Never have I seen a depiction that captures the fact that Jesus “came in the flesh” quite like in this excruciatingly detailed, intricately carved, six inch wooden statue of the Blessed Mother firmly holding a wiggly baby Jesus. Her hand, squeezing His dimpled flesh, His thigh so plump and supple...
He came in the flesh, the God-man, so that we might live a life of freedom and joy in ours. His human flesh was pierced and stretched, beaten and scarred, all so that we could have the ability to endure the worst that this world would offer us in return for a life well lived. He knew full well what was to come...but He did it anyway.
This poem* attributed to St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is inscribed on her children’s home wall, encouraging all to live their life in the flesh without hesitation or reserve, knowing that if we are to imitate the Master...we too will just need to do it “anyway.”
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 10:31
I want to live a life like You, to the absolute full, but I realize that it will not be easy. I may be taken advantage of, unjustly accused, laughed at and even worse...ignored all together and forgotten completely. But dear God, I pray, that by Your grace, I may be able, for Your great glory, to fight the good fight, love all You place in my path and do all You ask of me...anyway. Help me Father, because I know I will fail miserably without Your Spirit living and working in and through me for Your great purposes.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
*Many attribute this poem to St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta but an article in the New York Times reported (March 8, 2002) that the original version of this poem was written by Kent M. Keith.
The pictured Virgin and Child statue carved from boxwood is housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England. It was created in about 1495 by Veit Stoss, a German sculptor who was admired across Europe. The Italian critic Vasari described his work as a “miracle in wood.”