In my late thirties, I was sitting in my office, the entire building penetrated by an eerie silence. It was the day after 911 and the skies were silent. Uncertainty cloaked the country as the march toward war began.
I felt so small, so really all alone, there in my small corner office writing a newsletter and working on a website.
Tragedy and uncertainty can isolate us from others.
We might lose perspective as larger-than-life problems take over our awareness. The present darkness may seem too big even for God to resolve in a way that would bring back what had been, all the ways we had enjoyed the life we lived.
I remember the night my mother called me. My vacation was scheduled in about a month and it was time to purchase airplane tickets… to Washington, D.C. Mom could hear the fear in my voice. It was more than a tremble, it was a roaring fear that was trying not to be heard. But Moms hear those things.
I’ll never forget her words: Kathy, God is here. God is present. God will take care of us.
I wrote the words on a card I taped to the wall. I recited them. I read them over and over. It was the mother’s strength that she summoned as she said them, though, that I clung to as I found my wings of faith.
Faith grows stronger in times of darkness.
The following spring was the long great Lent here in Boston, the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse scandal. By then, thanks to what my mother had said, my faith was able to face tragedy and at least not collapse. Every breath, every disappointing piece of information, every tragic detail became the sand that polished the pearl of faith forming in the darkness that cloaked our hearts as we struggled to understand and to heal.
The most important thing is that faith grows and grows and grows.
So here we are in violent and turbulent times yet again. Whether your faith in God, in the future, is wobbling on its legs, like mine was after 911, or whether it's beginning to walk with a little courage as mine was just a few months later, faith is resilient, faith is courageous, faith never dies. It grows and grows and grows. God is here and that God will take care of us.
The weight is heavy if each of us carries it alone, so let’s stop doing that!
Let’s live in the present. Switch out negative worries for calm and peaceful thoughts. Rediscover the really interesting saints that emerged out of the really interesting times in the history of Church and world.
God is already doing something. We just don’t see it yet.
Need help starting? Here's a way to build up a store of joy and presence and peace.
- Immerse yourself in something beautiful.
- Color with a friend.
- Read the life of a saint.
- Find fun ways to share your faith with your family.
- Focus on living in the present.
- Paste uplifting quotes wherever you can see them.
By Sr Kathryn J. Hermes, FSP