This afternoon (Tuesday) parishioners and friends gathered in Our Lady of Victories to pray.
For two minutes at 12.51pm, exactly one week since the devastating quake, the people of our nation stood still.
A lot of different things happen when people are still and silent. We think. We daydream. we wonder and we remember. We hope and we pray.
A ‘Holy Hour’ before the Blessed Sacrament (God-with-us) is a specifically Catholic response, when we know our need for God. From 12.30pm to 1.30pm today we were before the Blessed Sacrament for this Holy Hour. At 12.51 we were united with people in homes, workplaces, churches and streets in stillness and silence.
Our purpose in gathering together at OLV this afternoon for this hour, was not to share our stories. We have done a lot of that and we wisely will continue to. We were also not together to remember or to think, to plan or to organise. These things are important, but we are here to do something even more important.
We gathered today in the Church, to focus together on God. It was God’s story we needed to hear again, not ours. God’s story of presence with us and love for us.
When we hear God’s story, our own stories have some meaning and purpose, even in their tragedy.
This is possible because the most tragic story in history: GOd came to earth and we killed him, is, by the power of God, through the resurrection of Jesus, the ultimate story of meaning and hope.
So today at OLV we gathered together to focus on the life-giving reality of God-with us.
It is good and necessary to tell what happened and to hear the events and experience of these days from others. But there comes a time when we realise that this is not enough. We need more. God is the more.
We were reminded of this in last Sunday’s Gospel:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
It is this more, the reality of God’s life, that nourishes us that we might continue to care for those in need in the difficult days ahead.