There are days when I really just need to sit in church and be in the silence. Actually, if I’m honest, that would be most days.
I find that since I moved back in with my parents over the summer I am more focused on myself and all of the ways I fail at life. This may seem terribly dramatic, but few things are ever dramatic enough for a melancholic, whose whole being longs to carry out an idyllic existence.
Being in my late twenties and living in my parent’s house isn’t where I thought I would be at this point in time. It has been hard to focus on anything else other than getting back out on my own and figuring things out. I stress so much over this that it’s literally all I can think about most days. My mind has been completely distracted by all that I have yet to do in life, wondering how I will accomplish my dreams. Often times I forget that the joys of life are found in the present.
This is how I find myself in need of sitting in the silence, where God is most present. This is what led me to walk into church one Wednesday afternoon and choose a wooden pew halfway down the middle. As I sat down in what proved to be the creakiest old seat in the church, my thoughts were still on myself and all of the worries of life. I knelt down and tried to pray but my mind was scattered. I began to simply tell God what I needed from Him. I wanted answers to the meaning of my life and told Him all of the ways I wished He would help me. Feeling dissatisfied with my prayers and unable to center myself on one single thought I sat up, opened my eyes, and looked around. When my eyes met the altar my heart sank to the floor.
Sitting on the altar under the light of the Christ Candle was Jesus Himself in the Monstrance (the blessed Eucharist on display)! How had I entered the room without even recognizing His presence?! How could I have been so blind! My Lord was physically in the very room where I had come to spend time with Him and I hadn’t even truly been aware of his presence. My thoughts immediately went to the passage in scripture where Jesus is visiting the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.
“…He entered a village and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all of the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” The Lord answered. “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:38-42
I am often tempted, when reading this passage, to think of Mary as being lazy and selfish for not helping her sister, but Jesus hits the nail on the head when he points out what is of true significance. Mary chose to stay by the Lord’s side, listening to his every word. She was pleased to quiet herself and simply be in His presence. If He had told her to do something she would have done it, because she was attentive to His every word. Martha, conversely, could not pull herself away from all of the little things she needed to do and missed out on the marvelous opportunity she had to simply be with her Lord.
How often I am like Martha! I stress and fret over so many little things, believing that I must do all of them in order to be happy, when I ought to be quieting myself before the Lord. Worry does not add a single day to our lives. Some might argue that it actually shortens them. Being quiet before God does not mean being inactive or lazy. It calls us to be reminded of what the true focus of our lives should be.
“And which of you, by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span?[…] Your heavenly Father knows what you need. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.” ~ Matthew 6:27, 32-33
Why stress when you could be living in the present soaking up the Son’s rays?
Be in the silence. Be in the present. Be with your Lord.