I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.John 14:18-19
I mentioned in a few previous blog posts that it can be hard to feel Jesus’s presence. Especially during the Coronavirus Pandemic, when life is especially uncertain and stressful, it can be hard to feel him near. Jesus promised that he’ll never forsake us or leave us orphan. Right before he ascended into Heaven, he assured us that he’ll be with us until the end of the age. While all of this is true, it can still be hard to recognize Jesus when he’s making his presence known to us.
This is where faith comes in. God doesn’t ever want us to feel alone or forgotten, so when we’re tempted to feel this way, it’s important to turn to the Lord. Throughout this pandemic, I constantly prayed to see the Lord’s blessings during this time and to acknowledge the good that’s still here. I needed the grace to continue to grow closer to Jesus, but I also needed to find him first. Without public Masses or Adoration chapels, I felt distant from him, but I held onto his promise “I am with you always.” As I pondered and repeated it in my heart, I quickly began to find Jesus and recognize his presence.
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A few weeks into the pandemic, I realized that I would have to pray at home. My prayer life was starting to slip because I couldn’t concentrate on praying in my room. I made a small home altar in my room to set aside a place to work on my relationship with God. It started out a little bare, but when I moved out of my college apartment, I added more things to it to make it more useful and beautiful. I arranged my Bible, a box of prayer cards, some small crosses, and more on my nightstand, and I surrounded it with a rosary holder and sacred art on the walls. (I plan to write another post in the future to show you what it looks like and how I’m using it!) Every time I wake up I see my home altar, so the first thing that I think of in the morning is Jesus. I like to imagine him telling me “Talitha koum,” or “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” My home altar reminds me to put the Lord first throughout my day and take time to pray.
After I get ready for the day, I go downstairs into the kitchen. I’m greeted with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and a copy of the morning offering prayer, all attached to the fridge with magnets. I turn and find The Last Supper hanging on the wall, and “Give us this day our daily bread” lettered in gold above it. The kitchen is filled decorations that remind me that Jesus is near. Whether I make breakfast, work at the kitchen table, or have dinner with my family, I can see and remember Jesus everywhere I look. I think my Mom did this intentionally so that she could offer everything she does in the kitchen to the Lord, and when I have a house of my own, I want to do the same thing.
Now that I’m out of college (oh my goodness I can’t believe I just said that!) I spend less time at my desk in the dining room. We put it there when I moved out of my apartment to give me a space to finish my classes. I placed my letter board on it and wrote HE IS RISEN for the Easter season. While I worked, I would set a few prayer cards beside me to remind me to take time to pray and offer up my work. I’d even place a prayer card of Mary on my phone to remind myself that scrolling through social media isn’t important at that time. When I found myself feeling overwhelmed, I’d pause to pray the Litany of Trust or the Angelus. It was a tough semester with everything online, but I felt Jesus guiding me through it.
Whether I take dance classes online or in person, I learned to find the Lord in them. This started in college when a few of my friends led a Rock Catholic meeting about finding Jesus everywhere. I challenged myself to find him in my ballet class the next day, and I certainly did. He revealed himself to me in the structure of the class. Pliés led to tendus which led to degagés and then rond de jambes. The barre prepared us for adagio which prepared us for petite allegro which prepared us for grand allegro. The format of a ballet class isn’t random. Everything builds upon itself as one exercise prepares the dance for the next. In other words, the class increases in complexity, kind of like creation. After this, I approached not only ballet, but my other technique classes differently, finding connections between dance and faith. Although I’ve never done liturgical dance, I understand that the Lord delights in dancing. Psalm 149:3-4 says “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music with timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” Because he’s given me dance as a gift, I always strive to glorify him in dance. Whether I’m performing or just taking class, I keep Jesus in mind, remembering that all that I do is for him, including every facet of my life in dance.
Even the simplest and most unexpected places can remind us of the Lord. We just have to look from his perspective and soften our hearts to recognize his presence. We can see him even in the flowers that we pass by every day. How can the tulips in the cover of this blog post remind you of Jesus? Their white and red flowers remind me of his divinity and humanity. I think of his purity and his Passion, and the blood and water that he shed to envelop us in his Divine Mercy.
Jesus really is with us always, and he’s always making his presence known to us. We might have to look a little harder or pray a little more, but we can always find him. Psalm 139:7 reads “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” and it still holds true today. No matter where we are and what we do, we can always find Jesus and feel his everlasting, unconditional love.
Where have you been finding Jesus lately? Where does he make his presence known to you? Let me know in the comments below!
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