Printed with the Ecclesiastical Approval of Joseph G. Vath, D.D.
Bishop of Birmingham in Alabama
Every Christian is "a letter from Christ" to the world, "written not
with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God," written, "not on stone
tablets but in their living hearts." (2
Every retarded, deformed, crippled, handicapped, or senile person, who has been
baptized, is a powerhouse for good in a wicked world by reason of the grace of God
that dwells in his soul. He need not understand or be able to explain that grace. It is
enough that he possess it and his presence in the world makes that world and everyone in
it better for his having been born, even though he himself may have little
communication with that world, for he is a vessel that carries the light of the
living God in a dark world.
The aged and lonely, whose lives are considered useless because they
cannot produce at their fullest capacity, are veritable dynamos of spiritual
energy when their souls possess the Presence of the Trinity through grace,
their minds possess the wisdom that comes from experience and their
spirits possess the serenity of those who have fought the good fight and wait
with joy for the call of the Master.
There are no barriers for Christians who work together with their Leader Christ,
for the good of all. Each one is an important and precious part of the whole.
Rich and poor, sick and healthy, young and old, illiterate and genius all work
together in the Divine Presence which dwells in each one as in a living
Jesus needs them all, as some build by teaching, some repair by repentance, some
make reparation by suffering, some enhance by joy, some guide by ministering,
some heal by caring, some provide by working and some enliven by loving. Whatever is
their portion, the Christian is light, a beacon and an integral part of the Mystical
Body of Christ.
No Christian needs to feel lonely or useless. He does not look for applause and
approval. The realization of bearing within his very soul the Divine Indwelling of
Father, Son and Holy Spirit makes each one a powerful tool for the salvation of
the world. Each Christian is a powerhouse of grace reaching out and touching a
neighbor by example and prayer. He is powerful no matter where he is or what he does,
for the power he possesses is not his own, but the Power of Him who dwells within and
in whom he "lives and moves and has his being."
We are part of the Body of Christ on earth and we affect that Body
by everything we do and everything we are.
A broken heart fills that Body with a throbbing loneliness. A smile makes it
happy. A joy makes it thrill and a pain makes it cry.
Sin makes it recoil in contortions of rejection and holiness builds it up to
renewed vigor. Grace is its life-giving blood, constantly renewing dead cells
and revitalizing healthy members. The Head of the Body is Christ and to each of
us He has given a function to perform, a part to play and a position to
Each one of us is vital to the proper functioning of the whole body
and though our particular duty is unseen and unheralded, the whole body
would suffer without us.
We need Jesus, but He also needs us. It is not because we can add
anything to Him that He needs us, for He is Infinite in all His Perfections.
He needs us because He wills to do so; He wills that we cooperate with Him
for the salvation of the world. Through our neighbor He reaches out and
"I need you."
"I need your words of comfort in my sorrow, your assurance when I am
sick, your hope when I am discouraged and your love when the world grows cold
- for what you do to the least, you do to Me."
St. Paul lay on the ground struck with terror when he first heard his
Lord say, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" (Acts
"Who are You, Lord?" Paul answered. Yes, he knew the voice whose
power knocked him off his horse was the voice of God, but the God Paul knew
was only one God, Creator of the Universe, Creator and Lord of men, to be
obeyed and feared.
Paul was confused. "Lord," he was compelled to say, but who was this
And then Paul had his first encounter with God-made-man-Jesus-Second
Person of the Holy Trinity. His whole concept of God was about to be changed.
He was made to realize that his God lived in his neighbor. He would soon
be aware of that Presence when he was baptized by Ananias and the Holy
Spirit filled his soul with grace and light. "I will show him," Jesus
told Ananias, "how much he must suffer for my
And so it was with Peter. Jesus said to him after the Resurrection,
"Feed My lambs; feed My sheep." (Jn.
21:17) Jesus needed Peter and all the Apostles to lay the foundations of a
new way of life - a life totally given to God, a life of joy and sacrifice, a life of
love for one's neighbor.
Jesus needed their martyrdom to witness to the power of His Name. He gave them
power to heal, to reveal His concern for the sick. He gave them power to cast
out demons and share His pity for poor sinners. He gave them power to endure pain and to
rejoice that they might give hope to others.
Jesus needed these men and every facet of their lives to help save the world. Jesus
redeemed us by His life, suffering and death. He needed these men and many
others who followed them to teach, proclaim, endure and
Jesus needed John - needed him to care for His Mother when the time came for Him to
return to the Father. "Seeing His Mother and the disciple He
loved standing near her, Jesus said to His Mother, 'Woman, this is your
Then to the disciple He said, 'This is your mother.' And from that
moment the disciple made a place for her in his home. (Jn.
Jesus needed Mary, from whose Immaculate Body He took His Humanity.
He needed the strong and gentle Joseph to protect Him and His Mother
during their earthly sojourn.
Jesus needed them all because Love reaches out for companionship, not in order to
receive but to give - not to add anything to Himself, but because He wants us
to experience the Joy of being of service and of being united to a loving, kind and