all is well

Mar 6, 2020

Today’s psalm is the prayer of one who is overwhelmed by fear in the depths of despair opening with a desperate call for help: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice!”

While we claim that fear is an emotion we don’t like and seek to avoid, many people seem irrationally attracted to what instills and aggravates fear. Bad news travels faster than good news. Risky tourist adventures grow in popularity with people paying to leap from mountains and bridges and jumping from planes. The horror movie market with unpredictable extra-terrestrial. monsters is flourishing. And when these are not enough we choose to ignore and even reject the sound and balanced advice of health professionals opting to panic when a new virus appears.

Media companies are motivated by our appetite for fear, opting for headlines that feed anxiety. A PANDEMIC headline will sell papers and magazines when an ALL IS WELL banner will be ignored. When money is the motive, little thought is given to the frail elderly person living alone, unable to sleep because of worry when the grandchild is travelling in China or Italy.

The psalmist is familiar with fear, but understands that rather than act out and advertise the fear (which would only promote hysteria) this natural and healthy human emotion is best shared with God in the silence of the heart.

A fear tossed among immature masses soon escalates. But fear expressed in heart-felt prayer becomes an opportunity for greater maturity of faith and deeper human relationships.

So we begin to appreciate that these depths are not only the place of agony and despair but also the space of profound reality and honesty, the place where I am most me, the heart where the murmur of Jesus’ voice can be heard and where I am open to hear. This the place of my deepest self, the place we call the soul.

And Jesus never misses an opportunity to respond to such patient and repeated prayer from the depths of our souls: “My soul is waiting for the Lord. I count on his word. My soul is longing for the Lord more than watchman for daybreak. (Let the watchman count on daybreak and Israel on the Lord.)”

In this way the depths transcend the heights, and the heights are discovered in the depths of the soul.

Tragically most people prefer to live on a narrow shelf in the mid-range of experience where the highpoint of the year is the overseas vacation and the low-point is… well we don’t really remember it because we anaesthetised it with alcohol, drugs, money and superficial encounters.”

I read a great article today prompted by the current crisis. The reflection concluded: “What an opportunity this circumstance we are living could become! An opportunity you do not want to miss.”  Julian Carron at this link

And today’s psalmist concludes: “Because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption”.

An Invitation:

  • Become aware of the things you fear today. The COVID-19 virus may come to mind.
  • Now invite Jesus to reveal your real fear to you. You may be surprised at what comes to mind. Spend time throughout the day remembering this revelation, and speak to Jesus about your fear, and listen to his response while noticing his gaze towards you.

12 Comments

  1. I will read what Julian Carron has to say later. Meantime l feel faith , prayer and commonsense will carry us through. Perhaps look out to the elderly, sick and young mum’s, instead of inwardly. Blessings for your Lenten outreach Fr. John

    Reply
  2. Thank you Fr John, I felt Jesus in my heart guiding and supporting me, knowing He is always with me.
    Feeling very blessed !

    Reply
  3. Thank you Fr John, I felt Jesus in my heart guiding and supporting me, knowing He is always with me.
    Feeling very blessed !

    Reply
  4. Thank you for the timely reflection amidst what is going on at the moment. God bless you Fr John

    Reply
  5. Thanks for these helpful words. The article by Julian was well worth reading. This whole reflection reminded me of the words of another Julian of a few centuries ago, also at a time of plague and major unrest: ‘All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

    Reply
  6. I have a great fear of purgatory because of my past life I have bean to confession but the fear still persists I find it hard to believe God forgives me and Loves me

    Reply
    • I believe God forgives totally in the instant we turn to Him to ask for forgiveness. The challenge for me is allowing myself to fully receive that forgiveness and trust that it does as Scripture says washes me clean whiter than the snow. If I recieve God’s forgiveness fully then the slate is clean. I am free to move forward anew, with renewed hope, and my hope is that with the help of the Holy Spirit and journeying close with Jesus I will be less likely to sin, and more likely to live a good snd holy (growing towards wholeness) life. That is the day by day opportunity and challenge now as I know I am free of my past mis-steps or mis-takes. If they surface to try to induce fear I go back to the Lord and bring the fear to Him. For me spiritial direction has been a support at times to help me through troublesome patches. Go gently. Be kind to yourself. We are only human.

      Reply
  7. Even though I pray everyday I fear that there is no God listening and that I am alone playing mind games. I pray for the gift of real faith and belief because then I would have nothing to fear ever.

    Reply
  8. An insightful and timely article by Carron. For me psalm 46 is a reminder that God is more powerful than our attempts to be in control. “Be still and know that I am God.”

    Reply
  9. Thank you Fr John for the gentle leading this journey into the heart . Great work is happening and with time more is to come . All is well and will be well.

    Reply
  10. Thank you Fr John. I have the daily fear of all things I approach in my life. These reflections help me to continue to find the time to reconnect with God. In the busyness of my life I am too tired to find the time for me (and reflections or meditations). Taking the time to read your reflections before I start the day makes the day better, but I always put the reading off for another day (and never get back to it). I have committed to reflect from this day forward and will try my best to see the compassion in others that will help alleviate my fears and open my heart to Jesus. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. John is spot on with this reflection.

    In my singing days (less now sadly)
    We would sing :

    When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll
    Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
    It is well, it is well, with my soul…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY5o9mP22V0

    One of many versions and arrangements of the song – may it bring you peace.

    Reply

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