“How big is my girl?” my father would ask when I was a child. Then he would help me stretch out my arms as wide as I could, saying: “So big!” I knew this was just a game, but I loved pretending I was as big as my dad. The truth is, I would never be as big or as strong as my father. Even now at 92 years old, he lives alone, accomplishing great feats daily just by taking care of himself, struggling with legs that long ago refused to cooperate.
As a cradle Catholic, I love and always will love my crucified Lord. His bloody self-sacrifice means everything to me. I understand, as best as I am able, that he died so I might live; that his death is the ultimate gift of love for me. Looking at the cross, I ask Jesus how much he loves me. He stretches out his arms as far as he can, saying “This much!”
I have been content to stay with Christ on the cross for most of my life. I have passed through hardships and disappointments, trials and traumas, but only with the cross by my side. I am still learning to “offer it up for souls.”
I believe in all the miracles Christ performed while on earth. I believe in all the miracles the apostles performed in the name of Jesus. But in retrospect, I don’t think I believed that healings and miracles still happen today. I never looked for them and I never expected them. Why? Because of my love affair with Christ crucified. I’ve experienced the sorrow and the comfort of the cross, but never the great power of the Resurrection. My God was not “that big.”
It has taken a few years for the scales to fall off my eyes and for me to lay down my pride so I might become more teachable in my faith journey—but once I received the grace to yield to the Holy Spirit I was quickly introduced to the power of Christ resurrected.
In one of Mark Twain’s famous quotes, he says, “When I was 14 years old, I was amazed how unintelligent my father was. By the time I reached 21, I was astounded at how much he had learned in the last seven years…” Oh, how my God had grown!
Now I believe wholeheartedly the promises of Mark 16, 17-19. “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new languages…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” And I believe they apply to today.
I accept as truth that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (cf. Heb 13, 8). I believe that healings and miracles happen today just as they did over 2,000 years ago. I believe it, not because I have read about it, but because like St. Thomas I have seen it firsthand and have experienced it.
I have witnessed the healing power of God in the lives of others as well as in my own life. I received a physical healing from the stomach ulcers from which I suffered for many years. I have also been an eyewitness to many emotional and spiritual healings, and I repeat with St. John: “There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written” (Jn 21, 25).
Although I continue to worship, adore, and give my love to my crucified Jesus, I do regret my earlier refusal to grow in faith. I repent that I had reduced the Lord to a dormant God. And I lament that for many years I denied him his delight in being exactly who he is: our all-powerful and deeply caring Father.
Now if you ask me, “How big is your God?” I will shout out in jubilant song: “Now sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, how great Thou art, how great thou art”—and really mean it!