Called out of the "Interior Tempest"
"He has continued to say, 'Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.'"
Dear Fr. Carrón,
I wanted to write you because the companionship of CL has been so important for our lives during this period in which our world endures the coronavirus. My husband, son, and I live in Boise, Idaho, and we have not had access to School of Community since we moved here. With the worldwide shutdown, however, our previous School of Community has transitioned to an online platform and we have been able to join in with them.
I don’t mean to understate the suffering and chaos in the world, but to join School of Community again during this time has been a great gift for our family. In the early days as we began receiving reports from Italy, I found myself growing increasingly anxious. I felt very afraid. When I awoke at night to nurse my infant son, I found my mind full of chatter as I processed every outcome I could imagine – to human life, to our world economy, to my husband’s job, to our food supply, etc. I was unable to even enjoy these precious moments of quiet in the dark with my son, Damien, as he fed from me.
The following week we were given the Cistercian Abbot General’s letter to the Cistercian communities to read for our upcoming School of Community. As I sat with the letter, I was particularly provoked by this passage: “But there is another tempest that wants to oppose itself to the friendly presence of the Lord: our diffidence and fear: 'But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear' (Mt 14:26). Often what we imagine with the eyes of our diffidence transforms reality into 'ghosts.'"
This line provoked me because I felt a question arise in my heart: had I allowed my son to become a ‘ghost’ to me? I had spent many days in fear and anxiety, unable to enjoy my everyday reality, unable to enjoy my son. My husband and my son stand constantly before me in flesh and blood inviting me into the joy of each of their presence, but I could not enter into the reality of their presence until I was called out of my "interior tempest" by Fr. Lepori’s letter.
This has proved as a great provocation for me and a constant reorientation of my life. As the days have continued, there are ever new and engaging opportunities for continued fear and anxiety. I am brought again and again to Fr. Lepori’s letter so that I can beg Jesus to make himself present to me. It is through my husband and my son, that despite everything, He has continued to say, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid” (Mt 14:27).
Adrianna, Boise, Idaho