Turn to Jesus in Times of Chaos
Sometimes the events of our lives and the world can make us feel as though we live in the midst of uncontrolled chaos and darkness, whether at the hands of others or as a result of accidents or acts of nature. This week is certainly one of those times as we have witnessed the devastating bombings at the Boston Marathon; an industrial explosion that leveled a town in Texas; the mailing of poisonous letters to elected leaders in Washington; and the anniversaries of the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech, the Waco raid and fire and the Oklahoma City bombing. Feelings of anxiety, helplessness and desolation can be overwhelming in the face of such violence and devastation.
Even Jesus’ disciples were subject to such emotions. In Matthew’s Gospel, we read, “They came and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?’ Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm (Matthew 8:25-26).
That same calm can be ours if we will simply turn to Jesus and open our hearts and minds to his peace. Only he can bring the great calm, restoring peace to the most troubled and disconsolate soul. Particularly in this Easter season, we remember that new life comes through Jesus who offers us a new way of living, one that builds a culture of life. The end of the story is not the Cross.
Jesus’ Resurrection promises us not a trial-free life, but the comfort of knowing that he walks with us even in our darkest moments. He offers the hope and the promise of eternal life. Life on this earth is not the summit of our existence. Once we take to heart the truth of Christ’s message – that death has no power over us because of his death and resurrection – feelings of fear and helplessness lose their grip on us. In turn, we are empowered to offer hope and peace to others.
How do we tap into this great calm?
Prayer is our most powerful tool. We would do well to resolve to pray more – to listen to God’s stirring in our souls in addition to telling him our worries. Reading the Bible can give us peace, too, as this is where we find Jesus’ words of everlasting life. Praying the rosary – meditating on the life of Christ through the eyes of his Blessed Mother – soothes the soul in times of distress.
Attending Mass – during the week as well as on Sunday – is another way to join ourselves to Christ. We are never closer to him than when we celebrate the Eucharist. In addition, the Sacrament of Reconciliation offers the healing gifts of Christ’s mercy and forgiveness, gifts we are called to share with those who harm us – including those who destroy our sense of security.
Finally, something as simple as helping our neighbor shifts our focus from our own problems and worries to the needs of others. Being kind to those we encounter in our daily lives is a means of sharing Christ’s peace, shining his light in an often dark world.
When it seems that all of the news is bad and this earthly life becomes overwhelming, turn to Jesus.
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18).”