“But Lord I am not worthy. And I’m a bad listener.”

Nancy Leary March 15, 2023
Holy Name Fall River, MA

Within this chapel, there was a cacophony of silence so loud it was unnerving. I wanted to escape it. How could I sit with that terrible quiet blaring in my head for an entire hour, a half hour, five minutes? 

Unbearable. I found ways to fill the time, not so much to pray, but to drown out the silence: a rosary, then a chaplet. Then, a resolute effort to sit still for just two minutes. To sit and to listen; to simply be with Him. My mind wandered. “Be still,” He said. I tried. I sat. 

Quietly, awkwardly, like a first date, but with the One whom I’d known my whole life. With the One who gave me life. We both wanted it to work out. But Lord I am not worthy. And I’m a bad listener. 

He just kept looking at me and, I’m sure, nodded His head knowingly. One of those great, small gestures that commands your attention by its exquisite precision. 

I felt like the psalmist, desperate to find a place to conceal myself from His piercing, perfect gaze: 

Where can I go to hide from Your spirit? 
Where can I flee from Your presence? 
If I ascend to the heavens, You are there; 
if I take my rest in the netherworld, You are also there. 

If I say, “Surely the darkness will conceal me 
and the day around me will turn to night,” 
even the darkness is not dark to You; 
the night is as bright as the day, 
for to You darkness and light are the same. 

Lord, I am not worthy. And yet I know You think I am. 

If I rise on the wings of the dawn 
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 
even there your hand will guide me, 
and your right hand will hold me fast. 

How is it that my Lord should come to me, here, in this small, unremarkable room-become-sanctuary? How is it that I am brought to my knees before His mighty presence, inches from His heart, His saving grace, His fearsome love? Inches from the Word Made Flesh who dwells among us. 

I know I am not worthy, but hold me fast anyway. Be with me, my Lord, my Beloved. I strain to hear You speak, not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still, small voice that cuts through the cacophony of silence: “Be with Me,” your plea. Only that. Simply, profoundly, “Be with Me.” Yes, my Beloved, my dove, my life. I will be with You. 

Lord I am not worthy, but here, in the silence of this chapel, before Your divine and awesome presence, Your soul-healing Word shall make me so.

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