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The Arms That Reach Out to the Lost Sheep


If any one of you feels guilty and you know that you deserve it, fear not.


Look at Jesus Christ.  You only need to say, "Have mercy on me."  Then, with the eyes of faith...see an unseen hand wipe out all your sins and misdemeanors.  You will realize you are in paradise because he who is merciful dwells in you.  Where he is, there is paradise.  It is as simple as that.

After confession of sin, guilt should be totally alien to the Christian who has faith.  Faith permits us to know the mercy of God.  It enables us to read and absorb what God said in torment while he was dying:  "Today you will be with me in paradise."

I had a patient in a hospital, and this patient told me that he didn't believe in God at all.  As his sickness progressed he got worse and worse.  So he took my hand in his and said, "Nurse, do you believe in God?  Do you believe that he is present?"  I said, "Yes, I do."  He said, "Well, all my life I said he wasn't present.  I didn't believe in him.  What do you think he will do to me?"  I said, "He will embrace you.  God understands all things."

Faith assures us that when we come close to God with sorrow in our heart, his consuming fire cleanses everything in us.  His arms reach out and take us in and rock us back and forth.  We rest against his breast and are lulled by the heartbeats of God.



Catherine Doherty, CM. "The Arms That Reach Out to the Lost Sheep." excerpt from Re-Entry Into Faith: "Courage — be not afraid! (Madonna House Publications, 2012).

Reprinted with permission of Madonna House Publications. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in November 2013.

The Author

doherty doherty1 Catherine Doherty (1896-1985) used her heritage as a Russian Christian as a matrix for responding to the needs of Christian life and work in the modern world. Her own personal pilgrimage led her to be "poor with the poor Christ" in the slums of Toronto and in Harlem; and later to the establishing of the world-wide Madonna House Apostolate. A dedicated wife and mother, Catherine was also a prolific writer of hundreds of articles, a best-selling author of dozens of books, a renowned national speaker, and a pioneer of social justice. Catherine Doherty's cause for canonization as a saint is now under consideration by the Catholic Church. Among her books are: Grace in Every Season, Soul of My Soul Coming to the Heart of Prayer, Dear FatherLiving The Gospel Without Compromise, An Experience of God Identification with Christ — a Road to the Mystical Life, and Catherine de Hueck Doherty: Essential Writing.

Copyright © 2012 Madonna House Publications
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