Here I Am!
Does it unsettle you when things are quiet – even if other people are around? Do you feel uneasy when you are alone and quiet? Do you feel the need for some kind of distraction – some noise, some activity, some fantasy - anything except that unease?
Where does that unease come from? Do you know?
Suppose that, like a record producer working on a song, you could separate the various emotions and other factors in your heart. Imagine yourself isolating and then tuning out each one, step by step: each hurt, each fear, each anxiety, each failure, each hope, each disappointment, each desire.
Naming and then tuning out each one may decrease your unease somewhat. But what would be left when you have managed to tune out everything that comes from you? Nothing? If it were nothing, it would feel neutral. It would not seem unsettling or vaguely threatening.
It isn’t nothing. It’s something. Something you can barely perceive. Something you can hardly describe. But, it’s something. Insistent. Unsettling. Or, rather, Someone. It is the Lord. It is the Lord’s insatiable love for you, seeking you, calling you, asking for your faith and love and everything else that you are in return and promising you a fullness of life and joy that this world cannot touch.
How can it be the Lord?, you ask. You expect that the Lord will give you peace, not this unsettling feeling that makes you afraid. The Lord does offer peace, but it’s not a peace that this world can give. It will not come by any technique alone. If you are to be His, you must be pulled away – freed – from whatever or whoever enslaves you now. That’s the unsettling part. We prefer the devil we know even to the God we do not know. How often did the ancient Israelites tell Moses that they regretted leaving Egypt?!
The Lord does not want us to stay in Egypt. He wants to free us. He wants us for His own so that He can fill us with a love beyond our greatest dreams. He wants us for Himself so that we can at last discover who we really are.
Will we trust Him? Will we let Him unsettle our old ways, so that His Kingdom can break in?
When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, she felt unsettled and troubled at first. She encountered that overwhelming love of God and said yes. Here I am. May each of us do the same.
By: Father Mark Nolette