Story : Beautiful Hands
I have read a legend about three fair maids who lived in a royal palace. One morning they were strolling in the gardens among the beautiful red roses and the trees loaded with luscious fruits. One of the maids raised the question as to which of them had the most beautiful hands. Eleanor was gathering the fleshy ripe strawberries and her hands were stained with the crimson juice of her berries. She thought her hands the most beautiful. Antoinette thought her were the most beautiful as the fragrance of the roses lingered on her hands. Joan seated beside the stream had dipped her hands in cool crystal waters. Looking at the clear sparkling drops on her dainty fingers, she thought her hands the most beautiful.
A beggar happened to be passing by seeing the maidens; she stopped and asked for alms. The royal maidens swished their flowing skirts and turned away from the beggar in ragged cloths. The beggar girl moved on with a forlorn face. In front of a nearby cottage sat an old woman with a sub-burned face and toil-stained hands. Filled with compassion on seeing the beggar girl she gave her some bread. The legend says that the beggar was immediately transformed into an angel and appeared at the garden gate, saying to the palace maids, the most beautiful hands are those which are found ready to bless and help their fellowmen.
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A mother rocks the cradle, bathes, dresses, feeds the baby with loving care. She tends to the members of her family when they are sick. She does the household chores and cooks the food for them. Some mothers even take up jobs to add to the family income. Are not a mother’s hands the most beautiful?
Mother Theresa attended to the destitute persons, the sick and dying people abandoned on the streets. She picked them up from the gutters, bathed their wounds and tenderly cared for them. Were not her old wrinkled hands the most beautiful?
The nurses in the hospitals attend to the patients. Those working in old age homes and orphanages, those caring for the polio-affected persons, attend to the needs of the inmates… Surely their hands are the most beautiful.
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When you were young your parents tended you with loving care. They carried you, held your hands till your steps were steady. They cared for you when ill. When they grow old and their eyes grow dim, and their steps unsteady and their hands tremble, do not abandon them.
Lend them your helping hands and minister to their needs. Sirach 3 says, “If you respect your father you can make up for your sins. And if you honor your mother, you are earning great wealth ….” If you obey the Lord by honoring your father and making your mother happy you will live a long life (vv-3-6). So if you look after your parents in their old age your hands will be most beautiful in God’s sight.
Jesus the son of God used His hands to wash the feet of His apostles. He laid his hands on the sick to heal them. He even touched the lepers and healed them. He placed His hands on the little children who were brought to Him and blessed them. A warm clasp of your hands can give comfort and assurance to those in distress; we can bless our children placing our hands on them.
Never soil your hands by evil actions or for violence against person or vandalism against property. Instead use them to do good works of mercy, some kind deed to an afflicted neighbor. Lend a helping hand wherever you can.
Thank God for your hands and use them for doing services to humanity. Let your hands be generous and open in giving to the poor and needy. Then your hands will be the most beautiful.
When we are tired and our own hands ache, let us think of the hands of Jesus stretched wide and nailed to the cross for our sake. That will strengthen us to go on. Some of you may have heard about a damaged crucifix in chapel, where the image of Jesus has no hands. An inscription below the crucifix reads: I have no hands. Will you lend me yours?
Let’s use our hand in ministering to the Lord with our substance, by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and giving a drink to the thirsty.
For Jesus said: ‘I tell you whenever you did this to the least of my brethren you did it to me’ (Mt. 25:40), and ‘whoever gives even a cup of water to one of the least of these my followers… will certainly receive a reward’ (Mt. 10:42]. We cannot shelter the homeless. But we can give generously to the missions who provide them with shelters. Giving to the poor can make up for sin… don’t turn your back on a poor person or give him reason to curse you (Sir. 3:30, 4:4-5). Thus when the Lord sees our hands they will look beautiful in His sight.
– – – written by Mrs. M.J John