Today someone dedicated himself in a deeper way to the service of God. A friend renewed his vows as a Franciscan brother. The event touched me in many ways. What I write about below was just one of them.
The story of St. Francis kissing a leper was briefly told at the ceremony. Apparently, St. Francis was deathly afraid of lepers all his life, but through the grace of God he was able to embrace and kiss one. This encounter removed the fear and changed his life.
A thought struck my heart as I listened to the story. Are we not like lepers embraced by God? We are amazingly stubborn and rebellious (we wear it like leprosy), yet He loves us. We are completely undeserving, yet He bestows grace upon us. We cannot earn His love, yet He gives it unwaveringly. He embraces us in all our sin and Heaven responds with joy when we allow the embrace. And, like St. Francis, our lives are changed.
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."