|The Empty Tomb stained glass inside the chapel at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Church|
“But now, this is what the Lord says–he who created you, O Jacob (fill in your name), he who formed you, O Israel; “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior:” Isaiah 43:1-3 NIV
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 NIV
I’ve spent several months imprisoned by fear. It has infiltrated my thoughts, placed bars over my heart, wreaked havoc with my digestive system, and jolted my nerves into a state of high alert with its injections of adrenaline. Yet God has been merciful. In the fear, He has met me. He has offered me His love and comfort. He has reached out His hand of faithfulness and said, “Trust Me.” At times I’ve allowed His peace to release me. His rest to wash over me. Those moments would often occur in a local chapel where His presence freed me. There before the altar, eyes resting on the Blessed Sacrament, He would meet me in worship and praise. His conscious awareness of my distress and His desire to alleviate it (Webster’s definition of compassion) would soothe my fearful heart.
After crying out to Him, I would open the hymnal to one of my favorite songs. One that would remind me of His comfort and assurance of His presence. Based on Isaiah 43:2-3, this song was written by Bob Dufford, SJ. Being a sojourner in this Arizona desert, this song has comforted me on many barren days.