Jesus, I believe
Updated: Mar 20, 2020
I’m going to miss the Eucharist. My heart is hurting by the fact that our diocese is suspending all public masses due to the coronavirus guidelines against large crowds that gather for at least the next 3 weeks. I was living in denial. I knew that this was going to happen because several dioceses throughout the week have been closing. I knew we would catch up with the rest of the country but I also was holding out hope that maybe it wouldn’t happen to my diocese. Maybe mass wouldn’t be suspended here and I could still attend and receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Well friends, yesterday, my diocese suspended public mass. To describe the sadness that filled my heart would be impossible. The only words I can find are that my heart was so sad.
I was able to attend mass yesterday evening as the suspension of public mass did not go into effect until today. I knelt down during the consecration and I cried. I cried because I love Jesus so very much. I cried because never in my life has this happened, never in my life have I not had the ability to receive Jesus whenever and wherever I wanted to. I cried because I didn’t know the next time I would be able to physically receive Jesus. I cried because I didn’t know the next time I could gather with my church as a family in faith and worship with a community. I cried because I wanted Jesus to know how much I loved Him and how much I treasure the intimacy I have with Him in the moment where He offers Himself to me and I receive Him with love. There is so much confusion…so much sadness. BUT there was also joy. I thanked Jesus for the grace to attend mass last night. I thanked Him for shedding light on my true feelings towards Him and the Eucharist so I will never again take Him for granted. I thanked Him for giving me this opportunity to show Him I trust in Him. Because I DO trust in Him.
I left mass with a heavy heart, but a peaceful heart. I left mass confused and afraid at what was going to unfold the next few weeks because I have never walked this path before, yet I knew I wasn’t alone and that Jesus didn’t want me to be afraid. I was driving home and the song Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns was playing. I couldn’t help but smile because the lyric in the refrain says:
But the voice of truth tells me a different story The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory" Out of all the voices calling out to me I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth
Jesus is the Voice of Truth. Jesus was telling me, "Don't be afraid for it is I who walk with you." Jesus was telling me, "This is for my glory. Do not worry little one, I will not be overcome. I have a plan. I got this. This is for my glory. It is for the best. Do you trust me?" So many voices are screaming out at me everyday from the media and the people I encounter. So many voices telling me what I should believe and what is happening. So many voices and so much confusion for this little heart, YET, I will choose to listen to the voice of truth. I will press on. I will continue to pray fiercely and dig deeper than I’ve ever dug before into the heart of my faith so that I can encounter Christ in a way I never have before, but in a way I know will lead me to His will, In a way I know will glorify Him. We are not sheep without a shepherd. Our good shepherd has never once left our side. We must not lose hope.
So, this morning I celebrated mass virtually. Praise the Lord Jesus for good priests devoted to continuing to shepherd their flock during this time. It was beautiful and although I couldn’t receive Jesus physically, we prayed a prayer of spiritual communion and I firmly believe I received all the same graces as I would have if I attended in person. The priest assured all of us that every single day mass will still be prayed by priests all over the world. Mass is NOT stopping. Public mass has been suspended due to the coronavirus concerns, yet, the mass will never and can never be suspended. It is still being prayed and the graces of this sacrament are still available. We should soak it up and stay close to the vine, to stay close to Jesus in prayer.
I wanted to share with you a few things that have really helped keep me grounded and given me peace this week.
The Gospel of the calming of the storm at sea: Matthew 8:23-27
I was drawn to this Gospel in my morning prayer because of the line that says, “but He was asleep.” Amidst the chaos and all the panic that is going on right now, I was like, "hmmm, Jesus is sleeping-Jesus is remaining calm. Jesus IS our calm. He’s got this." He asked us, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” He has a plan. Jesus, I trust in you.
What does it mean to trust?
Trust: Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Jesus, I will repeat it again. I TRUST IN YOU. I have a firm belief in Your reliability, In Your truth, In Your ability, In Your strength. I TRUST in You.
Psalm 46…. particularly Psalm 46:11, “Be still and confess that I am God.”
Still: deep silence and calm.
Jesus, please allow me a deep silence of mind. To quiet the racing trail of thoughts my mind lingers on and grant that I may find calm in Your presence, calm in your truth, calm in who You say you are. Calm in knowing you are God and I am not. Calm in knowing You are in control.
Music. Sweet, sweet, music. Music never fails me. These three songs are Spot On.
It is well by Bethel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4taAN4QtbI
Lyric: Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on You. And through it all, through it all, It Is Well.
Tremble by Mosaic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzZZb6RbLJs
Lyric: Peace. Bringing it all to peace. The storm surrounding me, Let it break, at Your Name. Still, call the sea to still. The rage in me to still. Every wave, at Your Name.
Peace be Still by Hope Darst: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsIpGiz3SfQ
Lyric: Peace, be still, say the word and I will, set my feet upon the sea. Till I’m dancing in the deep. Peace, be still, you are here so it is well. Even when my eyes can’t see. I will trust the voice that speaks. Peace, peace over me.
Peace: Freedom from disturbance.
All of the above brought me all back to peace. The Lord wants to give me peace. I asked myself in prayer how is this possible at a time like this when I feel anything but peace. When churches are closing and I don’t know what is going to happen next. How is freedom from disturbance possible when disturbance is happening all around? How can it be avoided?
The answer I came up with was to remain firmly planted in Jesus. He promises to give peace because He IS PEACE. If we are rooted in Him, we have the promises to cling to. We have to ask ourselves the question-Do I really believe what I have always claimed to believe in?
I really do believe. I believe in the creed. I believe in Jesus. I BELIEVE. Lord, help my unbelief.
Here is short list I brainstormed of positives that are/have happened through all of the changes and shut downs that are occurring.
1. Prayer has been deeper and richer. My heart has been rendered to God. I have been drawn to a deeper love and appreciation of my faith and a greater realization of my dependence on God and my trust in Him. I am not in control; this is teaching me to accept that truth.
2. Unity. We are being united as a world. Never in my life have we suffered through something globally as we are now. We are going through this together. We can be united as a world and pull together to come out on the other side of this stronger and with a greater appreciation of the need for one another. Also, unity of the family. With so many businesses closed and children home from school, families are drawn together. We are reminded of the beauty of the family unit and how this is the first school, the school of love.
3. We are on a retreat from normal business. We are a country that never slows down. Production is highly valued and our to do lists are a mile long. We are being asked to retreat to our homes for a few weeks. To put aside everything that we once thought was the most important and learn what truly IS most important. We have been given a gift to renew our souls, to rest, and to recover from the burdens we have placed on our shoulders for far too long.
4. Rest. This goes along with 3 but is so, so important. To rest. To renew. To simply just BE.
5. Perspective. Things I was so worried about 2 weeks ago, I don’t even have the energy or room to worry about now. They seem so small in light of everything. I’m realizing what is most important in life and I’m realizing that life isn’t all about me. Sometimes I get caught up in my own world but this is teaching me to think outside of myself, to think of others.
6. This is helping me to stop take things for granted. I am entitled to nothing. Everything I have is a gift from God. I need to remember that the gifts I have in my life have been given to me to turn my heart to God and love Him more deeply. They weren’t given to me to take the place of God. When they are taken away, I realize that what remains is the giver of the gifts. Let me always love Him first.
So, lots going on. It’s been a difficult time for all of us. Let’s stay united in prayer and cling tight to our hope because hope does not disappoint.