From time to time, I return to one of my favorite books of all time, Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel. I recently thumbed through a chapter called, “Grazie, Signore”, which means “Thank you, Lord”. Manning began with a touching story of a young woman who had to undergo facial surgery to remove a tumor from her cheek. Her mouth was now slightly twisted, due to a tiny nerve that had to be severed to remove the tumor. As the doctor sadly explained the permanence of this side-effect to the woman, the husband stood by her side, gently stroking her hair & face. The doctor stepped back, and watched in humble awe as the young man bent over his love, and whispered, “I like it. Its kind of cute.” He then twisted his own lips slightly to conform to hers, to show her that their kiss still worked.
That story grips my heart for some reason. It almost moves me to tears every time I read it. That kind of love & compassion is truly beautiful, humbling, and of God. In fact, it is a picture of the love of God for us, displayed in His Son Jesus Christ-
“He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
Manning concluded the chapter with a heart-felt prayer of praise, which I desire daily to make my own-
“Grazie Signore, for your lips twisted in love to accommodate my sinful self, for judging me not by my shabby good deeds but by your love that is your gift to me, for your unbearable forgiveness and infinite patience with me, for other people who have greater gifts than mine, and for the honesty to acknowledge that I am a ragamuffin. When the final curtain falls and you summon me home, may my last whispered word on earth be the wholehearted cry, ‘Grazie Signore.'”