Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Even The Pope's Hands Teach

While watching the Pope's motorcade from the White House to Saint Matthew's Cathedral this past Wednesday I paid close attention to his hands. As he drove by the crowds he made small crosses in the air, he raised his hands up and down just a little (his gestures are not grand) and at times he gently drew his hand back and forth over the people palm down. Then, maybe when he got tired, he switched to using his left hand.

In a number of media interviews, priests were asked, "What do you think the Holy Father will say to the assembled bishops?" And almost always the priests answered, "He won't be finger wagging." 

In speaking to about three hundred bishops, Pope Francis referred to his own hands as, wrinkled with age. He then shook hands with each of those bishops and along the way to wherever he was going next, he picked up children and caressed the faces of the elderly and those with special needs. 

Even as Pope Francis walked along the lined up crowds someone dropped a little souvenir card. The Pope bent down, picked it up, and in great courtesy returned it to the person who'd dropped it. 

Hands matter. Saint Mark tells us five times of Jesus taking people by the hand and leading them or raising them up. 

Hands speak their own language, don't they? Hands can dismiss and object; hands can invite and console. Hands can bless and clap; hands can insult or curse. Hands can give and hands can receive. Hands can twitch and thump, "I'm in a hurry," or hands can rest at peace. 

We might pay attention to our own hands this week and what they're saying. 


  1. I will use my hands to applaud Pope Francis for his visit to the United States and his willingness to stand up for what other churches and world leaders won't. Pope Francis is a hero for the people.

  2. Your love for Pope Francis has bought such an awareness of the many gifts of this holy man and how powerful this gift of hands can be. How often, I need to be brought to an awareness of the many gifts I receive everyday from God. Pope Francis is a gift to us all. Grateful.

  3. Much can be said in a hand gesture.

  4. Your hands Father have been used in many ways as well. Your hands have been stretched out to welcome your congregation, to bless at your healing masses, for a gentle pat on the back when one of us has done something well, you have payed your hands on the sick... But most of all your hand hVe been open for the sign of Peace ... And with that we THANK YOU

  5. And oh! what open-handedness I have seen over the years of my priesthood! Especially the hands of those who have taken care of the elderly in nursing homes and hospice and the care of children. The hands of self-forgetting.

  6. The hands of priesthood which every day consecrate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Miraculous human hands which bless us also with your thoughts in the form of the written words we find here.

  7. In angry times folks following the posts here is pretty wonderful too! Thank you! And isn't it wonderful how Pope Francis asked those who "don't or can't pray to send good wishes."