Let All the Earth Cry Out to God with Joy

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love
the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Ranier Maria Rilke

I don’t know about you, but I am kind of fond of feeling like I have some semblance of control. I carry my calendar everywhere, color code my appointments, events, and to-dos. I love the feeling I get when I can check something off my list. This time of not knowing, of change, of having questions with no answers is taking a toll. My biggest fear? What if feeling out of control is my new normal?

In today’s reading in Acts, we hear about a time of persecution when the dominant culture was trying to actively destroy the Church. But what happens? The exact opposite, “those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.” Whether it is an act of a government or a natural phenomenon like the Coronavirus, when the Church is scattered, it is a call to action for every Christian. But Jesus doesn’t expect us to act on our own. 

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Jesus knows what we need. Created in his image and likeness, He knows us more intimately than we know ourselves. He knows that we were created in the image and likeness of love, meaning that we are hardwired to give of ourselves in love. He knows that through the sludge and muck and mire we make of our lives, deep within us is a desire to love and be loved. Jesus is the tenderest of lovers in that he waits for us to be ready. Because we are more often tuned in to our physical hunger than our spiritual hunger, in today’s Gospel, Jesus appeals to our physical self. Our natural state is body and soul. In offering to feed our bodies, Jesus is telling us that when we turn to Him, He is ready, willing, and able to meet all our needs, both physical and spiritual. 

In my old normal, I strove to meet my needs by structuring and planning my days, by taking on more and more projects to inflate my sense of accomplishment. In this time of physical distancing from one another and spiritual distancing from the Sacraments, I can feel the tug on my heart to stop relying on myself for the answers and to lean more heavily on Him. This is a time to simply live each moment, trusting that God will provide in his time. Today’s readings reassure me of what will happen when I loosen my need for control and just live in his love. 

This new normal requires that I rely on God’s grace. The new normal gives me the space to set aside my questions so that I may patiently live into His answers. My new normal is to rely so fully on His grace, I leave behind my reliance on my own accomplishments and receive the bread of life with an open heart and mind. This new normal is to make a spiritual communion to increase the desire of my heart and soul to be united to Jesus so that when I can return to Eucharist, I am more fully open to all He has waiting for me. He is waiting for me, and I can wait for Him. 

While we wait for that time when we can return to the altar together, may you and I live in peace with all our questions and find within the questions themselves, not simply answers, but His joy which calls all the earth to sing out, “Alleluia!”

Contact the author

Sheryl delights in being the number 1 cheerleader and supporter for her husband, Tom who is a candidate for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Kalamazoo. They are so grateful for the opportunity to grow together in this process whether it is studying for classes, deepening their prayer life or discovering new ways to serve together. Sheryl’s day job is serving her community as the principal for St. Therese Catholic School in Wayland, Michigan. Since every time she thinks she gets life all figured out, she realizes just how far she has to go, St. Rita of Cascia is her go-to Saint for intercession and help. Home includes Brea, a Bernese Mountain dog and Carlyn, a very, very goofy Golden Retriever.