Dozens of times each day, Nancy Ward finds little love notes from Jesus strewn along her path — and she is getting better at spotting them!
Where is Jesus?
As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God? (Psalm 42:2,3)
After nine weeks of online Masses, I burst into tears as the priest gave the Eucharist to his assistant. Don’t get me wrong; I am grateful for online Masses, especially the daily ones from my parish. It keeps me connected. But I’m still feeling deprived of receiving the Real Presence of Jesus in his Body and Blood. The Real Presence that I can see and feel and hold and make a part of my body. That always assures me that He is close physically. And I trust that I won’t be in this spiritual desert forever.
Where is Jesus?
Jesus promised He would be with us always. I know He is present everywhere, and especially in my heart. But His Real Presence in the Eucharist is His most intimate gift.
I can detect His presence in the world around me. When I walk by the lake near our home, with no mask needed, He’s in the sunshine on my face and the wind at my back. When I turn the corner into my street, His voice resounds in the laughter of children playing, unafraid of germs and viruses. He sings to me in anointed music in my earbuds. I feel Him most intimately where no social distancing or masks are needed -- at home in the smiles and hugs of my husband. As reassuring as these realities of the presence of Jesus are, they don’t quite touch the explicit ache in the depths of my heart for the Eucharist.
The Body of Christ
In 1 Corinthians 12:1-31, Paul teaches us that as members of his Body, we are given specific gifts by the Holy Spirit for building the Body.
During the pandemic, I’ve grown more aware of the presence of Jesus in the corporate Body of Christ around me. The individual members of His Body just don’t look like Jesus, and most of their actions don’t measure up to what I need to console me.
Perhaps I’m looking for big signs – a billboard that reads, “God loves Nancy,” While I read an email message from someone expressing love in their appreciation of me.
What about the little kindnesses I find around me that weren’t there before Covid-19? The frequent texts from neighbors I barely know asking if I need anything at Sam’s or Walmart? Special treatment as a senior citizen, shopping in the early hours? The attendant outside Costco wiping down my basket before handing it over to me? A friend teaching our prayer circle how to meet on Zoom? And He’s definitely present in the parishioner who rescued our pastor in his futile attempts to record daily Masses and post them on Facebook. Dozens of times each day, I can find little love notes from Jesus strewn along my path — and I’m getting better at spotting them!
Yet, how many times have I failed at being His presence to others? Yes, I made a few phone calls the first couple of weeks to check on a couple of friends. Took a neighbor grocery shopping with me. Wrote about dealing with the pandemic. Now, as we emerge from the cocoon of the coronavirus, I feel I am playing catch-up as I see so many new ways to show God’s love to others. But He’s gently taught me that all I need to do is keep the flow going. Open myself to receive all the love He has for me and let it flow through me to others. Give it all away with the confident assurance that the flow is as everlasting as His mercy.
The joy of giving away the love of Jesus is indescribable! The ultimate high imaginable. Although I’m saddened by the pandemic and the destruction it is causing, I’m thankful that the presence of Jesus is visible all around us, if we just keep our heads up and our hearts open.
Copyright 2020 Nancy Ward
Image by Min An (2018), Pexels
About the Author
Nancy Ward authored Sharing Your Catholic Faith Story: Tools, Tips, and Testimonies (and the DVD) and contributed to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. She loves to share her conversion story and give evangelization workshops and retreats equipping others to share their faith. She facilitates the DFW Catholic Writers, Catholic Writers Guild Nonfiction Critique Group, serves on their Board, and speaks at writers’ conferences. Learn more at JoyAlive.net and NancyHCWard.com.