God’s Presence

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experiencing both joy and loneliness within community brought to life my recent experience of God! I have been urged on, to a deeper pursuit of him who loves us and who always has more for us! 

experiencing both joy and loneliness within community brought to life my recent experience of God! I have been urged on, to a deeper pursuit of him who loves us and who always has more for us! 

This month I had the privilege, nay, the pleasure (see A Knight’s Tale) of witnessing two of my closest friends celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage. These men, who I don’t call friends, but brothers, now leave their families and cling to their new wives. Both of these men I had met while coming to Household as an underclassman.  One of theweddings, in particular, struck me - it was a witness to the brotherhood, the sisterhood and the pursuit of God that happens while living in Household.

In this particular wedding, it was two Household Alum who were getting married.  Almost everyone they had lived with in Household had some role to play in the wedding. Some were in the wedding party, many were in charge of setting up the reception venue, and some were altar servers.  Even one of this year's SPO Missionaries, who the couple didn’t know for very long, was asked to be the DJ for the reception. We all celebrated and danced because of the joy that this couple has shared with us. When I think about it, the joy that they shared is really the joy of the Lord. Yet through all this joy and celebration, a sense of loneliness tried to pry its way into my heart.  This dual sense of joy and loneliness at the wedding was consistent with my experience of this current semester.

This semester, I had some extra time on my hands as I am a recent December graduate and was looking for work. The Newman Center on ASU campus had given me the opportunity to be a sacristan, and I was in charge of every noon mass throughout the week. Every day I had the opportunity to present Christ to His children in the Eucharist; yet I did not feel His Presence. Joy and loneliness. 

The funny thing is, even though I didn’t feel his presence, I knew he was there. That feeling of loneliness, was God calling me to himself. Something I learned in my period of unemployment was that the Lord will sometimes take a step back, and during that time it may seem that He is hiding from us.  But in reality, though, rather than hiding from us, He is calling us deeper into pursuit of Him.

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An image that I thought of as I reflected on this deeper pursuit was a beautiful forest. In the forest, there are leaves on the ground creating a soft cushion under foot. The tree canopy towers above with olive green leaves and beautiful dark brown trunks. The trees are dense, but streams of light shine through the tree tops. Yet there is another light that appears as it dashes through the forest. A beautiful white stag that glows with a radiant bluish light (think Harry Potter’s Patronus Charm) can occasionally be seen in clearings or behind trees, and I am in pursuit of this elusive prize; just to behold its beauty. This stag will every now and then appear to me and acknowledge my presence, only to run off into the wilderness again, and the pursuit continues. Sometimes I don’t see the beast, but I know it’s there in the woods with me.

God is like this stag. He reveals Himself to us to give us joy and comfort. But He has something greater in store for us, so He dashes of into the wilderness for us to seek Him further still. So when we feel that God is not there, when we feel lonely, we should not become discouraged, but rather we should live in the hope that we will witness His beauty once again.  We should keep on the pursuit until we finally come to His home, our home, Heaven.

– Nick Chasse