For a long time, You were nothing but a statue of grey, speckled stone.
An image in my imagination, or passing across the television screen.
An unfulfilled longing.
A false god.
A forgotten love.
A distraction…Or so I thought.
Where did you go, oh Father,
Protector of children abandoned to violence?
I wondered, again and again.
You were always there.
It was I who had turned the other way.
But you, in your faithfulness, gently placed your crucified hands on my cheek
And turned my gaze back to your gaze, so that I could see into Your eyes.
No longer a statue of cold stone, but a father, a heart spilling with joy and laughter.
No longer a passing image, but You in Papa Francis himself, smiling and loving me.
No longer an absent God, but a Father in heaven who brought all my worlds into Your healing embrace through the gift of Your Son.
SOURCE: Papal Visit to Philadelphia, October 2015
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