The whole world is in distress! Whether one is young or old… unbelievers or believers… we all have some degree of distress! Those in the hospitals… those in the frontlines of the current situation we are in… would likely have far greater distress than anyone in the world! When we do nothing about it, then our distress will likely remain at the same level or it will even steadily keep on increasing or possibly even paralyze us that we would not be able to go forward. When we do something about it, then our distress will steadily decrease and be under control!
What must we do to keep it under control?
Crying out to God must always be the answer!
Psalm 120 said: “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and he heard my voice.”
In my distress I called upon the Lord…
That ought to be our inclination! That ought to be our default! That ought to be our automatic go-to when we are in distress! To call upon the Lord! To call upon God! To call upon Jesus, the Prince of Peace!
When we have the habit of praying regularly, this would not be as foreign to do! When we don’t yet have that habit, it is a bit difficult! It is a bit “unnatural”! But, the more practice we do the more natural it will become; the more practice we do the more easier it will become!
We need the spirit of prayer in our hearts. The whole world needs this! The spirit of prayer conquers the spirit of fear! The spirit of prayer conquers the spirit of distress! The spirit of prayer conquers the spirit of anxiety!
I know some have been prescribed medication to help their distress and prayer is not the substitute for that; prayer is the additional prescription to that.
Religious throughout the world who live the contemplative life vocation have been living their cloistered life for many years! The world is not used to living “a cloistered life”; yet, almost the whole world is “forced” to live the life they are living in: staying at home; being at home; being “cloistered” in a way in their homes. Some don’t know that prayer not only happens in church but in home first things first. Netflix and the like is the common go to source for many to live out this stay at home mode! But, Netflix is not essential! Prayer is essential! Calling upon the Lord is essential!
“In my distress I called upon the Lord…”
This is what we must all do! Crying out to the Lord… pleading to the Lord… praying and begging the God of mercy and compassion!
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, knows what it’s like to be in distress! No one in this whole wide world has the same intensity as He had! No one in this world whose “sweat became like great drops of blood falling down upon the ground” when he or she is in distress! Our Lord has! That’s how distress He was in the Garden of Gethsemane! God does not go in distress! Only man can be in distress! Our Lord Jesus is not only true God but He is also true Man… so He can suffer what we suffer… so He can redeem what needs to be redeemed…. So He can save what needs to be saved.
No one can be in distress as Our Lord had! That’s why He is our source to put our distress in control! That’s why He is our go-to God because He is truly the Son of God just as He reveals directly to the Jews who picked up rocks to stone Him! He knows the kind of distress we are going through right now in this world of ours! He knows the world is in distress! And He is with us… even until the end of the world!
It’s a difficult time we are living in right now; at the same time it’s a time of special grace God offers during this time… special time to live heroically in loving one another… special time to live heroically in trusting and hoping in God Who can always be trusted!
It’s a difficult time – yes… but it’s also a special time of opportunity to live with God like never before!
“In my distress I called upon the Lord…”
Now, it doesn’t always mean that whenever we call upon the Lord that our problem or our situation will be completely changed and turned around right away! Again, He himself experienced it in the garden; He called upon His Father in His distress… in His agony… He called upon Him not once… not twice… but three times! Yet, part of
God’s plan for mankind is that He had to go through what He went through… to suffer and to die so to bring greater good for all: our salvation, our forgiveness, our redemption!
We may have to go through some hardship during this time… including lots of distress… but God will bring greater good out of this! Because that’s how He is! He always brings greater good out of anything evil!
Let us never get tired of using our faith! Let us never get tired in calling upon the Lord in our distress because He hears our voice… He hears our cries… and our cries truly reach His ears!
By Fr. Miguel Marie