A Beautiful Gift at the Beautiful Gate

"Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man" by Nicolas Poussin - public domain via The Metropolitan Museum of ArtThis story is inspired by Acts 3:1–13.

Before meeting the Apostles Peter and John after Christ’s Resurrection, I spent my days unproductively at the Beautiful Gate. Every morning family members would carry me there so I could beg, and any money I acquired they took to buy food for the extended family. I expected little, but deep inside, I knew I was born for more than this.

Now that I’ve been healed by Jesus through his Apostles, I can live up to my true potential. I’ve always been gifted with my hands, but I let the weakness in my legs rule my behavior. I ask myself, What if those two men hadn’t stopped that day? What if they hadn’t interceded on my behalf? I suppose I could have ended my days as a beggar at the Beautiful Gate.

It wasn’t beautiful from where I sat. Loneliness, boredom, humiliation, and sadness were all I saw. I held my hand out until it was so tired I could barely lift it.

“We have no material wealth to give you,” Peter said as John looked intently at me. “But we know Jesus heals, and it only takes faith for healing to happen.”

When Peter took my hand, it was his faith I leaned on. The Apostles thanked God for the miracle of my healing even before it happened. That was faith!

My legs immediately grew strong, so strong that I jumped up and down. It didn’t take faith for me to know that I could run and dance after suffering my entire life.

Another disciple once said, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2), and it’s true. So many people are too proud to ask for help, or they feel unworthy, or they have other plausible reasons for not asking Jesus for miracles. My excuses at the Beautiful Gate included complacency, self-pity, and blaming others for not doing something more about our broken world. But when I looked up into the Apostles’ faces, I received more than I expected.

From that day on, I determined to learn everything I could about Jesus. I discovered that he loves everyone, unconditionally. I came to know him personally through daily prayer. I know now that Jesus is eager to forgive, which is the best healing there is.

Disciples told me a parable of Jesus’ about a persistent widow who nagged a judge until her plea was answered. Now I behave like that widow! As Jesus said, “Will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them?” (Luke 18:7) I believe, and I ask. And I invite others to join me in asking!

I did nothing to earn or deserve healing. It was a free gift. You have free gifts, too, but you have to open them. Someone near you is hoping for a better life. You may be the one with the key that unlocks someone’s prison door. “Ask, and it will be given you.” (Matthew 7:7)

What are you waiting for?

Image: “Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man” by Nicolas Poussin (Marquand Fund, 1924), public domain via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Loretta Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer and the author of 2022: A Book of Grace-Filled Days, Women in Conversation: Stand Up!, and Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. A spiritual director since 2012, Loretta is trained in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Her involvement in ministry and parish life includes 20 years in small faith-sharing groups and Christian Life Community. Loretta gives retreats and presentations on prayer and women’s spirituality and is commissioned as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She and her husband Steve have four children and 10 grandchildren.


  1. Thanks Loretta. Soothing interactive meditation. What a marvelous gift you are blessed with. Praise the Lord.


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