Reflection on The Word
June 3, 2012
I am with you always until the end of the ages.
How awesome is that? These words have been a source of comfort to me since I was a teenager, although my understanding of what they mean has changed considerably over the years…and of course by change, I mean to say I understand them much less clearly now. I am okay with this, because today, they are a source of wonder and amazement to me, for if we confront the challenge posed to us in today’s first reading from Deuteronomy, and try to consider all of the ages of creation, the ends of heaven and earth, things tend to become…well…vastly incomprehensible. I have difficulty comprehending the vastness of our solar system, so trying to imagine “one end of heaven to the other” is almost entirely out of the question.
When Jesus said to his disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the age,” I wonder what they must have thought. I do not fully understand it, and like the Most Holy Trinity, I do no think we are meant to understand it. For me, this is where my faith kicks in…it fills in the gap between an inconceivable God and my limited human capacity to understand the Creator. I think this space were faith resides also presents challenges to us and our technological culture, because we expect answers, and we expect them last week. We are not accustomed to living our lives within a mystery, and for most of us living in a space of mystery can be very uncomfortable.
What are the ingredients of this lovely Mocha Frappucino? Google will tell you all you need to know to buy one, make one, or buy your own franchise in 0.09 seconds.
Has my cousin finished washing the dishes yet? Check his Facebook timeline, it is likely he will have posted the status of his dishwashing online.
What is this song playing on the radio? NEVER wait until the end of the song to find out. You MUST Shazam it with your Blackberry, which will tell you the name of the song, artist, album and year after a frustratingly long period of about six and a half seconds.
I am a dedicated user of technology, and I work with young people whose lives are intricately connected to technology in its many forms, so I use the above examples not as a criticism of the wonderful information made available to us through its use. I use them because becoming accustomed to and expecting this sort of immediacy has the potential to make it more difficult for us to step back and know that the Holy Spirit is with us always, even if we sometimes do not understand how or why or where.
What we do know about how the Holy Spirit works is that it is often in ways that are unexpected and unfamiliar to us, ways that seem illogical, or perhaps even frightening to us…spiritual curveballs that make sense not to our brains but our hearts, if we are open to learning the language.
In my experience, if we are able to accept the mystery of the Holy Spirit being with us until the end of the ages, and become comfortable with not always knowing, we become better able to acknowledge the good in our lives with gratitude, and we also develop the strength to wade through those challenging times with hope and courage.
-Trevor Droesbeck, Office of Youth Faith Development for the Archdiocese of Moncton