Placing our hands in God's Print
Living and Learning
Thursday, Jan. 08, 2009 -- 1:00 AM
Living and Learning column by Msgr. Daniel T. Ganshert

Kings and presidents. We just celebrated one and soon will inaugurate another. Epiphany manifests the long awaited Messiah and King. January 20th points to a new political administration for our country. Time for a little history.

Years ago, a king's servant would fold his hands and place them in the hands of the king. The king would pledge his protection of the servant if the servant would pledge to protect the king.

For instance, this would mean that the king would not have to worry because the servant would take care of the king's property and the servant would not have to worry because the king would guard the servant from harm.

When we fold our hands in prayer, it can be a reminder to us that we are placing our hands in the hands of our King. We are placing our trust in Jesus Christ, who promised to save all who believe in him.

Christ, our King, unlike other kings, has come to serve and save us, not himself, even when we do not keep our end of the bargain. Even when we, in this time and age, may tend to expect his unconditional love, but do not share it. Depend on his forgiveness of us, but toward others do not show it. Want him to never leave us, but stay separate from others without much thought of it.

If we place our hands, our pledge, our trust, in the hands of Christ, he will help us do our part, to protect what is his, to defend what is his, as he entrusts himself to you and me, to us all.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta will be on my mind this coming inauguration day. It was in the rotunda of our nation's Capitol Building where she received the Congressional Medal of Honor several years ago. The same building where our new president will take the oath of office. Where he will be asked to swear to protect and defend the United States of America.

Mother Teresa's words after receiving her award came from Christ himself. Words that can show a president about to embark on his first term or any of us where we can find the hands of the King so that our pledge to him and his pledge to us can always be renewed.

What did she say? "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me . . . as long as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me."

Msgr. Daniel Ganshert is vicar general of the Diocese of Madison.