The Mark of the Man

Sister Laurentia Carroll OP

 “The Mark of the man….!”

Many years ago when my sister was clearing out the loft she discovered in a tin box old papers belonging to my mother. Among them was the birth certificate of my great grandfather.

Born in 1851 in a time of great poverty in Ireland his birth was recorded by the Registrar. On the right of the birth certificate, where his father’s signature should have been was a thumb print and a cross marked on it. Over the thumbprint and the cross were the words “the mark of the man”.

“The mark of the man”. As a family we all found this statement very moving and when we copied the certificate for other family members they too were silenced by the poignancy of the words and symbols and the story behind the mark of the man who was our great grandfather. This man later married and fathered my grandfather who in turn was father to my mother and grandfather to my sisters and me, to grandchildren and great grandchildren to the third and fourth and fifth generation. It reminds me of an old saying “I am because you are”. Each of us has a special destiny. The shape ofour soul is unique and behind the façade of our life there is something beautiful, good and eternal happening.

During these weeks of Lent leading to the great Feast of the Resurrection, Easter, I reflected on these words. The image of the Cross and the sign above the head of Christ reminding me, as we were reminded when we found the birth certificate, that the mark we make on our world is our gift to life. Jesus said   “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full” The question for us to ponder is, are we living life to the full?

Let us pray:
That we may roll the stone away from the darkness of people’s lives.
That we may have courage, that we may have a clear sense purpose in life.
That we proclaim resurrection;
live life to the full;
and not waste the persons we are gifted to be. 
May all that is unlived in us  blossom into a future graced with love.

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