After looking at him carefully, Da Vinci answered him, “No,
I have never seen you.”

Crying and asking for forgiveness from God, the prisoner
said to him, “Master, I am the young man you chose nineteen
years ago to represent Jesus in this same painting.”1

My old pastor was tired by the time he had finished his story.
Without saying anything to me, he closed his eyes, and I thought
he was sleeping.

I slowly got up to leave the room and let him rest, but when I
put my hand on the doorknob, I heard him calling me. With his
hand, he was making signs for me to come close.

“Travel on the road of the cross until the end,” he told me.
His eyes had a layer of water covering them, on which a smile was
cradled. “Don’t give up. The cross has its price . . . but there is
nothing more beautiful, or more worthy of embracing.”

The night was like a dark, warm cloak when I left the house.
The moon had sketched my shadow, and beneath its aura I made the firm decision that I had to write all of this in a memory journal—
the journal that you are reading right now.

I stopped once again in front of the rosebush planted in that
large tub. The white roses were still standing straight up, and
among them, the light night breeze was swaying the red ones from
the previous Monday, which were still fresh and moist. To their
side, a new one was beginning to open. Its few petals, though still
in a tight bud, were a purple color that almost bordered on black.

I stood there, next to the door, and looked up at the sky, at
the small bits of night that wrapped around the stars.

“God is in love with us,” my old pastor had told me. “Nature
offers us a thousand gifts that demonstrate the love God has
for us.”

Its Not How You Start but How You Finish Mondays with My Old Pastor: Sometimes, All We Need Is a Reminder from Someone Who has Walked before Us

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