each one of us is the vehicle through which Christ (or Ishwara or the Buddha) enacts blessings in the world. Our job is to let that sacred current flow through us unhindered.
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now...
Whether you celebrate Christmas or recently celebrated Hanukkah or are readying for the Solstice -- or simply watching as the light to renew itself amidst the darkness of winter -- may this be a special time for you. And may the light in your life bring light and hope to others.