Sunday Stride – Maintaining Faith

Sunday strides are written based on the lectionary readings of the day from the Catholic Lectionary. A stride is a “step in progress towards an aim” – for me, a Sunday stride is another movement towards the greater. You can find this Sunday’s readings here.

Can you find the Grotto?

One of my first few weeks at college, I was lost – figuratively and literally. I was behind in my classes because they were harder than I thought, and I had not settled in to a study routine that worked yet. I was just getting to know the girls in my dorm and the people in my classes, and as a person who leans towards introversion, I was anxious about making new friends. I had thought when I arrived that it was great that I was the only person from my high school going there, but then, a few weeks in, I longed for just one familiar friend from home. 

So, I did what I always do when I am anxious and feeling out of place. I took a walk. I did not grow up in a walkable city, so I was pleased when I got to college that I could take a walk at any time of night and feel relatively safe. I had heard about how powerful going to the Grotto near the lakes could be for prayer, and so I wanted desperately to walk there and sit for a moment in the cool air with God. 

I, however, was not blessed with a sense of direction. In fact, I have whatever the exact opposite of that is. I am also stubborn enough to believe I can eventually find my way, despite much evidence to the contrary. So, at one in the morning when I couldn’t sleep, I set out to find the Grotto. I was sure that it was along this road that started near my dorm and curved around. I felt if I followed this road, I’d just miraculously end up at my destination. I put one foot in front of the other and began to walk. 

20 minutes later I thought, “I swear the Grotto is closer than this?” After 10 more minutes, I figured it was coming up very soon. Then, however, after 45 total minutes, I sat down on the curb dejected. In my head, I addressed God angrily: “I am coming to You! Why are you not helping me find you when I need you the most?” There I sat, hopelessly lost and alone (it was 1AM afterall) in the middle of Notre Dame’s campus. In my head, it felt like the worst moment ever. 

This week’s readings are about the end times. The reckoning. The day when no stone will be left upon another stone. Some might say that these readings are about the real “end times” and my story above can’t even compare. 

However, how many times in this life do we feel helplessly lost on a road? How many times are we desperately in search of God, wanting to just reach out and touch Jesus’ cloak but we can’t seem to find our way?

In all the doom and gloom of the end of time, these readings offer us hope. They remind us that God is right there with us. That night, on that curb, sitting down and cursing because I couldn’t find the place where God was meant to be… I missed the point. God was there, sitting on the curb next to me asking me to have a little faith. 

May we be blessed with faith as we move through this week to know that even in our darkest, most lost moments, God is there wandering with us. 

In case you were wondering, I never made it to the Grotto that night. I eventually maneuvered my way back to the dorm and had someone lead me there the next day. Eventually, I developed a sure path and as long as I never strayed from it… I could get to the Grotto at any time of day! 

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