Marriage and Family Life: In our trials, Christ draws ever closer to us

by Adam Storey | April 29, 2020

Adam Storey

In his book "Disarming Beauty," Father Julián Carrón discusses the transformative power of the presence of Christ. He says Israel was sustained throughout its history, especially in times of trial, with the knowledge that God was with them.

But then he offers a striking illustration of this reality. He invites us to imagine a child brought to Disneyland by their parents. With four small children at home I can vividly see their joy and awe as we'd walk around the park. But then, Father Carrón asks us to imagine the child's response if she was suddenly separated from her parents. The rides, the crowds, the noise, everything that moments ago delighted the child, would now seem hostile and terrifying.

I've been thinking of this image recently as all of our lives have been transformed by COVID-19. We are all experiencing uncertainty and disruption of daily living, and even though we're physically distant from one another, the new “routines" and never-ending news updates can feel like sensory overload.

In the midst of this turmoil, without public Masses and easily accessible confession, it can feel like Christ isn't with us, we can feel like the child lost in Disneyland with no parents to guide her. During this pandemic, some of us may feel like crying out as Christ did on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet, our Catholic faith tells us that Christ remains with us, and that it is in our trials that Christ draws ever closer to us. Even in the midst of pain, uncertainty and fear we can have peace because Christ dwells with us.

Pope Francis reminds us of this reality in "The Joy of Love" when he writes, "The Lord's presence dwells in real and concrete families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes." He goes on to say that "[t]hose who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them to the heights of mystical union."

The most important thing we need to hear in these days is that Jesus is near us, and that the Lord is using this path, the path of the domestic Church, of every shape and size, to draw us to himself. There are many things to pray for these days, but one of our prayers should be for the grace to recognize Jesus in our midst. To recognize where and how he is drawing us closer to himself, and for peace to reign in our hearts in the knowledge that God is with us!

Adam Storey

Adam Storey leads the Marriage Ministry Department for the Diocese of Des Moines, which seeks to work with parishes and couples, walking with all families in all their stages, in their joys and sorrows, their celebrations and challenges.