For the past few months, our televisions, phones, and computers have been plagued with countless news alerts, as they have always done. However, it seems like the news that we are receiving only seems to get worse: from suicide reports to school shootings and so on. Why is that?
As a whole, our society is ailing. We have taken tremendous steps towards improving living conditions, and holistically, our quality of life as a society has significantly increased over the past century alone. By material means, we should be satisfied. We are fortunate to have so much and people have come such a long way to get to this point. We seem to have it all, but we don’t. We witness tragedy upon tragedy plague our world, and many people seem to be giving up hope.
We encounter this deep sadness and loss of life, and we witness these devastating and atrocious attacks on innocent lives, and one of the best—if not the best—ways to combat this, is to love.
This struggle that we encounter, however, can also be a very personal matter. The subject of mental health is something worth noting. Those who struggle with their mental health are so very loved. If you know someone who might be struggling (or even if they aren’t,) reach out to them. The smallest message of encouragement, these little acts of love, can be as simple as a phone call, or just meeting up with an old friend for coffee. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, we can do these small things with great love. They can make all the difference.
I have experienced deep sadness and gone through difficult situations in my personal life that are messy. Life is hard, and we are by no means given a “fast pass” through struggles. Through these trials, through these storms in our lives, God is with us—and He never leaves.
This past year, I’ve grappled with a lot of personal trials. I continued to fall into a toxic cycle of anger and sadness at myself and at those I loved. There were many nights where I stayed up late, praying to God for a release of these feelings. Throughout these particularly trying weeks, I found Psalm 46 to be particularly reassuring.
“God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea, though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging.” (Psalm 46:2-4)
Jesus is our ever-present help. In the quiet, in the storms, and in the joy, He is present and will not forsake you. It is by having a relationship with Christ, with the One who knows you so intimately, that we are truly satisfied. He knows our innermost desires, our deepest wounds, and only He can satisfy. When we know this, we can become the best version of ourselves, we can be fulfilled. St. Paul writes,
“and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
This relationship is ongoing, however. It’s not a handshake sort of agreement, but a friendship, a kinship with the Author of Humanity.
Recently, Pope Francis tweeted (yes, tweeted!) out a comment that has been mulling around in my thoughts for a few days. “For those who are with Jesus, evil is just a provocation to love even more,” he wrote. On the grand scale--and on an intimate scale--I’ve witnessed heartache and struggle. It breaks my heart to see our neighbors, our communities and our world in this way, and as Christians, we’re called to take action. We are called to show others that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy those deep longings.
We are called to love. And with that love, we can begin to heal.