“Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say: Father, save me from this hour? But it is for this very reason that I have come to this hour.” (John 12:27)
As I’ve scrolled through headlines in my newsfeed this past year, I have often asked God the very same thing: “Save me from this hour.”
Like the faithful gathered around Jesus in Sunday’s Gospel, it is in these extreme moments where I often wish for the God of the Old Testament to appear with explicit answers, emblazoning the heavens with fiery displays of celestial strength. I want God to somehow manipulate time to either go back to when things were familiar or hurl me into a distant, COVID-less future, where the worst of this pandemic is over and we are all wiser for it. Despite my love of history, in my most anxious moments, I want to be spared having to live through a pivotal era. I loved playing with my historical American Girl Dolls as a child. I never actually wanted to be one.
This weekend, with Sunday’s Gospel still on my mind, I finally watched the new Pixar movie appropriately named “Soul.” In this movie, the protagonist, a young music teacher asks a similar question (“Why me? Why now?”). Ultimately, through his ordeal, he has a realization that the “spark” of his life lies in what he’d previously considered ordinary things. In a case of life imitating art, I, also a young teacher, had a similar realization that even against the backdrop of as challenging an era as ours, there is still joy to be found. God has not answered my petitions for a sign of hope in vivid, revelatory dreams. He whispers His abiding presence in the wind swaying the trees during a beautiful neighborhood walk. Or in a text from an old friend. And yes, even in Zoom, God makes His tabernacle in the kind faces of my students as they turn on their cameras and log in to class. Upon reflection, I would not want to be “saved” from any of these wonderful hours I have gotten to experience this year.
We may find ourselves longing to exist in another time and reality. But these instances of grace are a comforting reminder that there is still a loving and gracious God who will never abandon us under any circumstances. My prayer for the post-COVID era is that we all still actively try to find God in the small places, as fervently in better times as we have when our souls were troubled.
–Julie Brehove (Trinity YAM Member)
Ways of “Discovering Courage” This Week
- On the Road to Courage – March 21st, 4-5pm, part of Holy Family’s “Let’s Lent Together” series
- Bilingual Stations of the Cross from CRS – March 26th, 6-7pm, with YAM LA Solidarity Community (Join on Zoom)
- Lenten Taize Prayer: Hope Resurrected – March 26th, 6:30-8:00pm, with Christus Ministries
- The Death & Resurrection of Jesus in Art & History, with Dr. John Madden – March 26th, 7-8pm, part of Holy Family’s “Lenten Lucis” series
- Pray & Reflect
- Stations of the Cross for Overcoming Racism from the USCCB
- Stations of the Cross, Msgr. Connolly, 2020 from Holy Family
- Body in Prayer Stations of the Cross, 2011 from Holy Family
- “Steadfast: A Call to Love” Lenten reflections from Ignatian Solidarity Network
- Articles by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
- Catholics Against the Death Penalty – Holy Family presentation with panelists Mike Farrell, Bishop David O’Connell, & Fr. Chris Ponnet
- The Nonviolent Life (2014) – Holy Family presentation by Fr. John Dear
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – classic film about a courage in the face of corruption
- Gandhi – the story of Mahatma Gandhi and his role in non-violent resistance to British rule of India
- Any film in the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Hunger Games collections