Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
As I was reading from Sacred Scripture in preparation for the weekend I came to the first line from the passage from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Philippians 4:6) I thought to myself with some chagrin, easier said than done! Prayer, thanksgiving, making requests known to God, all doable, but to have no anxiety? It seems an awesome task given the current climate. But this is what St. Paul hoped for the people of Philippi, and what our loving God desires for all of us. God wants us to come, lay our burdens and our anxiety down, and find rest in Him. Still, easier said than done.
We can easily see external sources of anxiety. We are living through a global pandemic, natural disasters and the effects of climate change threaten our lives and our planet’s future, there is political and social unrest, and that is just on the national stage. We also have the anxiety that comes from being human and being in relationships with our families, our co-workers, our neighbors and friends. What antidote could St. Paul, or our loving God, possible offer to counter the anxiety induced by all these factors? St. Paul tells us it is “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.” When we possess this peace, we can acknowledge and understand our justifiable anxiety, and then overcome it through the great gift of faith.
Faith does not promise that we will not face adversity, and certainly, it feels like we are facing an unprecedented amount at the present moment. We can be encouraged and comforted with the knowledge that nothing is unprecedented for God. God has more love, more compassion, more mercy and more peace than any of us will ever need in our lifetime. God has accompanied us through every stressful and anxiety-ridden moment, hoping we will turn to Him to receive His great peace. Even when we run away from God, God follows after us, wanting to welcome us back. We need only take a single step and God will immediately fill any distance. That is why we need have no anxiety at all. Despite the chaos of the world, our God is always with us and will never abandon us.
As followers of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, we strive to be His eyes and hands and voice in this world, providing our brothers and sisters with the support we know He offers each of us. This week, I encourage you to join me in reaching out to perhaps just one anxious person in your life. Try to be Christ’s listening ear, compassionate voice and loving heart for that person. Rather than feeding their anxiety with your own, offer the consolation of the profound peace of God that passes all understanding. It may surprise you that in quieting their anxiety, you find your own relieved as well.
I wish you and your loved ones continued blessings of good health, new hope and deep peace,
Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission weekly bulletin.