Daily Step – Be not afraid… I am all around you.


“Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified?
Do you not yet have faith?” (Mk 34:40)

Today at 11:41 AM, I sat in a small unair-conditioned chapel for Sunday mass alongside twenty or so people who collectively represented every continent in the world. The time matters because it was the moment that both the Liturgy of the Eucharist began inside the chapel and the Muslim call to prayer started reverberating all around us outside the chapel walls. I do not think I have ever experienced such a moment of two faiths coming together, as if they were in dialogue with one another, both reaching out in their own way to the same Abrahamic God.

Today’s Gospel was the one where the apostles are in the boat terrified of the crashing waves. They wake Jesus up both wondering why he isn’t afraid and begging him to quiet the terrifying storm. In response, Jesus quiets the waves. Once the waves and the apostles are calm, Jesus asks “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

I am a little afraid of the dark. I mean the pitch black can’t see your hand in front of your face but can hear every strange noise very clearly kinda dark (Last night, I couldn’t find the button to turn off one lamp in my hotel room and… I was kinda okay with that). I am also afraid of a variety of insects and amphibians that could very well bite and maybe even kill you. (I will not be seeking to get to know any of those out here if I can help it.)

And I am afraid of the unknown.

Perhaps this is one fear we all share? At least a little bit?

Three days ago, boarding a sixteen hour flight was the unknown. 36 hours ago, Yogyakarta, Indonesia was the unknown. 24 hours ago, before I heard and felt the call to prayer reverberate through the city for the very first time, what it felt like to be in a predominantly Muslim country was the unknown.

And you know what?

The unknown is pretty incredible.

Ignatian Spirituality has a phrase “finding God in all things”. Essentially, when you are paying attention and looking for God’s presence, you can find God in EVERYTHING. I thought I understood that phrase before. But at 11:41 AM this morning, I truly felt God everywhere.

And I heard God say quite clearly when the silence finally returned: “Do you not yet have faith?”

I am currently in Yogyakarta, Indonesia as one of twelve North American delegates, 100 global delegates overall, meeting to discuss Catholic/Jesuit identity and in-depth faith formation in Jesuit schools at II Seminar JESEDU-Jogja2024. Since I keep forgetting about the 12 hour time change and texting all those I love at 2 in the morning, I decided I would write some blog posts about the most important moments for me and perhaps the moments that might stir something in you as well. Thanks for reading! More to come!

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