I had arisen early, for prayer and sanity, precious stolen moments of silence before the day’s chaos begins. Sitting before the large dining room window, I watched light streaming and mingling with coffee steam, rising like an incense offering to the Spirit. Prayer came tumbling easily out and God, I knew, was all around me. In moments of silence and peace, nothing stands between me and awareness of the Divine in my midst. Perhaps I should have joined a cloister?
Instead I joined an intentional community—much emphasis on action, decidedly less on contemplation. The days filled with work and tears, noise and action. The rhythm of our days and bodies swirling with momentum and inertia—and where is God in my hurried movements and my worn-thin patience?
When overwhelming tasks, deadlines and duties pile up like unfolded laundry—and also, the unfolded laundry—where is God in the midst of this mess? How easy to see God’s face and sense His presence when it is just the two of us enjoying the stillness of each other’s company.
Today’s Gospel issued a challenge when Saint Phillip says, “Show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Will it be enough for us in our broken humanity? Or will it only last for as long as we feel good, for as long as everything is simple? Jesus, as usual, doesn’t mince words. “Have I been with for so long a time and you still do not know me?” Ouch. Painful, yet accurate.
He has been with me for so long, and still I do not know Him. It is not God Who is missing in the moments when chaos reigns and tempers flare. It is not Christ who fails to show up for every moment of my one wild and precious life—it is me, and my seeming inability to be present when the present is less than perfection. It is my inability to have eyes that see clearly.
Christ never ceases inviting us to see Him in every moment, and even more challenging, to let Him see us in every moment. The light of the Spirit illuminates the chaos as well as the peace, softening its blunt edges, inviting us to see ourselves and others as they truly are, shining like the sun through a morning window.
In your reflection today, ask Christ to stay with you and help you stay present to your less-than-perfect life. Ask Him to sit with you in it.
Sarah Babbs is a writer and mother of three, including twin toddlers. She writes about faith, social teaching, and navigating life as a motherless daughter and mother. You can find out more about her here.