It was a morning like many others, the morning in which I left the house with Tiziana to do apostolate among the university students of Rome. Like always, before going out to talk about Him, we took shelter in a church to pray. I remember to have said to the Lord, “There are hundreds of young people outside, who you do want us to go to? Who do you want to meet this morning? Take our feet and lead them where you want!” At that point I happened to look towards the holy water font and I noticed that it was completely empty, dry, without even a drop of water. Then I thought, “Jesus, maybe you’re asking me to bring you to those young people that are like this holy water font, those that seem empty and lacking the water of your grace?” And so, with this intuition, there I was walking down the street searching for someone who, at least in appearance (because who can judge?), seemed to be sad or lost. Immediately my eyes fell upon a girl sitting on a bench. Her face seemed as if she had just come from a funeral, she had big dark glasses, black nail polish, piercing everywhere and a skeptical looking book in her hands! A bit hesitant, I drew closer…I introduced myself…the ice broke…and after an hour of talking, she looked me in the eyes and moved, said, “Do you know, that this very morning I prayed that God would show me Himself, I prayed that He would send someone to help clarify some things. I doubted that He would answer, but then you arrived, here! I can hardly believe it, God answered me!”
In our mission we continually experience “miracles” like these that make us understand how the Lord can use us to reach His other children there where they happen to be. Personally I like this form of apostolate more that all the others. It amazes me to think of a God who doesn’t remain seated just looking, but goes out on the streets to look for you there where you are, there where life brings you every day, where you least expect to meet Him. Just like the shepard who searches for the lost sheep and doesn’t have peace until He finds it (cfr Lc 15, 4-7). Flipping through the Gospels, how many times we meet Jesus in the streets, near a well, in a house, on a lakeshore. In each occasion He gives His complete attention to one person alone, seemingly forgetting all else, as if He came down from heaven to earth just for that person! We read in the book of Wisdom, “Wisdom hastens to make herself known in anticipation of men’s desire; he who watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. Because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.” (Wis 6, 13-16)
Take a moment to remember with gratitude the places where God came to search for you. Think especially of those occasions that when you heard of Him, He moved something inside of you and you were changed. Now, to go a bit deeper, you can ask yourself where the Lord is already coming to meet you (in the advice of a friend, in a Bible passage that continues to come to mind, in an invitation that perhaps you’re procrastinating). Where are you really with your heart, because it could be that you are present in only with your body, next to the people whom God has placed on your path, but not with all of yourself. You could be living in your past or be projected in a future that doesn’t exist, forgetful of the fact that God is here and working with His grace only in the present moment.
God comes to look for you on the streets and alleys where you pass every day, in those narrow roads where you think He can’t enter. They are the alleys of your bad moods, your irritability and of your fears. Usually when we are without peace or down, we prefer to be alone and walk along deserted streets where it is impossible to meet the face of someone. We do this out of shame, or out of the fear to hurt someone. We prefer to appear always smiling, calm, in control of our sentiments in the presence of others –and this may even be admirable-, but not when done in front of God. We not yet convinced that He is the “Emmanuel, the God with us” always, and that He wants to reach us there where we are, even in our mood and thoughts. Remember that phrase of the psalm that says, “If I ascend to the heavens, there you are; if I descend to the nether lands, you are there too. If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand hold me fast.” (Ps 139, 8-10) Therefore if your God is the Lord of your life, He is also when you would like to flee far away from everyone and when you find yourself in the nether lands of your interior storms. The secret lies in never interrupting the conversation with Him. Keep it simple, without formalities. You can say to Him, “Jesus, now I’m bitter, while I’d like to be joyful. Send your Spirit into my thoughts, into my sentiments, and fill them with your presence.” “Jesus, in this moment I’m irritable and I can’t stand the attitude of that person. I’m afraid to treat her badly; this is why I’m asking You to be close to me. Watch over the door of my lips and be with my words and with my heart.” Staying always in His presence, you will experience with joy that He is always there where you are and that no place or situation exists where you can be alone. In this way, all of your life will be transformed into a holy story. Every instant will be holy because lived with God. Your peace will lie in the certainty that God loves you so much that He comes to live in you. He comes to be your friend along the journey, at your side in every moment. “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mt 28, 20)
This meditation is by Sr. Simona C.