Change is hard. Change in career, financial security, family circumstances, health – you name it, but it typically takes a while to adjust when a change happens in your life. This is particularly the case when that change involves a loss of a relationship, either through death or a fight or a move. In many ways, it feels like a part of you dies when a relationship changes.
Not to be overly dramatic, but this is a bit how I have felt lately. I feel like a part of me is dying as I am facing the months and weeks ahead. There is so much unknown and so much shock. How does one move forward when their life circumstances and the well-being of their spiritual home are uncertain? How does one allow an openness to the new when they weren’t even prepared for the past to come to an end? These are the questions I have been struggling with over the past few weeks.
And what I have come to realize above all else is this – one thing NEVER changes. Jesus Christ. And more specifically, His desire for a personal relationship with each and every one of us.
When speaking in Athens, St. Paul reminded the people, “He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps feel for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’” (Acts 17:26-28a).
You see, God has determined a season and a time and a boundary for everything. Change — given that we live in a temporal world — is going to happen. We can’t stop it and sometimes we can’t even prepare for it. But what God knows is that we most often seek Him when we have gotten complacent and then a change seems to rip the rug out from under us.
In this moment of uncertainty, I have come to realize I have nowhere to turn except to Jesus. I have been asking Him for hope and peace about the future and patience as He works all things for His Kingdom. And what I have realized is that He is not far from me, and really “not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being.’”
Through my prayers over the past weeks, I have felt a conviction on my heart more than ever that my faith journey is only about Jesus and building a relationship with Him, especially through the sacraments, study, and prayer. It has nothing to do with how good the homily or music is at Mass, or who is leading the parish, or the disposition of the people around me. Of course, all of that impacts me. It draws me into God. But at the end of the day, all that matters is Jesus, fully present in the Eucharist.
The last five years has strengthened our community. Together, we have discovered a deeper call to build a Church of missionary disciples by preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and reaching the poor. At the heart of this mission is our commitment to our Church and Jesus Christ. Other things — like ministries, and staff, and programming — will come and go. But this remains – Christ calls us to build a Church of members deeply in love with Him and of missionaries spreading His Good News to all those around us.
While we might not know the specifics of what that looks like 1 or 5 or 10 years from now, I hope that as a community we will delve deeper into our mission despite uncertainty. I pray that each and every one of us will realize that our faith journey is about Jesus and that He has made a special place for us in His mission. That will never change.
This blog was written by Danielle Milliken, Coordinator of Digital Media & Communications here at St. Francis of Assisi. If you’re interested in writing a blog for St. Francis of Assisi, please contact Joseph at [email protected].