Dear Parish Family,
This year, 2020, will be one that we won’t quickly forget. The beginning of this year I attended the Encounter Ministries conference in Toledo, OH, with several other parishioners and had the privilege to hear from some very gifted Christian speakers. At one of the sessions, Dr. Mary Healy gave a prophetic word about this upcoming year when she said, “This year of 2020 will be a year of clear vision.”
I think back to that moment and realize how true that statement is in my life, but in the least of ways that I would expect.
These past few months have been filled with changes, almost by the day. We as a society are facing an unprecedented time as we try to respond to the realities of a pandemic, racism, financial distress, and more. In my own life, as my schedule became emptier as time went on, I felt a sense of loss that I hadn’t fully expected. I have found that if I let my focus remain on all these things, I find myself retreating in my mixed emotions, feeling isolated, and alone.
The clear vision that I have been seeking has not come in in the form of the events happening around the world. It has not come from the busyness of my schedule. It’s only come from listening to the voice of Jesus.
The one thing that I have learned and have begun to see during this time is that the Enemy’s voice is all about isolation, division, and hopelessness. When we think about this a little more, it makes sense. If God is a Holy Trinity, made up of Three Divine Persons, then that means He is relationship itself. The goal of the Enemy is to drive us as far away from that as possible, so he creates distractions, division, and attempts to isolate us from the very One we belong to.
The voice of Jesus however is always about relationship. He is always about communion. He always about love, which is willing the good for the other. When I look to the world around me with its distractions or hear messages that make me feel entirely alone, this is when I must turn and remember that this is not how the Lord speaks. And it forces me to focus on where He is speaking instead.
This is not an excuse then to ignore the problems of the world or hide from what we are all facing. On the flipside, it has actually empowered me to do so even more. Because when I can listen to the voice of Jesus and see where He is calling for peace, healing, and hope where there is distress, pain, and despair, I know I can walk in these situations knowing He is there and has not abandoned as the Enemy would like us to believe.
My vision has been renewed in entirely different ways these past few months, in ways that I didn’t even realize I needed. I have seen the Lord speaking through my time with my teens, as we continue to meet on Zoom calls and Bible Studies in the park. They’re eagerness for community and their questions and thoughtfulness have not only brought us closer in faith, but also with one another. I have seen Him as our community and our nation has honest conversations about racism and learning to honor one another and value the lives of those different than us. I have seen Him speak as we gather virtually together to pray the rosary, especially when I heard the stories of so many of our parishioners on “Praying with the Padres.” Even in the midst of being socially distanced in our separate locations, I can hear the voice of Jesus calling us to deeper relationship with Him and with others.
My prayer for us as a parish family as a whole is that we all can continue to grow in our ability to hear where the Lord is speaking and calling us to deeper relationship with Him, with one another, and those in our community. That we might not be distracted by messages that divide us, isolate us, or make us dwell in fear, but let the voice of Jesus bring us clarity and peace.
To listening to His voice together,
Youth Faith Formation