June 9, 2024 Essay: Deliver Us

May 31, 2024

As the school year draws to a close I feel unsettled. There’s a subliminal gnawing at my person that I cannot quite quell. It almost seems as though I stopped short in my car and all that I left unattended in the back seat has flown into the front seat. Although physically unscathed, my busy mind tells me I should have already tended to these items that are now crowded around me in the front of the car. The general sense of overwhelm is unnerving.

In this time of transition and unease, I remind myself we are never alone. It is easy to become wrapped up in the tasks of life and forget God is with us through every phase of our journey. I can place all the items sitting with me in the front seat of the car with my maker. I am called to action but God manages the results.

At each Mass the following lines from the liturgy truly speak to me:

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy, keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety, as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Fretfulness is quite human and especially apparent when we transition from one season to another. Luckily, the human condition is not foreign to God. God became person out of love; to know us better and to truly understand us, our feelings and our needs.

How do we await in joyful hope and draw ourselves out of anxiety? One surefire way to remedy our self-centered angst is to turn our gaze outward toward those in need. In a few weeks the youth group and I head to the Hudson Valley for a mission trip: the Summer Outreach Week, led by the Capuchin Friars. We’ll be busy each day building bunk beds, assisting at Vacation Bible School, visiting the senior center, and feeding the homeless. In the evenings we’ll reflect on our service and how we experienced God’s presence in our work. With luck and grace, we’ll serve as a conduit helping to grant peace during our outreach week.

Focusing on the needs of others will make short order of whatever is sitting with me in the front seat. Service gives us opportunities to get out of self, see the face of God in others, and be the hands and feet of Jesus. I look forward to reporting back on what I am sure will be a transformative trip!

When the mission trip wraps up and the youth group is returned home after their week of service the summer offers yet another opportunity for me to draw closer to God and be relieved of my anxiety. In July I’ll head to a silent retreat with the Taizé Community in the Burgundy region of France. Taizé’s prioritizes prayer, silence and reconciliation with gentle encouragement to focus on living out the Gospel in joy and simplicity. A week in silent community will provide yet another occasion to dwell in the many ways the Lord delivers us from our burdens and calls us to wait in joyful hope.

Take some time as the seasons change, truly inhabiting the ways the Lord unwaveringly Delivers Us.

— Kate Noonan, Director of the Interparish Religious Education Program