Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hammer or Pliers?

Our Lady of LaSalette is not a well-known Mary apparition. The story goes that Mary appeared to 2 French children who were herding cows. Mary was weeping about the sins taking place in the world. If you see a cross with a pliers and a hammer, that is the LaSalette cross. It is not easy to find one of these crosses except at the shrine dedicated to LaSalette.

On the website for the shrine I couldn't find the explanation for this odd crucifix. If you didn't know any better you might think that it was dedicated to some kind of workers society. The meaning I have heard for the pliers and the hammer is much more profound. The meaning for the hammer and pliers has touched my life.

The hammer and the pliers represent our actions. With every action we choose--hammer or pliers? The hammer drives the nails into the feet and hands of Christ. The pliers try to pull the nails out. Think of that--an unkind word--hammer, remembering to pray--pliers. Each action has an effect, each action is good or bad.

Just this morning I found someones's lunch items floating in the cold, slimy dishwater from last night. I was very tempted just to leave them there. But I had just read something about LaSalette and it reminded me--do good, for Christ's sake. So I washed the lunch things. When it was announced that the individual was buying lunch so he didn't need the things today, I knew that my effort wasn't wasted. I had chosen to do good for Christ. It is always right to do good whether anyone else ever knows or appreciates it. Always choose the pliers.

If I could just keep the LaSalette cross in my mind, I know that I would come closer to Christ with my daily life. Although I am a pretty active Christian, still I find there is a tendency to think this thing or that thing isn't really covered by my duty or call as a Christian. There is a tencdency to put some things outside of my Catholic Christian life. But the truth is, everything is part of my call. Everything I do or neglect to do effects my soul.

For this Holy Thursday be mindful, thoughtful, considerate of all that you do. Use the pliers, not the hammer. Choose what is good and holy and pleasing in His sight. I intend to try. I really intend to try.

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