The Present of Presence
I heard a story recently of a girl who started high school this year and soon found herself bullied. School was a nightmare, so when Covid-19 came, she welcomed being able to stay home for her schooling. Later she had to return to school. Heavy heart. But when she did return, she found her bullies had changed. Somehow in that time of isolation, they had discovered how much we need each other, even in the simple relationships of being together in school.
We have all in this year discovered just how much we need each other – from the deep relationships of spouse and family to the transient relationships we have with the people we encounter on our run or at the pool. The presence of others is possibly our profoundest human need.
In the coming of Jesus in our flesh, we see how important presence is to God. In Jesus, God was present in a baby, in a family. He was present as a member of his village and as a tradesman serving his clients. He was present, especially to the poor, needy and broken in his teaching ministry. And, perhaps most importantly, he was present to our pain, our misery and our sin in his death. And then in his Resurrection, he transcended the limitations of time and flesh that bounded his life on earth and he became present to each of us as we pass through the myriad situations of our life.
When death or disaster happens in our lives, we often cry, ‘Why doesn’t God….?’ What we want in those situations is for God to take away our pain and make it all better. But (and why I do not know) God says to us through the person of Jesus, ‘I am with you. Do not be afraid.’
As we move now towards Christmas, may we take all we now know about the preciousness of presence and make that our present to our family, friends, community and those we met on our run or at the pool. Make you know God with you, and have a Blessed and Holy Christmas.
Loving God, deepen within me my appreciation of presence. In my being present to others in the different situations of my life, may people experience in the presence of your love hidden in my way of loving. I ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear me.
Sr Kym Harris osb