The gospels offer us a fascinating story about a bold woman in need of healing.  She is so intent in her desire to be healed that she risks ridicule and misunderstanding.  In the midst of a throng of people clamoring to be near Jesus,  she pushes through the crowd wanting only to touch the hem of his garment and remain unseen.  Just touching the tassel of his robe was enough for her.  Jesus felt the power of healing go forth from him and asked that famous question, “Who touched me?”  It was a strange question to be asking in a large crowd hemming him in on all sides and his disciples let that be known!  Why did Jesus know that someone touched his hem?  He felt the power flowing—moving through him—and out of him.

We, too, can experience this power flowing out of us and into us if we but open our eyes to all of life’s happenings.  A gentle embrace is a power exchange.  Taking someone who can no longer drive, for a journey into the country is touching the hem of God’s garment.  Opening an orange for someone when their arthritic fingers will no longer allow them to do so is touching the hem of the garment.


The whole world is God’s garment.  When I move through the beautiful outdoor world these days as I practice my FORTY EARLY MORNINGS ritual I am amazed at how (when I am attentive) the Power of the One who created it all, moves out of each flower, each tiny creature, even from the very ground upon which I walk.  The secret of course is to live awake so that we can experience that gentle Christ-Power flowing out to us, then from us to others.

When I pause to really behold and even touch a tree it is like touching the hem of Jesus’ garment.   Try it and, like the woman of the gospels, believe that some small healing is taking place in your soul.


Practice touching the hem of God’s garment this week.  Be very conscious of how you hold things.  Somewhere in his vast array of writings Thomas Merton suggests that the saints preach and teach by the way they sit or stand, by the way they pick things up and hold them in their hands.  His words suggest reverence and total presence.  Although this sounds easy it is difficult to achieve.  Even so,  it is worth the practice–it is a spiritual practice.

hem of butterfly



“The fast pace of our lives makes it difficult

for us to find grace in the present moment,

and when the simple gifts at our fingertips

cease to nourish us,

we have a tendency to crave the sensational.”

-A Tree full of Angels: seeing the holy in the  ordinary

by Macrina Wiederkehr




  1. For me, there is a lesson in touching and holding with open hands, without trying to grasp and hold onto. I learned this lesson this summer when I found a lightning whelk and a Florida war conch with their live parts still residing in their shells. At first, I wanted to add the shells to my collection, but in the end returned the shells to the sea.

  2. Thank you Macrina. I returned to New Zealand tired and rather jet lagged after an amazing two months in the UK and Europe. I was waking at three in the morning, reading, or, I must confess, exploring on my iPad. It was reading about your forty early mornings that alerted me to the fact… I too had lost my early mornings.
    So forty early mornings I did. I recorded them in a visual diary. What a treasure. The exercise will stay with me forever. I shared them on my Facebook page and had quite a little following. My early mornings are reclaimed. Thank you for the inspiration.

  3. Dearest Macrina, Your words are truly a balm to my soul. I not only smile, but actual laughter comes bubbling up from deep in my being for the sheer joy of your wisdom and sensitivity and intensity. I recognize the years of practice and discipline it has taken that enable you to still be so very AWARE of all that God has made and be so very grateful for it all. I am blessed to be able to say I will pick myself up with the grace of God’s Spirit and try again to be what He has made me to be. Thank you precious gift. Pat Z.